June 19, 2015

New laws go into effect today

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Schools can no longer deny students access to programs because they refuse to take psychotropic medications, references to a key aspect of No Child Left Behind are gone forever in New Mexico public schools and e-cigarettes are now considered tobacco products, according to new state laws that went into effect today.

gavel on stack of documentsJune 19, 2015 marks the day when roughly half of the new legislation passed by state lawmakers in the 2015 session becomes law. In total, 79 new laws are now in place.

They include a bill sponsored by state Rep. Nora Espinoza, R-Roswell, called “No Compelled Medication Use For Students.” It bars school administrators and employees from compelling “specific actions by the parent or guardian or require that a student take psychotropic medication,” according to its fiscal impact analysis.

Another new law drops all references to No Child Left Behind’s controversial Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) evaluation system in local public school materials. This is essentially following up on New Mexico’s waiver from No Child Left Behind granted by the federal government in 2012.

But what’s replaced AYP is arguably just as controversial: New Mexico’s A-F school grading system. As we reported earlier this week, several local teachers are taking issue with how school grades are heavily weighing in on their teacher evaluations.

And as of today, e-cigarettes are included in the state’s Tobacco Products Act, which takes steps to prevent them from being sold to minors and “requires nicotine liquid containers to be sold in child resistant packaging,” according to the bill’s fiscal impact analysis.

The Albuquerque Journal wrote about some of the other new laws, including one that expands public health coverage for inmates:

Of the laws taking effect today, the statute that will allow thousands of inmates to apply for Medicaid coverage during their incarceration and be eligible for services upon release could have one of the biggest impacts.

Advocates have said the law could curb recidivism levels, because many released inmates will now be able to receive medical services and behavioral health treatment immediately after they leave prison.

Come July, about 70 more new laws will go into effect. Read below for a list of all of them and their effective dates:

Effective Dates by Date 2015 by New Mexico Political Report

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