Although many issues affect the health of our environment and communities, you will notice that only a handful are discussed here. They are the main issues addressed by the legislation included in this year’s Scorecard. As we add the votes and scores from past and future years, we will also add more information on other issues.
Air quality is a significant and growing concern in New Mexico. Experts link exposure to air pollutants to many adverse health effects, including exacerbation of asthma symptoms, diminished lung function, birth deformities, cardiovascular disease and childhood cancer. As many New Mexico families understand all too well, one of the most common health conditions caused or …
Read more about Air Quality »
Effective government (or “good government”) refers to the way in which elected officials exercise their political authority to serve their constituencies. Good governance, with respect to the environment, requires that decisions are made and implemented using legitimate (legal), transparent, participatory, responsive and equitable processes to achieve effective policies that protect New Mexico’s communities and natural resources. …
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Relying on oil, coal, and natural gas for the bulk of our energy needs is ultimately a losing proposition. Fossil fuels will peak and run out someday. In the meantime, they’re becoming increasingly less efficient and more environmentally harmful to extract. Burning them perpetuates so many problems (water, soil and air contamination, habitat destruction, oil …
Read more about Energy & Climate Change »
One of the greatest tragedies of “economic progress” is the wildly disproportionate burden of environmental hazards suffered by low-income communities, especially those of color. Certain communities suffer staggering health problems simply because they lack the power to fight back against polluting industries. Most Americans would immediately recognize this as unfair. Unfortunately, these communities also lack …
Read more about Environmental Justice »
Acequias & Land Grants Acequias are community ditches or irrigation canals that are essential to northern New Mexican agricultural tradition and culture. Any proposed legislation that has the potential to positively or negatively impact acequia function or culture — usually pertaining to land use or water law – will be included in this issue category. …
Read more about Land »
In the desert, more than most places, we are constantly reminded that without a clean, sustainable supply of water, we couldn’t survive. The challenge of meeting the growing demands for water with the same limited supply, and how we meet that challenge, is likely to define the future of our Land of Enchantment. Most New Mexican …
Read more about Water »
At an average elevation of 7,000 feet, the Río Grande del Norte National Monument is dotted by volcanic cones and cut by steep canyons. While the Río Grande carves a deep gorge through layers of volcanic basalt flows and ash, nearby cottonwoods and willows shelter abundant songbirds and waterfowl. Photo: Bob Wick, BLM
The Land of Enchantment’s color palette is overflowing, from red rocks and vivid sunsets to rich green bosque and deep blue sky. We have it all: majestic mountains, lush valleys, stunning mesas and scenic desert landscapes. New Mexicans have a profound appreciation of the breathtaking beauty of our state and know that we are lucky to call it …
Read more about Wildlife & Habitat Conservation »
Mexican Gray Wolves
The Mexican Gray Wolf has nearly been eliminated in the wild (due to intensive U.S. government efforts to eradicate them) and are critically endangered, with only about 300 remaining in recovery facilities, zoo breeding programs, and reserves in the U.S. and Mexico. Photo: Chad Horwedel
- Air Quality
- Energy &
- Wildlife & Habitat
Community Solar Act more
Summary: HB 9 provided for the establishment of a phased-in community solar program to facilitate the development and interconnection of community solar facilities. It also created a low-income assistance fund to benefit low-income subscribers. This would have stimulated the growth of the solar industry and expanded the number of New Mexicans who have access to solar energy.
Outcome: HB 9 passed out of committee but failed in the House 28-36.
Brian F. Egolf
Andrea A. Romero
Patricia Roybal Caballero
Antoinette Sedillo Lopez
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.
Nathan P. Small
Linda M. Trujillo
Gas Taxes, New Funds & Distributions more
Summary: HB 173 imposed new gas and special fuel surtaxes that would have funded the new Clean Infrastructure Fund and a new Low-Income Rebate Fund. These funds would have resourced pro-conservation infrastructure improvements, and rebates to low-income taxpayers for their payment of gas and special fuel surtaxes.
Outcome: HB 173 was tabled and died in the House Appropriations and Finance Committee.
Energy Storage System Tax Credit Changes more
Summary: HB 201 allowed a taxpayer to claim a tax credit for up to 40% of the cost of an energy storage system, up to $5,000.
Outcome: HB 201 died in the House Taxation and Revenue 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.
Micaela Lara Cadena
Jim R. Trujillo
Oil & Gas Tax Changes more
Summary: HB 318 created a temporary tax rate differential for oil produced by a qualified recovery project that uses anthropogenic carbon dioxide to displace oil. This legislation would have effectively been a tax cut for the oil and gas industry when they used enhanced recovery methods.
Outcome: HB 318 was tabled and died in the House Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources Committee.
Larry R. Scott
James R.J. Strickler
Energy Operating Bonding Amounts more
Summary: HM 29 would have supported future policy and required energy producers to post adequate surety bonds for cleanup from their operations.
Outcome: HM 29 passed out of committee but died on the House calendar.
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.
Study Funding for Nongame Species Conservation more
Summary: SB 33 would not only have facilitated the department's ability to manage threatened and endangered species in need of protection, it may also have identified alternate sources of revenue for the department besides hunting & fishing license fees.
Outcome: SB 33 died in the Senate Finance Committee.
William P. Soules
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.
Community Energy Efficiency Development Grant more
Summary: SB 114 created the community energy efficiency development block grant fund to provide grants to counties, municipalities, or Indian nations, tribes or pueblos to fund community energy efficiency projects for low-income and underserved communities.
Outcome: SB 114 died in the Senate Finance Committee.
Gerald Ortiz y Pino
Andrea A. Romero
Fees for Used Oil Businesses more
Summary: SB 180 would have significantly increased the maximum penalties for violations of and non-compliance with orders related to violations of the Hazardous Waste Act.
Outcome: SB 180 died in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Know the Score > Take Action
Say ‘thanks’ … or, ‘no thanks’!
Tell your Legislators that you ‘know the score’
One of the best ways to influence the voting records of your elected officials is to communicate regularly with them. If your legislators scored well, it’s important to thank them and to support them. If you feel you weren’t well-represented by your legislators’ votes, it’s important to hold them accountable by letting them know what you think about their votes. The Scorecard is your key to staying informed on your legislators votes and getting in touch with them.
Communicate with the Governor and your Legislators
Whether you’re congratulating them on their score or expressing your disappointment, be direct, courteous and polite.
The most important part is letting them know that you are paying close attention to how they vote or, in the case of the Governor, what actions she takes on legislation that affects our air, land, and water.
Calling your legislator directly and sending letters through regular mail remain by far the most effective ways to communicate with your legislators.
The Governor and Lieutenant Governor can always be contacted at the State Capitol. Except during the legislative session, state legislators should be contacted in their home districts, as listed on the current Legislators page.