Commentary: SANTA FE, N.M – Today, Conservation Voters New Mexico (CVNM) released its legislative priorities, outlined in the first edition of CVNM’s legislative agenda, which includes priorities such as supporting renewable energy jobs, keeping the Public Regulation Commission an accountable body, ending ruthless killing contests and ensuring that public resources stay in public, accountable hands.CVNM advocates in the New Mexico Legislature for responsible public policies that represent the conservation values of our people.
CVNM analyzes hundreds of pieces of legislation for impacts to New Mexico’s air, land, water, public health and communities.
The agenda is attached and can be found on CVNM’s website at www.CVNM.org. The agenda will be updated after the bill filing deadline on Feb. 16, 2017.
Priority legislation that we are urging all legislators to SUPPORT:
- Renewable Energy Requirements for Utilities – Senate Bill 312 (Stewart/Small) builds on our current Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), a state policy that requires utilities to acquire a minimum amount of their electricity from renewable sources like solar and wind, bringing it up to 80 percent renewable electricity by 2040. In addition to the environmental and public health benefits of reducing the demand for coal-fired electricity, the solar and wind industries have demonstrated growth in New Mexico, adding much-needed homegrown jobs. Clean, renewable energy reduces electricity costs for ratepayers over time because renewables require no spending on fuel.
- Solar tax credits – CVNM supports reinstating New Mexico’s solar tax credit because it makes solar energy more affordable for more New Mexican families. Solar energy improves the environment and public health by reducing the demand for coal-fired electricity. Solar also enables New Mexicans to choose their own energy source. These bills include the companion bills House Bill 61, House Bill 82 and Senate Bill 41 (Maestas-Barnes/McQueen/Stewart) and House Bill 193 (Ely)
- Prohibit Coyote Killing Contests – Bipartisan cosponsors Senators Jeff Steinborn and Mark Moores are working together again to end coyote killing contests in New Mexico, which are defined as an organized or sponsored competition with the objective of killing coyotes for prizes or entertainment. Senate Bill 268 would not prevent the hunting of coyotes or depredation control of coyotes.
Priority legislation that we are urging all legislators to OPPOSE:
- Public-Private Partnerships – House Bill 275 (Larrañaga/Cisneros) allows state and local governments to enter into partnerships with private sector partners to facilitate public projects. This is a sweeping measure that would privatize projects that are most appropriately developed and maintained by public entities such as water and sewage systems. Experiences by other governments in privatizing public services (e.g. transportation, water treatment, education, public safety) have rarely been successful, usually resulting in higher costs, lower quality and expensive legal battles in the long-term. In short, a wide open measure like this is bad for New Mexico’s air, land water and public health.
- Federal Seizure of Public Resources – Senate Bill 182 (Papen) provides that if the federal government transfers mineral rights on split estate lands to New Mexico then the development of those rights would feed a fund for early childhood development and education. This proposal offers dubious future returns for early childhood development at the cost of a drastic expansion of unnecessary development on private lands, exacerbating the effects of climate change. This bill was tabled by request of the sponsor in the Senate Education Committee Wednesdaymorning. Senator Papen specifically cited an outpouring of opposition from the public as one of the reasons she chose to table the bill.
- Appointed Three-Member PRC, CA – Senate Joint Resolution 16(Sharer) amends the constitution to provide for a three member board of Public Regulation Commission (PRC) commissioners, appointed by the governor with the consent of the Senate, rather than the current five member board. This would overly politicize the make-up of the PRC.
The above list of legislation has been identified as priorities for CVNM, meaning they pose serious threats to New Mexico’s air, land, water, health and communities. Our full agenda is available at www.CVNM.org. This agenda forms the basis of our Conservation Scorecard, published after each legislative session. The Scorecard provides objective, non-partisan information about the conservation voting records of all members of the legislature.
CVNM is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that is connecting the people of New Mexico to their political power to protect our air, land, and water for a healthy Land of Enchantment. We do this by mobilizing voters, helping candidates win elections, holding elected officials accountable and advancing responsible public policies.