Legislation to Boost Outdoor Recreation Industry Introduced

SENATOR JEFF STEINBORN

 

Legislators Introduce Bi-Partisan Legislation to Boost

Outdoor Recreation Industry

 Legislation Invites Outdoor Retailer Trade Show to New Mexico &

Seeks to Study Creation of “Office of Outdoor Recreation”

 

Santa Fe, NM – A bi-partisan group of legislators in the New Mexico Senate and House of Representatives today joined forces to boost jobs in the promising outdoor recreation industry in New Mexico.   The legislators introduced House Memorial 91 & Senate Memorial 119 to require studying the creation of a state “Office of Outdoor Recreation”.  Additional measures, House Memorial 92 & Senate Memorial 130, invite the nation’s largest outdoor industry trade show, the ‘Outdoor Retailer Trade Show’ to locate in New Mexico.  Senators Jeff Steinborn (D-Las Cruces) and Sander Rue (R-Albuquerque) and Representatives Nathan Small (D-Las Cruces) and Jason Harper (R-Rio Rancho) introduced the legislation to expand the state’s economic development efforts related to growing the outdoor recreation industry.

 

“With this legislation we want to send a clear message that New Mexicans love their public lands and we welcome tourists and businesses alike involved in the outdoor recreation industry to locate in New Mexico,” said Senator Jeff Steinborn.

 

“New Mexico offers world class public lands and values shared by our outdoor retailers. To grow our economy we must maximize these strengths.  Our incredible land, culture, and quality of life provide us a robust potential for creating new jobs and opportunities,” said Democratic Representative Nathan Small.

 

New Mexico currently has a robust outdoor recreation economic sector supporting 68,000 jobs and more than $450 million in tax revenue each year.  The New Mexico True campaign invests heavily in promoting the state’s vast natural resources.  The legislation introduced seeks to build on the state’s strengths and create jobs related to this sector.

 

The neighboring states of Colorado and Utah already have created Offices of Outdoor Recreation to target the multibillion outdoor recreation industry.

 

The bi-annual Outdoor Retailer Show draws approximately 29,000 attendees from around the world and creates direct spending of approximately $45 million.  The show is currently soliciting bids from states to host next year’s show. It has been held in Salt Lake City, Utah for the past two decades, but organizers recently announced their desire to switch locations in response to Utah’s intent to sell off large swaths of public lands.

 

“As a Boy Scout leader and avid camper, I enjoy sharing the stunning vistas and deep history of our beautiful New Mexico. With the recent establishment of the Rio Grande Trail Commission, developing a 500 mile trail along the Rio Grande from Colorado to Texas, we are a perfect destination for the Outdoor Retailers Trade show and outdoor manufacturers,” added Republican Representative Jason Harper.

 

“New Mexicans deep connection to their land provide a perfect synergy to growing this important economic market. From hiking, hunting and fishing, to skiing, climbing and camping, you can’t beat what New Mexico has to offer,” said Republican Senator Sander Rue.

 

The Outdoor Retailer Trade Show attracts thousands of buyers and senior level decision makers that are looking for outdoor specific products, services, brands, fresh ideas, apparel launches, and outdoor innovation. Sponsors have included Spyder, Vibram, Artic Cool, Mueller, Gore-tex, Clif Bar, and many more.

 

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Voter Registration Time Period Expansion Passed by Senate

SENATOR JEFF STEINBORN

Senate Passes Legislation to Greatly Expand Voter Registration Time Period

(Santa Fe, NM) – The New Mexico Senate today passed by a vote of 19 to 11 Senator Jeff Steinborn’s (D – 36 – Doña Ana) bill to allow qualified New Mexico residents to register to vote up until 3 days prior to an election at certain locations.  Current law allows voter registration to occur only until 28 days preceding an election.   If enacted, SB 224 would enable the largest expansion of voter registration rights in many years in the state.

“I am grateful to the Senate for supporting this important voting rights reform today. It is imperative that the Legislature expand voting opportunities in New Mexico, and remove hurdles where they exist.  This bill will do that.  This legislation will greatly expand the time period that citizens can register to vote and result in more people exercising their right to vote.  When more citizens participate in our democracy, our democracy is stronger,” said Sen. Jeff Steinborn.

SB 224 would change current law to allow qualified citizens to register at any early voting center or a county clerk’s office until three days before a primary and a general election.  The bill would increase the length of time during which voters may register by 25 days, while putting in place safeguards to maintain the security of the state’s voter registration system.

“I’m very pleased that the state senate has embraced increasing access to the ballot box and making it easier for every eligible citizen to cast a ballot. I’m grateful for their support, and look forward to making a strong case for this legislation when it is considered by the House,” said New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver.

“We applaud Senator Steinborn for working to ensure all eligible New Mexicans are registered to vote. Democracy works best when the highest number of people participate in the process. Low voter turnout has been a problem in New Mexico, and registering through early voting is an effective way to boost voter turnout,” said Viki Harrison, Executive Director of New Mexico Common Cause.

“Senator Steinborn’s bill greatly expands civic engagement and participation.  Many young would-be voters have been shut out of voting because they do not realize that there is a 28-day deadline. The three-day application allows for ample time for voter registrations to be processed.  We appreciate Sen. Steinborn’s efforts to promote democracy through this common sense legislation,” said Meredith Machen, President of the New Mexico League of Women Voters.

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Legislation to Add Solar Power on State Buildings Passes Senate

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Legislation to Add Solar Power on State Buildings Passes Senate

Bill Would Save State Millions on Utility Bills and Create Jobs

(Santa Fe, NM) –  With strong bipartisan support, the Senate today voted by a vote of 36 – 4 to pass Senate Bill 227, a bill that would require the State to utilize renewable energy on its 750 buildings so long as it would “provide a net savings on utility costs and not require any upfront costs.”  Senator Jeff Steinborn (D- 36-Dona Ana), the sponsor of SB 227, said the move would be a huge win-win opportunity for the state of New Mexico.

“I’m thrilled that the Senate has passed this common sense legislation. As more and more cities embrace the use of solar power on government facilities, New Mexico is poised to become a leader in this field. This legislation provides an incredible opportunity for us to not only save taxpayer money, but create great jobs all over the state,” said Sen. Steinborn.

The legislation now moves to the New Mexico House of Representatives.

Several cities in New Mexico have recently expanded the use of solar power on government facilities including Las Cruces, Albuquerque, and Santa Fe. Other states have also increased the use of solar power in this way.

“The state of New Mexico owns over 750 buildings and currently only has solar power on two of them,” said Sen. Steinborn.

SB 227 would enable the State to take advantage of modern solar power financing techniques called “power purchase agreements.” Through the agreements, a private solar provider invests all of the upfront costs involved in setting up a solar system, and in return collects a portion of the utility bill for a set period of time.  The State government would pay no up-front costs, and save on its reduced energy costs over time.

Local solar providers applauded the passage of SB 227 through the Senate. “The solar industry is excited and ready to work with the state to provide cost effective solar energy,” said Karen Paramanandam, Marketing Director for SunPower for Positive Solar energy.

According to the Solar Foundation, the solar industry employs 2,900 people in New Mexico.

“Putting solar panels on state government buildings is a win-win-win for New Mexico: it will help reduce air and water pollution, save the state a lot of money in electricity costs every year, and create jobs right here in New Mexico,” said Sanders Moore, director of Environment New Mexico. “We applaud Sen. Steinborn for taking the lead to move New Mexico forward with renewable electricity.”

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Senate Passes Sen. Papen’s Bipartisan Bill to Put Due Process Protections in Place When Medicaid Fraud is Alleged of Behavioral Health Providers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
Senate Passes Sen. Papen’s Bipartisan Bill to Put Due Process Protections in Place When Medicaid Fraud is Alleged of Behavioral Health Providers
 
(Santa Fe, NM) –The New Mexico Senate today passed by a vote of 31 – 9 and with huge bipartisan support legislation to protect providers of health care who are falsely accused of fraud by the State.  The measure, sponsored by Senate President Pro Tem, Mary Kay Papen(D-38-Dona Ana), establishes strong new procedures for due process. SB 217, ‘Medicaid Access, Disputes & Fraud’, will guarantee that providers who stand accused of fraud will receive the opportunity to review the allegations made against them, and the chance to respond to allegations in an administrative hearing, and also in district court.  That opportunity did not exist by law in 2013 when 15 non-profits and firms were mostly put out of business, only subsequently to be cleared of any wrongdoing by the Attorney General.
“I am grateful to my colleagues for helping to make sure that a tragedy affecting vulnerable children and adults in need of critical mental health and substance abuse treatment never happens again.  Before people with mental health disorders are forced to go without treatment for their conditions because of disruption of services, due process is needed. I am confident SB 217 will accomplish the transparency and independent analysis in these situations that is needed.  Let’s never have what happened during the last four years in behavioral health in New Mexico ever occur again. If this bill makes it to her desk, I am calling on the Governor to sign it,” Said Sen. Papen.
SB 217 responds to the disruption in care which began in 2013 when Governor Susana Martinez’s administration leveled charges of overbilling and fraud against the state’s long-standing treatment providers under Medicaid. Even though the Attorney General’s Office subsequently cleared all of them of the allegations, there are still large gaps in accessible coverage across the state, and the State has never returned more than $11 million in payments owed to the providers from that time. Many went out of business as a result.
“This legislation is critical to ensure that all healthcare providers who deliver services to Medicaid beneficiaries are protected.  New Mexico has the highest per capita Medicaid-eligible population in the whole U.S.  42% of New Mexicans currently qualify for access to Medicaid healthcare.  This bill is critical to ensure that we have professional healthcare capacity in the future,” said Patricia Romero, CEO of Easter Seals El Mirador.
The provision of behavioral health services in New Mexico has never recovered. The companies from Arizona brought in to replace pre-2013 providers now all have left, except for one.
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Bill to Make Pharma Drug Companies Negotiate Lower Prices Passes Key Committee on Bipartisan Unanimous Vote

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Bill to Make Pharma Drug Companies Negotiate Lower Prices for State Taxpayers Passes Key Committee on Bipartisan, Unanimous Vote

SB 354 “Pharmaceuticals Purchasing Council” Could Save State $100 Million

 

(Santa Fe, NM) – Legislation to save taxpayers millions of dollars by requiring the State to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices today passed the Senate Public Affairs Committee by a bipartisan, unanimous vote.  Senate Bill 354, ‘Interagency Pharmaceutical Purchasing Council’, would require that all state agencies and state benefit providers who purchase prescription drugs negotiate for bulk purchasing discounts.  In fiscal year 2016 the combined state agencies spent over $670 million on prescription drugs, a staggering 54% increase in just two years.

 

“At a time when budgets for classrooms and other key public services are being slashed, and proposals are being pushed to force tens of thousands of public employees to pay more for their retirement and benefits, negotiating for lower drug prices is just common sense, and urgent.   By doing so, we could literally save the state millions of dollars every year,” said Senator Steinborn.

 

“This bill, if implemented, could save New Mexico $100 million per year in prescription drug costs,” said Dr. Martin Hickey of New Mexico Health Connections, the state’s non-profit health plan established by the Affordable Care Act.

 

New Mexico is currently negotiating prescription drug costs on a limited basis only.  SB 354 would bring more agencies into cost containment efforts by state government, expanding its purchasing power.  SB 354 creates new transparency and public oversight of the negotiating Council, resulting in more aggressive and successful drug cost savings for the state.

 

SB 354 would require the Council to evaluate a broader range of cost containment strategies, including partnering with other states who already conduct bulk purchasing that realize billions in savings for state budgets.

 

Steinborn’s bill would leverage taxpayer-funded health agencies in New Mexico including the Departments of Health, Human Services, Corrections, Medicaid, retired State government workers’ benefits, UNM, and other organizations, to negotiate lower drug prices.

 

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Senator Bill O’Neill Bill to “Ban the Box” Clears the Senate

Senator Bill O’Neill Bill to “Ban the Box” Clears the Senate

(Santa Fe, NM)— Today, The Senate passed Senator Bill O’Neill’s bill to “Ban the Box,” ensuring New Mexicans have adequate job opportunities despite what happened in their pasts.

Senate Bill 78 will prevent employers from including a question about prior convictions on job applications.

“People who have committed crimes deserve to be punished, but once they have completed their sentences, their ability to find jobs and be productive members of society is crucial,” said Senator O’Neill.

“Many people with convictions find it difficult to find a job; making the likelihood they will re-offend skyrocket. That’s the opposite of what we want,” Senator O’Neill continued.

This bill now goes to the House for consideration and if passed to the Governor, for her signature.

 

Senate Passes Bipartisan Funding Solution to Ensure Courts Can Pay Juries Through End of Fiscal Year

New Mexico Senate Democrats

For Immediate Release: February 20, 2017

Contact: Zach Marcus (505) 986-4882 Zachary.Marcus@nmlegis.gov

Senate Passes Bipartisan Funding Solution to Ensure Courts Can Pay Juries Through End of Fiscal Year

(Santa Fe, NM) Today the Senate overwhelmingly voted to provide the Judiciary with funding needed to pay juries through the end of the Fiscal Year. Previously, Governor Susana Martinez vetoed two different attempts to appropriate funding needed to prevent court closures, ensure court services continue, and fund jury trials.

House Bill 261 will provide the $1.6 million to the Administrative Offices of the Courts needed to keep the jury fund solvent through the end of the fiscal year and an additional $80 thousand for the New Mexico Supreme Court need to make up for a projected shortfall.

“The Legislature continues to recognize the crisis facing our courts. After two previous attempts, the legislature acted with one voice to ensure a coequal branch of Government has the money it needs to meet their constitutional obligations,” said Senator Majority Leader Wirth.

“Our courts are getting the funding they desperately need. I will work closely with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure this bill is signed into law, “said Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto who sponsored the legislation in the New Mexico Senate.

This bill now goes to the New Mexico House of Representatives for concurrence.

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Senator Bill O’Neill Bill to “Ban the Box” Heads to the Senate Floor

New Mexico Senate Democrats

For Immediate Release: February 7, 2017

Contact: Zach Marcus (505) 986-4882 Zachary.Marcus@nmlegis.gov

Senator Bill O’Neill Bill to “Ban the Box” Heads to the Senate Floor

(Santa Fe, NM) Senator Bill O’Neill today passed legislation through Senate Judiciary Committee to ensure New Mexicans have adequate job opportunities despite what happened in their pasts.

Senate Bill 78 will prevent employers from including a question about prior convictions on job applications.

“We want the goal of our prison system to be punishing offenders certainly, but we also want those offenders to serve their sentences and rejoin society,” said Senator O’Neill.

“If we prevent people who have committed a crime from being able to find a job when they come home, we only force them to return to a life of crime to feed their families. That is simply unacceptable,” said Senator O’Neill.

This Bill now goes to Senate Judiciary Committee and then to the Senate Floor.

 

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Senate Advances Legislation to Greatly Expand Voter Registration Time Period

SENATOR JEFF STEINBORN

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Senate Advances Senator Jeff Steinborn’s Legislation to Greatly Expand Voter Registration Time Period

(Santa Fe, NM) – A key Senate committee today approved Senator Jeff Steinborn’s (D – 36 – Dona Ana) bill to allow qualified New Mexico residents to register to vote up until 3 days prior to an election at certain locations.  Current law allows voter registration to occur only until 28 days preceding an election.   If enacted, SB 224 would enable the largest expansion of voter registration rights in many years in the state.

“It is long overdue that New Mexico update its antiquated 28-day cut off period for citizens to register to vote.  Clearly, we have the technology to safely enable citizens to register much closer to the election.  This bill is a great step forward to make that happen,” said Sen. Steinborn.

“We applaud Senator Steinborn for working to ensure all eligible New Mexicans are registered to vote. Democracy works best when the highest number of people participate in the process. Low voter turnout has been a problem in New Mexico, and registering through early voting is an effective way to boost voter turnout,” said Viki Harrison, Executive Director of New Mexico Common Cause.

“Senator Steinborn’s bill greatly expands civic engagement and participation.  Many young would-be voters have been shut out of voting because they do not realize that there is a 28-day deadline. The three-day application allows for ample time for voter registrations to be processed.  We appreciate Sen. Steinborn’s efforts to promote democracy through this common sense legislation,” said Meredith Machen, President of the New Mexico League of Women Voters.

SB 224 would change current law to allow qualified citizens to register at any early voting center or a county clerk’s office until three days before a primary and a general election.  The bill would increase the length of time during which voters may register by 25 days, while putting in place safeguards to maintain the security of the state’s voter registration system.

Steinborn’s bill is supported by good government groups including the League of Women Voters, and New Mexico Common Cause, and Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver.

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Legislation to Add Solar Power on State Buildings Passes Key Senate Committee

NEW MEXICO STATE SENATOR JEFF STEINBORN

Legislation to Add Solar Power on State Buildings Passes Key Senate Committee

Bill Would Save State Millions on Utility Bills, Create Jobs

(Santa Fe, NM) –  The Senate Conservation Committee today voted unanimously to pass Senate Bill 227, a bill that would require the State to utilize solar power on its 750 buildings so long as it would “provide a net savings on utility costs and not require any upfront costs.”  Senator Jeff Steinborn (D- 36-Dona Ana), the sponsor of SB 227, said the move would be a huge win-win opportunity for the state of New Mexico.

“By harnessing our abundant solar resources on state buildings, we would not only save taxpayers potentially millions of dollars of utility costs over time, but also create needed good jobs in New Mexico in the process.  The state of New Mexico owns over 750 buildings and currently only has solar power on two of them,” said Sen. Steinborn.

The General Services Department (GSD) is the central clearinghouse for state government, providing office space, state vehicles, health care policies, and more to state agencies and staff.  GSD owns over 750 State Buildings and leases another 2,000,000 square feet of office space.

SB 227 would enable the State to take advantage of modern solar power financing techniques called “power purchase agreements.” Through the agreements, a private solar provider invests all of the upfront costs involved in setting up a solar system, and in return collects a portion of the utility bill for a set period of time.  The State government would pay no up-front costs, and save on its reduced energy costs over time.

According to the Solar Foundation, the solar industry employs 1,600 people in New Mexico.

Matthew Davis, past President of the New Mexico Association of Energy Engineers supports the new energy efficiency legislation.  “The state is lagging behind some of our counties and cities as many of them are already pursuing energy efficiency and renewable resources in their facilities. This has the potential to save many millions of dollars in the long run, and alleviate some of the stress on our aging utility grid,” he said.

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