Legislative Update – March 12

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The state legislative session will end on March 21.  With less than two weeks left, it is getting to the wire for bills waiting for hearings.  Presently, this is the status of bills tracked by the NMAA:

The House passed a budget bill with cuts to state agencies between 5% and 15% depending on the program.  The acequia education program at DFA was cut 10% and the additional funds requested for the ACDF did not come through.  The budget bill is now in the Senate Finance Committee.

HB 40 (Bandy) Limit Municipal Condemnation of Water Rights.  This was amended in the House in negotiations between the bill proponents, the NMAA, and the NM Municipal League.  It passed the House and is scheduled for the Senate Conservation Committee.

HB 19 (Stewart) State Engineer Juristiction over Deep Aquifers.  This bill is awaiting its last hearing in Senate Judiciary Committee.

SB 486 (Ortiz y Pino) Remove Conservancy District Jurisdiction over Acequias.  This bill would remove acequias in the Middle Rio Grande from the jurisdiction of the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District.  It passed its second committee in the Senate and now heads to the full Senate for a vote.

SB 560 (McSorley) Farmer Protection act.  This bill would shift the liability for contationation from genetically engineered crops away from the farmer and to the seed manufacturer.  This was tabled in SCONC.

HJM 49 (Rodella) ONRW Designation.  This memorial would ask Governor Richardson to suspend the process to designate streams in New Mexico as Outstanding Natural Resource Waters.