Former State Representative James E. Smith (R)
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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
Extend Solar Market Tax Credit more
Summary: These bills would have reinstated and extended the tax credit for residential and commercial construction of solar systems. These bills provided for gradually phasing out of the tax credit over 8 years and established an aggregate cap. 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.
Outcome: HB 61 died in the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee. HB 82 was combined with HB 61.
Oil & Gas Financial Assurance more
Summary: Much has changed since 1935, when the Oil and Gas Act was enacted. The Act is desperately in need of modernization to reflect current realities—particularly the need to adequately enforce the oil and gas industry’s responsibility to protect crucial and declining water supplies. HB 286 would have brought New Mexico’s fines and penalties in line with surrounding states like Texas and Arizona. The legislation also corrected glaring inconsistencies between the Oil and Gas Act and other state environmental statutes, ensuring equal treatment of similar activities under state law.
Outcome: HB 286 died on the House floor (32-36).
Economic Development Utility Rates more
Summary: HB 296 (and its companion SB 283) would have shifted costs for economic development utility expansion (e.g. sprawl development or industry) to other ratepayers, effectively subsidizing the expansion at the expense of small business and lower-income ratepayers. HB 296 and SB 283 were almost identical to HB 183; there were only minor differences, with the addition of an emergency clause in both HB 296 and SB 283.
Outcome: HB 296 passed the House (47-17) and was defeated in the Senate Judiciary Committee. SB 283 died on the Senate calendar.
Blanket Plugging Financial Assurance Increase more
Summary: HB297 represented a dangerous effort to undermine safeguards on inactive oil and gas wells that are a major vector for contamination of groundwater—on which 9 out of 10 New Mexicans depend for our drinking water. Although extensive negotiations yielded a version of the bill that was at least neutral from an environmental standpoint, the compromise drew fire from some sectors of the oil and gas industry.
Outcome: HB297 died in the Senate Conservation Committee.
Public-Private Partnership Act more
Summary: HB 299 was a sweeping measure that would privatize public entities 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.
Outcome: HB 299 passed the House (38-27) and died in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Community Solar Gardens Act more
Summary: This bill would have allowed renters, low-income utility customers and persons without suitable locations for solar generation on their premises to participate in local solar generation facilities by allowing individuals to buy a portion of a community solar installation or "solar garden". This would have stimulated the adoption of solar energy generation by more New Mexicans by making it more accessible to more New Mexicans and reducing our dependence on coal and nuclear fueled energy.
Outcome: HB 338 failed to pass the House (31-34).
Oil & Gas State Preemption more
Summary: Counties and municipalities have the power to adopt local ordinances that best suit community needs and interests. To date, some communities have passed ordinances restricting certain aspects of oil and gas production in response to concerns of water contamination and health risks. HB 366 would have invalidated any county and municipality ordinance relating to oil and gas law, including zoning ordinances--removing the critical flexibility that communities need to protect the public interest on a local scale.
Outcome: HB 366 passed the House (37-28) and died in the Senate Conservation Committee.
Public-Private Partnerships Act more
Summary: Similar to SB 273, but far more sweeping in the types of public projects and resources that could be privatized (e.g. dams, reservoirs, water treatment plants, utility infrastructure, etc.); HB 405 would have facilitated private control of projects that are most appropriately operated by responsive public entities. Experiences by other governments in privatizing public services (e.g. transportation, education, public safety) have rarely been successful, usually resulting in higher costs, lower quality and expensive legal battles in the long-term.
Outcome: HB 405 passed the House (50-19) and died in the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee.
Environmental Private Right Of Action more
Summary: HB 429 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: HB 429 died on the House floor (30-36).
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.
Legislative Nullification of Rules more
Summary: HJR3 would have posed serious constitutional questions because it created a conflict among all three branches of government. By law, rules must be adopted in accordance with delegated legislative authority. If the executive steps beyond its authority, those actions should be challenged in court. HJR3 would have allowed the Legislature to usurp the authority of the other two branches of government, which is unconstitutional. Moreover, the Legislature doesn’t have time to give appropriate consideration to rules that have often involved days or weeks of testimony and thousands of pages of documentation.
Outcome: HJR3 died in House Judiciary Committee.
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.
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.
Rulemaking Requirements more
Summary: The product of intensive negotiations among diverse constituencies, agencies, and other interests, HB34 represented a consensus approach to enacting consistent procedures for administrative rulemaking that best served the public interest.
Outcome: HB34 died in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Public Meeting Agendas 72 Hours Prior more
Summary: New Mexicans face a number of barriers to getting actively involved in public policy. HB35 would have addressed one such obstacle by amending the Open Meetings Act to require that agendas for public meetings be available 72 hours in advance, except in the case of emergencies.
Outcome: HB35 passed the House (57-9), but died on the Senate floor calendar.
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.
Conservancy District Absentee Ballots more
Summary: Turnout in conservancy district elections is notoriously low. HB74 removes the requirement that absentee ballot applications be notarized, making it easier for voters to participate in these important elections, and making the requirements consistent with the standards in the Election Code.
Outcome: HB74 passed both the House (63-2) and Senate (36-0), and was signed by the Governor on March 5th, 2012.
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.
Crop Dusting Tanks as Above Ground Storage more
Summary: 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.
Outcome: HB 111 died in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Sand & Gravel Mining Violation Penalties more
Summary: HB 188 would have strengthened penalties for violation of county ordinances regulating the mining of sand, gravel and related materials. Currently, these are some of the more poorly-regulated and least-enforced extractive industries.
Outcome: HB 188 died in the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee.
|HB 284/SB 431||
Renewable Energy Facilities in Environmental Services Tax more
Summary: These measures would have expanded the purposes of county-imposed environmental services gross receipts taxes--currently authorized for solid waste, and water and wastewater—to include renewable energy facilities and systems.
Outcome: HB284 passed the House (37-31), but died in the Senate Finance Committee. SB431 died in the Senate Finance 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.
Change Certain Voter ID Requirements more
Summary: HB 340 would have likely disenfranchised voters, especially minority and elderly voters who are often most disproportionately impacted by the effects of pollution and environmental injustice, by requiring a photo ID issued by a government, federal agency, recognized tribe or educational institution.
Outcome: HB 340 passed the House (37-29) and died in the Senate Rules 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.
Convention of States more
Summary: 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.
Outcome: HJR 9 passed the House (36-27), but died in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Opposition to Citizens United Ruling more
Summary: This memorial (and its companionSM 3) express deep concern over the Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. FEC, and the inevitable flood of corporate money into elections—which is almost certain to drown out the voices of individual citizens. HM4 and SM3 urge Congress to propose a constitutional amendment that would effectively overturn the ruling.
Outcome: HM4 passed the House (38-29), and SM3 passed the Senate (20-9). Memorials and resolutions do not require action by the Governor.
Preserve Prairie Chicken To Oppose Listing more
Summary: The federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) provides key protections for vulnerable, threatened, and endangered species, like the lesser prairie chicken. The Act also provides states with funding to assist with endangered species program implementation. While the goal of protecting the lesser prairie chicken without federal intervention is laudable, the language resolving opposition to federal listing of the species raises concerns. If the lesser prairie chicken is sufficiently protected through private and local actions, then the issue of federal listing becomes moot: no listing will be necessary. However, security of the species must be demonstrated first. Opposing federal listing before the species has adequate populations, habitat and protections to ensure long-term viability is woefully premature. Moreover, should resources be necessary to support regional and local protection efforts, that funding may best be secured through ESA listing.
Outcome: HM 21 passed the House (39-28). Memorials and resolutions do not require action by the Governor.
Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance Storage Facility more
Summary: HM 40 (and its companion SM 34) 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: HM 40 passed the House (50-17). SM 34 passed the Senate (27-10). Memorials and resolutions do not require action by the Governor.
Endangered Species Act Enforcement Study more
Summary: While CVNM supports protections for farmers, ranchers, and small business owners as needed, HM46 simply blames federal regulation for harm caused to land owners – economic or otherwise. HM46 jeopardizes endangered species programs – and broadly attacks regulation – by challenging the jurisdiction and intent of the federal government. HM46 also fails to acknowledge the many benefits of federal law or recognize other externalities that could cause economic harm to land owners, resulting in an unbalanced and factually incorrect view of federal regulation.
Outcome: HM46 passed the House (43-24). Memorials and resolutions do not require action by the Governor.
Protect State Land from Chicken Listing more
Summary: The federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) provides key protections for vulnerable, threatened and endangered species, like the Lesser Prairie Chicken. The ESA also provides states with funding to assist with endangered species program implementation. While the goal of protecting the Lesser Prairie Chicken without federal intervention is laudable, the language resolving that all actions necessary be taken to shield public lands from ESA protections resulting from federal listing of the species raises concerns. If the Lesser Prairie Chicken is sufficiently protected through private and local actions, then the issue of federal listing becomes moot: no listing will be necessary. However, security of the species must be demonstrated first. Opposing federal listing before the species has adequate populations, habitat and protections to ensure long-term viability is woefully premature. Moreover, should resources be necessary to support regional and local protection efforts, that funding may best be secured through ESA listing.
Outcome: HM 74 passed the House (31-22). Memorials and resolutions do not require action by the Governor.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Public Officials as Lobbyists more
Summary: HB 73 prohibited statewide elected officials, PRC members, former legislators and cabinet secretaries from accepting compensation as lobbyists for two years after public service.
Outcome: HB 73 died on the Senate floor 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.
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.
Exempt Hemp from Controlled Substances more
Summary: HB 166 would have exempted industrial hemp from the definition of "marijuana" in the Controlled Substances Act. This was an enabling bill for HB 154.
Outcome: HB 166 died in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
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.
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.
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.
Water Rights Notices Posted Online more
Summary: SB 86 requires the state engineer to post water rights applications on its website, encouraging more transparency in water rights assignments.
Outcome: SB 86 passed the Senate (40-0) and the House (59-0). The bill was vetoed by the Governor.
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.