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.

BERNCO Tax Increase, Special Meeting on 2-26-15 at 9:00 am: The Bernalillo County Commission is having a special meeting on Thursday to get public input on a new Gross Receipts Tax (GRT) that would generate $42 million a year. The meeting is scheduled for Thursday, February 26, at 9:00 am, in the Vincent E. Griego Chambers.

Legislators are serving because they believe in making a difference. Whether you agree with their position or not, they deserve respect when we communicate with them. Likewise, they should be respectful of all those with whom they encounter.

The House continues to keep to a schedule out of respect for the people they serve. The committee chairs in both chambers are working hard to hear as many bills as possible while allowing everyone to speak who desires to do so.

With Your Support, the NMBC is Making a Difference! Action taken by the NMBC and individual members from around the state has helped stop bad legislation in Santa Fe and support the advancement of pro-business legislation. The past few weeks have shown the value of getting facts out to the public and the power of communication between constituents and elected officials. The NMBC is an effective non-partisan, pro-business, grass roots organization with boots on the ground to bring you the information and facts you need. We have the passion, manpower and drive to keep it up but the NMBC relies on the support of New Mexicans like you to make the truth known. Can you help continue this work by giving $5 or more today?

NMBC Members Spoke - Legislators Listened: SB 319 County IRB Projects and Complaint Process, sponsored by Senator Leavell was heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee late last night. Many of you contacted legislators and the NMBC was in the room to stand and support this bill that expands opportunities for counties to issue Industrial Revenue Bonds (IRB).

Call to Action: The Bernalillo County Commissioners plan to vote on a Gross Receipts Tax increase on Tuesday, 2-17-14, TOMORROW evening. Read an Op-Ed by Commissioner Wayne Johnson on the issue HERE.

SB 319 County IRB Projects and Complaint Process, Senator Leavell: This bill expands opportunities for counties to issue Industrial Revenue Bonds (IRB) to help spur economic development. That’s a good thing! Current law allows for affected parties to protest, should there be an issue with direct competition. Read more about this issue here.

It was a pleasure to witness the bipartisan action of the Senate Corporations & Transportation committee on Monday afternoon. The committee is chaired by Senator Phil Griego and runs like a well-oiled machine. Legislation is introduced, the audience given an opportunity to express opinions; it is discussed by the committee and a vote is taken.

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