The New Mexico Legislature is currently in session. Here are some bills that we are tracking closely.
Wildlife Heritage Act (SB312--Steinborn, Small):
This bill will bring wildlife management in NM into the 21st century by: 1) giving the Game Commission and Department of Game and Fish a new mandate and legal authority to protect all wildlife explicitly as a public trust, for the benefit of all New Mexicans, including future generations; 2) expanding the definition of wildlife to include all wild animal species including invertebrates; 3) changing the names to “Wildlife Conservation Commission” and “Department of Wildlife Conservation”; and 4) appropriating $1 million to the Department to support its expanded mission, and $1 million to cover the costs of the name change. This is a huge step forward in NM's approach to protecting wildlife and sets a good example for other states to follow. SWEC strongly supports this bill.
The Green Amendment (SJR 3—Sedillo Lopez, Soules, Ferrary, Pope):
This constitutional amendment would guarantee the rights of all New Mexicans to a clean and healthy environment as fundamental, inherent and inalienable, right up there with the right to life, liberty and happiness which are currently in the state’s constitution. It also clearly establishes that government at all levels has a duty to act as the trustee of the natural resources of the state, including air, water, flora, fauna, climate and public lands, and to conserve, protect and maintain these resources for the benefit of all the people, including generations yet to come. If Senate Joint Resolution 3 passes both chambers, it will go on the ballot in the general election of 2022. SWEC strongly supports this bill.
Urgent: The Green Amendment (SJR3) will be heard in the Senate Rules Committee on 2/3/21 starting at 9 am. Please contact members the Senate Rules Committee to ask them to support this bill. It is especially important that they hear from their constituents. Find contact info here.
“Roxy’s Law” Wildlife Conservation and Public Safety Act (SB32—Gonzalez, McQueen):
This bill, named for a pet dog that was strangled in a snare while its owner watched in horror, would ban the use of traps, snares and poisons for commercial purposes on public land in New Mexico, with exceptions for protecting human health and safety, ecosystem management and bona fide scientific research. It would allow the use of cage traps for dealing with depredation on livestock on public lands. It would not apply to private or tribal lands. Similar bans have been enacted in neighboring states of Colorado (all lands) and Arizona (public lands). SWEC strongly supports this bill.
Update: SB32 passed Senate Conservation Committee on 2/2/21 by a 7-2 vote. All the Democrats and one Republican, Greg Schmede, voted to approve it. Next it goes to the Senate Judiciary Committee.