Published: 1:00 pm, Thu. Jun. 30th, 2016Updated: 2:27 pm
New laws going into effect July 1 in New Mexico run the gamut from new sentencing requirements for drunken drivers to stepped-up financial disclosures for lobbyists.
The state also is entering a new budget year that calls for reduced general fund spending as revenue lags amid low energy prices.
A longer list of laws took effect in May, including a new legal framework for ride-hailing companies such as Uber and rules that allow judges to access juvenile records for certain criminal defendants when considering bail or terms of release.
Here are some notable regulations that start Friday:
State police say they are ready to start issuing public emergency-response alerts for developmentally disabled people who go missing and could be at risk. A custodian or immediate family member must be consulted for an alert to go out. Notifications are similar to alerts already used to help locate missing children and the elderly.
Also, tougher sentencing guidelines will apply to some repeat DWI convictions and for homicide by vehicle while under the influence. For an eighth DWI conviction, the law provides for a 12-year sentence, of which 10 years cannot be suspended.
Political lobbyists must file periodic disclosure reports on expenditures, even if it is a statement that no activity took place. The new regulations add a reporting deadline in October, closer to general elections. Under the new law, lobbyists also will have a little more room to spend on meals, drinks and political contributions without public disclosure — $100 rather than $75.
The provisions are the first small steps toward a new standardized reporting system for campaign finances that will allow filings by candidates, lobbyists and political committees to be searched, cross-referenced or downloaded for analysis. That system won’t be in place until the end of 2017, with funding decisions still pending before the Legislature.
Legislation sponsored by Las Cruces-based surgeon and Rep. Terry McMillan is designed to prevent Texas doctors who treat New Mexico patients from being sued in New Mexico’s patient-friendly courts.
Texas health care providers can have their New Mexico patients sign statements accepting jurisdiction in Texas courts. Supporters of the legislation feared malpractice premiums might drive away services by Texas doctors.
The state will contribute $1.8 million to help the federal government fund low-interest loans for local drinking water infrastructure projects.
In a nod to the growing popularity of craft beer, licensed liquor stores will be able to fill and sell carry-out jugs of beer, better known as growlers.