Legislative Update: Recreational pot, gas tax hike bills to be heard in committee Tuesday

With less than two weeks left in the 2021 Legislative Session, there are many bills being rammed through committees by Democrats in both chambers, and here are some key pieces of legislation that will be heard in committee on Tuesday:

SENATOR GEORGE MUÑOZ, CHAIRMAN – Tuesday, March 9, 2021, 9:30 a.m.

S.B. 11 CLEAN FUEL STANDARD ACT (also known as the 20-cent gas tax on the poor act) by Sen. Mimi Stewart (D-Bernalillo). 

The bill puts extreme clean fuel standards on businesses that produce or import transportation fuels and fuels used in motor vehicles. The restrictions on these companies would force them to invest in costly upgrades to their fuel standards, meaning these costs would transfer to the consumers. The bill also adds vague and sweeping “enviro-justice” provisions to state law.

In California and Oregon, where clean fuel standards are already in place, there are already increased costs of up to 24 cents per gallon on gas, which directly hurts poor consumers. 

Call these Senators and ask them to oppose S.B. 11–the gas tax on the poor and the middle classes. 

  • George Munoz (D), Chair, 505-397-8836, senatormunoz@gmail.com
  • Nancy Rodriguez (D), Vice Chair, 505-397-8844, nancy.rodriguez@nmlegis.gov
  • William E. Sharer (R), Ranking Member, 505-986-4381, bill@williamsharer.com
  • William F. Burt (R), 505-986-4366, bill.burt@nmlegis.gov
  • Pete Campos (D), 505-397-8818, pete.campos@nmlegis.gov
  • Jacob Candelaria (D), 505-397-8819, jacob.candelaria@nmlegis.gov
  • Crystal R. Diamond (R), 505-986-4703, crystal.diamond@nmlegis.gov
  • Roberto “Bobby” Gonzales (D), 505-397-8825, Roberto.gonzales@nmlegis.gov
  • Siah Correa Hemphill (D), 505-397-8821, siah.hemphill@nmlegis.gov
  • Jeff Steinborn (D), 505-397-8852, jeff.steinborn@nmlegis.gov
  • Pat Woods (R), 986-4393, pat.woods@nmlegis.gov

On Monday, the committee took public comment on S.B. 11, but committee debate and the final committee vote was rolled over to Tuesday. There is still time to email senators to oppose the bill.

Senator Benny Shendo Jr., Chair – Tuesday, March 9, 2021 – 1:30 p.m. or 15 minutes after floor session – Virtual Zoom Meeting

H.B. 12 CANNABIS REGULATION ACT by Rep. Javier Martinez (D-Bernalillo) and Rep. Andrea Romero (D-Santa Fe). This marijuana legalization bill according to the bill sponsor, “makes for the perfect conditions if you will. I don’t think the opportunity has ever been better than it is now to pass a legalization bill.” He says New Mexico needs the bill to cover for gaps in the budget, despite revenue projections being astronomically lower with recreational legalization of pot in states that have legalized it like the state of Colorado.

The revenue projections from the fiscal impact report claim in 2022 the law will increase state revenues by $15,186,000. Mind you, the state’s projected budget is over $7 billion, meaning pot legalization would only make up 0.2% of revenues. Even with the bill’s higher projections of $35,128,400 in revenues by 2024, that would only be approximately 0.5% of the needed revenues for a state budget projected at $7 billion. 

Pro-family groups such as the Family Policy Alliance are organizing against the legalized pot bills, making the case that, “Since Colorado legalized recreational weed, our neighboring state has seen a dramatic increase in violent crime, traffic fatalities, and marijuana hospitalizations. And usage by minors – sometimes fatal, from eating poorly regulated marijuana “candies” – has soared.” 

S.B. 288 CANNABIS REGULATION ACT by Sen. Cliff Pirtle (R-Chaves, Eddy and Otero) does much of the same that Rep. Martinez’s bill would, however, it would bring in even less revenue, operating at a net loss of over $2 million from the state’s General Fund in fiscal year 2022 and the most it would bring in for the state would be $8,078,400 in fiscal year 2024, as projected in the fiscal impact report. Local governments’ tax revenue would be higher than the state’s.

Read more about New Mexico legislators bankrolled by the big marijuana lobby. 

For public participation send an email to SCORC@nmlegis.gov with your Name, Entity Represented, Bill #, For or Against and indicate if you wish to speak. The deadline to respond is Tuesday, March 9 at 10:00 a.m. You will be contacted by our Zoom Operator with the virtual meeting instructions. 

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