Thursday, February 25, 2016

Final Legislative Roundup

Final Legislative Roundup Zach Riley, Director of Government Affairs In this final wrap up are all the bills and memorials that NMFLB actively followed, as well as our positions and thoughts as they pertained to the pieces of legislation. We worked diligently with many of the sponsors and other groups to amend bills and memorials in ways that would benefit the greater good and all of agriculture. From the standpoint of NMFLB, this was a successful session and we’re very pleased with the passage of the Right to Farm amendment to statute. We are also pleased to note that the Courts have awarded the necessary injunctive relief that will allow NMFLB to continue to fight the appellate court’s ruling on worker’s compensation. However, NMFLB decided not to support the worker’s comp bill that was advocated by some in the agricultural community. After much debate the board of directors decided that given the current status of the amicus brief and appeals filed by NMFLB, there was too much at stake to participate in the advancement of this legislation. Furthermore, there is the threat that in the event this bill was unsuccessful in this short session, there is significant case law from previous cases where the defense and judges have used failed legislation as justification for dissenting judgments. Sine die concluded February 19th bringing to a close another session in which NMFLB fought to protect the oldest family tradition from fielding too many negative attacks. Be sure if you have not already done so, to call the Governor at 505-476-2200 and strongly ask that she sign into law the Right to Farm Act SB72. As always, please contact your NMFLB staff should you have any questions or concerns. Until next session. Bill: HB51 Sponsors: Garcia, Miguel (D14) Title: FIREARM TRANSFER ACT Summary: (Identical to 2015 HB44) Creates the Firearm Transfer Act; requires background checks by the Department of Public Safety prior to the transfer of firearms by persons other than licensed dealers; prohibits certain persons from purchasing or receiving firearms. Status: House Rules and Order of Business Committee, stopped in committee Position: Oppose Notes: We will be watching to make sure that this bill doesn't impede the rights of individuals to purchase a firearm from family, and in tradeshows. Bill: HB78 Sponsors: McCamley (D33) Title: NMSU WATER RESOURCES APPROPRIATION Summary: Appropriates $400,000 (GF) to the Board of Regents of New Mexico State University for FY 2017 to support the New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute. Status: House Appropriations and Finance Committee, stopped in committee Position: Support Notes: FB has traditionally supported the work and research done by the WRRI Bill: HB99 Sponsors: Pacheco (R23); Nunez (R36) Title: REAL ID DRIVERS LICENSES & DRIVING PRIVILEGE CARD FOR CERTAIN FOREIGN NATIONALS Summary: (Relates to HB94; 2015 SB653, HB22; 2014 HB127; 2013 SB521) Proposes to reconcile state law with the Federal REAL ID Act of 2005 by authorizing the Taxation and Revenue Department to issue two different types of state drivers licenses and identification cards. (1) The first is for U.S. citizens and foreign nationals with lawful status who qualify for licenses and ID cards that comport with the REAL ID Act. (2) The second is a driving privilege card intended for foreign nationals who are unable to demonstrate authorized legal presence in the United States, and which requires a fingerprint background check. Does away with the current blanket provision under which foreign nationals may use a taxpayer identification (ID) number instead of a social security number regardless of immigration status to obtain a drivers license or state identification card. Status: Sent to the Governor Position: Support w/Amendments Bill: HB108 Sponsors: Strickler (R2) Title: RURAL INFRASTRUCTURE TAX CREDIT Summary: (For the Economic and Rural Development Committee) (Similar to HB337) Relating to taxation; creates a rural infrastructure tax credit. Status: 02/08/2016 ñ House Ways and Means Committee Position: Support Notes: Just watching for the rural implications. Bill: HB111 Sponsors: Townsend (R54) Title: EXEMPT CROP DUSTING TANKS LESS THAN 10,000 GALLONS Summary: Exempts fuel storage tanks of less than 10,000 gallons used solely by a crop dusting or crop spraying service from the definition of above ground storage tanks for purposes of meeting the requirements of the Hazardous Waste Act and the Ground Water Protection Act. Status: Senate Judiciary Committee Position: Support Notes: Tracking in order that we may help it through. Bill: HB123 Sponsors: Rehm (R31) Title: TWO TIERED LICENSE FOR REAL ID Summary: (Similar to HB 99, relates to HB94; Similar to 2015 SB653). Proposes to resolve the issue of compliance with the federal REAL ID Act of 2005 by implementing a two tiered system. The Taxation and Revenue Department would be authorized to issue REAL ID compliant drivers licenses and identification cards for citizens and foreign nationals with lawful status, and drivers cards that are not REAL ID compliant for residents without lawful status. Requires fingerprinting of applicants for drivers cards. Provides for expiration of drivers licenses and drivers cards issued to foreign nationals. Changes penalties and imposes new ones for misuse of, or fraud in obtaining, drivers licenses, drivers cards, and identification cards. Status: House Rules and Order of Business Committee Position: Neutral until further movement Bill: HB125 Sponsors: Garcia, Miguel (D14) Title: INCREMENTAL MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE Summary: (Similar to 2015 HB20, HB138, HB360, SB10; 2014 HB213, SB319) Imposes annual step increases in the hourly minimum wage between 2017 and 2019 to $10.10, with additional increases based on the cost of living index. Also increases the minimum hourly wage for tipped employees. Status: 01/19/2016 ñ House Rules and Order of Business Committee Position: Oppose Bill: HB143 Sponsors: Bandy (R3) Title: CONSOLIDATION OF ELECTION DATES Summary: (Virtually identical to HGEIC substitute for 2015 HB338) Changes certain special district and political subdivision election dates all to fall on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November in odd numbered years, and makes corresponding adjustments to election procedures. Status: Senate Rules Committee Position: Oppose with amendments Notes: NMFLB was in the position to help protect the structures of SWCD elections and the way in which, water projects may be administered by people with actual application. As well, it was important that the levies remain in place in order that districts be able to continue to do the work they do. Bill: HB148 Sponsors: Gomez (D34) Title: RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT OF INDUSTRIAL HEMP RULES AND FUND Summary: (For the Economic and Rural Development Committee) Relates to research and development of industrial hemp and is proposed to bring New Mexico into compliance with federal law. The Department of Agriculture is vested with authority to issue licenses to grow industrial hemp for research and development purposes, including agricultural, agronomic, ecological, processing, sales and marketing research. Although not mentioned in the bills title, an appropriation derives through creation of a fund. Status: House Rules and Order of Business Committee stopped in committee Notes: Track as it relates to FB policy on hemp Bill: HB149 Sponsors: Gomez (D34) Title: COMPENSATING LANDOWNERS FOR FINANCIAL DAMAGES CAUSED BY BIG GAME Summary: (Water and Natural Resources Committee; Economic and Rural Development Committee) Amends the Game and Fish Act to authorize the Game and Fish Department to use the Big Game Depredation Damage Fund to compensate landowners for financial damages caused by big game. Status: House Appropriations and Finance Committee stopped in committee Position: Neutral Notes: NMFLB has no policy as it directly relates to the subject matter and has divided feelings of the unintended consequences of such legislation. Bill: HB150 Sponsors: Gomez (D34) Title: NMSU: BOLL WEEVIL AND PINK BOLLWORM MONITORING Summary: Appropriates $50,0000 (GF 2017) to NMSUs board of regents to monitor the boll weevil and pink bollworm situation in South Central and Southwest New Mexico. Status: House Appropriations and Finance Committee stopped in committee Position: Support Bill: HB154 Sponsors: Roybal Caballero (D13) Title: INCREASED MINIMUM WAGE Summary: As of January 1, 2017, raises the New Mexico base minimum wage to $15 per hour. Starting January 1, 2018 and each succeeding year, indexes the minimum wage by the urban Consumer Price Index to reflect inflation. Eliminates the separate minimum wage for tipped employees. Status: House Rules and Order of Business Committee stopped in committee Position: Oppose Bill: HB167 Sponsors: Ezzell (R58) Title: WATER PROJECT LOANS AND GRANTS Summary: (Identical to SB106) Authorizes the New Mexico Finance Authority to make loans or grants from the Water Project Fund to the following qualifying entities for the following qualifying water projects on terms and conditions established by the Water Trust Board and the New Mexico Finance Authority: Status: 02/18/2016 ñ Passed in the Senate Position: Neutral Notes: Monitor Bill: HB196 Sponsors: Salazar, T. (D70) Title: REGIONAL WATER UTILITY AUTHORITY ACT Summary: Cited as the Regional Water Utility Authority Act, a 44 page bill filled with procedural requirements, authorizes the creation of regional water authorities to enhance activities related to: Status: House Agriculture, Water and Wildlife Committee Position: Oppose with amendments Notes: This bill establishes the ability for any new authority to be constructed giving it municipal powers of condemnation, water right acquisition and property purchasing with the authority to compel individual property owners to abandon their own water rights and institute drilling moratoriums. Bill: HJM3 Sponsors: Fajardo (R7) Title: ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION WEEK AND GRANT PROGRAM Summary: Stresses the need for environmental education and recites the benefits already derived by 300 students who participated in an environmental literacy planned program; asks that a week in April be declared Environmental Education Week and that teachers be encouraged to teach students outdoors for at least one hour a week. Status: Passed in the Senate Position: Support w/Amendments Notes: Amended in the house and passed as amend in conservation. Bad memorial all around, but was amended and now contains the agricultural education components. Bill: HM31 Sponsors: McQueen (D50) Title: STATEWIDE RESILIENCY PLAN Summary: Resolves that the House of Representatives express its support and endorse the New Mexico First agriculture planning process for the creation of a statewide resiliency plan. Status: House Agriculture, Water and Wildlife Committee Position: Oppose Notes: Was pulled from calendar, watching to make sure it doesn't resurface until possibly next year. Bill: HM43 Sponsors: Maestas Barnes (R15) Title: ALTERNATIVES TO EXPANDED PECOS WILDERNESS AREA Summary: Resolves that the U.S. Department of the Agriculture Forest Service be requested to engage in an immediate dialogue with all the gateway communities of the Carson and Santa Fe National Forests with regard to potential alternative designations for the lands proposed to be included in the Pecos Wilderness Area. Status: Passed in the House Position: Support w/Amendments Notes: Has some shaky language needs to be clarified and position opposing designation made stronger. Bill: HM70 Sponsors: Lechuga Tena (D21) Title: COMPANION ANIMAL OVERPOPULATION AND WELFARE STUDY Summary: Requests that the Superintendent of Regulation and Licensing convene a working group of stakeholders to address recommendations for law, including pet store bans such the one as recently enacted in Albuquerque, and the licensing of commercial animal breeders, to reduce companion animal overpopulation and increase companion animal welfare in the state. Status: House Regulatory and Public Affairs Committee Position: Oppose Notes: Rolled over in committee waiting to hear if sponsor is going to bring back a substitute draft. Bill: SB3 Sponsors: McSorley (D16); Maestas (D16) Title: INDUSTRIAL HEMP RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT Summary: (Almost identical to the final version 2015 SB94 as passed by both chambers and vetoed by the Governor) Authorizes the Department of Agriculture to adopt rules for research on industrial hemp and to issue licenses to grow industrial hemp for research and development. Defines industrial hemp, authorizes the Department of Agriculture to promulgate rules and issue licenses, and establishes a non-reverting fund to be administered by the department. Status: Senate Committee on Committees Notes: hemp bill relating to FB policy Bill: SB65 Sponsors: Woods (R7) Title: OPT OUT OF LIVESTOCK COUNCIL ASSESSMENTS Summary: (Related to 2015 SB 223) Changes the rate for reimbursement to the New Mexico Livestock Board by the New Mexico Beef Council for necessary expenses from not more than four cents per head to not more than four cents per dollar collected in the form of council assessments on cattle transfers. Establishes an application process for producers who wish not to participate in the council assessment. Status: Senate Committee on Committees Position: Support Notes: Increase to the NM Beef Council check-off and provide greater advantage for NM beef producer education. Governor’s office called this an additional tax and unwanted levy and would not allow the bill to advance. The statement from the office of the Governor was, that producer’s don’t really want this and that she could not support new taxes. Bill: SB72 Sponsors: Ingle (R27) Title: LIMIT ON NUISANCE CLAIMS FOR FARMING Summary: (Related to 2015 HB564, SB307, SB348) Amends the Right to Farm Act to bar a property holders right to bring a nuisance claim against a previously established agricultural operation or facility unless that operation or facility has substantially changed in the nature or scope of its operations. Status: Sent to the Governor Position: Support Notes: Waiting for Governor’s signature Bill: SB160 Sponsors: Campos, P. (D8) Title: FUNDING TO UPDATE WATER PLANS Summary: Appropriates $700,000 (GF FY 2017) to the Interstate Stream Commission to update state and regional water plans. Status: Senate Finance Committee Notes: Monitoring, as NMFLB has been an active participant in the process to date. Bill: SB204 Sponsors: Martinez, Richard (D5) Title: REGIONAL WATER UTILITY AUTHORITY ACT Summary: (Identical to HB196) (Very Similar to 2015 SB550) (Related to 2015 SB63; 2014 SB112 and SB198) Cited as the Regional Water Utility Authority Act, a 44 page bill filled with procedural requirements, authorizes the creation of regional water authorities to enhance activities related to: Status: Senate Conservation Committee Position: Oppose Notes: Same as HB196. Language too cumbersome needs to be vetted several problems with eminent domain, liens, seizures, and boundaries, too heavy handed. Bill: SB244 Sponsors: Neville (R2) Title: WORKERS COMPENSATION: RATIONAL BASIS FOR EXEMPTING FARM AND RANCH LABORERS Summary: Inserts a rational basis for the exemption of farm and ranch laborers into 52 1 6 under the Workers Compensation Act. The Legislature finds that farm and ranch work is seasonal, many farm and ranch workers work temporarily and migrate from farm to farm and ranch to ranch and there is a high turnover in these workers. Status: Senate Judiciary Committee Position: Neutral Notes: NMFLB feels that in the best interest of ongoing litigation that this bill is inappropriate, poorly-worded, and shouldn’t advance at risk of jeopardizing the courts rulings. Bill: SB283 Sponsors: Barela (R39) Title: CHANGES EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES COVERED BY WORKERS COMPENSATION Summary: Exempts employers that paid or are obligated to pay cash wages for services rendered by the employers workers in the preceding calendar year in an amount less than $8,000. Extends coverage to employers of farm and ranch workers by eliminating the specific exemption for these employers. Excludes from being treated as employees family relations of an employer or of certain executive employees and individuals performing an occasional service for an employer who will provide reciprocal or similar services. Status: Senate Committee on Committees Position: Neutral Notes: This was the secondary solution bill also offered by Dairy Producers and Cattle Growers. This bill too had poorly drafted language and could become a detriment to ongoing litigation. Bill: SB294 Sponsors: Cisneros (D6) Title: TAX EXEMPTION FOR SALE OF ACCESS TO PRIVATE LAND FOR HUNTING OR FISHING Summary: Exempts from gross receipts as of July 1, 2016 receipts from sale by the landowner of access to private land if the purpose of the access is for hunting and fishing. Status: Senate Finance Committee Position: Support with amendments Notes: Bill is not advancing as does not contain language that is congruent with requests of the committee members nor does it address the unintended consequences of the legislation. Bill: SJM4 Sponsors: Sanchez, M. (D29) Title: ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION WEEK AND STUDY Summary: Affirms the important contribution of environmental education to education, health and responsible behavior; and requests the Governor to declare a week in April Environmental Education Week to encourage all K 12 teachers to teach their students outdoors for at least one hour that week and encourage state agencies to celebrate environmental education through existing programs. Status: House Agriculture, Water and Wildlife Committee Notes: Same as Fajardo’s HJM3. Bill: SJM6 Sponsors: Stewart (D17); Harper (R57) Title: BEE AWARE DAY Summary: Urges state agencies to protect declining bee populations and requests the Governor to declare Bee Aware Day to promote education about the importance of bees to New Mexico’s economy and quality of life. Status: 02/05/2016 ñ House Agriculture, Water and Wildlife Committee Position: Support w/Amendments Notes: Amended in Conservation committee striking language that was a direct attack on chemical application

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