This is a summary from the New Mexico Municipal League:
Seven bills were passed by both chambers during last week’s special session and are currently awaiting the Governor’s signature. Below are brief summaries of each of those bills.
HB 1 “General Appropriation Act Sanding”
House Bill 1 reduces general fund appropriations in Laws 2020, Chapter 83 by $704.7 million, enables use of federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding, and authorizes transfers from the tax stabilization reserve fund to the general fund to ensure the state maintains a balanced budget in fiscal year 2021. Of the total amount of reductions, $417.6 million is recurring savings, while $292 million is related to nonrecurring expenditure reductions. Although the legislature has “appropriated” $165 million to local governments in HB 1, this is potential Federal Cares Act funding which has not been passed by the United States Senate. HB0001
HB 5 “NM Civil Rights Commission”
House Bill 5 would create the New Mexico Civil Rights Commission for the purpose of evaluating and making recommendations regarding the creation of a civil right of action for violations of state constitutional rights, as well as developing policy proposals for laws for the prohibition or limitation of the use of qualified immunity by state actors. The bill requires the commission to submit a report to the Courts, Corrections, and Justice Committee by November 15, 2020. This bill creates and designates nine members to the commission, six appointed by the New Mexico Legislative Council and three by the governor, as well as establishes procedures and rules for commission members. HB0005
HB 6 “Temporary Tax Waivers and Distributions
House Bill 6 (HB 6) implements temporary provisions to waive penalties and interest for tax liabilities related to (1) personal and corporate income taxes due between April 15, 2020 and July 15, 2020, (2) withholding taxes due between March 25, 2020 and July 25, 2020, (3) oil and gas proceeds and pass-through entity withholding taxes due between April 15, 2020 and July 25, 2020, (4) gross receipts and compensating taxes due between April 25, 2020 and July 25, 2020, and (5) managed audits performed between September 3, 2019 and January 3, 2020. The waiving of penalties and interest appears intended to provide flexibility to taxpayers unable to make tax payments due to the outbreak of a novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The bill also amends Section 7-1-6.64 NMSA 1978 to double the temporary monthly distribution in FY21 to municipalities from $1.25 million to $2.5 million and to counties from $750 thousand to $1.5 million; each to be distributed to local governments in proportion to the population for each government based on the most recent federal decennial census. HB0006
SB 3 “Small Business Recovery Act of 2020”
Senate Bill 3 creates the Small Business Recovery Act of 2020 and requires the State Investment Council (SIC) to commit the lesser of $400 million or 10 percent of the value of the severance tax permanent fund (STPF) to the New Mexico Finance Authority (NMFA) for “small business recovery loans”, $100 million is committed to loans to local governments. The bill also requires 1 percent of the STPF be committed to NMFA for loans to local governments to provide emergency economic relief. The bill contains reporting requirements to relevant legislative committees for both loan programs. SB0003
SB 4 “Temporary Election Changes”
This is for distribution to Mayors and municipal clerks. The Senate approved a floor amendment to SB4 which was subsequently adopted and sent on to the Governor for signature. The floor amendment makes changes to section 1-4-5.7 concerning on-site voter registration. In section 1-4-5.7.E the Senate added language that prohibited a voter who was registered with a major political party from changing their party affiliation when updating a certificate of registration at a polling place during a primary election. The effect of this language is to permit people who are registered as independents to change their registration to one of the major political parties at a voting location for purposes of voting in a primary election. SB0004
SB 5 “Solvency Measures”
Senate Bill 5 contains provisions increasing nonrecurring revenues by $124.2 million, recurring savings of $16.7 million, and authorizing $195 million in additional bonding capacity for capital projects. The bill contains an emergency clause. The nonrecurring general fund savings are made up of $10.9 million in capital outlay project voids, a $2.4 million sweep of funds from the border authority, a reduction of $75 million from transportation projects authorized in 2019, and various other fund sweeps totaling $33.6 million. Additionally, $2 million in funds tied to disaster declarations made prior to July 1, 2015 are swept to the appropriation contingency fund. Local governments would have 90 days after the Governor signs this piece of legislation to register their capital outlay projects otherwise the State will consider the projects void. SB0005
SB 8 “Law Enforcement Body Cameras”
Senate Bill 8 would create a new section of law requiring peace officers employed by certain law enforcement agencies who routinely interact with the public to wear a body-worn camera while on duty. Under the definition of “law enforcement agency” contained in this bill, this section of law applies to municipal police departments, county sheriffs’ offices, the New Mexico State Police, and the Department of Public Safety.
“Peace officer” is defined as any full-time salaried or certified part-time salaried officer who by virtue of office or public employment is vested by law with the duty to maintain the public peace. Law enforcement agencies are required to develop policies and procedures governing the use of these cameras, including requiring cameras be activated during calls for service or other law enforcement or investigative encounters between the officer and a member of the public, prohibiting deactivation of cameras until the end of the encounter, prohibiting the recording of general activity, requiring videos be retained by law enforcement agencies for at least 120 days, and establishing disciplinary rules for officers who fail to operate their cameras in accordance with these policies or who manipulate or prematurely erase video recordings. The bill specifies that peace officers who fail to comply with these policies and procedures are liable for the independent tort of negligent spoliation of evidence or the independent tort of intentional spoliation of evidence.
The bill amends the Tort Claims Act to make law enforcement officers liable for “the tort of negligent spoliation of evidence or the independent tort of intentional spoliation of evidence against a law enforcement officer” when caused by officers acting within the scope of their duties. The changes to the Tort Claims Act apply to all cases pending or on appeal on or after May 20, 2020. SB0008