May 2015

Some of the Bills that Passed the 2015 New Mexico Legislature that Were Signed or Vetoed by Governor Susana Martínez



Senate Bill 112 allows agricultural producers to continue to receive a break on their property taxes during periods of prolonged drought. County assessors will be able to continue classifying land as agricultural, even if it’s not in production, as long as the USDA has declared at least moderate drought in any part of the county. The law requires that basic infrastructure such as irrigation ditches and fences are maintained, even if no crops are being produced or livestock grazed.

SB 279 extends the sustainable building tax credit through 2027. The credit is worth up to $6,000 against state income-tax liability for builders of homes that meet green standards that improve both energy and water efficiency. The annual allotment for single-family homes has been getting used up within months of becoming available. The credit has an annual cap of $4 million for single-family home construction and $1 million for commercial construction. Eligible projects must be completed or certified by either Build Green New Mexico or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).

SB 565 extends a 30 percent film tax credit for stand-alone television pilot episodes, making it easier for feature-film productions to qualify for the 30 percent labor credit by expanding the definition of “qualified facilities” to include outdoor movie ranches. The bill will also encourage local hiring by increasing the percentage of crew—not actors—that must reside in New Mexico in order for a production to be eligible for a tax credit.

House Bill 216 allows film companies to assign their tax rebates to banks on a one-time basis in order to get upfront loans.

HB 560 prohibits civil asset forfeiture, sometimes called “policing for profit.” This will stop police from taking someone’s assets unless there is a conviction linking the money or property to the crime.

HB 563 creates the Río Grande Trail Commission to study the best paths for a new Río Grande Trail. The commission is required to hold public meetings across the state, set up a website and publish meeting information online with proposed maps and recommendations. The commission will coordinate with the many stakeholders along the Río Grande, including cities, counties, tribes, federal agencies, conservancy districts and private citizens.


A new state-tribal gambling compact, sending it to federal officials for their approval. The compact, endorsed by the state Legislature and signed by five tribes, is a 22-year agreement. The tribes that signed are the Navajo Nation, Jicarilla Apache Nation, Mescalero Apache Tribe, Acoma Pueblo and Jemez Pueblo, which has not yet opened a casino. Other New Mexico tribes are expected to eventually sign on to the compact.



SB 94 sought to permit licensed farmers to grow industrial hemp in accordance with a state-sponsored research program. The measure enjoyed significant bipartisan support, having been approved 54-12 in the House and 33-8 by the Senate. It had been widely praised as an economic-development initiative. The federal farm bill has authorized states to research hemp for industrial uses.

SB 296 would have expanded an existing tax credit for home or business owners to include those who lease solar thermal or photovoltaic systems, rather than buy them.

SB 391 would have allowed extension of a solar-energy tax credit for residents, small businesses and agriculture until the end of 2024. Proponents of the bill said that Martínez’s pocket veto is damaging to business development in a state that wants to attract more solar companies to capitalize on its abundant sunshine.

HB 38 would have set up a restoration fund from a coalition of diverse partners and would have provided a forest and watershed board to provide input on projects funded by state government. The bill had passed the House and Senate with overwhelming support.

HB 122 would have provided intelligent oversight for the increasing turf wars between traditional and nontraditional medical practitioners.

Pay raises for health workers and public defenders

$750,000 for magistrate courts statewide, needed to pay critical expenses over the next few months

$250,000 for Indian education services at the University of New Mexico

$150,000 for the Native American Health Center at UNM

$100,000 for the Indian Jewelry Market in Gallup

$75,000 for a liver institute in Gallup

$45,000 for a self-help home-construction pilot project administered by the Indian Affairs Department

$300,000 to protect the silvery minnow at Eagle Nest Dam




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