Final Week Legislative Forecast
The last week of every legislative session in New Mexico is always s sight to behold. The legislators begin to work non-stop, usually long into the night, and the atmosphere in the Roundhouse turns hyperactive. With time getting short, this is the time when legislative leaders are forced to make critical decisions on which measures will ‘get legs’, and which ones are destined for the back burner.
Up for consideration this year are 1004 separate measures: 525 in the House and 479 in the Senate. Of these, 687 are bills (which can become statutes). The remaining 317 are memorials and resolutions that cannot become law; but are intended to encourage debate, create specific task forces or sometimes constitutional amendments to be presented to the voters.
With just 2 days left until the end of the session, it appears that only a few of the 33 insurance industry and business bills that we are tracking will be among the favored bills. Of these, only 1 has passed both houses. SB11 is a health insurance reform bill that establishes new guidelines on how insurance carriers can manage prescription drug coverage when multiple drugs can be considered as treatment options.
Only a few other tracked bills have passed their originating chamber. Of these, HB173 has a pretty good chance at making it all the way. It would create an auto theft authority under the OSI. A little less certain are SB189, which increases the amount of financial assurance required to plug an abandoned oil well; and SB225, which changes the biennial reporting dates for certain corporations.
On the title side of the industry, we continue to monitor just one bill: SB137. It provides for additional requirements for companies regulated by the Trust Company Act, but has still has no implications for title insurance entities.
Finally we continue to follow HB233, which would move the collection of premium taxes from the OSI to the Taxation and Revenue Department. It still has a chance of passage, but a very slim one at best. We are guessing that this function will stay with the OSI for another year, but expect to see it pop up on the agenda again at next year’s long legislative session.
Until then, we will report the final disposition of this year’s session next week, and then turn our attention to working with the OSI to help craft some updates to Regulations that are badly in need of modernization (Title & Surplus Lines will be among the first to be looked at).
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