Former State Senator Lisa Torraco (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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Economic Development Utility Rates more
Summary: SB 283 (and its companion HB 296) 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. SB 283 and HB 296 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: SB 283 died on the Senate calendar. HB 296 passed the House (47-17) and was defeated in the Senate Judiciary 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.
Transportation Public-Private Partnerships more
Summary: SB 273 was a sweeping measure to privatize transportation facilities that are most appropriately developed and maintained by 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. Among many concerns with this legislation was that it would exempt such transportation projects from the state procurement code, and allow government to exercise the power of eminent domain for use by private partners.
Outcome: SB 273 died in the Senate 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.
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.