Legislative Update

The following is a summary of some of the legislative initiatives that NAMI was following.  For a more comprehensive list of those bills and memorials that passed and didn’t pass, see Disability Rights New Mexico’s Post Legislative Report:  http://www.drnm.org/uploads/PDFs/2018%20DRNM%20Legislative%20Report%20PostSession.pdf.

SB 19, Uniform Guardianship and Conservatorship Code for the elderly and disabled, sponsored by Sen Jim White, Rep Gail Chasey, Sen Daniel Ivey-Soto.  Signed into law by Gov Martinez.  The legislation mandates open court records, more oversight and auditing.  It makes a variety of changes to existing state law, but does not enact the new national model law as originally intended. The bill opens guardianship and conservatorship hearings to the public, requires notice of hearings to close family members, restricts the power of guardians to limit visitation by family members or to change the provisions of a power of attorney, and requires that all professional conservators post a bond.

SB 4, Appropriations for Assisted Outpatient Treatment, sponsored by Sen Mary Kay Papen and Peter Wirth, passed the Senate Public Affairs Committee but died in the Senate Finance Committee.

HM 9/SM 3, Study Possibility of Medicaid Buy-in Plan passed both House and Senate, sponsored by Rep Debbie Armstrong.  Calls for a study by the interim Legislative Health and Human Services Committee of the feasibility of allowing low/moderate-income individuals the opportunity to “buy in” to the state Medicaid program by paying a small monthly premium.

HM 104/SM 98, Study Police Lapel Cameras and IPRA, passed both House and Senate, sponsored by Rep Gail Chasey.  Calls for a task force to review the issue of public access to police lapel camera videos of encounters between police officers and people who have mental illness or are victims of crime, looking to find the appropriate balance between the public’s interest in police conduct and the privacy interests of individuals involved in these encounters.

SB 2, Due Process for Medicaid Providers. Sponsored by Sen Mary Kay Papen. Provides procedural protections for Medicaid providers accused of fraud.  Passed both House and Senate but waiting for Governor’s signature.

SB 220 Crisis Triage Centers Definition, sponsored by Sen Mary Kay Papen. Changes the definition of these centers to include facilities connected to existing hospitals, and authorizes triage centers to provide residential as well as non-residential services. Licensed triage centers are eligible for Medicaid reimbursement. The bill has an “emergency clause”, allowing it to go into effect immediately if the governor signs it into law.

SJM 1, Veterans Suicide Prevention, sponsored by Sen Jeff Steinborn. Calls on the Veterans Services Department to convene a task force to hold hearings around the state to gather input on how to reduce the incidence of suicide among New Mexico veterans.

Betty Sisneros Shover

NAMI NM Legislative Committee Co-Chair