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Summary of 2011 NM legislative session

The Associated Press

A summary of developments in the Legislature's 60-day session, which ended Saturday.

Gov. Susana Martinez has until April 8 to sign or veto bills passed during the final stretch of the session.


Passed: $5.4 billion budget for education and general government programs in fiscal year starting July 1; higher pension contributions for public employees and drop in government payments to save $111 million next year; freeze payments from a fire equipment fund, freeing $1.3 million for budget.

Failed: $240 million worth of capital improvements statewide, including nearly $18 million for prison upgrades; use permanent fund as a source of bonds to help plug budget shortfall.


Passed: $128 million increase on businesses to shore up unemployment compensation program; limit film production tax rebates to $50 million a year; tax deduction on locomotive fuel as incentive for Union Pacific rail yard project in Santa Teresa.

Failed: Revalue residential property to cope with property tax "lightning;" extend tax break for construction at Cannon Air Force Base; exempt military pensions from state income tax; surtax on higher-income New Mexicans.


Passed: Assign grades of A-to-F to public schools based on student performance; ban corporal punishment in schools; suspend certain student tests, including competency test for this year's junior to graduate; allow state to repay loans of teachers who work in struggling schools in high-poverty areas; high-poverty schools get priority for school breakfast money and allow student breakfast after start of school day.

Failed: End the practice of "social promotion" by holding back third-graders who can't read; teacher evaluations based on student performance; tax credit for those who donate to nonprofits that make scholarships to students to attend private schools; increase payout from permanent fund to provide money for early childhood education; offer financial incentive for school districts to build smaller schools.


Passed: Remove governor as a member of the State Investment Council; require school districts to post financial information on government "sunshine portal" website; prohibit state and local government employees from going to work for a contractor if the worker had participated in contracting with the business; agencies must provide public records in electronic format if requested.

Failed: Establish state Ethics Commission; prohibit statewide elected officials and legislators from working as lobbyists for a year after leaving office; require donor disclosure of corporations, unions and other groups making certain independent campaign expenditures; ban campaign contributions from lobbyists.


Passed: Expand "Katie's law" to require DNA testing of those arrested for a felony; ban synthetic marijuana; option for nonviolent drug possession offenders to receive treatment rather than jail time; fee on inmate telephone calls to pay for a crime victims notification system; require palm prints for those arrested for crimes; require palm prints for those arrested for crimes.

Failed: Reinstate the death penalty; allow concealed handguns in schools, bar and colleges campuses; stop police from enforcing federal immigration laws; make it a crime to kill or injure the unborn child of a pregnant woman; make it a felony to threaten a judge.


Passed: Lessen penalties for bartenders and others serving alcohol to minors; New Mexico wineries can make wine from an out-of-state winery's grapes and ship it back to them; allow wineries to sell and ship wine to out-of-state customers or out-of-state wineries to sell to New Mexico residents under a new permit system.

Failed: Allow police to seize the cars of repeat drunken drivers; increase penalties for repeat drunken drivers; prevent drivers from being charging with DWI if their blood-alcohol level is below 0.08 percent; follow-up intervention program for first-time drunken driving offenders.


Passed: Eliminate proxy voting by rural electric cooperative members; eliminate surveyor as elective position in Santa Fe County and make it appointive job; standardize state election law language; create interim legislative committee for redistricting.

Failed: Require voters to show photo identification; conduct school elections by mail; shorten the time for early voting; allow "fusion" voting in which two or more political parties nominate the same candidate.


Passed: Governmental task force to investigate natural gas outages; create energy conservation bonds; tax credit for biofuels produced from algae; expand scope of cost cap for utilities in meeting with renewable energy requirements; update abandoned mine reclamation law to remain eligible for federal funding; Renewable Energy Transmission Authority bonding changes.

Failed: Invalidate state regulations on greenhouse gas emissions; allow severance tax fund investments in New Mexico renewable energy projects; tax credit for converting vehicles to run on natural gas; define ownership rights in underground pore space that can be used for storage of carbon dioxide.


Passed: Establish a health insurance exchange for individuals and small businesses to buy health insurance; allow people to donate unused prescription drugs to doctors, licensed clinics and health care facilities; strengthen regulatory review of health insurance premium increases; cover doctor corporations in state's medical malpractice system and raise liability cap from $600,000 to $1 million.

Failed: Phase out tax on dialysis services to Medicare recipients; repeal medical marijuana; ban teenagers under 18 from using tanning bed; allow people with certain medical conditions to use employee-only restrooms in businesses.


Passed: Designate the squash blossom necklace as the official necklace of New Mexico; retired educators who return to work for a school must resume paying into the retirement fund; require Senate confirmation of superintendent of the Regulation and Licensing Department; tighten subsidy program for film production and study whether the incentive benefits New Mexico's economy.

Failed: Establish a minimum retirement age of 55 for public employees and educators; prohibit naming of public buildings after elected officials while they remain in office; stop union wages from determining prevailing wages for public works projects; various government reorganization measures, including merging agencies that handle human services and aging programs.


Passed: Allow leased dogs on a restaurant's patio; grant New Mexico hunters a larger share of licenses to hunt elk and other big game on public lands; discounted temporary hunting and fishing licenses for active-duty military; establish a crime stoppers program to offer rewards for information about crimes such as livestock theft.

Failed: Expand laws against animal cruelty; prevent federal land managers from seizing livestock in New Mexico; eliminate Game Commission and merge Game and Fish Department into Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department.


Passed: Allow bingo, raffles and pull tab games for fundraising by student organizations, such as bands and athletic teams, as well as fraternities and sororities.

Failed: Permit "advance deposit wagering accounts" allowing people to place bets on live and simulcast horse races from locations outside a New Mexico track; require at least 60 days of live racing at New Mexico tracks.


Passed: Make it illegal to advertise or sell peppers as New Mexico chili unless they're grown in the state; $1.25 million for economic development program that subsidizes costs of training workers for businesses that expand or move to New Mexico; protect auto dealers from lower reimbursements from manufacturers for parts under warranty; require market rate interest on state loans to film projects; allow state loans for small budget New Mexico films.

Failed: Extend tax credit for "angel investors" who help finance New Mexico; change corporate income tax filing for multistate corporations; reduce corporate income tax rates; allow Legislature to overturn governmental agency regulations.


Pass: Require motorists to stay at least five feet away from bicyclists when passing them on a road or highway; allow college security officers to issue parking tickets for cities; delay unrestricted driver's license for teenagers who get traffic tickets or for underage drinking.

Fail: Stop state from issuing driver's licenses to illegal immigrants; prohibiting texting while driving; $32 million for state highway improvement in capital outlay bill; allow bicyclists to treat a stop sign as a yield sign.


Passed: Allow water utilities to adjust their rates for acquiring water other than permanent water rights; Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority can charge deposits for customers to get service; allow the lease of a water right if it can't be put to "beneficial use" after an authorized change in the place or purpose of its use.

Failed: $15 million for Indian water rights settlements; water rights owners can allocate water for an authorized use and collect a tax credit for conserving water.