District 6 Sen. Carlos Cisneros, D-Los Alamos, Rio Arriba, Santa Fe and Taos counties, prefiled 12 bills for the 2019 New Mexico Legislative session.
One bill, the Agreement to Elect the President by Popular Vote Bill, is a national movement, especially among smaller states that feel that their votes are not receiving the weight they deserve in presidential elections, he said.
“I don’t think that it is a pipe dream legislation,” Cisneros, who has retained his seat since 1985, said. “I think folks are becoming more in-tune to the potential of large sums of money dictating the outcome of a presidential elections. This takes it (voting) back to its core principal of democracy: one person, one vote.”
Two bills focus on the changing technological landscape of education and advocate for additional funds, meant to bolster school media literacy programs and digital training and education programs.
“These programs will focus on how students learn to use media and film equipment and disseminate the final product, and the interpretation of media and its effects on individuals and groups,” he said.
Four bills are geared towards public health and safety and are pet projects for him.
One, the Child and Family Data Bank Act, seeks to streamline health services by establishing a bank of information so that the effectiveness of various programs can be better determined, he said.
“This would create a commission, so someone is overseeing services,” he said. “There is real concern in the effectiveness of CYFD (Children, Youth & Families Department), especially in light of recent incidents of child abuse and neglect. For whatever reason, that information is not disseminated. This will corral everything that is out there, so we can make sure they get the help that they need.”
The other three bills would provide financial aid to treatment centers, help establish mobile health services focused on substance abuse in Rio Arriba and Taos counties, and aid the state in establishing a universal healthcare system.
“If you look at Rio Arriba County, we have more deaths due to heroin overdose than New York on a per capita basis, and no one is doing anything about it,” he said. “The need is there and I think people are encouraged and they are hungry. They are in need of service and assistance. It overwhelms.”
On Monday, Cisneros, who is vice chair of the Senate Finance Committee, introduced Senate Bill 279, which would require a fiscal analysis of a universal heathcare system for the state.
Four more bills are focused on inherently rural issues. Specifically, civil actions relating to legal actions against professional surveyors, defining lineas issues in Taos area land grants, provide water rights notification online to increase transparency for the public and provide more services to frontier communities that are considered unincorporated.
The final two are focused on gross receipts taxes and deductions for broadband telecommunications network facilities and excluding certain nonprofit entities from gross receipts tax exemptions.
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