Sen. Leo Jaramillo watches as Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signs SB141 into law at a special ceremony in Chama. Courtesy photo
Sen. Leo Jaramillo speaks at a blessing ceremony in Espanola in February for the first operational Baby Box in New Mexico. Also present is Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, far left. Courtesy photo
BY MAIRE O’NEILL
District 5 Sen. Leo Jaramillo is pleased with how the recent 30-day legislative session went.
“This has been my best session so far. I was able to get one bill and memorial passed along with a couple of co-sponsored bills,” he told the Los Alamos Reporter in an interview last weekend.
Jaramillo’s SB141 a bill allowing for the emergency filling of liquid propane gas containers throughout the state in the event that another LP supplier is unable to provide service to households.
Jaramillo said he was very worried in December when a period of bitterly cold weather hit Northern New Mexico and many of his constituents were left with very little propane to heat their homes. Prior to the bill being passed, families were not allowed to have a competitor of their regular propane provider fill their tanks, even if the regular provider was unable to fill the tanks.
The next time we have a cold snap, people can obtain the propane needed to keep themselves safe and warm,” Jaramillo said.
As a former educator who still coaches dance and cheer periodically, Jaramillo said he was relieved that SB2, which amends the School Personnel Act to increase the statutory minimum for teachers, passed. Level 1 teachers will now earn $50,000, Level 2 will earn $60,000 and Level 3-A teachers and counselors will earn $70,000.
Sen. Jaramillo said he had the honor of introducing Senate Memorial 29 recognizing the significant contributions of more than 100 scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019. LANL invested more than $24 million into research and development as well as disease testing and technology evaluation.
“LANL researchers hit the ground running at the outset of the pandemic. The Lab has helped state and local governments make health and informed decisions that are in the best interests of the people they represent. I also had the opportunity to recognize the LANL Occupational Medicine Team on the Senate floor for their work in keeping the workforce safe,” Sen. Jaramillo said.
Jaramillo said he was also pleased that HB67, a bill he co-sponsored with Rep. Christine Chandler passed.
“This bill invests in New Mexico companies by stabilizing the funding and extending the sunset to invest in high tech job creation, creating more start-up and capital in the state. It amends the technology readiness gross receipts tax credit to extend the sunset from July 1, 2023, to July 1, 2032,” he said. “This bill also changes the way this tax credit is funded from a distribution from a fund to a typical monthly credit against gross receipts owed.”
The current law transfers $125,000 of gross receipts tax revenue per month to the fund created for the credit, and the credit may be claimed so long as there is a balance in the fund,” he said. “This bill replaces that funding structure with a standard tax credit capped at $1 million per national laboratory per year. It was co-sponsored by Rep. Chandler. – Co-sponsored with Rep. Christine Chandler.”
Sen. Jaramillo said it is an honor to be elevated to membership of the Senate Rules Committee.
“In my new role I had the opportunity to present the credentials of every one of the Governor’s Conferees on the Senate floor. I introduced appointees to a number of boards and commissions as well as a few cabinet secretaries including Dr. Kurt Steinhaus”, he said.
Jaramillo noted that he was able to allot some $300,000 for capital outlay projects in Los Alamos County: $200,000 for Los Alamos County Water Production Pipeline Replacement, and $100,000 for UNM-LA Training and Upgrades.
He also worked with the governor to allocate $330,000 of capital outlay for installation of one Baby Box in each of New Mexico’s 33 counties.
“A Baby Box is a safety device provided for under state’s Safe Haven Law and legally permits a mother in crisis to safely, securely, and anonymously surrender if they are unable to care for their newborn. Many mothers-in-crisis want and need anonymity when surrendering an infant, due either to fear of recognition, the stigma associated with surrendering a child, or fear of prosecution due to ignorance and/or misunderstanding of the Safe Haven law,” Sen. Jaramillo said. “The first Baby Box was installed in Espanola thanks to Espanola Deputy Fire Chief John Wickersham who has championed this issue since 2019.”
Jaramillo said meeting with other elected officials in his district during the session meant a lot to him.
“I met with Los Alamos County Clerk to discuss 2022 legislation centered around voting as well as the work she successfully executes as a County Clerk. I also met with UNM-LA Chancellor Dr. Cynthia Rooney and assisted her in submitting her Capital Outlay requests. We talked about the campus needs including a nursing program at UNM-LA and the need for workforce development training to meet the critical needs of small business in our area,” he said. “I also met with Los Alamos Public Schools Board Vice President Christine Bernstein to discuss education issues and legislation.”
Sen. Jaramillo said he was asked by Lt. Gov. Howie Morales to officially deliver the message to the governor that the Senate had completed the work of the people for the legislative session.
“I was proud to deliver ‘sine die’ to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham who welcomed the message with open arms and gratitude,” Jaramillo said. “It was the perfect ending to a legislative session of hard work and accomplishment.