CVNM’s Legislative Priorities: 2016 Legislative Session Outcomes
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This memo is divided into four sections:
- Pro-Conservation legislation that passed
- Pro-Conservation legislation that didn’t pass
- Anti-Conservation legislation that passed
- Anti-Conservation legislation that didn’t pass
**Starred bills are high-priority. Votes on these measures may be weighted on CVNM’s Scorecard.
SB 76: Lead in Sale of Recycled Metals Act (Neville)
This bill adds lead and lead-based products (such as lead-acid batteries) to the products regulated by the Recycled Metals Act. It helps to ensure that lead is disposed of in a way that minimizes its environmental impact. SB 76 passed the Senate (41-0) and the House (59-0). The bill was signed by the Governor on March 4, 2016.
**HB 26/SB 13: Solar Market Development Tax Credit Changes (Maestas Barnes/ Stewart)
HB 26 and SB 13 would have extended the existing tax credit for the installation of commercial, residential and agricultural solar systems that is set to expire December 31, 2016. It provided for gradually phasing out of the tax credit over 8 years. This tax credit has helped many New Mexicans invest in solar energy for their homes, businesses and farms, improving the environment and public health by reducing the demand for coal-fired electricity. HB 26 died in the House Ways and Means Committee. SB 13 died in the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee.
HB 148/SB 3: Industrial Hemp Research (Gomez; McSorley/Maestas)
Industrial hemp is an incredibly versatile, fast-growing and drought-resistant agricultural product that requires virtually no pesticides or herbicides. It can be used to produce paper, textiles, plastics, fuel and food products, and has proven very profitable for farmers in other countries. HB 148 and SB 3 would have provided for licensing of the growing, selling and processing of industrial hemp in New Mexico in a research setting. HB 148 and SB 3 were not acted on because they were not ruled germane.
HB 175/SB 104: Renewable Energy Tax Credit Eligibility (D. M. Gallegos/Dodge; C. Sanchez)
HB 175 and SB 104 would have had the positive effect of encouraging an increase in the production of renewable energy. These bills would have added geothermal energy as a qualified renewable energy source, increased the total amount of electricity that may have been produced by qualified energy generators, and extended the date by which a qualified energy generator must have first produced electricity to qualify for the renewable energy production tax credit. They would have limited the period for which a taxpayer may have claimed the renewable energy production tax credit to 10 years, and added a sunset provision to the Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit. HB 175 died in the House Ways and Means Committee. SB 104 died in the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee.
SB 248: Fund Grant County Water Supply From NM Unit (Morales)
SB 248 would have directed the Interstate Stream Commission to allocate $13 million of NM Unit funding distributed to the state to fully implement the Grant County Regional Water Supply Project. The project would have improved and augmented water supplies to serve 26,000 people in central Grant County. This bill was revenue neutral and met the long-term water supply needs of 90% of Grant County population at a fraction of the cost of the Gila River diversion project. SB 248 died in the Senate Finance Committee.
A number of measures posed great risks to New Mexico’s natural resources – by subsidizing polluters, removing regulations, or encouraging activities that threaten our environment. We urged all of our Representatives and Senators to OPPOSE these bills, and we are pleased to report that all but one were DEFEATED.
SB 173: Interstate Mining Compact Act (Cisneros)
SB 173 enacts into law the Interstate Mining Compact and authorized the governor to participate in the compact as a full member of the Interstate Mining Compact Commission (IMCC). It means that New Mexico will continue to be associated with the recommendations of the IMCC. Unfortunately, the IMCC seeks to undermine strong Federal environmental safeguards, and generally exempt the mining industry from regulation, which is why CVNM changed our position to oppose this bill. Most of the substantive provisions of the bill have been amended out of the version that passed, including those that would have limited the state’s ability to withdraw, and a section incorporating the compact into state law. SB 173 passed the Senate (27-10) and passed the House (51-13). The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk.
HM 40/SM 34: Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance Storage Facility (Brown/Garcia Richard; Cisneros)
These memorials authorize the Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance to construct a consolidated interim storage facility at its site in southeastern New Mexico for the storage of spent nuclear fuel rods from commercial (for-profit) nuclear power generation plants. This facility will pose significant risks to public health and safety both at the site of the facility and during transport of the spent fuel to the facility. HM 40 passed the House (50-17). SM 34 passed the Senate (27-10). Memorials and resolutions do not require action by the Governor
**HB 107: Reduced Tax Rate For Certain Oil & Gas Wells (Strickler)
HB 107 would have given a tax break to operators of oil and gas wells that use certain technologies to separate oil and natural gas, if the price of oil dropped to a designated threshold. This was a bail out of the oil and gas industry at the expense of the tax-paying public. HB 107 died in the House Ways and Means Committee.
HB 111: Crop Dusting Tanks as Above Ground Storage (Townsend)
HB 111 would have exempted above ground tanks used to store airplane fuel from environmental protection laws as long as the size of each tank was less than 10,000 gallons. Regardless of size, above ground tanks pose a risk of leaks and spills that could endanger public health and safety. Nothing in the bill suggested any justification for completely exempting these tanks from state laws; it would have removed common sense environmental protections. HB 111 died in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
HB 256: Distributed Energy Generation System Sale (Nuñez)
This bill would have required extensive disclosures in any agreement for the financing, sale or lease of a distributed (solar) energy generation system, except when the sale was part of a real estate sale or transfer. HB 256 could have created an additional, unnecessary burden on firms marketing and installing solar and other alternative energy systems. The solar industry has seen exponential growth of jobs in recent years – this bill could have had the effect of driving up costs and potentially forcing smaller firms (and their jobs) out of New Mexico’s market. HB 256 was pulled by the sponsor for re-work and died in the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee.
**HB 285/SB 34: Tax Rate Differential For Certain Oil (Gentry; Kernan)
These bills would have extended a reduction in the severance tax to oil and other liquid hydrocarbons removed from natural gas at or near the wellhead produced from a qualified enhanced recovery project that involved the application of anthropogenic carbon dioxide. Anthropogenic carbon dioxide is carbon dioxide that is produced by human activities such as oil refining. This bill would have subsidized an extremely expensive oil and gas method at the expense of other taxpayer priorities. HB 285 passed the House (59-7) but died in the Senate Finance Committee. SB 34 died in the Senate Finance Committee.
**HB 293: Uranium Legacy Cleanup Act (Brown/Lundstrom)
HB 293 would have created a uranium legacy cleanup fund through a marginal fee on new uranium mining or milling and nuclear waste storage. The bill promoted an industry-biased source for cleanup of abandoned uranium mines because it inappropriately tied cleanup of old mining sites to production from new uranium mines and mills. Many residents of neighboring communities, impacted by the severe and pervasive adverse health effects of the uranium industry, oppose this strategy. HB 293 was not acted upon because it was not ruled germane.
SB 71: Biodiesel Requirements in Diesel Fuel (Ingle)
SB 71 would have removed the requirement that diesel fuel contain a percentage of biodiesel, a fuel sourced from agricultural byproducts. By removing the requirement to use a renewable energy source, it would have served to perpetuate dependence on petroleum products. SB 71 died in the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee.
HJR 8: Appointment of PRC Members, CA (Bandy/Ca. Trujillo)
HJR 8 called for a constitutional amendment to replace the five-member elected Public Regulation Commission (PRC) with a five-member commission appointed by the governor. It was combined with a portion of HJR 18, which stated that applicants to the PRC are chosen first by the Legislative Council to form a pool of 15, from which the Governor would make a final selection. This may have had the effect of making the PRC overly subject to political manipulation. HJR 8 was defeated in the House Judiciary Committee (8-3).
HJR 9: Convention of States (Bandy/Tripp)
HJR 9 applied for a convention of states under article V of the United States Constitution. It sought to amend the Constitution of the United States to impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government and limit the terms of office for its officials and for Members of Congress. By limiting the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, one possibility was that the state may have revoked the jurisdiction of the federal government over public lands, and thus gained control to manage, develop or sell public lands. HJR 9 passed the House (36-27), but died in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
**SJR 7: Appointment of PRC Members, CA (Neville)
SJR 7 called for a constitutional amendment to replace the five-member elected Public Regulation Commission (PRC) with a five-member commission appointed by the governor. It would also have set certain qualifications for four of the five appointed commissioners. This may have had the effect of making the PRC overly subject to political manipulation and did not have enough checks and balances to ensure an impartial commission. SJR 7 died in the Senate Rules Committee.