News from the Legislative Session – Three bills signed into law

Posted on 30. Mar, 2013 by Stephan Helgesen in Politics

Senator Rue’s Anti-Corruption Bill signed into law

Santa Fe- Senator Sander Rue’s bill that fights corruption with sole source state contracts was signed into law today.  The governor today signed SB 182- Procurement Code Changes.   The bill was also sponsored by Representative Lucky Varela.

Senator Rue said sole source work is especially vulnerable to fraud because it is not competitive when there is only one bidder.  Senator Rue had said about his bill:

“We need to knock out any chance what-so-ever of corruption, fraud and abuse in bidding for state work,” Senator Rue said.  “In the procurement code, there needs to be more transparency so illegal activities can’t be hidden from the public. There should no longer be any chance of sweetheart deals of the past. We don’t want to have a mobster mentality in the state. If there is a violation, hit the offenders with stiffer penalties.”

The new law makes five significant changes to the New Mexico Procurement Code (CODE) to deter illegal activity in the bidding process.  For all bids, it increases penalties for violations and requires all records to be saved for at least three years. In sole source bids, it allows for protesting the non-competitive bids; it tightens the definition of who is eligible to receive the sole source bids; and it increases transparency of the sole source bids.

Senator Rue said all contractors should have the same, fair opportunity to bid on state contracts.

**********

Senator Pat Woods’ bill to Revitalize Frontier Communities was Signed into Law

69 Incorporated Rural Communities Affected

(Santa Fe) Senator Pat Woods (R-Broadview)“Frontier Communities” bill was  signed into law by the governor today.  Previously, a bill he co-sponsored to lower the price of fishing licenses to encourage more outdoor recreation was also signed into law.

Senator Woods said he is pleased the governor signed the bill to included  smaller,  rural communities in the New Mexico Main Street program.“We are no longer the wild, wild West but we are still very unique because we are the last frontier in the United States and people want to experience that.  Frontier communities give you an experience you cannot find anywhere else. They deserve to be included in the New Mexico Main Street program so the smaller, rural  communities can be revitalized and enjoyed for decades and centuries to come.” Senator Woods said. “We are grateful for the opportunity to help preserve our heritage in the 69 incorporated rural communities that now can be included this program.”

Senator Woods said $100,000 for the New Mexico Main Street program was included in the budget bill.

Senator Woods’ bill, SB 185aa amends the New Mexico  Main Street Act [3-60B-1 and 4 NMSA 1978] to include a new category. The new category of community economic development support by the MainStreet Program is called “Frontier Communities.” It is to help rural communities under 5,000 in population with economic development initiatives.

Through the New Mexico Main Street programs a program which is supported by the National Trust for Historic Preservation,  technical assistance is given to the communities to revitalize them. Assistance is given to rehabilitate buildings, to address infrastructure needs and to  fund capital improvements. It is done through a non-profit corporation, with local Main Street organizations working in partnership with cities.

The Main Street program is part of an economic development network of more than 37 states and 1200 communities across the country that was launched in 1984 in New Mexico.

The low-cost, special  $2.00 fishing license bill was  signed into law by the  governor earlier this month, on March 8th.  The law, co-sponsored by Senator Woods, allows boy scouts under 18 years old to fish with a discounted temporary special fishing license at Philmont Scout Ranch in Northeastern  New Mexico.

“We need to do all we can to attract kids to the outdoor experience,” Senator Woods had said.  “If a discounted $2.00 fishing license gets more kids to cast a line,  great!”

Senator Woods said attracting scouts to Northeastern  New Mexico  is  also great for business in the area.  He said scouts from all over the country travel to the Philmont Scout Ranch, spending money in the area when they arrive. He also notes the ranch hires as many as 3,000 people and that their salaries add to economic development in the area.

**********

Sen. Ingle’s  Bill to Better Assure Healthier Teacher Pension Plan Signed into Law

SB 115a-Educational Retirement Changes

Sponsored by Senate Minority Floor Leader Stuart Ingle (R-Ingle)

SB 115a makes numerous changes to the ERB including:

  • Increases employee contributions, reduces COLA;
  • Maintains employer contributions at levels enacted in 2005;
  • Increases the age to quality for the cost of living adjustment for new hires;
  • Requires minimum age of 55 to receive retirement benefits that are not reduced.

Santa Fe-  The bill, sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Stuart Ingle (R-Portales)   to better assure that there will continue to be a pension for teachers and other educators in New Mexico’s public schools was signed into law today.   Currently, the Education Board Fund (ERB)  that pays for teacher retirement has huge unfunded liabilities.  There are $6.2 billion dollars fewer dollars in the fund than what are needed for the pensions for current retirees and for  employees who will retire in the future.  The bill makes changes to the pension plan to improve the ERB financial stability from its current 60.7% of unfunded liabilities to over 100% funded by 2043.

“We need to do this now,” Senator Ingle has said. “The legislature has the ability to hopefully fix this matter now so the fund will grow healthier well into the future.  I appreciate the governor signing this important and necessary piece of legislation.”

This information was submitted by the New Mexico State Senate Republican Office. For more information, contact 505/986-4702., ATTN: Diane Kinderwater

Tags:

Comments are closed.

Bad Behavior has blocked 221 access attempts in the last 7 days.