2021 Legislative Priorities

The 2021 New Mexico Legislative session runs from Jan. 19 through March 20. We have elected a lot of environmental champions and have hopes of enacting significant protections four our environment, people and justice. Below are summaries and links for some of our top-priority bills. To check their status, also see the 2021 Legislative Tracker.

House Bills

HB 4: Civil Rights Act
This bill would allow those whose rights have been violated to bring a civil-rights suit in state court against public bodies and officials, including law-enforcement agencies. The New Mexico Civil Rights Act is about fairness, justice and equal treatment under law regardless of class, background, or race.
Fact sheet | Legislation

HB 9: Climate Solutions Act
This act would establish carbon pollution limits to benefit current and future generations while ensuring that all New Mexicans will benefit from the increased jobs provided in a green economy. The bill promotes sustainable, equitable and resilient economic development, resulting in the creation of high-quality jobs for everyday New Mexicans. The bill ensures that the most impacted communities and historically disadvantaged communities are the priority for pollution reduction and a more diversified and resilient economy as we move to a net-zero carbon future.
Fact sheet | Legislation

HB 15: Sustainable Buildings Tax Credit
Since the state has updated its energy-efficiency building codes, this tax credit must be updated so builders don’t get a tax credit just for complying with the law. Under the new incentives, efficiency requirements for new homes and  commercial buildings, and new requirements include broadband access and EV-readiness. Extra credits are offered for fully electric buildings and those that use net-zero water, waste or energy.
Fact sheet | Legislation

HB 50: Private Right of Action
This bill gives private citizens the right to sue companies for environmental violations that cause them harm.
Fact sheet | Legislation

HB 51: Environmental Database
Creates a one-stop shop of environmental data for easy access and transparency.
Fact sheet | Legislation

HB 57: Prescribed Burning
This bill would improve prescribed-burn training and certification along with project standards and the state’s insurance pool for landowner liability.
Fact sheet | Legislation

HB200: Water Trust Board Projects & NM Unit Fund
This bill instructs the Interstate Stream Commission (ISC) to consult with the Water Trust Board, a statewide entity of technical water project experts appointed by the Governor, instead of with the N.M. CAP Entity, on funding water projects in Southwest New Mexico. This bill would also prohibit the expenditure of $80 million in unspent federal funds on a Gila River diversion. For 16 years, the N.M. CAP Entity has pursued diverting the Gila River and still wants a say in how these funds are allocated.
Fact sheet | Gila Fact sheet | Legislation

HB206: Utility Affordability and Relief Act
Provides partial arrears forgiveness on utility bills for people affected by COVID after PRC disconnection moratorium ends, requires utilities to study what it would take to provide energy-efficiency services to all low-income customers, allows low-income utility rates and sets up the Community Energy Efficiency Development Block Grant fund.
Fact sheet | Legislation

Senate Bills

SB 8: Local Government Air-Quality Regulations 
For too long, New Mexico’s environmental agencies been handcuffed by an antiquated law that constrains them from creating air and pollution protections that are stronger than federal regulations. The law has enormous consequences, particularly for those most impacted by pollution hot spots and oil and gas pollution. Eliminating this law will help ensure that overburdened communities are protected in efforts to address climate and clean air.
Fact sheet | Legislation

SB 32: Roxy’s Law
As you know, New Mexico still allows the cruel practice of trapping on public lands, meaning hikers, dogs and unintended wildlife far too often fall victim to brutal traps and poisons. This could be the year we make New Mexico’s public lands safe to enjoy!
Fact sheet | Legislation

SB 84/HB 106: Community Solar
Allows communities to share the cost-saving benefits of a single solar installation. This simple tool provides everyone, regardless of income or property ownership, the opportunity to choose local, reliable, and cost-effective clean energy.
Fact sheet | Legislation

SB 86: Produced Water
“Produced water” is the oil and gas industry’s term for the toxic fluid waste produced by fracking. This bill would prohibit use of freshwater in fracking (billions of gallons are currently used), provides enforceable consequences for spills and requires tracking of produced water, among many other safeguards.
Fact sheet | EarthWorks analysisLegislation

SB 103: Neonicotinoid Pesticides
This bill would restrict the use of the pesticide that has devastated populations of pollinators.
Fact sheet | Legislation

SB 312: Game Commission Changes

This bill will rename the Department of Game and Fish to the Department of Wildlife Conservation, change the agency’s mission to more broadly represent all New Mexicans and protect wildlife that isn’t “game.” This will help bring wildlife governance into our modern era.
Fact sheet | Legislation

SJR 3: The Green Amendment

A Green Amendment would constitutionally mandate that New Mexico government officials protect the environmental rights of all residents, including present and future generations. The self-executing amendment will allow legal redress when this right is violated by government action or inaction.
Fact sheet | Legislation

2021 Legislative Priorities