Friday, March 29, 2013

Gov has Signed 74 Bills So Far

UPDATE: 4:03 pm This post has been rewritten to reflect the latest batch of bill action by the governor.

Gov. Susana Martinez today signed the education pension bill (Senate Bill 115 sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Stuart Ingle, of Portales) as well as four bills aimed at reforming the Public Regulation Commission.

Gov. Susana MartinezThis comes a day after she signed another major piece of legislation, the Health Insurance Exchange bill, SB 221, sponsored by Sen. Benny Shendo, D-Jemez Pueblo and Rep. Tom Taylor, R-Farmington.

For those keeping count, Martinez has signed 74 bills into law as of this afternoon. She's also vetoed 14 bills, including eight just this afternoon. Among those were the minimum wage increase -- which she'd said she would veto.

The last day a governor can take action on bills is Friday April 5.

Martinez still has 211 bills to consider before next Friday.

Among those not acted upon are the PERA pension bill, and the tax reform bill.

The pension bill will require teachers and other education employees earning more than $20,000 a year to pay more into their retirement. The bill, which becomes law in July, will lower cost-of-living increases for retirees. It also imposes a minimum retirement age of 55.

The PRC bills include all four bills in a package of reforms. The include establishing minimum standards for commissioners; making the Insurance Division a separate entity outside of the PRC; moving the responsibility of registering corporations to the Secretary of State's office; and de-regulating motor carriers, such as taxis and moving companies.

The health insurance bill will create the framework for a marketplace where consumers can shop for health insurance. Under federal Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). the state must have the exchange ready to enroll insurance customers by October.

Besides the minimum wage bill, the other legislation Martinez vetoed today dealt with education. These include SB 587, sponsored by Sen. Howie Morales, D-Silver City, which would have established a council to revamp the current system of grading schools.

In her veto messages to the House and Senate, Martinez said, "The status quo has failed and must be reformed if we are going to truly give every child the opportunity to chase his or her dreams. The vetoed bills, in one way or another, represent a desire by the establishment to cling to the same failed status quo."