State Senator Benny Shendo (D)
- Lifetime Score:
- 2021 Score:
- 2020 Score:
- 2019 Score:
- 2018 Score:
- 2017 Score:
- 2016 Score:
- 2015 Score:
- 2013 - 2014 Score:
- = Pro Conservation Vote
- = Anti Conservation Vote
- A = Absent
- E = Excused
- R = Recused
- W = Abstain
- Air Quality
- Energy &
- Wildlife & Habitat
Sustainable Building Tax Credit more
Summary: HB 15 extends and expands the sustainable building tax credit and adds incentives involving LEED. The existing tax credit is applied to construction begun prior to 2021 and completed by the end of 2021.
Outcome: HB 15 passed the House 48-22 and the Senate 29-6. The bill was signed by the Governor on April 6, 2021.
Environmental Database Act more
Summary: HB 51 creates a centralized, map-based, searchable website to provide various geographic data, information on public health, wildlife status, and other interrelated environmental and energy industry data in order to enhance transparency and interagency cooperation.
Outcome: HB 51 passed the House 44-25 and the Senate 29-12. The bill was signed by the Governor on April 7, 2021.
EIB Permit Denial for Poor Performance more
Summary: HB 76 allows the Environmental Improvement Board to revoke permits for projects if companies refuse to disclose information, misrepresent material facts, have prior court convictions, operate without a permit, or have a previous revocation.
Outcome: HB 76 passed the House 42-26 and the Senate 23-15. The bill was signed by the Governor on April 6, 2021.
Water Trust Board Projects & NM Unit Fund more
Summary: HB 200 prevents NM Unit Fund monies from being used on any diversion of the Gila River and redirects funding to meet water supply demands in the southwest water planning region of New Mexico.
Outcome: HB 200 passed the House 43-24 and the Senate 26-15. The bill was signed by the Governor on April 5, 2021.
Utility Affordability & Relief Act more
Summary: HB 206 prevented utility services from being disconnected for customers impacted by Covid-19, created a bill relief program, and funds for low-income household energy efficiency efforts.
Outcome: HB 206 passed the House 39-31, but died in the Senate Finance Committee.
Local Government Air Quality Regulations more
Summary: SB 8 allows state agencies and local boards to adopt rules that ensure a maximum ozone concentration of 95 percent of the national ambient air quality standard for ozone. It also allows the state to adopt rules that are stronger than current federal standards.
Outcome: SB 8 passed the Senate 23-15 and the House 39-29. The bill was signed by the Governor on April 8, 2021.
Clean Fuel Standard Act more
Summary: SB 11 established a state clean fuel standard, and set specific reduction targets for greenhouse gas emissions.
Outcome: SB 11 passed the Senate 25-14, but died on the House calendar.
Wildlife Conservation & Public Safety Act more
Summary: SB 32 bans the use of non-essential traps, snares and wildlife poisons on public lands in New Mexico.
Outcome: SB 32 passed the Senate 23-16 and the House 35-34. The bill was signed by the Governor on April 5, 2021.
Community Solar Act more
Summary: SB 84 increases access to renewable energy resources by creating a subscriber-based community solar program.
Outcome: SB 84 passed the Senate 27-14 and the House 44-3. The bill was signed by the Governor on April 5, 2021.
Restricting Use of Neonicotinoid Pesticide more
Summary: SB 103 would have reduced the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, which are toxic to pollinating insects like bees, by banning the use of it in certain crop production.
Outcome: SB 103 passed out of committee but failed in the Senate 18-20.
Sustainable Economy Task Force more
Summary: SB 112 establishes a task force that will develop a strategic plan and identify ways to develop a sustainable economy with diversified revenues, especially for communities dependent on natural resource extraction.
Outcome: SB 112 passed the Senate 25-16 and the House 40-25. It was signed by the Governor on April 5, 2021.
PRC Reorganization & Transfer Duties more
Summary: HB 11 would have turned existing Public Regulation Commission (PRC) advocacy staff into two entities: a Commissioner Resources Division to supplement PRC commissioners and hearing examiners in their understanding, and a separate Office of PRC Regulatory Affairs housed in New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department that would advocate in the public interest. The bill also included some staff restructuring to provide some continuity for existing PRC staff.
Outcome: HB 11 passed the House 36-34, but was tabled and died in the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee.
Electric Vehicle Income Tax Credit more
Summary: HB 217 established an income tax credit for the purchase of an electric vehicle, and capped the electric vehicle value at less than $48,000 MSRP. It also established an income tax credit for the installation of electric vehicle charging stations. This bill could have encouraged the sale of affordable electric vehicles and encouraged the development of vehicle charging infrastructure.
Outcome: HB 217 passed the House 40-27 and passed the Senate 23-13. The House failed to concur with the Senate amendments due to filibuster and the bill died.
Solar Market Development Income Tax Credit more
Summary: SB 29 reinstates and extends the tax credit for residential and commercial construction of solar systems and establishes an aggregate cap. This incentivizes installation of solar thermal and photovoltaic systems and utilizing renewable resources to produce energy.
Outcome: SB 29 passed the Senate 33-6 and passed the House 51-19. The bill was signed by the Governor on March 3, 2020.
Wildlife Trafficking Act more
Summary: SB 75 made trafficking of animal species threatened with extinction a misdemeanor and establishes penalties and enforcement guidance.
Outcome: SB 75 passed the Senate 22-9 and passed the House 42-22. The bill was signed by the Governor on March 9, 2020.
Radioactive Waste Consultation Task Force more
Summary: SB 95 would have made sure that private nuclear waste facilities, such as the one proposed for Lea & Eddy counties, were reviewed by the state in the same manner as federal facilities. It added a level of safeguards for high-level nuclear waste storage.
Outcome: SB 95 passed out of committee but failed to pass the Senate 15-25.
Efficient Use of Energy Act Changes more
Summary: HB 291 establishes thresholds for energy efficiency programs which, at minimum, save 5% of energy costs to customers. The bill also provides for the removal of regulatory disincentives to energy efficiency programs.
Outcome: HB 291 passed the House 58-7 and passed the Senate 27-13. The bill was signed by the Governor on April 3, 2019.
Solar Energy Improvement Assessments more
Summary: HB 440 provides that a customer may voluntarily request a solar energy improvement special assessment be applied to their property in order to access the benefits of solar technology. The bill provides that these assessments may be applied on residential or commercial property within the boundaries of an incorporated municipality in a county if the municipality adopts a resolution approving the application of the county’s ordinance.
Outcome: HB 440 passed the House 35-28 and passed the Senate 31-8. The bill was signed by the Governor on March 28, 2019.
PRC Application for Vehicle Electricity more
Summary: HB 521 requires public utilities to file applications to expand transportation electrification, i.e., charging facilities for electric vehicles. HB 521 makes rules for the approval of these applications, including the facilities' ability to meet clean air standards and inclusion of low-income people and communities.
Outcome: HB 521 passed the House 45-17 and passed the Senate 22-12. The bill was signed by the Governor on April 3, 2019.
Prohibit Coyote Killing Contests more
Summary: SB 76 prohibits organized or sponsored competitions with the objective of killing coyotes for prizes or entertainment.
Outcome: SB 76 passed the Senate 22-17 and passed the House 37-30. The bill was signed by the Governor on April 2, 2019.
Electric Utility Resource Procurement more
Summary: SB 456 specified rules for procurement of sources of electricity generation. It specified that sources may be independently owned. It also required an independent evaluator to monitor the procurement process in the case of a new source of electricity.
Outcome: SB 456 died in the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee on a do pass motion that failed.
Create Outdoor Recreation Division more
Summary: SB 462 creates a division of outdoor recreation in the Economic Development Department. It establishes that the Outdoor Recreation Division will (1) increase outdoor recreation-based economic development, tourism and ecotourism; (2) work to expand outdoor recreation infrastructure; (3) assist in the promotion and marketing of outdoor recreation opportunities and events; (4) assist New Mexico residents in establishing outdoor recreation-based businesses and connecting them with economic development resources and opportunities; (5) recruit out-of-state based outdoor recreation businesses to locate in New Mexico; (6) promote stewardship and preservation of New Mexico's unique environment and cultural assets; (7) promote education and use of outdoor recreation assets to enhance public health; and (8) support outdoor recreation programs at New Mexico educational institutions. The bill also establishes the Outdoor Recreation Advisory Committee, the Special Projects and Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Fund and the Outdoor Equity Grant Program and Fund.
Outcome: SB 462 passed the Senate 38-0 and passed the House 52-14. The bill was signed by the Governor on April 2, 2019.
Energy Transition Act more
Summary: SB 489 sets a statewide renewable energy standard of 50% by 2030 for New Mexico investor-owned utilities and rural electric cooperatives and a goal of 80% by 2040 that investor-owned utilities must meet, subject to cost and reliability considerations. In addition, the bill sets zero-carbon resources standards for investor-owned utilities by 2045 and rural electric cooperatives by 2050. The bill establishes a pathway for an energy transition in the Four Corners area while providing relief to workers in San Juan County affected by the closure of coal units. The bill provides for training for these workers and uses low-interest bonds to finance economic relief for communities dealing with closures and directs that replacement power, including renewables, be developed in San Juan County as a means of restoring the community’s tax base.
Outcome: SB 489 passed the Senate 32-9 and passed the House 43-22. The bill was signed by the Governor on March 22, 2019.
New Solar Market Development Tax Credit more
Summary: SB 518 allowed a taxpayer a tax credit for installing a solar photovoltaic or thermal system. This bill allowed a 10% credit up to $6,000 with a five year carry forward and established an aggregate cap of $10 million per year and was sunset in 2029.
Outcome: SB 518 passed the Senate 29-12 and passed the House Taxation and Revenue Committee, but died on the House Calendar.
Local Election Act more
Summary: HB 98 proposes scheduling changes to elections so that local elections occur at the same time as general elections. It also makes provisions for certain elections to be conducted by mail ballot and prohibits advisory-only questions on ballots. Having all elections scheduled together would most likely result in higher turnout for local elections, resulting in more accurate representation of voters’ support for conservation issues.
Outcome: HB 98 passed the House 51-10 and passed the Senate 25-15. The bill was signed by the Governor on March 7, 2018.
Solar Market Development Tax Credit more
Summary: SB 79 would have allowed taxpayers to take up to a 10% tax credit for installing thermal or photovoltaic solar systems, for both residential and business installations. It established a $5 million aggregate cap for the amount of tax credits taken in a year, but did not separate out residential and business installations. It was simpler than HB 36, and would have accomplished the same goal of promoting the use of renewable energy.
Outcome: SB 79 passed the Senate 35-6 and passed the House 40-26. The bill was pocket vetoed by the Governor.
Assurance for Plugging Oil & Gas Wells more
Summary: SB 189 increases the cap of the amount of the surety bond a company must post for the plugging of an inactive oil or gas well from $50,000 to $250,000. This increased amount is more in line with the cost of plugging a well and remediating a plugged well that leaks, blows out or otherwise fails.
Outcome: SB 189 passed the Senate 40-0 and passed the House 54-11. The bill was signed by the Governor on February 28, 2018.
Industrial Hemp Research Rules more
Summary: These bills would have allowed the NM Department of Agriculture to issue licenses to permit growing industrial hemp for research and development purposes. Industrial hemp is a versatile, fast growing and drought resistant crop that requires little pesticides or herbicides and would serve to diversify New Mexico farmers' cash crops.
Outcome: HB 144, which was combined with HB 154 and HB 280, passed the House (42-26) and Senate (30-12) and was vetoed by the Governor.
State Ethics Commission, CA more
Summary: HJR 8 will create an independent ethics commission authorized to investigate, issue opinions and adjudicate violations of laws governing standards of conduct of members of the legislative and executive branch, employees, contractors and lobbyists. A strong ethical oversight body will help to ensure that legislators are transparently representing the conservation values of their constituents.
Outcome: HJR 8 passed the House (66-0) and the Senate (30-9). The measure will now be decided by the voters in the next general election.
Industrial Hemp Research Rules more
Summary: This bill would have allowed the NM Department of Agriculture to issue licenses to permit growing industrial hemp for research and development purposes. Industrial hemp is a versatile, fast growing and drought resistant crop that requires little pesticides or herbicides and would serve to diversify New Mexico farmers' cash crops.
Outcome: SB 6 passed the Senate (37-2) and House (58-8) and was vetoed by the Governor.
Wildlife Trafficking Act more
Summary: SB 81 makes trafficking of animal species threatened with extinction a crime and establishes penalties. This will help preserve endangered species and also keep money out of the hands of international criminals.
Outcome: SB 81 passed the Senate (27-12) and the House (42-24). The bill was pocket vetoed (not signed by April 7, 2017) by the Governor.
State Agency Post-Contract Audits more
Summary: SB 107 would have required post-contract audits of state agency contracts of $10 million or more. This would have encouraged more transparency in government and helped assure New Mexico is getting a good value for the dollar on contracted projects, including conservation projects.
Outcome: SB 107 failed on the Senate Floor.
Interstate Stream Commission Membership more
Summary: This bill would have changed the composition of the Interstate Stream Commission in order to more fairly represent communities impacted by the commission’s actions and help remove political bias.
Outcome: SB 157 died in the House Agriculture and Water Resources Committee.
Energy & Water Project Financing more
Summary: SB 215 would have allowed a property owner to enter into an assessment contract (financing in their mortgage) with a renewable energy district for purposes of financing energy improvements (including distributed renewable energy systems, energy storage systems or energy efficiency improvements) or water conservation improvements to the owner's property. These types of programs are also called PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) programs.
Outcome: SB 215 died in the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee.
Efficient Utility Water Use more
Summary: SB 226 would have required public utilities to include water use efficiency in their integrated resource plans (IRP) in addition to other efficiencies and resources currently required to be included in the plans. It specified the analysis should include impacts to water quality.
Outcome: SB 226 died in the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee.
State Facility Renewable Energy Use more
Summary: SB 227 requires the General Services Department to adopt rules for and issue requests for proposals (RFP) to analyze and implement renewable energy improvements for state facilities.
Outcome: SB 227 passed the Senate (36-4) and the House (44-19). The bill was vetoed by the Governor.
Prohibit Coyote Killing Contests more
Summary: SB 268 would have prohibited coyote killing contests, which are defined as an organized or sponsored competition with the objective of killing coyotes for prizes or entertainment. It would not have prevented the hunting of coyotes or depredation control of coyotes.
Outcome: SB 268 died on the House calendar.
Renewable Energy Requirements for Utilities more
Summary: SB 312 would have increased the renewable portfolio standard (RPS) to require that renewable energy comprise 70% of total retail sales to NM customers of rural electric cooperatives by 2040 and requires that renewable energy comprise 80% of total retail sales to NM customers of public utilities by 2040. It also prescribes the formula by which these goals are to be achieved. This would have the effect of reducing the demand for fossil fuel energy, which negatively impacts the environment, climate and public health.
Outcome: SB 312 died in the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee.
Agricultural Land Valuations more
Summary: This bill would have allowed land owners to take land valued as agricultural land out of agricultural production and leave it as open space. The open space land then would be valued at more than the agricultural value, but not valued at the much higher developed land rate, and would not be subject to the five year tax claw back. This would have allowed land owners to preserve the land for future agricultural use should they or their successors wish to return it to production, rather than being economically forced to sell off or develop the land, thus contributing to rural sprawl.
Outcome: SB 350 died in the House Taxation and Revenue Committee.
Royalty Rates on State Trust Lands more
Summary: This bill would have granted, but would not have mandated, the commissioner of public lands the authority to raise the royalty rate and its point of application (for all oil and gas extracted, not just that saved) for oil and gas extracted from public lands to enhance revenue for beneficiaries. It also gave the authority to require reporting of gas venting and flaring.
Outcome: SB 375 died in the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee.
Industrial Revenue Bond Changes more
Summary: SB 394 would have provided for county industrial revenue bonds within the Industrial Revenue Bond Act, and made changes to the list of projects that may be funded by these bonds. Significantly, it added mining projects and refineries, treatment plants or processing plants of energy products, subsidizing private for-profit and extractive industries with revenue bonds paid for by taxpayers.
Outcome: SB 394 died in the Senate Finance Committee.
Uses of Oil & Gas Reclamation Fund more
Summary: SB 413 would have limited the use of the Oil and Gas Reclamation Fund for agency employee salaries. The bill provided that beginning in fiscal year 2023, 85% of the expenditures from the fund would be used to pay for contract services for plugging, remediation and restoration work.
Outcome: SB 413 died on the Senate calendar.
Public Use & "Eminent Domain" more
Summary: SB 452 would have prevented the use of eminent domain for projects that would create an economic opportunity for the party receiving the condemned land. This bill was in response to the Kelo v. City of New London case, but was drafted too broadly and may have prevented use of eminent domain by Renewable Energy Transmission Authority (RETA) to facilitate construction of renewable energy transmission lines.
Outcome: SB 452 died in the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee.
Tax RateDifferential For Certain Oil more
Summary: HB 285 (and its companion SB 34) 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.
Outcome: HB 285 passed the House (59-7) but died in the Senate Finance Committee. SB 34 died in the Senate Finance Committee.
Tax Rate Differential For Certain Oil more
Summary: SB 34 (and its companion HB 285) 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.
Outcome: SB 34 died in the Senate Finance Committee. HB 285 passed the House (59-7) but died in the Senate Finance Committee.
Lead in Sale of Recycled Metals Act more
Summary: SB 76 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.
Outcome: SB 76 passed the Senate (41-0) and the House (59-0). The bill was signed by the Governor on March 4, 2016.
Eddy-Lea energy Alliance Storage Facility more
Summary: SM 34 (and its companion HM 40) authorizes 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.
Outcome: SM 34 passed the Senate (27-10). HM 40 passed the House (50-17). Memorials and resolutions do not require action by the Governor.
Water Quality Control Commission Meetings more
Summary: HB 87 would have provided the Water Quality Control Commission with overly broad authority to decide the location of public hearings that they conduct. This would create the possibility for hearings to be conducted in a location that makes attendance difficult or impossible for communities most affected by proposed regulations or water quality standards. There is no provision in this bill to ensure that hearings regarding regulations or water quality standards are held in an area that is substantially affected by the regulation or standard.
Outcome: HB 87 passed the House (43-21) and died in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Reduce Renewable Portfolio Standards more
Summary: The Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) prompts utilities to diversify their energy production by investing in renewable energy sources like wind and solar, and holds them accountable to meet modest thresholds. HB 445 sought to weaken the state’s RPS by removing the requirement that utilities produce 20% of their energy from renewable sources by the year 2020.
Outcome: HB 445 passed the House (33-32) and died in the Senate Conservation Committee.
Right to Farm and Operations as a Nuisance more
Summary: HB 564 would have weakened a citizen’s right to legally respond when they have been impacted by the effects of pollution caused by agricultural operations.
Outcome: HB 564 passed the House (35-29) and died in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Industrial Hemp Farming Act more
Summary: 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. This bill would provide for licensing of the growing, selling and processing of industrial hemp in New Mexico.
Outcome: SB 94 passed the Senate (33-8) and passed the House (54-12) but was vetoed by the Governor on April 10, 2015.
Prohibit & Define Coyote Killing Contest more
Summary: SB 253 prohibited contests for the purposes of coyote killing. It would have had no effect on hunting for fur or even trophies—it would simply eliminate the “contest” component, which arises when there are competitions, for example, to see who can kill the most coyotes.
Outcome: SB 253 died in the House Agriculture, Water and Wildlife Committee.
Extend Solar Market Development Tax Credit more
Summary: SB 391 would extend the existing 10% tax credit for the installation of commercial, residential and agricultural solar systems, which is set to expire December 31, 2016. This 10% 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.
Outcome: SB 391 passed the Senate (37-5) and passed the House (39-24) but was pocket vetoed by the Governor.
Limit Local Gov't & Zoning Commissions more
Summary: Similar to HB 366, but far more sweeping in the types of local government ordinances that would be invalidated, SB 421 would have removed municipal or county governments authority to regulate mining and agricultural operations in addition to oil and gas activities. This would have removed the critical flexibility that communities need to protect the public interest on a local scale.
Outcome: SB 421 died in the Senate Conservation Committee.
|SB 455/SB 542||
NM Unit Reports to Legislature/NM Unit Fund & Stream Commission Actions more
Summary: SB 455 required that the Interstate Stream Commission (ISC) provide a written report to the Legislature by November 1, 2015 that demonstrates the NM CAP Entity has the technical, legal and financial capacity to design, build, operate and maintain the Gila River diversion project (“NM Unit”) under the Arizona Water Settlements Act (AWSA). The report would have required the signature of the State Engineer, and the Legislative Finance Committee would have to find that the report adequately addresses these issues prior to the NM CAP Entity signing the NM Unit Agreement. This bill would have brought needed fiscal responsibility and accountability to the AWSA planning process. SB 542 would have required public participation, greater transparency and accountability from the Interstate Stream Commission in its expenditures of Arizona Water Settlements Act (AWSA) federal funding. SB 542 would have amended and augmented the state law passed in 2011 creating the New Mexico Unit Fund that gave the ISC carte blanche over approximately $90 million in AWSA funds and require public oversight in expenditure of these funds.
Outcome: A Senate Conservation Committee substitute for SB 455 was offered which included provisions of SB 542. The Conservation Committee Substitute for SB 455 died in Senate Judiciary Committee.
Change Interstate Stream Commission Members more
Summary: SB 467 would have depoliticized water planning and management in New Mexico by limiting the number of appointments from the Governor’s office to the Interstate Stream Commission to four members and by requiring that no single political party have more than four members. Additionally, the bill required professional qualifications of appointees in water resources fields and representation by a variety of water users across the state.
Outcome: SB 467 passed the Senate (28-13) and died on the House calendar.
Community Health Study Fund & Uranium Mining more
Summary: Pollution, like legacy waste sites from uranium mining, not only endangers natural resources but also poses severe risks to public health. However, there is currently no process in place to study the impacts that environmental degradation has on the quality of health over time. SB 610 (and its companion HB 494) began to address this by creating a community health study fund, paid for by fines assessed to companies directly responsible for contamination.
Outcome: HB 494 died in the House Health Committee. SB 610 died in the Senate Conservation Committee.
Private Right of Action more
Summary: SB 677 afforded landowners or other affected parties a private right of action to pursue enforcement of environmental laws against violators or agencies who are failing to enforce existing law. An example might be the case of a rural landowner whose groundwater is at risk of contamination by a polluting company; if the state refuses to require the company to stop polluting groundwater; the landowner would have recourse in court.
Outcome: SB 677 died in the Senate Conservation Committee.
Confirmation of Ryan Flynn as Secretary of the Environment Department more
Summary: Since he joined the Environment Department, Flynn has shown a flagrant disregard for best practices, competent management, transparency and the rule of law. Among many other concerns: 1) Flynn allowed a giant mining company to ghost-write a new rule (and the arguments in support of it) on behalf of the Environment Department. Worse, the mining company was a client of Flynn’s law firm when he was in private practice; 2) Flynn hired a new general counsel for the Environment Department who graduated from law school less than 2 years ago—clearly lacking the experience or expertise to perform the duties required of the position; and 3) Flynn led the effort to re-assign agency experts and bureau chiefs from their areas of expertise to new roles for which they had little or no experience. For example, the long-time regulator of WIPP was reassigned to food safety, the long-time head of Air Quality was reassigned to Occupational Health & Safety, and the long-time surface water quality expert was reassigned to Underground Storage Tanks. It was a cynical move to undermine the effectiveness of NMED and drive down morale. Unfortunately, it worked.
Outcome: Ryan Flynn's confirmation as Secretary of the New Mexico Environment Department passed 30-11 on the Senate floor.
Unit Fund for Certain Water Supply Needs more
Summary: SB 89 would have required the Interstate Stream Commission (ISC) to focus $82 million in federal Arizona Water Settlements Act funding on water supply projects, like water conservation, watershed improvement, and new infrastructure to help meet water supply demands in the southwest water planning region. This measure also represented a positive step towards protecting New Mexico’s Gila River, the last free-flowing river, from a large-scale diversion.
Outcome: SB 89 was defeated in the Senate Conservation Committee.
Designation Of Benefit Corporations more
Summary: HB 40 is a common-sense measure that allows corporations to voluntarily designate themselves as “benefit corporations”, which gives them greater latitude of purpose than simple profit maximization. Benefit corporations can include social and environmental benefits in their purposes, and HB 40 specifies certain responsibilities for reporting and accountability. Protections in the bill ensure that individual shareholders can opt out at the time of designation and receive payment for their shares, and the bill also limits liability if the corporation fails to achieve its stated social or environmental purposes
Outcome: HB 40 passed the House (62-3) and passed the Senate (33-6) but was pocket vetoed by the Governor.
Change Board & Commission Sunset Dates more
Summary: SB 163 extends seven board and commission expiration or “sunset” dates, including the Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC). The WQCC is set to sunset on July 1, 2013. The WQCC is the only entity in New Mexico authorized to enact rules pursuant to the federal Clean Water Act or to set water quality standards. The Commission also approves variances for water quality regulations and hears appeals of water pollution permits.
Outcome: After a long and complicated fight in both chambers, efforts to sunset the WQCC in 2013 failed. If signed by the Governor, the WQCC’s expiration or “sunset” will be extended to 2019. SB 163 passed the Senate (42-0) and passed the House (63-4) and was signed by the Governor on April 4, 2013.
No Agriculture as a Nuisance more
Summary: Taking defense of unlawful polluters to the extreme, SB 194 (and its companion HB 652) proposed to exempt illegal, improper and negligent agricultural operations from nuisance laws.
Outcome: SB 194 died on the Senate calendar. HB 652 died in the House Judiciary Committee.
City or County Comprehensive Plans more
Summary: New Mexico counties and municipalities lag behind their counterparts around the country in utilizing comprehensive plans to accomplish the long-term goals of their community. SB 315 provides local governments with some structure for the comprehensive planning process, and clarifies the role of a Planning Commission in crafting, approving and implementing the plan.
Outcome: SB 315 passed the Senate (32-9) and passed the House (67-0) but was pocket vetoed by the Governor.
|SB 404/HB 292||
Transfer of Public Land Act more
Summary: The U.S. Constitution provides for the federal government to manage, maintain and control federal public lands. SB 404 (and its companion HB 292) attempted to violate the constitution by usurping federal authority and transferring oversight of federal public lands to the state.
Outcome: SB 404 died in the Senate Conservation Committee. HB 292 died in the House Health, Government and Indian Affairs Committee.
Adequate Subdivision Water Supplies more
Summary: SB 479 protects our limited water supplies from “double dipping”. Currently, large landowners and developers can sever water rights from a property and sell them off at high market values, while constructing major subdivisions that rely entirely on domestic wells for their water supplies. Because domestic wells don’t require a water right, it’s a legal ‘loophole’ that enables double-dipping.
Outcome: SB 479 passed the Senate (35-4) and passed the House (55-13) and was signed by the Governor on April 4, 2013.
Subdivision Water Permits more
Summary: SB 480 strengthens State Engineer evaluation of water availability for new subdivisions by reducing the assessment threshold from 20 parcels or more to 10 parcels or more, where any one of these parcels is less than 2 acres in size. At the same time, the bill makes subdivision water permits from the State Engineer mandatory, and prevents the State Engineer from basing a permit on water supply from domestic wells, which cumulatively may impair senior water rights holders.
Outcome: SB 480 passed the Senate (30-10) and passed the House (41-25) and was signed the Governor on April 5, 2013.
Study Exporting Coal more
Summary: From toxic levels of mercury in our waterways to global warming, the consequences of using coal as an energy source are obvious. By pushing a coal export study, SJM 26 sought to offset the environmental gains of reduced reliance on coal here in the US with the potential of exporting coal—with all of its associated public health and environmental damages—to Asia. SJM 26 would have been better-suited to exploring ways to stimulate the Navajo economy outside of continued coal mining, including solar and other renewable energy development.
Outcome: SJM 26 died on the Senate calendar.