2024 NM Legislature Update: What Passed, What Signed, What Failed

The 2024 New Mexico legislative session began on January 16 and it ended on February 15 at noon.  The 2024 legislative session was a 30-day short session where much of the legislation was to be dedicated to financial matters and approving the state’s annual budget. There were 780 bills introduced but only 72 bills were enacted by the legislature and sent to the governor for signature.  Anything the Governor does not sign by March 6 is “pocket vetoed.”

A listing and the status of all the legislation is here:


A link to review all legislation passed is here:


This blog article is an in depth report on all the legislation past by the 2024 New Mexico legislature highlighting the content of the most notable bills past.  It also reports on the failure of the most notable bills.


The following major legislation was enacted during the 2024 legislative session with an elaboration on content:


House Bill 2 and 3, General Appropriations Act of 2024 have been enacted. On February 13, the $10.22 billion state budget was adopted by the New Mexico House of Representatives by voice vote approving the changes made to the budget by the Senate. The $10.22 billion budget is a 6.8% increase from last year while retaining a 31% reserve. The budget includes $4.3 billion in recurring funds for public schools and $532 million for public safety including law enforcement recruitment and equipment.

The largest slice of the general fund would go to public schools, which are slated to receive about $4.3 billion next fiscal year. That includes more than $94 million to give a flat 3% raise to all public-school employees, an amount that was trimmed by a Senate Finance Committee. Before public school employees were looking at a total average of 4% raises.  The version the budget approved by the Senate includes $30 million for summer reading intervention programs, $14 million for early literacy and reading support and $5 million to train secondary educators in the science of reading.

Other budget highlights include the following major appropriations:

  • $1.2 billion for natural resources, housing and innovation
  • $24 million to judicial branch agencies
  • $7 million to support victim advocates, sexual assault victims and supplement federal grants for crime victims
  • $11.7 million for the New Mexico Department of Health
  • $1.96 billion to the Health Care Authority Department and $180 million for Medicaid
  • $3 million for tribal health councils
  • $19.6 million to expand Pre-K
  • $4.43 billion in recurring funds for public schools
  • $50 million to the tribal Educational Trust Fund
  • $20 million to pilot and evaluate evidence-based strategies to improve the Children, Youth and Families Department
  • The Higher Education Department will receive $1.3 billion in recurring funds
  • $100 million to develop a strong workforce
  • $10 billion to establish a new Green Bank
  • $300 million in the Lands of  Enchantment Legacy Fund for water conservation, outdoor recreation, agriculture, and wildlife protection
  • $150 million to the Department of Transportation for major infrastructure, maintenance and road improvements.

The budget also contains $30 million in capital outlay funding  for a structured literacy institute and  $30 million in the state budget bill for summer reading programs, which an early estimate predicted would reach some 10,000 students who are behind grade level.

Some of the changes made in the Senate Finance Committee include a $400 million increase in one-time spending for programs, including $25 million for local law enforcement recruitment, $5 million for food bank emergency assistance and $20 million for firefighter recruitment. Other changes include $20 million in recurring funds for universal school meals, additional funding for developmental disability waivers and more money for the administration of the Health Care Authority.  Senior and disabled veterans would also be able to receive four times the amount of monthly supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP) benefits.

One change that became a point of debate was the reduction of a 4% raise for state public employees to 3%. The cut was criticized by the American Federation of Teachers New Mexico on Monday. But other features have stayed the same. Education still makes up the biggest expenditure of  $4.3 billion.

Another controversial amendment approved by lawmakers in the budget that resulted in heated debate would prohibit the Public Education Department from using money to establish a minimum of 180 instructional days for public schools, which Governor Lujan Grisham supports. While the Governor said she plans to move forward with the 180-day rule, she also said it’s too early to say if she would line-item veto the provision in the budget bill. She said she doesn’t make rash decisions until she reads the entirety of the bill.

The budget was sent to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham to be signed into law, but she could still line item veto some of the appropriations.




On February 9, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed into law House Bill 171 which overhauls and codifies into law the state’s high school graduation requirements. This was the first bill to pass both chambers of the New Mexico 2024 legislative session The bill would update the state’s graduation requirements for its high schoolers, allowing for more student choice while keeping the number of mandated units at 24.

New Mexico’s updated high school graduation requirements are as follows:

  • Four units of English, the last of which could be more flexible, such as journalism course
  • Four units of math, two of which must generally be Algebra I and Geometry, but the rest of which appear to be flexible and could be fulfilled by such courses as financial literacy
  • Three units of science, two of which must have a laboratory component and the other which can be more geared toward things such as work-based learning
  • Four units of social science, which include U.S. history and geography, government, economics and financial literacy, and world history and geography. The final unit is also flexible and can include such things as psychology or ethnic studies
  • Five and a half units of electives, which vary wildly, and also can include financial literacy courses as well as computer science and career-technical education courses
  • Two courses set by the local school district or governing board
  • One unit of physical education, which can include courses in things such as dance and marching band
  • Half a unit in health

The biggest changes to know about are that students will still need to earn 24 credits, but Algebra II will no longer be required but schools must still offer it. Students will now have to complete four full years of social studies classes, and that must include some personal financial literacy coursework. A semester of health with lessons on sexual abuse, assault, and prevention is now required. Career technical classes can count toward English, math, and science credits, and local school districts will get to decide on two graduation requirements for their students.

The link to the quoted news source is here:



Senate Bill 137 will  require new school board members to go through 10 hours of training in ethics and school personnel, public school finance, open meetings and public records, governance and supervision and student achievement and support services. It would also prohibit new school boards from terminating superintendents,  or extending their contracts,  shortly after the election or appointment of a new school board. All candidates for school boards would be required to report $1,000 or greater campaign contributions. Currently, only candidates in large school districts — 12,000 or more students — that have contributions and spending above $500 have to report those donations to the Secretary of State.


House Bill 129 requires a seven-day waiting period for gun purchases, with a few exceptions. The House voted to accept amendments added by the NM Senate and the Senate Judiciary Committee. Originally, the seven-day waiting period legislation would have required twice as long a pause on gun purchases, but a House floor amendment halved it. Law enforcement agencies and people with federal firearm licenses or concealed carry licenses would be exempt from the waiting period. People selling a gun to an immediate family member or a law enforcement officer selling to another officer would also be excluded.

Changes were made to the bill’s secondary waiting period. That period is triggered if a background check isn’t returned within seven days. In the original legislation, if a background check hadn’t been returned within 30 days, the seller could release the firearm to the customer. That number was cut down to 20 days. If the background check is returned after the seven-day waiting period but within those 20 days, it can immediately pass to the buyer.


House Bill 252 adjusts income tax brackets. The House voted to adopt Senate changes to the tax bill, with several House members showing some resistance to the tax omnibus package where legislators pool together initiatives into one bill and vote on it as a whole. The House on a tax package that included personal income tax reforms, a tax credit for people whose houses were destroyed by wildfire and deductions for pre-kindergarten.

A Senate amendment added a severance tax exemption for stripper wells which are defined as  oil wells nearing the end of their productivity and the amendment garnered debate on the floor. Other Senate additions included gross tax receipt deductions for legal services for lawsuits involving the Calf Canyon/Hermit’s Peak fire, the increase of the special needs refundable adoption credit from $1,000 to $1,500, and the creation of a tax deduction for public school teachers buying supplies.


On Wednesday February 14, the New Mexico Senate voted unanimously to pass Senate Bill 5 after the House narrowly passed an amendment to allow concealed carry licensees to bring their weapons to polling stations. The bill prohibits guns from within 100 feet of polling places. The measure now goes to the Governor where she is expected to sign it into law.



Senate Bill 271, Repeat Felony Offender No Bond Hold  (PreTrial Detention). This bill requires felony offenders arrested for an additional felony while on release stay in custody until judges on prior felony cases have an opportunity to review their conditions of release. As explained by bill sponsor Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto, D-Albuquerque, the legislation would have required that a felony offender arrested for another felony while on release stay in custody until every judge on a prior felony case has an opportunity to review that person’s conditions of release.



Senate Bill 96 increases the basic term of imprisonment for second-degree attempted murder from 3 years to 9 years as well as increase the maximum penalty for a second-degree felony that results in the death of a person from 15 years to 18 years.


House Bill 236 will allow law enforcement and public safety employees who have retired by December 31, 2023 to return to work on a limited basis. They must return to entry level positions and not to the same level they retired from and must pay into the Public Employee Retirement program (PERA). There is currently a severe shortage of law enforcement throughout the state, especially within corrections. This bill is intended to help fill entry level positions.


HB182 is an artificial intelligence focused bill that would amend the Campaign Reporting Act to add a disclaimer requirement for the use of materially deceptive synthetic images, visuals and audio created by artificial intelligence.


House Bill 141 set the pay of Supreme Court justices at $232,600. A $6.1 million appropriation from the general fund would fund the pay increases. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has rejected similar requests in the past, but she has signed it. Bill sponsor Sen. Joseph Cervantes, D-Las Cruces, said he’s adjusted the bill this year removing state salary increases that match federal ones.


On February 15, the very last day of the 2024 legislative session, two  capital outlay bills  were enacted by both chambers.

Senate Bill 246, the annual bill to reauthorize a slew of over 250 projects, passed the Senate 31-6 and the House unanimously. Specifically, the measure extends the times, expands the purposes and makes other administrative changes to those projects to keep the funding appropriated for them in play.  Many of those projects have been delayed for a variety of reasons, including the COVID-19 pandemic and increasing construction costs. Some have been delayed for years. And according to an LFC report, there were an estimated $4.7 billion in outstanding capital outlay dollars across roughly 5,000 projects as of the second quarter of the current fiscal year.

Lawmakers criticized the backlog of projects, with Sen. George Muñoz, D-Gallup, arguing on the Senate floor it’s time for projects “to either get done or fail.” Muñoz, the chair of the Senate Finance Committee, said he won’t entertain a reauthorization bill in his committee in the next year in hopes that New Mexico will focus instead on completing projects. Munoz said this:

“It’s time for us to reform capital outlay. … We can’t look like we’re not getting anything accomplished in New Mexico, whether it’s a road, whether it’s redevelopment improvement areas, temporary youth housing — it has to get done.” 

Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino, D-Albuquerque, pushed back, pointing out many reasons projects have been delayed, and urging Muñoz not to place a blanket full stop on project reauthorizations.  Ortiz y Pino said this:

“I would hope that instead of a unilateral decision, that there’ll be no more reauthorizations. We’re going to put a stop to this terrible problem.”


Senate Bill 275, a measure to authorize more than 1,400 public works projects, according to the bill’s sponsor, passed the Senate and House unanimously. According to the Legislative Finance Committee, appropriations for those projects total about $1.4 billion. In Bernalillo County, projects range in scope, from improvements to schools to acquiring and improving land for Balloon Fiesta Park. The latter would command roughly $16 million of the county’s total of more than $289.5 million in appropriations.  Also included in SB 275 is funding for an education initiative Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has pushed for months. The bill would set aside $30 million for a structured literacy institute that the governor has said in part would be a specialized place to teach reading to students.



Following is the remaining legislation that passed both the Senate and House and that has been forwarded to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham for signature or veto:

HB5, Workforce Development and Apprenticeship Fund — Would create a trust fund, which would make annual transfers to the public works apprentice and training fund and the Workforce Solutions Department.

HB7, Health Care Affordability Fund Distribution — Would change the distribution of health insurance premium surtax revenues, so the dollars goes to the health care affordability fund instead of the general fund, starting fiscal year 2026.

HB 28, Public Project Revolving Funds — The New Mexico Finance Authority would be able to offer loans from the “public project revolving loan fund” to schools, civic organizations, tribes and other state and local government entities. An amendment added some public and charter schools to the list of entities that would be able to apply for loans with the NMFA. The number is capped at 100.

HB 29, Public Project Fund Appropriations — This annual bill through the New Mexico Finance Authority moves $13 million from the public project revolving fund to three identifying funds to match with federal funds. $6 million will go to the drinking water state revolving loan fund, $2 million will go to the local government planning fund and $5 million will go to the cultural affairs facilities infrastructure fund.

HB 33, Prescription Drug Price Transparency — Would require drug manufacturers selling certain high cost drugs – including drugs that cost $400 or more for a 30-day supply – to report certain data points to the Office of the Superintendent of Insurance. The reporting would be used to guide policy to reduce prescription drug prices in the future.

HB 41, Clean Transportation Fuel Standards — Would allow for clean transportation fuel standard to reduce carbon intensity emissions.

HB 91, Geothermal Resources Project Funds — Would create funds for geothermal projects. Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino, D-Albuquerque, said the measure is essentially the same bill the Legislature passed last year, with a few adjustments so Lujan Grisham doesn’t veto it again.

HB 98, Accounts for Disabled Eligibility — Would raise the age of people with disabilities eligible for ABLE, achieving a better life experience, accounts from 26 years old to 46 years old in 2026. It would also prevent the state from seeking estate recovery payments from an account or the beneficiary’s benefits proceeds, according to the bill’s fiscal impact report.

HB 129, Firearm Sale Waiting Period Crimes — Would require a seven-day waiting period for gun purchases, with a few exceptions.

HB 148, Water Project Fund Projects — Would allow the New Mexico Finance Authority to make loans or grants to qualifying water projects.

HB 151, Post-Secondary Affirmative Consent Policy — Would require higher education institutions funded by state dollars to use trauma-informed policies and responses to sexual violence and train students on affirmative consent.

HB 165, Pharmacy Provider Reimbursement — Would allow independent and local pharmacies to reap the same reimbursement rates as corporate pharmacies from Medicaid managed care organizations.

HB 177, NM Match Fund — The bill, with an emergency clause, would establish a $75 million pot for more than 2,800 eligible entities in New Mexico, including towns, counties and tribal nations, from which to request dollars. The Department of Finance and Administration, the state agency in charge of administering the fund, could match state funding for federal grants.

HB 181, Life and Health Insurance Guaranty Act Changes — This bill aims to protect life and health insurance policy holders if their insurer becomes insolvent by expanding membership and coverage, changing the method for assessing long-term care insurer insolvencies, increasing the number of directors, adding rate increase powers and repealing a health maintenance organization section on the replacement coverage for insolvency, according to the bill’s fiscal impact report.

HB 193, Law enforcement retention disbursements. This bill would change the Law Enforcement Retention Fund, aiming to better recruit and retain law enforcement officers. Lawmakers earlier in the session removed the $1 million appropriation originally included in the bill because it is part of the budget that passed on the floor Monday.

HB 195, Housing Fund and Changes — Would amend the newly named the Opportunity Enterprise and Housing Development Act.

HB 196, Government Accountability Trust and Fund — Would create the government results and opportunity expendable trust and the government results and opportunity program fund. Bill advocates say it’s a way to pay for state pilot projects and test them out while also investing dollars for the future.

HB 207, Public School Capital Outlay Grants — Would change language in the Public School Capital Outlay Fund, making assistance to charter schools from public school capital outlay mandatory.

HB211, Water Project Prioritization — Would amend sections of the Water Project Finance Act, including to make wastewater projects available for funding through the Water Trust Board.

HB232, Infrastructure Planning and Development Division — Would create the infrastructure development division within the Department of Finance and Administration.

HB239, Cannabis as Prison Contraband — Would include cannabis among the list of prohibited contraband in places of imprisonment.

HB 251, Special License Plate Procedures — Would set up the New Mexico Department of Transportation to start issuing Smokey Bear license plates after application.

HB 253, Capital Outlay Changes — Would make changes to the state’s capital outlay program. A non-reverting fund – the capital development and reserve fund – would be created by the bill and managed by the State Investment Council. Money in the fund would be available to the Legislature to go toward capital projects costing less than $5 million and for the planning and design of more costly projects.

HB 270, Higher Ed Tech Enhancement Fund Provisions — Would clarify how higher education entities can use awards from the technology enhancement fund.

HB 298, Service Members Suicide Prevention — The Veterans Services Department would be required to raise suicide awareness for service members and increase suicide prevention resources for veterans and active military and their families.

HB 302, Department of Defense Military Recommendations — Child care programs certified by the U.S. Department of Defense would not be required to meet additional state licensing requirements.

HB 303, TANF Funds Workforce Pilot Program — Would create a workforce training economic support pilot program so people enrolled in accredited workforce training programs could get stipends for costs and living expenses. The max amount of monthly stipends would be $1,000 and not exceed one year.

HB 308, General Bond Obligations — Authorizes the issuance of general obligation bond capacity of roughly $290 million.


SB 6, Cannabis Regulation Changes — Would tweak several sections of the Cannabis Regulation Act with the goal of tightening regulations of the industry.

SB 14, Health Care Authority — Would make changes to the functions of the Healthcare Authority Department, including changing the name to the Healthcare Authority.

SB15, Health Care Consolidation Act — Would allow the Office of Superintendent of Insurance to rule whether proposed mergers, consolidations or other ownership changes of New Mexico hospitals — except state and university-run facilities — would be detrimental to the quality, cost and accessibility of health care in New Mexico.

SB 17, Health Care Delivery and Access Act — Would impose assessments on most hospitals based on non-Medicare utilization and leverage federal funding to reimburse facilities, increasing Medicaid reimbursement in hospitals up to the average commercial rate. The bipartisan bill aims to address the health care crisis in the state, particularly in rural communities.

SB 37, Meat Inspection Act — Would allow for the New Mexico Livestock Board to conduct inspections of meat-producing and -processing plants in the state. Proponents said it would positively impact ranchers and allow for meat to be fully produced and processed within the state.

SB 76, School Local Share Adjustment Waiver — Would clarify that a school district is eligible for waivers of the local match for projects bankrolled by the Public-School Capital Outlay Council if its local match is greater than 50%.

SB 88, Electronic Driver’s License Credentials — Would allow the New Mexico Department of Transportation to issue electronic driver’s licenses.

SB 106, Declaration of Independence Anniversary — Would appropriate $250,000 to use for a commission to plan and conduct a celebration for the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in 2026.

SB 108, Distribution to Election Fund – Would distribute money from the tax administration suspense fund into the state election fund until it reaches $20 million.

SB 116, Tobacco Fund is Not a Reserve Fund — Would remove the tobacco settlement permanent fund balance from the general fund. Moving the funding out would allow the fund to be invested to reap higher returns for health campaigns, according to the bill’s fiscal impact report. Rep. Jason Harper, R-Rio Rancho, said the bill would also allow for a more accurate picture of the state’s reserves.

SB 127, Professional Psychologist Act Changes — Would give licensed psychologists with a special type of certification to prescribe and administer injections for psychotropic drugs as well as intramuscular and subcutaneous injections. It would also change the structure of the Board of Psychologist Examiners and the committee which reviews complaints against prescribing psychologists.

SB 128, State Fire Retirement — Would add a definition for “state fire member” to the Public Employees Retirement Act, for non-volunteer firefighters.

SB 129, Cybersecurity Act Changes — Would amend the Cybersecurity Act, including adopting more cybersecurity rules and standards.

SB 135, Step Therapy Guidelines — Patients with cancer or autoimmune diseases would no longer need prior authorization from their insurance provider to be approved for treatment or prescription medications. Additionally, anyone who already had a medication approved by prior authorization or step therapy would no longer need to annually repeat the process to keep using that medication. That approval would now apply as long as it still had a therapeutic effect for the patient.

SB 142, Behavioral Health Facility Notification — This legislation wouldn’t allow residential behavioral health facilities to admit patients without trying to get family contact information for patients, so patients could notify their family of admission.

SB 148, Tax & Fee Admin Fees — Would remove administrative costs and fees withheld by the Taxation and Revenue Department for administration of local government revenues by fiscal year 2029. The fees would continue on certain distributions.

SB 151, Premium Tax to Emergency Services Fund — Would appropriate $22 million from the general fund and distribute 10% of the health insurance premium tax to the emergency medical services fund.

SB 152, CYFD Investigations and Background Checks — Would require background checks for certain people working with the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department and Early Childhood Education and Care Department.

SB 153, Early Childhood Fund Transfers — Would increase the distribution of the early childhood education and care program fund for programs such as child care assistance, doula and lactation support home visits, and pre-K. The distributions from the fund would increase by $95 million. Any excess money would be returned to the fund.

SB 159, Higher Education Trust Fund — Would create a trust fund to cover tuition and financial aid programs for students at higher education institutions in the state.

SB 161, Acute Care Facilities Subsidies — Would create grants for a dozen rural hospitals in the state to help make up for lost revenue for certain services, including emergency medical services, child and maternal health, for which they may not be fully reimbursed.

SB165, Legislative Retirement Changes — Would increase pension payments for future retirees from the New Mexico State Legislature.

SB 169, Land and Water Conservation Fund — Would appropriate $10 million from the general fund to the state land and water conservation fund.

SB 175, Law Enforcement Fund Distributions — Would appropriate funds to recruit and retain law enforcement officers.

SB 176, Athletic Competition Act Changes — Would add fighter weight classes and increase, by an average $74, annual licensing fees for almost a dozen license types. It would also increase the required insurance coverage for licensed fighters, including pro boxers, kickboxers, martial artists and wrestlers from $1,000 to $2,500.

SB 216, NMFA Affordable Housing Projects — Would amend the Finance Authority Act to provide financing for affordable housing projects and amend the local government planning fund to provide financing in order to develop affordable housing plans and flood maps.

SB 217, Severance Tax Bond Fund Distribution — Would provide for a minimum distribution from the severance tax bonding fund to the severance tax permanent fund every year for nine years.

SB 230, Disclosure of Certain Health Info — Would broaden the list of instances in which confidential information on children can be shared, according to the bill’s fiscal impact report. Bill sponsor Sen. Greg Nibert, R-Roswell, has said the measure would allow for the collection of health data for research purposes.

SB 236, Metro Development Project GRT Increments — Would impact the procedure for determining gross receipts tax increments paying for metropolitan redevelopment area projects, including allowing new, approved construction in determining the gross receipts tax base.

SB 239, Lottery and Opportunity Scholarship Changes — Would change some eligibility requirements for lottery and opportunity scholarships, including the allowance of coverage of summer semesters under the lottery scholarship and not counting high schoolers’ dual credits toward credit-hour caps under the opportunity scholarship.

SB 241, Aging Dept. Background Checks — Would require employees and volunteers with the Aging and Long-Term Services Department working in adult protective services, the long-term care ombudsman program and consumer and elder rights to undergo criminal history records checks. Selected applicants would also have to undergo background checks.


Legislation worth noting that failed to be enacted during the 2024 legislative session are as follows:


Senate Bill 3 would have created a fund for paid family and medical leave, up to nine to 12 weeks, to be administered by the Department of Workforce Solutions. Senate Bill 3 was meant to give all New Mexico workers paid time off when they need it most, even if their jobs don’t currently offer it.  Workers would have been able to take up to 12 weeks of paid time off to bond with a new child or grieve the death of a child. Workers would have been able to take nine weeks off in order to care for themselves or family members dealing with serious medical issues. There was also a “safe leave” category for employees recovering from domestic violence.

The Senate changed the leave from calendar year to application year to ensure that employees can’t take more than 12 weeks off in a year. Another change on the Senate floor was adding a required 20-day notice when possible. The Seante also expanded the time employees have to pay into this fund before they can apply for paid time off. The original bill only required 90 days but that was expanded to six months, a move that was popular with small business owners.

As for funding, both employees and employers with more than five workers would contribute to a state fund to pay the workers on leave. For every $1,000 in wages, it would cost $5 for workers and $4 for employers.  Opponents of the bill said 12 weeks off is just too much for most businesses to manage and argued the list of qualifying circumstances was too broad. Small business owners argue this bill would be a financial burden on employers and limit the ability of business owners to help out their employees on their own terms.

Senate Bill 3 passed the Senate on February 9 on a  25-15. It was then  heard on the House floor February 14  but the House  lawmakers rejected the proposal on a 34-36 vote.



The failure of the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act was without a doubt  the biggest notable failure to pass in that it has been a major priority of Progressive Democrats in both the House and Senate. The defeat of the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act in the House was an unexpected loss to progressive Democrats. The defeat of the bill in the House resulted in great anger  when it was defeated by 2 votes and it was a stunning set back to House Democrats and Progressive Democrat House Speaker Javier Martinez.

What brought on the defeat of the legislation in the House was 11 conservative to moderate Democrats who joined forces with all the House Republicans to kill the measure. The House defeat of the paid family and medical leave act occurred on the next to last day of the legislative session.   House Speaker Javier Martinez was accused of calling for a vote to “get people on the record” and being out maneuvered lobbyist who  persuaded him to bring the act to a floor vote when he was  uncertain but was assured the votes were there by the lobbyists.  Martinez responded to the  accusations saying this:

“I put the paid family leave bill on the floor because it deserved a floor hearing and debate, and while there were other tough bills that I could have brought to the floor on the final day, I prioritized family medical leave because it’s been a long time in coming. I knew there was an even chance of it going either way. … I didn’t put that bill on the floor simply to “get people on the record.” That’s not how I operate.” 

Martinez said the 2025 session could be the one where the bill could meet with success.

Republicans celebrated the failure of the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act calling it a win for New Mexico businesses and employees. House Minority Leader Lane called that measure’s failure a “resounding win” for New Mexico’s businesses and employees. Lane said this:

“The fact that [the] bill came to a screeching halt on the House floor, I think, sends a huge message. … It’s not flexible for business owners [or] for employees that don’t want to participate in that system. And so I think that should be a resounding wake-up call.”


On Monday, January 29, the Senate Health and Public Affairs Committee voted on a 5-4 vote to table Senate Bill 122 know as the Reputable Presumption Bill.  The Reputable Presumption Bill provides that a criminal defendant who is charged with specified serious violent crimes, such as murder, is presumed to be a danger to the community and upon arrest must remain in jail until trial with no exceptions.

The aim of rebuttable presumption” is to make it easier for more defendants to be held in custody before they’ve been convicted and to keep them from committing new crimes. Proponents of rebuttable presumption say it will reduce violent crime.  Opponents of rebuttable presumption say courts can already keep a defendant behind bars and that reputable presumption shifts the burden of proof to defendants and violates the basic constitutional right of presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

Under the United State Constitution and the New Mexico Constitution, a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty and has the right to post bond to be released until trial. Under existing New Mexico law, whenever prosecutors ask a judge to hold someone accused of a crime in jail until trial, they must prove that no release conditions will reasonably protect the safety of another person or the community.  The prosecution is required to prove “by clear and convincing evidence that (1) the defendant poses a future threat to others or the community, and (2) no conditions of release will reasonably protect the safety of another person or the community.”  Rebuttable presumption shifts the burden of proof from the state to the accused to show they are not a danger and should be released pending trial

The defeat of Senate Bill 122 came as no surprise. This is the third time that Rebuttable Presumption has failed to make it out of committee. Simply put, rebuttable presumption is unconstitutional.  The New Mexico Constitution is very clear that the prosecution bears the  burden of proof. The use of a rebuttable presumption and relying on different burden of proof and evidence by the prosecution to meet that burden is directly contrary to that constitutional provision. The New Mexico Supreme Court has also repeatedly made it clear the prosecutors burden of proof has two requirements: the accused person is dangerous, and no conditions of release will reasonably protect the community from them.


Governor Lujan Grisham took strong exception to Reputable Presumption once again failing to pass and she  took note of the failure which was made possible by opposition from her own party. The Governor said this:

“I am dismayed that our Legislature has once again refused to undertake an honest, robust debate on the state of our pretrial release system. Crime is out of control and something needs to change. We have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in behavioral health services, education, economic opportunity – critical components that ensure every New Mexican gets a fair shake. However, I will not stand by as repeat violent offenders walk in and out of our courthouses without consequence. A rebuttable presumption is not an extreme policy, and ours is modeled after federal law that has been in place for decades. It is time for the Legislature and the public to stand up and give this proposal the robust debate that New Mexicans agree it deserves.”


Senate Bill 71  would have created an Office of Housing that would be attached to the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration. The governor would appoint the office’s director, who would oversee studies on housing issues and work with government agencies and private developers to plan and fund projects.  The office will require three or four full-time employees, which will be funded from the Governor’s office budget. The office would be tasked with working hand in hand with the quasi-governmental New Mexico Mortgage Finance (MFA) Authority and other organizations. But according to the the legislative analysis, the Mortgage Finance Authority has raised concerns about overlap with the MFA noting the office would duplicate much of the work it already does,” the report said.

On February 8, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham showed up to the  Senate-House Public Affairs Committee to push personally for enactment of the bill. The Senate-House Public Affairs Committee voted 5-4 to advance the bill to the Senate Finance Committee with no recommendation, instead of the more common “do pass” recommendation. The bill never made it out of the Finance committee  to the Senate floor for enactment.

Notwithstanding, the Legislature did send along $125 million for housing development. Governor Lujan Grisham pointed out that lawmakers sent money to the Mortgage Finance Authority, New Mexico Finance Authority and homelessness, and there still other dollars the Department of Finance and Administration can give out.


HOUSE BILL 137  ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN BIILL.  This bill did not make it through either chamber. It would ban gas-operated semi-automatic guns. It would also prohibit detachable magazines that hold more than 10 bullets, bump stocks, and other “machine gun” attachments which are designed to increase the rate of fire. It mimics a bill U.S. Sen. Martin Hein introduced in the Senate known as the GOSAFE Act. There are exceptions in the bill for government agencies, as well as Native American tribes and pueblos.

The New Mexico Department of Justice and the Administrative Office of the Courts warned the bill may result in lawsuits against the State of New Mexico. The estimated cost of defending against legal challenges is $450,000 and an additional $5,500 per event to provide security to court personnel. Analysts also noted the bill is expected to result in more people ending up in prison, raising the costs of housing inmates.

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Before any legislation can become law, it must go through the committee process of each chamber, and if amended referred back to the originating chamber to approve changes, and be enacted by both chambers and sent the Governor for signature to become law and even then, it could be vetoed by the governor.

A whopping 780 bills and memorials were introduced for consideration. There were 344 separate House Bills, 3 House Joint Memorials, 15 House Joint Resolutions, 60 House Memorials, 1 House Resolution. There were 317 separate Senate Bills, 2 Senate Joint Memorials, 18 Senate Joint Resolutions, 19 Senate Memorials and 1 Senate Resolution. Most of the Bills never received a single committee hearing. Some weren’t even printed.

In total, lawmakers passed 72 pieces of legislation over 30 days, or about 2.4 bills per day. Any particular bill’s chance stood about an 11% chance of making it to the governor’s desk.  The Governor is now suggesting that she will call a special session to deal with crime measures that failed.

During the last week of the session, lawmakers endured longer days and nights, packed schedules and marathon sessions getting bills through the House and Senate committees and ultimately voting on the chamber floors.  Simply put, trying to squeeze in so much work into a 30 session is crazy and no way to do business. 30-day sessions should be a thing of the pass as should be 60 days sessions and a full time, pay legislature with much longer sessions is long overdue.

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Pete Dinelli was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is of Italian and Hispanic descent. He is a 1970 graduate of Del Norte High School, a 1974 graduate of Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a 1977 graduate of St. Mary's School of Law, San Antonio, Texas. Pete has a 40 year history of community involvement and service as an elected and appointed official and as a practicing attorney in Albuquerque. Pete and his wife Betty Case Dinelli have been married since 1984 and they have two adult sons, Mark, who is an attorney and George, who is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Pete has been a licensed New Mexico attorney since 1978. Pete has over 27 years of municipal and state government service. Pete’s service to Albuquerque has been extensive. He has been an elected Albuquerque City Councilor, serving as Vice President. He has served as a Worker’s Compensation Judge with Statewide jurisdiction. Pete has been a prosecutor for 15 years and has served as a Bernalillo County Chief Deputy District Attorney, as an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney and as a Deputy City Attorney. For eight years, Pete was employed with the City of Albuquerque both as a Deputy City Attorney and Chief Public Safety Officer overseeing the city departments of police, fire, 911 emergency call center and the emergency operations center. While with the City of Albuquerque Legal Department, Pete served as Director of the Safe City Strike Force and Interim Director of the 911 Emergency Operations Center. Pete’s community involvement includes being a past President of the Albuquerque Kiwanis Club, past President of the Our Lady of Fatima School Board, and Board of Directors of the Albuquerque Museum Foundation.