State legislature adjourns

What passed (Bills already signed by Gov. Bill Richardson have been noted.):

* Death penalty: HB285 repeals the death penalty and establishes life in prison without parole as the state’s maximum sentence. It was signed into law by the governor.

* Open conference committees: HB393 opens to the public conference committees — meetings in which senators and representatives hammer out differences in bills that passed both chambers. Until now these committees were the last kind of committee not subject to the Open Meetings Act. Gov. Bill Richardson says he’ll sign this bill.

* Campaign Contribution Limits: SB116, which limits individual campaign contributions to $2,300 per election cycle. However, it doesn’t go into effect until after the next gubernatorial race in 2010.

* Suncal TIDDs: SB249, which would have provided state bonding for tax increment development districts on Albuquerque’s West Side proposed by the California-based Suncal company was passed by the Senate but died on the House floor after receiving a tie vote. An identical House bill HB470 never got out of the House.

* Feral hog control: HB594 would make it illegal to import or transport live feral hogs to or within New Mexico; or to hold for breeding, sell, or operate commercial feral hog hunting operations within the state. Wild monster hogs have caused much damage to farms and ranches in Eastern New Mexico.

* State Contractor & Contract Database: HB 546 would require all businesses who have contracts with the state worth more than $20,000 to be listed in an online, searchable database made available to the public. Information made accessible would include company name, contract, and contract value.

* State Employee Double Dipping: HB 616 would cap the amount that retired state employees in the PERA system can earn if they return to work full time and collect full pension. Under the bill, if an employee continues to earn their full pension they have to wait one year, and can earn no more than $30,000 annually. Retired police officers, firefighters and employees with “small employers “will be limited to the $30,000 annual wage cap in 2015.

* Housing Authority Reform: SB20 would restructure and expand oversight of the scandal-ridden regional housing authorities by requiring budgets to be submitted and audits to be performed. Any transaction by the authorities over $100,000 would have to be approved by the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority.

* Additional Investment Council Appointees: SB460 would increase council membership from nine to 13 and remove the governor’s power to appoint members. Richardson said he’s likely to veto.

* Employment Rights for Domestic Abuse Victims: SB68 allows victims of domestic abuse to be granted leave by their employers to secure an order of protection or attend court proceedings. Signed by the governor.

* Cyber stalking: SB166 includes cyber stalking and other technological methods of stalking into the state’s stalking law. Signed by the governor.

* Domestic violence property damage: SB4 would create a new criminal offense known as “damage to and deprivation of the property of a household member.” The crime would be a misdemeanor if the damage is $1,000 or less, while it would be a fourth-degree felony if the damage is more than $1,000. Gov. Richardson has said he’ll sign it

* No gas chamber for animals: HB265 would prohibit animal shelters from using carbon monoxide gas chambers for the euthanasia of cats and dogs.

* Senior citizen jury duty: SB112 would exempt people over the age of 75 from jury duty.

* Enforce Night Sky Protection Act: HB362 would require Regulation and Licensing Department to enforce the law regulating outdoor lighting used for illumination or advertising, including searchlights, spotlights and floodlights, whether for architectural lighting, parking lot lighting, landscape lighting, billboards or streetlighting.

* Electronic Medical Records: SB278 would allow patients and doctors to chose to use electronic medical records. Patients would re-consent annually to have their information available electronically. In an emergency, a doctor would have access to records, similar to what is allowed with traditional records. The governor has said he’ll sign this.

* Solar Energy: Several bills promoting solar energy passed including HB572 (Solar Energy Improvement Special Assessments); HB893 (Residential Solar Tech Improvement Districts); SB237 (Renewable Energy Tax Credit); SB 57 (Solar Market Tax Development Credit)

* State Music Commission: HB443 puts the state Music Commission, which has been operating under an executive order, into statute. The commission composed of 15 unpaid members appointed by the governor for the purpose of promoting music, musicians, music education and the music industry in the state. Signed by the governor.

* Homeowner protection: The House and Senate agreed to SB 342, the New Mexico Mortgage Originator Licensing Act.

The measure includes background checks and licensing for mortgage originators.

* Infrastructure development zones: A measure pending on Richardson’s desk (HB552) would allow infrastructure development zones to be set up with local government approval. The bill, sponsored by House Speaker Ben Lujan, D-Nambe, would allow newly developed areas to pay for their own infrastructure without burdening areas that wouldn’t benefit, supporters said.

* DWI ignition interlocks: SB275 would require convicted drunken drivers to drive for at least six months with an ignition interlock device installed and without any attempts to tamper with the alcohol-sensing device before their license could be reinstated.

* E-mails as official requests under the state’s Inspection of Public Records Act: Both chambers agreed the state should acknowledge e-mail as official written requests under the state’s records act. A few state agencies in the past had refused to recognize e-mails as written requests.

* More investment info HB876 would require additional disclosure from investment firms seeking to do business with the state

* State cowboy song: HB389, which would make “Under New Mexico Skies”, written by Syd Masters. the official state cowboy song.

* State guitar: SB52, which makes the Pimentel rising sun guitar the official state guitar.

* State Bilingual Poem: HB674 would designate Alberto Onaldo Martinez’s “We Love It Real Hot” as the state bilingual poem.

What failed

* College of Santa Fe: HB577, which would have authorized a state university to acquire the College of Santa Fe campus, passed the House but died in Senate Finance. The House also passed a state budget that included $3 million for operation of a future college at the CSF campus, but the Senate removed that funding.

* Domestic partners: SB12, which would have given domestic partners the same rights as married couples, was voted down in the Senate.

* Ehtics Commission: HB151 — which reformers said was a watered-down ethics commission bill, passed the House unanimously but died without hearing in the Senate.

* Stem Cell Research: SB77 would have biomedical research on embryonic stem cells. The bill passed the Senate unanimously but failed on the House floor.

* School funding: HB 331, which would have revamped the state school funding formula. Other bills, HB 346 and SB 412, which would have increased the gross receipts tax to fund the new formula also failed.

* Online searchable database of state expenditures: SB159, which would have made state spending easier for the public to follow, passed the Senate but died in House committee.

* Enhanced sentences for corrupt officials: SB141, which would have allowed judges to enhance the sentences of public officials convicted of corruption-related felonies passed the Senate but died in House committee.

* Database for state contractor contributions: SB263, would have requires businesses bidding on state contracts to disclose all campaign contributions, which would be published on a state Web site. The Senate approved the bill but it died in House committee.

* Health insurance reform: HB111, which would have required insurance companies to spend at least 85 percent of their health insurance premiums on health care services passed the House but stalled in Senate committee.

Legislator pensions: SB675, which would have increase lawmaker’s pensions, passed the Senate but was voted down on the House floor.

* ATMs in racetrack casinos: SB 330 would have allowed racetrack casinos to place automatic teller machines on the gaming floor. Passed the Senate, stalled in House Committee.

* Veterans Museum Funding: HB59, which would fund the proposed $20 million museum in Las Cruces.

* Historic document acquisition: HB366 would have appropriated $500,000 for the acquisition of literary and historical documents of novelists, poets, playwrights, scriptwriters, historians and others whose work relates to the Southwest. * Education coordinator: SB518 would have provided $379,000 for the education coordinator at the Pete V. Domenici Education Center at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, expected to open in 2009.

* Santa Fe’s 400th anniversary celebration: SB427 would have appropriated $500,000 for the celebration.

* Microfilming New Mexico newspapers: SB86 contained $100,000 for the Library Division of DCA for this project.

* Santa Fe Opera rehearsal hall: HJR8 authorized an agreement with the state to lease and eventually purchase a new open-air rehearsal hall. Over $1.4 million in capital outlay funds had already been appropriated by the state for building costs and construction was scheduled to start after the end of the 2009 opera season.

* Legal notices: HB895, which would have allowed legal advertisements to be broadcast on television or read on the radio to meet publication requirements, passed House, but died in Senate.

* Truth in Music Advertising: HB 934 was aimed at stopping impostors posing as old rock `n’ roll and rhythm-and-blues acts. It passed the House but died in the Senate.

The New Mexican