House Democrats: House Passes Environmental, Health & Economic Development Bills


Tonight, Friday, the House of Representatives passed important health, environmental, and economic development bills with broad support from both sides of the chamber. 

House Bill 142, which focuses on cleanup of the San Juan Generating Station and the San Juan Mine, is sponsored by Representative Anthony Allison (D-Fruitland), along with House Majority Whip Reena Szczepanski (D-Santa Fe) and Rep. Marian Matthews (D-Albuquerque). It would require the Environment Department and the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department to facilitate a comprehensive study on the extent of environmental contamination of adjacent lands and waters, and then develop a plan to restore and reclaim the area. The bill passed with a vote of 53-5.

“For too long, Diné communities in the areas around the San Juan Generating Station have been exposed to harmful pollution and not enough has been done to address this crisis,” said Rep. Allison. “As a former miner, I understand the impact mining can have on our health and our environment. As a state lawmaker, I feel a duty to ensure this contamination gets cleaned up and our community’s groundwater is protected.” 

House Bill 27, sponsored by Rep. Christine Chandler (D-Los Alamos), Senator Liz Stefanics (D-Cerrillos) and Rep. Liz Thomson (D-Albuquerque), passed the House with unanimous vote. This legislation would eliminate copays and cost sharing for breast cancer screenings. The Affordable Care Act already exempts annual mammograms from out-of-pocket costs. HB 27 would extend the no-pay policy to additional screenings, which are often cost prohibitive and result in patients forgoing recommended tests that can be early detectors of breast cancer.

“Breast cancer screenings save lives. Unfortunately, our current system punishes those at the highest risk,” said Rep. Christine Chandler (D-Los Alamos). “This bill will help make sure screenings are accessible to those who need them most.” 

Additionally, bipartisan-sponsored House Bill 118, passed the House with a vote of 54-1. This legislation would create the Division of Entrepreneurship within the Economic Development Department in order to provide greater support and resources for entrepreneurs in New Mexico. It is sponsored by House Minority Leader Ryan Lane (R-Aztec), Reps. Meredith Dixon (D-Albuquerque), Linda Serrato (D-Santa Fe), Joshua Hernandez (R-Rio Rancho)Doreen Gallegos (D-Las Cruces) and Senator Michael Padilla (D-Albuquerque)

“Entrepreneurship is at the heart of New Mexico’s economy, and supporting our budding business owners is key to our continued economic growth and strength,” said Rep. Dixon. “I’m proud to support this bipartisan effort to make it easier for entrepreneurs to do business in New Mexico.” 

All of these bills will now head to the Senate for consideration. 

The Roundhouse is open to the public for the 2023 session. Members of the public can also view floor sessions and committee meetings on the New Mexico Legislature’s Webcasts tab, and provide comment via phone or Zoom as directed on the daily schedule