Reminder: BASH (Business and Social Hour) TODAY! Join the New Mexico Business Coalition at the post-legislative BASH TODAY, April 9, 2015, at the Albuquerque Country Club, from 4:30 – 6:30 pm. There will be standing room only at the BASH, so come early!

What worked and what didn’t work during the recent 60 day legislative session? New Mexicans have heard from Governor Martinez, House majority leaders and the Senate Majority Leader, Michael Sanchez. But we have not heard from the highest ranking Senate Democrat, President Pro Tempore Mary Kay Papen who will provide the keynote for the 2015 Post-Legislative BASH (Business and Social Hour) this THURSDAY, April 9, from 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM at the Albuquerque Country Club.

Ready for Some Fun? You are invited to an exclusive Post-Legislative BASH (Business and Social Hour) on April 9. The BASH will feature keynote speaker Senate President Pro Tempore Mary Kay Papen. Senator Papen will provide an overview of the recently ended legislative session from her view as New Mexico’s top senator.

The session is over and for that we are thankful. There seemed to be many who thought this was one of the worst sessions in memory. Was it due to personal or political agendas? Or was it due to a widening ideological gap?

Regarding the vote to table HB 291/a, NM Federal Land Management Study Commission, sponsored by Representative Herrell, there was some inaccurate information. The official document the NMBC relied on that showed the recorded votes in the House Judiciary Committee was incorrect.

Wages Should Be Set By the Employer – Not Government: There are several good reasons why the state and federal governments do not need to mandate minimum wage increases. One of the best is the fact that, if left alone, the free market system works better than government. Read more here: Target will raise minimum wage

HB 482 A Bill to Reduce Some Unemployment Benefits was Killed Monday Night. This bill was a wise policy initiative that would have provided better balance in the handling of Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits. The bill did not change the employer rate structure, but it would have helped improve the Unemployment Trust Fund adequacy at a faster rate, bringing relief to employers’ rates sooner than they would have otherwise seen.

The Room Went Dark: The NMBC attended a recent committee hearing in Santa Fe regarding laws requiring power producers in NM to use a certain percentage of renewable energy to produce electricity. As an environmental advocate spoke about the value and reliability of renewable energy, the power went out in the capitol and the room darkened. The outage was temporary and the power restored in less than a minute. The fact that New Mexicans enjoy only rare power outages is often taken for granted, but New Mexico is blessed to have responsible power companies serving our state.

Success in HWMC: Yesterday, HB 482, Reduce Some Unemployment Benefits, passed the House Ways and Means Committee (HWMC) with bipartisan support from legislators. Thank you to all who have put time and effort into contacting committee members and attending the hearings to testify.

We also want to thank the following legislators for their bipartisan “Do Pass” vote on HB 482: Chair Jason Harper, Vice Chair Time Lewis, Reps Randal Crowder, David Gallegos, Rod Montoya, Larry Scott, James Strickler, and Jim Trujillo.

Sell the Roadrunner? House Memorial 127, Study Ongoing Costs of Railrunner by Rep Bill Rehm requests a study of the feasibility of doing just that.

Get Rid of Golden Parachutes? HB 422, State Agency Contract Severance Pay by Rep Bill Rehm would restrict those pricey rides.

Legislative Heroes and Zeroes Update: With only 12 days left of the 2015, 60 day session we can tell you there will be a flurry of activity going on in Santa Fe to address the 1,703 measures that were introduced. The prevailing mood, however, is that few bills will make it out of the Senate and House to the Governor’s desk.

Call to Action – 5 Seconds is all it takes to send an email and help NM businesses and unemployed workers who need benefits the most: HB 482, Reduce Some Unemployment Benefits, brought forward by the NMBC and sponsored by Rep Larranaga, passed in House Business and Employment (HBEC) yesterday. Thank you to all who emailed and called committee members or took the time to testify in favor of this bill.

HB 482 Reduce Some Unemployment Benefits Gets Stuck in Committee: With the NMBC providing expert witness testimony, HB 482 sponsor Rep Larry Larranaga had strong bi-partisan support from members of the House Business and Employment Committee at a hearing at the Capital Saturday morning. There was overwhelming support in testimony from several employers and groups representing thousands of businesses including the NM Restaurant Association, NM Association of Commerce and Industry and the NM Auto Dealers Association. Despite this strong community and bi-partisan committee support, Committee Chair Rep Powdrell Culbert said she had unanswered questions and rolled the bill over to a hearing on Tuesday, March 3rd.

NMBC Proposes Legislation to Help Protect the Unemployment Insurance Fund (See Urgent Call to Action Below): The health of the NM Unemployment Insurance (UI) Trust Fund is in jeopardy. That’s not good for New Mexican’s out of work or for employers who have increased their UI tax payments to fund unemployment benefits. But help from the Round House is on the way! Carla Sonntag, President of the NMBC, will be working with sponsor Rep Larry Larranaga on HB 482 Reduce Some Unemployment Benefits. This bill will help ensure solvency of the UI Trust Fund for those who need it most by getting New Mexico more in line with other states for unemployment benefits.

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