This past week the Governor signed into law 42 of 48 of the "Rocket Docket" bills in the legislative package. Included in those 42 bills signed were three that we were following: HB 50, Audit Review by Board of Finance, HB 97, Local Government Investment Pool Participants, & SB 157, Sick leave for Educational Retirement credit. See details below.
Thursday and Friday the House worked late into the evening addressing the repeal of anti-abortion legislation and gun laws. These sessions provided for a lot of tension and procedural steps prior to voting.
Public Education continues to be in the forefront of the session. The big education bill SB 1, Public Education Changes has received a DO PASS in the Senate Education Committee, It has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee. HB 5, Public Education Changes, the companion bill to SB 1, is currently in the House Education Changes. This bill would change the funding formula, limit charter school membership, addresses the K-3 plus program and provide increased salaries for teachers and principals. At this point the Public School legislation is tied up in the budget preparations. Once HB 2 is completed other legislation will begin to be heard.
As of February 9, 2019 there have been 1178 bills introduced. Deadline for new legislation to be introduced is Thursday, February 14, 2019.
Here are the bills we are following and their status:
HB 2, General Appropriations Act of 2019, Rep Patricia Lundstrom.
This bill authorizes expenditures by State Agencies as required by law.
The HAFC subcommittee approved the LFC recommendation for FY20.
LFC budget is slightly higher than the Governor's recommendation. HB 2 remains in the HAFC.
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. The American Federation of Teachers Union indicated during the hearing that they would propose an amendment to reduce contributions for those making less that
$24,000 to 7.9% and eliminate the proposed minimum retirement age of 58 for those maintenance workers doing heavy work and with 25-30 years of service. SB 14 received a DO PASS in the Senate Education Committee and has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee for it's next hearing.
HB 50, Audit Review by Board of Finance, Rep. Rudy Martinez, Rep. Abbas Akhill & Rep. William "Bill" Pratt. This bill would require ERB, PERA & Office of the Treasurer to submit annual financial records to DFA for review. This bill is part of the "Rocket Docket" Legislative Package. HB
50 received a DO PASS in the House Judiciary Committee and passed the House on a 60 - 7 vote. It received a DO PASS in Senate Finance Committee and passed the Senate on a 49-0 vote. HB 50 was signed into law this week.
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. SB
57 received a DO PASS in the Senate Public Affairs and is now on the Senate Finance Committee calendar.
HB 97, Local Government Investment Pool Participants, Rep. Tomas Salazar.
This bill is part of the "Rocket Docket" Legislative Package and would amend current law to specifically allow ERB, PERA and SIC to participate in the Office of State Treasurer's Local Government Investment Pool. HB 97 received a DO Pass in the House Judiciary Committee and passed the House on a 68-0 vote. HB 97 received a DO PASS in the Senate Public Affairs Committee and passed the Senate 41-0 vote. HB 97 was signed into law by the Governor this week.
SB 157, Sick Leave for Educational Retirement Credit, Sen. William Soules. This bill is part of the "Rocket Docket" Legislative Package. It allows ERB members to convert sick leave to service credit. SB 157 received a DO PASS in the Senate Education Committee and the passed the Senate on a 39-0 vote. SB 157 received a DO PASS in the House Taxation and Revenue Committee and the passed the House on a 52-15 vote. SB 157 was signed into law by the Governor. The effective date is 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 has been referred to the Senate Public Affairs Committee.
HB 338, PERA Board Retirement Changes. Rep Tomas Salazar. This bill addresses the actuarial solvency of the PERA Fund and recommended changes. HB 338 was scheduled to be heard last week in the House State Government, Election & Indian Affairs, but was pulled from the agenda at the last minute. This bill will be rescheduled.
HB 360a, 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 companion bill to SB 14 and is currently on the House State Government, Election & Indian Affairs Committee calendar. HB
360 received a unanimous DO PASS in the House State Government, Election & Indian Affairs Committee. This bill was amended to remove the settlement agreement from the 2008 lawsuit with the American Federation, State, County & Municipal Employees on contributions swaps. HB 360 has been referred to the House Appropriations and 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.
HB 95, Retire 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. The bill has been referred to the House Appropriations and Finance Committee.
HM 5, New Mexico Association of Education Retiree Day, Rep. Sheryl Stapleton. HM 5 Is currently on the House calendar.
*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. This bill has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
*SB 381, Add Public Record Protected Personal ID, Sen Pete Campos. This bill would prohibit the release of an email address and "any other unique identifier from which the identify of a person may be reasonably determined. SB 381 has been referred to the Senate Public Affairs Committee.
In closing, we appreciate the SUPPORT this week on HB 360, Education Retirement Changes & HB 95, Retiree Health Care Fund Contributions bills.
The next hearing for both bills will be in the House Appropriations and Finance Committee. However, we don't anticipate that happening until the HAFC completes HB 2. As these bills proceed we will keep you informed.
Have a great week!
"Remember don't take your benefits for granted."