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Senate Passes Paid Family and Medical Leave Act

February 10, 2024

For Immediate Release

Chris Nordstrum
(415) 601-1992

(SANTA FE, NM) – Today, the New Mexico Senate convened for morning committee meetings and an afternoon floor session. With action on the FY25 budget upcoming, the New Mexico Senate considered a critical conservation measure through the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The Senate approved legislation which:

Institutes a Firearm Purchase Waiting Period
The Senate passed common-sense legislation to reduce suicide and gun violence by instituting a seven-day waiting period between when an individual purchases and takes ownership of a firearm. House Bill 129 passed the Senate today on a vote of 23-18.

“As a lifetime gun owner and as somebody who respects the second amendment and my rights, it’s incumbent upon me and those of us who are gun owners to lead whatever changes are going to take place,” said Senate sponsor Joseph Cervantes (D-Las Cruces). “We can’t be the ones who continue to say no to everything. It’s on us.”

The bill is sponsored in the House by Representatives Andrea Romero (D-Santa Fe), Dayan Hochman-Vigil (D-Albuquerque), Cristina Parajón (D-Albuquerque), Patricia Roybal Caballero (D-Albuquerque), and in the Senate by Senators Cervantes and Linda M. Lopez (D-Albuquerque).

Streamlines Distributions from the Land and Water Conservation Fund

By a unanimous vote of 38-0, the New Mexico Senate passed Senate Bill 169 sponsored by Senate Pro Tempore Mimi Stewart (D-Albuquerque). SB 169 revises the New Mexico State Supplemental Land and Water Conservation Fund (SSLWCF) to raise the population cap for funding consideration from 15,000 to 65,000. This legislation also explicitly identifies Indian nations, tribes and pueblos and gives priority to those funding requests. State parks and other political subdivisions are also eligible for assistance. These updates to the SSLWCF allows New Mexico to pursue additional federal matching funds.

“With the LWCF now permanently funded, New Mexico’s rural communities need a reliable tool to seek this critical conservation funding,” said SB 169 sponsor Senate Pro Tempore Mimi Stewart (D-Albuquerque). “This legislation clarifies the application process for local governments and political subdivisions seeking funding, and makes sure New Mexico is following the lead of tribal leaders in addressing the needs of their communities.”

“Let me take you on a road trip on the LWCF: since 1965 New Mexico has received more than $312 million from LWCF for over 1,200 projects to safeguard our Land of Enchantment,” said Senator Carrie Hamblen (D-Las Cruces). “From the Ned Houk State Park in Clovis to the Pioneer Women’s Park in Las Cruces, every single New Mexican has a LWCF project in their backyard driving economic growth.” 

Clarifies DWI Laws

Senate Bill 190 sponsored by Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto (D-Albuquerque) passed the New Mexico Senate by a vote of 26-8. SB 190 compiles all of New Mexico’s DWI laws and statutes into one place, clarifies key definitions as they relate to the operation of a vehicle while intoxicated. Through these updates New Mexico’s statutes will be clear and easier to enforce, giving law enforcement and the judicial system a key tool to address New Mexico’s DWI challenges.

Cracks Down On Medicaid Fraud

The New Mexico Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 142 sponsored by Senator George Muñoz (D-Gallup). SB 142 requires residential treatment facilities offer patients the opportunity to alert family of their whereabouts. If initial efforts to contact family are unsuccessful, residential behavioral health facilities will then make immediate and repeated attempts to deliver the message.

“Over in Gallup and across Indian Country we are seeing people both young and old being whisked away from their homes to stay in bogus treatment facilities that profit off of defrauding Medicaid,” said SB 142 sponsor Senator George Muñoz. “SB 142 provides patients a crucial opportunity during their intake to alert families where they are. By mandating access to this phone call, New Mexico can make a meaningful impact in combating Medicaid fraud and finding our missing relatives.”

Other business considered:

  • SB 236METRO DEVELOPMENT PROJECT GRT INCREMENTS (Sen. Hamblen & Rep. Parajón, passed 20-9)
  • SB 241 – AGING DEPT. BACKGROUND CHECKS (Sen. Jaramillo, passed 32-6)
  • HB 141 – SUPREME COURT JUSTICE SALARY INCREASE (Rep. Hochman-Vigil & Rep. Chandler, passed 33-6)