March 7, 2020

Guv signs a slew of bills

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The New Mexico State Capitol, or Roundhouse Wikicommons.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham gave her pen a workout Friday, signing a slew of public safety, child welfare, anti-discrimination, economic development and veterans bills.

The governor signed into law a crime prevention package — House Bill 184 and House Judiciary Committee substitutes for House Bills 6, 35 and 113 — that will increase the penalties for being a felon in possession of a firearm and brandishing a firearm in the commission of a felony.

In addition, the legislation will:

• Create funding for the training of school resource officers, including instruction on de-escalation techniques and adolescent-specific issues.

• Increase funds available for training and equipment for police departments, county sheriff’s offices and university and tribal police officers.

• Allocate up to $2 million to the Department of Public Safety to offset expenses for special deployments of state police in counties and cities across the state. It also creates funding for law enforcement agencies to recruit, train and pay bonuses for community policing.

“We are working both to prevent crime and hold criminals more accountable,” Lujan Grisham said in a statement.

The governor also signed:

• Senate Bill 136, which allows the State Investment Council to raise the cap from 9 percent to 11 percent on investments from the Severance Tax Permanent Fund into the state Private Equity Investment Program. Proponents say the measure could create $200 million in new investment to New Mexico company.

• Senate Bill 146, which will allow the state to offer more support to extended family and kinship caregivers.

• Senate Bill 130, which eases school credit opportunities for children who have had to change schools because of living conditions beyond their control.

•  Senate Bill 168, which creates technical fixes to the state’s Extended Care Foster Act.

• House Bill 25, a measure that shields pregnant women and new mothers from workplace discrimination. The bill allows women to ask employers for “reasonable accommodations” while pregnant or just after having a child.

• Senate Bill 99, authorizing public schools to grant diplomas to Vietnam veterans. The bill would allow any honorably discharged veteran to receive a high school diploma if his or entry into the military prevented graduation.