Fri. Jun 21st, 2024

Governor includes business and tax relief, public safety reform, election changes, other items for special session

SANTA FE (KSMX)- Tomorrow Thursday, June 18, the New Mexico Legislature will hold a special session where NM Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham will ask for the consideration of tax relief for individuals, loans for small businesses and local governments, police reform and election improvements, among other topics.

Per the press release from the Governor’s office, lawmakers will be asked to consider those bills in addition to modifying the state budget that takes effect July 1, which is the main purpose of this special session.

As a result of the global pandemic, projected state revenues declined steeply following the legislative session earlier this year, leaving a gap estimated at more than $2 billion. The executive budget framework includes cuts to state agency budgets, grants to local governments and sovereign nations and preservation of a portion of the pay raises that had been scheduled for educators while using the state’s unprecedented reserves and federal funding to patch the budget hole created by the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nonbudgetary measures:

  • The governor will ask the Legislature to take up are proposals requiring police officers to wear body cameras, banning chokehold restraints, and making police disciplinary history a matter of public record. Additionally, the governor will support a proposal to create a state commission by statute to explore the issue of qualified immunity.
  • Another proposal to be taken up by the Legislature will give county clerks the authority to send a ballot to registered voters with a current mailing address and will allow voters and election administrators to track their ballots through the mail delivery system to help ensure timely delivery of their ballots, among other changes.
  • Tax relief for small businesses and individuals impacted by the pandemic will also be on the call. Specifically, the governor will ask the Legislature to waive penalties and interest for small businesses and individuals who have been unable to make timely property tax and gross receipts tax payments due to the economic impact of the pandemic.
  • A proposal to direct the State Investment Officer to invest a portion of the state’s multibillion-dollar Severance Tax Permanent Fund to support loans to small businesses and municipalities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The low-interest, long-term loans would help municipalities meet budget shortfalls and get businesses back on their feet following COVID-19-related closures.

The governor will also ask the Legislature to temporarily endorse gubernatorial flexibility and authority to assist businesses amid a public health emergency or pandemic – for example, to potentially allow liquor delivery or electronic notary services.

The legislative session will begin at noon Thursday.

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