Legislative Update

January 25, 2022

It’s that time of year again!

The 2022 Legislative Session began less than a week ago and there have already been a huge number of bills dropped for a short session. As you all know, they are trying to figure out how to spend the large surplus of money in our state this year. There have been bills ranging from Tax exemptions for military retirees, to multiple energy bills, to bills aimed at stopping or slowing crime, stopping cyber-attacks, and Education, Education, Education. The Governor and the National Guard may soon be teaching your children. But as for our insurance industry, there are only a few bills that we are actively tracking.

Many of the bills that could affect us are the Cannabis regulations. There is legislation to add the Cannabis language into the DWI testing and conviction bills, along with defining and regulating the sale of Cannabis. We will watch this closely and let everyone know what the final regulations are.

The Health insurance industry of course has a few bills one to fund the study of the Health Security Act, and its effects going forward, and to evaluate the Behavioral Health Parity Act and its impact on the behavioral health providers and facilities. Once again they have introduced the Health Easy Enrollment Act allowing the government to monitor tax returns and be allowed to contact anyone not showing health insurance on their tax return and attempting to get them enrolled in health insurance.

They have again introduced legislation to allow Proof of Auto Insurance on your cell phone or lap top, and insurance for Agritourism, which is for u-pick-it farms, corn mazes, pumpkin patches, and the like.

We will keep you updated on the activity. And as always, please feel free to contact me with questions, or to discuss any legislation you would like us to monitor. Be Well! Be Safe!

New Mexico Special Session Wrap-up 12/20/21

The Second Special Session of the 55th New Mexico Legislature began Monday December 6, 2021 at Noon.  It ended for the Senate on Thursday December 16, 2021 and for the House on Friday December 17, 2021.  It could have ended several days earlier but the Senate had a slight meltdown over their redistricting maps which extended everything by four days.  The main task was for redistricting but a couple of other items were added to the agenda.

The Legislature passed new maps and districts for themselves—the House and Senate—and they passed new Congressional maps (which the Governor has already signed) and a couple of other agencies.  Also passing was an appropriations bill to authorize the use of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) federal funds and a bill to amend the just passed Medical Malpractice Act to clarify definitions for independent health care providers which avoided a healthcare crisis on January 1, 2022.  Those two bills and the Legislative maps await the Governor’s signature. 

The ARPA appropriations bill (HB2)  transfers all $1.1 billion of the ARPA State Fiscal Recovery Funds to an account within the general fund. The Legislature moved $488ish million out of that account and funded:

-   $133.1 million of federal ARPA capital project funds for broadband infrastructure statewide and to the most remote areas of New Mexico.

-   $345 million for a variety of statewide needs - including state parks and trails, funds to address our nurse shortage, COVID-19 healthcare response, economic recovery projects, surface water and river habitat improvements and affordable housing.

The Legislature will do more appropriating of these funds plus additional federal funds during the regular 30-day session that begins of Tuesday January 18, 2022.

Thank you for your support.  Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a safe, healthy and prosperous New Year.  As usual stay tuned….

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The New Mexico State Legislature convenes in regular sessions on the third Tuesday in January each year. The Legislature meets for 60 days in odd-numbered years and 30 days in even-numbered years.

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