Former State Senator Howie C. Morales (D)
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Information listed reflects last term served
- = Pro Conservation Vote
- = Anti Conservation Vote
- A = Absent
- E = Excused
- R = Recused
- W = Abstain
- Air Quality
- Energy &
- Wildlife & Habitat
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.
Southwest NM Water Projects more
Summary: SB 72 would have made appropriations from the New Mexico Unit Fund to the Interstate Stream Commission for shovel-ready water projects in southwest New Mexico that were alternatives to a Gila River diversion, including: $12 million for bulk water supplies to Hurley, Bayard, Santa Clara and Silver City; $34 million for water supply projects in the southwest New Mexico regional water planning area; $3.5 million to contract for collection of new ground water and geologic data; and $500,000 to evaluate and plan alternatives for the city of Deming for a remote well field.
Outcome: SB 72 died in the Senate Finance Committee.
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.
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.
Legislative Authorization for NM Unit more
Summary: This bill would have required legislative authorization to expend money from the NM Unit Fund, which consists of money distributed to the state by the federal Colorado River Basin Project Act and the federal Arizona Water Settlements Act. It requires the Interstate Stream Commission (ISC) to determine that projects are technically feasible and to approve technical projections of the water to be produced and its intended use.
Outcome: SB 340 died in the Senate Finance 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.
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.