2014 Legislative Session Ends

Date: March 17, 2014

In her wrap-up from the Roundhouse, NFIB State Director Minda McGonagle reports on minimum-wage and workers’ compensation bills that NFIB helped defeat.

The 2014 session of the New Mexico Legislature is safely finished. A big thank you to NFIB members responding to our calls to action. You saved the day, and legislators voted down a dangerous minimum-wage increase proposal.
Two small-business-friendly bills were passed and signed by Gov. Susana Martinez. The first was Senate Bill 9, which creates a one-stop shopping website portal for doing business with the state. The portal should be up and functioning by July 2017. The second is Senate Bill 106, which changes state personal and corporate income tax law to mirror federal law by extending up to 20 years net loss carryovers. 
Not exactly fireworks material. However, you wouldn’t know it from the thousands of times “small business” was invoked by legislators. Despite all of the “love” chatter as a back drop, quite a few legislative proposals would have been painful if successful. 
Minimum Wage
Five different minimum-wage increase proposals were introduced, with two calling for a constitutional amendment. Four did not get much traction, but one of the constitutional amendments took going through the Senate and all the way to the House floor before being killed.

Thanks to the efforts of NFIB members who took action and called their lawmakers after receiving our February 13 alert, enough legislators got the needed push to vote ‘no’ when it really counted.

Workers’ Compensation
Any reform of workers’ compensation, especially when it comes to drug and alcohol use was, as always, dead on arrival. The grim reaper is the infamous House Labor & Human Resources Committee, and this time two proposals perished on the same day. It is like the movie Groundhog Day but without the happy ending.
The chairman of the House Labor & Human Resources Committee did, however, try and put his mark on workers’ compensation legislation by introducing House Bill 115, which would have radically increased penalties and fines and removed judicial discretion for jail time concerning incorrect payment of employees. 
While working to defeat the bill, we were called into meet with the state’s attorney general about NFIB-member concerns. The result of the meeting led to amendments making significant changes to the bill provided minutes before the last committee hearing. 

Although the changes would have been helpful, we were pleased that the committee didn’t hear the bill before it ran out of time. The bill was in negotiations right up to the last committee hearing, before falling short of passage. This is one issue that NFIB will start working on well before the next session. Next year we are in a solid position to work on a truly positive outcome–which would be no bill at all.

Important legislation related to water infrastructure, increasing the healthcare workforce, economic development and apprenticeship are now on the books. These do impact small business at varying levels and it is a good result.
Upcoming Election
The biggest news, though, is not the legislation but the upcoming House of Representative elections. Ten incumbents are retiring. Five of them are good friends to NFIB. However, 23 of the 70 sitting legislators do not have opposition and will be back in 2015.Many of those who do have opposition will have tough races. A number of the toughest competitions will be in the June 3 Primary Election, so candidates don’t have much time to come ask for your vote.
Check the NFIB/New Mexico website and future editions of Insight for more election information affecting small business.

Related Content: Small Business News | New Mexico

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Thanks to the efforts of NFIB members who took action … enough legislators got the needed push to vote ‘no’ when it really counted.

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