If passed into law, the first Senate bill, “Create Crime of School Threat,” will make it a fourth degree felony charge for making a “school threat.” A school threat is defined as making any threat of violence against an individual on school property or towards school property. The second bill, “School Safety Drill Requirements” will require schools to conduct active shooter drills four times a year if passed. And “Former Officers as School Safety Personnel” will give campus officers cost-of-living adjustment increases as a method for retaining employees. All three Senate bills were sponsored by Craig Brandt.
Meanwhile, a House bill sponsored by Linda M. Trujillo, “School Security Personnel & Deadly Weapons,” would clarify who qualifies as school security personnel that can carry deadly weapons.
The 60-day legislative session begins Jan. 15.
Governor's Social Spending to be Audited
A social spending allowance account provided for the state's governor will face examination this year with the implementation of a new law.
Last year, Gov. Susana Martinez signed a law that went into effect Jan. 1 which will allow the auditing of a contingency fund supplied by the state and used at the governor's discretion to pay for social gatherings, events, item expenditures for awards and other uses. This year will be the first time the $72,000 fund has ever been audited, according to the Alamogordo Daily News, and lawmakers say the new law will increase government transparency.
The fund will now fall under the Inspection of Public Records Act, and future governors will have to submit an itemized list of expenditures to a legislative committee and the Department of Finance and Administration every month. Any unspent money from the fund will be returned to the state.
N.M. Population Growth Floundering
Estimates from the US Census Bureau show the population in New Mexico has not improved much over the last year while other Western states show some of the fastest growing populations in the country.
According to bureau reports, the state's population only grew around 0.3 percent between July 2017 and July 2018—an increase of a little more than 7,000. In the same time period, Nevada's population grew over 1.2 percent. Since 2013, New Mexico has had more people move out every year than move in, according to KOB4. In 2018, the state had 3,509 more people move out than move in.
The New Mexico Association of Realtors reported record sales in Nov. 2018, however. Figures show 30 percent more sales that month than have been reported in the last 5 years. The National Association of Realtors recently announced a projection of a 3 percent decrease in nationwide sales in 2018 compared to 2017, making positive trends in New Mexico an exception.