As we begin the last week of the 54th NM Legislative Session there remains a lot of unfinished business. This afternoon the Senate Finance Committee will release the Senate version of HB 2, General Appropriations Act. In the same committee, HB 360, Educational Retirement Changes, will be heard as well as HB 501, Increase Certain PERA & ERB Contributions. Both bills have passed the House and are on the last track in the Senate. Their journey has been challenging. Both bills will see the Employer Contributions amended from .05% to .25%. At this stage nothing is guaranteed.
Over the weekend the House released a $30.4 million spending plan, HB 2, JR, which will provide $400,000 for each House member to decide how to spend. The last time the legislature passed a supplement spending plan was in 2007. These monies will be spent on law enforcement firearms, courtroom furniture and a recently eliminated University of New Mexico sports team (Beach volleyball). The Senate will release a similar plan later this week.
Finally, the Retiree Health Care Authority bill (HB 95), for the fifth year in a row, did not fare well in the Legislature. This is a serious concern, particularly the possible impact on retirees. The RHCA Board will continue to seek a resolution in 2020. We will have more information at a later date.
As of March 11, 2019 there have been a total of 1654 bills introduced. The House has passed 352 bills, memorials & resolutions, while the Senate has passed 319 bills, memorials & resolutions. The Governor has signed 45 bills into law.
Here are the bills we are following and their status:
HB 2, General Appropriations Act of 2019, Rep. Patricia Lundsrom This bill authorizes expenditures by State Agencies as required by law.
The HAFC subcommittee approved the LFC recommendation for FY20. The LFC budget is slightly higher than the Governor's recommendation. HB 2 was passed in the House on a 46-23 vote and awaits a vote today in the Senate Finance Committee.
SB 14, Educational Retirement Changes, Sen. Stuart Ingle & Rep Tomas Salazar. To ensure fiscal strength and long-term sustainability, this bill requests eight changes to achieve full funding in a 30 year period. This week SB 14 was heard in Senate Education Committee and was given a DO PASS. It has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee. SB 14 received a DO PASS in the Senate Education Committee and was TABLED last Friday afternoon in Senate Finance Committee.
HB 50, Audit Review by Board of Finance, Rep. Rudy Martinez, Rep.
Abbas Akhill & Rep. William "Bill" Pratt. HB 50 HAS BEEN SIGNED INTO LAW.
SB 57, Additional Reports by Board of Finance, Sen. Sander Rue. This bill would require ERB, Office of the Treasurer, PERA and SIC to provide additional information as part of the annual financial audit process. SB57 received a DO PASS in the Senate Public Affairs and Senate Finance Committee and remains on the Senate calendar.
HB 97, Local Government Investment Pool Participants, Rep. Tomas Salazar. HB 97 HAS BEEN SIGNED INTO LAW.
SB 157, Sick Leave for Educational Retirement Credit, Sen. William Soules. SB 157 HAS BEEN SIGNED INTO LAW AND IS EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2020.
SB 235, Investment Performance Based Compensation, Sen Munoz. This bill would allow ERB & PERA Boards to set compensation, including incentive based compensation for certain investment staff, thus eliminating the current requirement of compensation increases for exempt staff being approved by the Department of Finance & Administration. SB 235 received a DO PASS in the Senate Public Affairs Committee and Senate Finance Committee. It is currently on the Senate calendar.
HB 338, PERA Board Retirement Changes, Rep. Tomas Salazar. The GOVERNOR HAS ESTABLISHED A NINETEEN PERSON TASK FORCE TO ADDRESS PERA PENSION ISSUES. A REPORT IS DUE TO THE GOVERNOR IN AUGUST 2019.
HB 360cs, Educational Retirement Changes. Rep. Tomas Salazar This bill provides changes to improve the sustainability of the Fund in a thirty year period. It is the House version of SB 14. HB 360 received a DO PASS in the House State Government, Election & Indian Affairs Committee and in the HAFC. On a 59-7 vote, HB 360 passed the House. HB 360cs is scheduled to be heard Monday, March 11th in the Senate Finance Committee.
SB 439, Educational Retirement Board Membership. Sen, Antoinette Sedillo Lopez. This bill would change the composition of the Educational Retirement Board from seven to nine members. The current composition includes the Secretary of Public Education or her designee, Rep. of National Education Association, Rep. of New Mexico Association of Educational Retirees, Rep. of American Association of University Professors, State Treasurer or his designee, and two Governor appointees with investment experience. The new composition would include the above and add a Rep. from the American Federation of Teachers Union, and one additional Governor Rep. with public education experience. SB 439 has been referred to the Senate Education Committee. SB 439 received a DO PASS in the Senate Education Committee and Senate Pubic Affairs Committee on a party line votes. On a 13-24 vote, HB 439 FAILED on the Senate floor.
HB 501, Increase Certain PERA & ERB Contributions, Rep. Jim Trujillo, Rep. Micaela Lara Cadena & Rep Sheryl Stapleton. This bill would increase the employer contributions for ERB & PERA by .05%. For PERA the rate would increase from 16.99 to 17.49%. For ERB the rate would increase from 13.9 to 14.4%. This is similar to the Executive recommendation. HB501 received a DO PASS in the House State Government, Election and Indian Affairs Committee and House Appropriations & Finance Committee. On a 61-4 vote, HB 501 passed the House. The bill is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Finance Committee today.
SB 664, Public Peace, Health, Safety & Welfare, Educational Retirement Benefits to Spouses, Sen. Jeff Steinborn. This bill provides for a surviving spouse or domestic partner to be considered a beneficiary if a deceased member of the Educational Retirement Plan has not otherwise designated a beneficiary. SB 664 received a DO PASS in the Senate Public Affairs Committee and a Do Not Pass-CS -DO PASS in the Senate Public Affairs Committee. On a 40- 0 vote, SB 664 passed the Senate. SB 664 is scheduled to be heard in the House State Government, Elections & Indian Affairs today.
HB 95, Retiree Health Care Fund Contributions, Rep Tomas Salazar This bill would incrementally increase rates of the Employee and Employer to the Retiree Health Care Fund. HB 95 is in the House State Government, Election & Indian Affairs Committee and will be heard on Wednesday, February 6, 2019. HB 95 received a unanimous DO PASS in the House State Government, Election & Indian Affairs Committee. HB 95 had a brief hearing in HAFC on Friday afternoon, March 1, 2019. The bill was given a temporary table over a funding issue on the amendment. HB 95 is dead for this session.
HM 5, New Mexico Association of Education Retiree Day, Rep. Sheryl Stapleton. HM 5 passed the House on a 70-0 vote.
SM 70, New Mexico Association of Education Retiree Day, Sen. Mimi Stewart.
SM 70 passed the Senate on a 43-0 vote.
HB 141, State Disclosure of Information, Rep. Miguel P. Garcia. This bill would prohibit state agency employees from disclosing "sensitive personal information," including a persons name. HB 141 received a DO PASS in the House State Government, Election & Indian Affairs Committee. HB 141cs (Committee Substitute) received a DO PASS in the House Judiciary and passed the House on a 42-24 vote. HB 141 received a DO PASS in the Senate Public Affairs Committee & is on the Senate Judiciary Committee calendar.
HB 449, 5-Year Literacy Initiative, Rep. Roberto "Bobbie" Gonzales, Rep.
Susan Herrera, Rep. Christine Trujillo, & Rep. Anthony Allison. This would conduct a five-year, statewide Literacy Initiative for children and adults. HB 449 received a DO PASS in House Education Committee and House Appropriations Committee. On a 62-0 vote, HB 449 passed the House. It awaits a referral in the Senate.
In closing, thank you for your SUPPORT. We appreciate your help these past few weeks. We hope our weekly update has kept you informed. I will provide a final summary of legislative activity next week. We will continue to keep you informed.
Have a great week!
"Remember, don't take your benefits for granted."