- Associated Press - Thursday, February 18, 2016

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - A look at proposals that passed and failed during the 30-day legislative session that ended Thursday. Gov. Susana Martinez has until March 9 to act on legislation approved by lawmakers.

BUDGET-FINANCES

Passed: $6.2 billion budget that shaves overall spending but includes some new money for public schools, Medicaid, prison guards and state police officers; $166 million for state and local capital improvements funded through severance tax bonds; $186 million for infrastructure projects funded by general obligation bonds.

Failed: Constitutional amendment to increase the annual payout from a state permanent fund for public education programs; reform of the capital outlay process for funding public improvement projects.

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EDUCATION:

Passed: Change in state law to ensure military veterans are not denied tuition assistance; removal of some testing requirements for ninth and 10th grade students; addition of lifesaving skills training to public school health classes; provide more flexibility for school districts to design breakfast programs for hungry students.

Failed: Revamp of the funding formula for the lottery scholarship program; end practice of “social promotion” by holding back third graders who can’t read proficiently; closure of a background check loophole affecting some school employees; allowing industry professionals to teach in New Mexico classrooms; an early warning system aimed at identifying truant students and those at risk of dropping out.

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PUBLIC SAFETY-CRIME

Passed: Overhaul of the state’s bail system to keep the most dangerous defendants behind bars and make sure poor, nonviolent suspects don’t languish in jail; tougher sentencing guidelines for repeat DWI offenders; access for judges to adult defendants’ juvenile criminal records; funding to address the backlog of untested evidence kits from sexual assaults and rapes; creation of a “Brittany Alert” for people with developmental disabilities or severe physical impairment who go missing; requirement for New Mexico courts to share mental health records with federal officials to make background checks for firearm purchases more comprehensive.

Failed: Expansion of the state’s three-strikes law for repeat violent offenders; mandatory minimum sentences for serious violent offenses; adding law enforcement officers to the state’s hate crimes law; allowing retired law enforcement officers to return to work while still collecting their pension benefits.

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HEALTH-CHILD WELFARE

Passed: Closure of a loophole that limited the prosecution of those caught with multiple images of child pornography; modeled after Kendra’s Law in New York, measure to provide easier paths to treatment for people in a mental health crisis; requirement for student athletes with concussions to sit out for at least 10 days.

Failed: Allow local governments to impose curfews on minors under the age of 16; tougher penalties for convicted child abusers; late-term and partial-birth abortion bans; constitutional amendment allowing for the personal use of marijuana by people over the age of 21.

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ETHICS-CAMPAIGN FINANCE

Passed: Modernization of New Mexico’s online clearinghouse for political contributions and lobbying expenditures.

Failed: Constitutional amendment calling for the creation of a state ethics commission to oversee the conduct of public officials, lobbyists and state contractors; disclosure of money being funneled toward political campaigns by nonprofits and other independent groups; toughening of pension-forfeiture law aimed at corrupt elected officials.

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TRANSPORTATION

Passed: Bringing New Mexico into compliance with tougher federal ID requirements and ending the policy of issuing driver’s licenses to immigrants in the country illegally; clarifying regulations to allow ride-booking companies like Uber and Lyft to operate in New Mexico; allowing municipalities and counties to use lodger’s tax revenues to attract air service to underserved communities.

Failed: Increase in the gasoline tax; redistribution of the motor vehicle excise tax to state and local road funds.

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BUSINESS

Passed: Allowing for more investment in New Mexico’s private equity funds; creation of a rapid workforce development program; allow the New Mexico Spaceport Authority to apply for a liquor license; support the Eddy-Lea County Energy Alliance’s pursuit of a temporary storage facility for spent nuclear fuel; expand the exceptions when agricultural operations can be deemed a nuisance under state law

Failed: Extension of a solar tax credit set to expire at the end of 2016; tax credit for business owners who can demonstrate gender pay equity; exempting projects and contracts for public roads and educational institutions from the state’s public works minimum wage act; allow the state to begin working on solutions for a brine well near Carlsbad that has the potential to collapse.

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Online: www.nmlegis.gov

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