2013 Legislative Coverage

NM Budget Signed With Pay Raise For State Workers

Apr 6, 2013

Gov. Susana Martinez has signed a nearly $5.9 billion state budget and agreed to a provision that will increase pay for state workers and educators for the first time since 2008.

The governor faced a Friday deadline for signing and vetoing bills passed by the Legislature.

Martinez also signed a measure to revamp the pension program for nearly 90,000 state and local government workers and retirees. Cost-of-living adjustments will be lowered under the new law.

USDAgov via Flickr

 KUNM Call In Show Thu. 3/21 8a: Governor Susana Martinez says she'll sign the budget bill passed by lawmakers in a last minute deal right before the 2013 60-day session adjourned. She vetoed then signed the "Breaking Bad" bill that increases tax incentives for TV shows to produce in New Mexico. What else went down this session? We'll take your calls and comments! Email callinshow@kunm.org, post your comments online, or call in live during the show. 

277-5866 (locally in Albuquerque)

877-899-5866 (toll-free)


Students Lobby Lawmaker On Oil And Gas Bills

Mar 7, 2013

With less than two weeks left in this Legislative session, lobbyists and citizens are flocking to the Roundhouse in Santa Fe for a chance to speak to lawmakers about issues they care about. KUNM's Deborah Martinez reports on how that process plays out in the hallways. 

Lawmakers Eye New Poll On Marijuana Laws

Feb 27, 2013
cagrimmett via Flickr

Several bills aimed at reducing penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana are scheduled for hearings this week in Santa Fe.  Advocates are using a new poll to illustrate that a majority of New Mexicans favor the idea.  

RETA Bill Makes It Through NM House

Feb 25, 2013

The House of Representatives today approved a bill that establishes a fund to expand the state's development of solar and wind power. 

House Bill 242 would provide general fund money to the quasi-government agency known as the New Mexico Renewable Energy Transmission Authority, or RETA.  Sponsor Bill McCamley is a freshman Democrat from Doña Ana County:

Senate Confirms Finance Authority Board Members

Feb 19, 2013

The Senate has confirmed two board members of the New Mexico Finance Authority, which was entangled in a scandal last year over a fake audit.

Clovis businessman Blake Curtis was unanimously confirmed and Albuquerque lawyer Nann Winter won confirmation on a 34-3 vote in the Senate on Monday.

Curtis is a former state legislator. Winter serves as the authority's board chairwoman.

Slew Of Animal Protection Bills Pending

Feb 19, 2013

New Mexico lawmakers this session are considering more than two dozen animal protection bills that propose everything from raising money for starving horses to increasing penalties for neglecting pets and continuing oversight of government-run shelters.

Animal rights advocates say the number of bills aimed at helping animals is higher than usual this year.

They say one reason is the increased awareness of the connection between cruelty to animals and abuse of people.

House OKs Tougher Penalties For Human Trafficking

Feb 18, 2013

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A proposal advocated by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez to increase penalties for human trafficking is heading to the Senate for consideration.

The measure would make it a first-degree felony for human trafficking if the victim was under the age of 16. Convictions could carry a basic sentence of 18 years in prison. That doubles the penalty because the crime is currently a lesser felony.

The proposal would triple the basic penalty — to nine years in prison — for human trafficking if the victim was 16 years or older.

Waivers On School Class Sizes Now Poised To Expire

Feb 12, 2013

Temporary relief provided by the state during the Great Recession enabled school districts across New Mexico to increase class sizes as a way to cope with reduced education funding from the state.

That relief is about to end unless it is extended by the Legislature, and that could mean additional costs for districts even as the state is restoring some funding.

The Albuquerque district has used waivers to exceed to exceed maximum class sizes — by 3 percent one year and by 7 percent for two more.

Lawmakers, Governor At Odds Over Revenue Outlook

Feb 12, 2013

The Democratic-controlled Legislature and Republican Gov. Susana Martinez's administration are at odds over the state's revenue outlook.

The Department of Finance and Administration reported Monday there's no reason to change the most recent revenue forecast calling for the state to have about $283 million available for budget increases and to offset any tax cuts in the next fiscal year.

The momentum is picking up for legislation that would tighten background checks on gun sales, and it could be brought to the floor of the House this week.  The compromise bill has some Republican lawmakers' and the governor's support.


Albuquerque Representative Miguel P. Garcia is the sponsor of the bill which mandates background checks at gun shows and removes the provision to have the Department of Public Safety handle the checks.  Instead the onus would be placed on the gun seller to get approval of the sale.


Andy Lyman, NM News Network
Santa Fe, Feb 08, 2013

With the New Mexico Legislative Session if full swing, lawmakers are doing whatever they can to get bills passed through both the House and the Senate.

House OKs Bill To Crack Down On Drunken Boaters

Feb 8, 2013

New Mexico lawmakers have approved a proposal to make it a felony for a drunken boater to kill or seriously injure someone.

The proposal by Republican Rep. Dennis Roch of Texico unanimously passed the House on Thursday with no debate.

The legislation will create crimes for intoxicated boaters similar to vehicular homicide by drunken drivers.

It's already against the law to operate a motorboat under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The legislation would make it a third-degree felony for a drunken boater to kill someone or cause "great bodily harm."

GOP Senator Introduces Bill To Help Homeless

Feb 8, 2013

New Mexico's homeless programs that help people get a fresh start could get a funding boost if a legislative bill wins approval in Santa Fe. 

Senate Bill 50 is sponsored by Albuquerque Republican Sander Rue.  He says as a member of the Mortgage Finance Authority interim committee, he wanted to do something to help homeless people and families hit hard by the recession.


President Obama has made gun control one of his administrations top priorities in the wake of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting.  Here in New Mexico, a flurry of gun control laws have been introduced by lawmakers who say they want to reduce gun violence.  Their legislative methods are quite different, though.   

Stephen Halbrook says the climate around discussions of the Second Amendment has changed drastically since the early 1980s when UNM Press first published his book, That Every Man Be Armed: The Evolution of a Constitutional Right. 

New Mexico's congressional delegation has sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Education hoping to avoid a punitive reduction in Special Education funds to the state.  Officials say that the Feds could penalize the state close to 43 million dollars unless New Mexico is granted a waiver by the USDE.

The State needs the waivers because it slashed its portion of special education spending below the amount required to receive federal supplemental funding in 2010 and '11. 

Road Work Ahead, If New Proposal Passes

Feb 5, 2013

A bill that would provide money for incomplete road construction projects is moving through committees at the Roundhouse.  The measure is concurrent with a study showing New Mexico's roads and bridges are in poor condition.


House Rejects Study Of Horse Slaughter Plant

Feb 5, 2013

New Mexico lawmakers have rejected a proposal to study the feasibility of allowing plants to slaughter horses for food.

The measure sparked a lengthy debate Monday in the House, which voted 36-28 against the measure to have a study by the state Department of Agriculture.

A Roswell meat company has proposed resuming horse slaughtering and sued the federal government last year over inaction on its application.

Martinez Pushes For Exemptions For Military Pensions

Feb 5, 2013

Gov. Susana Martinez is urging New Mexico lawmakers to pass legislation that will provide a 25 percent exemption on military pensions beginning in 2014, phasing into a 100 percent exemption by 2017.

A similar proposal last year didn't make it out of the state Legislature.

Martinez made the latest request Monday while visiting the Albuquerque Veterans' Memorial.

Military retirees currently living in New Mexico are fully taxed on their pension income.

Democrats propose pay equity measure in New Mexico

Feb 5, 2013
(401)k 2013 via Flickr

  Democratic lawmakers are proposing legislation they say will expand protections against wage discrimination based on gender.

Rep. Brian Egolf, a Santa Fe Democrat, said Monday the proposal is modeled after a 2009 federal pay equity law.

The state legislation would allow New Mexicans to file lawsuits for wage discrimination in a state court rather than having to go to federal court.

Leasepics via Flickr

KUNM Call In Show Thu. 2/7 8a: How will gun buyer background check legislation fare in the state legislature? What does this mean for 2nd Amendment rights and public safety in New Mexico?  We'll discuss the proposal's progress and get reactions.  We'd like to hear from you.  Email callinshow@kunm.org, post your comments online, or call in live during the show. 


  • Julie Ann Grimm, Santa Fe New Mexican
  • Debbie O'Malley, Bernalillo County Commissioner

Proposal Lets Voters Decide Minimum Wage Increase

Feb 4, 2013

 Lawmakers are considering a proposal to allow voters to decide whether New Mexico's minimum wage should be increased annually for inflation.

The House Labor and Human Resources Committee has scheduled a hearing Tuesday on the proposed constitutional amendment. The measure is sponsored by the committee's chairman, Democratic Rep. Miguel Garcia of Albuquerque.

The state's minimum wage went to $7.50 an hour in 2009. Garcia's proposal would require automatic cost-of-living increases in the wage rate.

NM Tourism Department Wants To Double Ad Budget

Feb 4, 2013

The New Mexico Tourism Department wants the Legislature to increase its advertising budget from $2.5 million to $5 million.

According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, Department Secretary Monique Jacobson as saying that doubling the ad budget would let the agency to carry its "New Mexico True" marketing campaign to Chicago and California and launch a more robust promotion of the state's fall and winter attractions.

Gay Marriage Ballot Proposals Pass House Committees

Feb 4, 2013

Lawmakers on the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee have approved a resolution that would let voters decide if same-sex marriage should be legal in New Mexico.  

The 3 to 2 vote broke along party lines, with Democrats voting in favor, Republicans against the proposed constitutional amendment.  It's one of several legislative measures aimed at defining marriage, and sponsor Brian Egolf - a Democrat from Santa Fe - says it's a no-brainer:


Employers who want their prospective employees Facebook passwords will not longer have the option if a bill introduced into the Senate this past week becomes law.

To sponsor the bill, Senator Jacob Candelaria, a Democrat aims to protect privacy for New Mexicans. The bill would make it illegal for bosses to ask for potential employee’s password to their protected online accounts such as their Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.