Legislative roundup, Jan. 31, 2013 [The Santa Fe New Mexican]
|By The Santa Fe New Mexican|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
GMO food bill: Proposed legislation calling for labels on foods with genetically modified ingredients will next be heard by the
Senate Bill 18, introduced by Sen.
"This was intended to kill the bill instead of respecting the committee process," said Leith, who said it appears the bill will get voted down one way or another, since
Fracking fracas: HB 136, which would require a greater level of transparency from oil and gas drillers concerning the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, will get a second round of discussion at the
Hydraulic fracturing, popularly called fracking, uses pressurized liquids in drilling operations to force cracks in geologic formations, releasing oil and gas. The state Oil Conservation Division has a rule requiring oil and gas companies to report the contents of their fracking fluids on the online FracFocus Chemical Disclosure Registry. But it allows companies not to divulge the specific chemicals by claiming the mixtures are trade secrets. Egolf said HB 136 is meant to close that loophole.
The state attorney general and several environmental groups support the measure, along with some lawmakers.
"Right now [under the Oil Conservation Division rule], companies can be pretty spectacular about what they call a trade secret, and there's no way to challenge that," said Rep.
Representatives from the oil and gas industry said the Oil Conservation Division rule is good enough.
Another fracking bill (HB 335), introduced Tuesday by Egolf, specifies actions that drillers would need to take to protect groundwater before beginning any hydraulic fracturing. It, too, is likely to generate heated discussions.
Energy-efficiency tax credit: A 6-5 do-pass vote on a tax credit for energy-efficient houses is an example of how critical it can be for committee members to be present. A first vote on HB 135 in the House Energy and Natural Resources had tied along party lines.
The bill provides a one-time,
Horse slaughter facility: HB 90, authorizing
Both measures are sponsored by Rep.
Some horse owners believe a licensed slaughter facility provides a necessary and humane service, while others call it "murder."
PRC opposes measure: The five-member state
Lawmakers have to approve some kind of enabling measure for the new insurance office by the end of the session because voters in November approved a constitutional amendment requiring it. Currently, the elected PRC oversees the Insurance Division and its superintendent.
Commissioners said they support an independent office but worry the legislation makes it even harder for consumers to seek redress if they don't agree with an insurance superintendent's decision. Right now, a consumer who doesn't like an insurance superintendent's decision on something like a health insurance rate increase can seek redress from the PRC. Under the legislation, a consumer would take complaints to the state
--Nearly 60 business leaders from across the state are expected to announce their support for a proposed constitutional amendment at a news conference Thursday. Senate Joint Resolution 3 would allow voters to decide whether to use a small portion of the state's
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