SANTA FE, NM (KRQE) – Thursday, January 26, legislators are digging into a handful of bills that could have big economic and environmental implications for the state. On the table are bills that open the door for expanded renewable energy projects, push the adoption of electric vehicles, and limit the state’s Public Regulation Commission to pursue new fossil fuel-powered energy.
Today, senators on the Senate Tax, Business and Transportation Committee will consider a couple bills that could impact the future of electric vehicles in New Mexico. Senate Bill 22 would provide tax incentives for people looking to purchase electric vehicles.
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Under the bill, sponsored by Sen. Bill Tallman (D-Abq.), New Mexicans who purchase an electric vehicle could receive a $3,250 tax credit. But there are limits in the bill. For example, the vehicle has to cost $55,000 or less.
The bill would also collect fees from electric vehicle owners. It would create an annual registration fee of $120 for electric vehicles or $60 for plug-in hybrids. Those fees would go to the state’s road and transportation funds.
Senators will also consider Senate Bill 30, which would require the state government to work on acquiring more electric vehicles for government use. That bill, introduced by Sen. William P. Soules (D-Las Cruces), would require 75% of all state-owned vehicles to be an electric or a plug-in hybrid by 2030.
Also up for debate are several bills with potentially big impacts on the state’s energy portfolio. For one, the Senate Conservation Committee is scheduled to discuss a bill that would help New Mexico explore the potential of using geothermal energy.
Senate Bill 8 is sponsored by Gerald Ortiz y Pino (D-Abq.), Pat Woods (R-Curry, Quay & Union), Ron Griggs (R-Doña Ana, Eddy & Otero), and Patricia Roybal Caballero (D-Abq .). It would create a “center of excellence” at New Mexico Tech to promote innovation in geothermal resources. The bill would also create a fund for grants towards geothermal resource development.
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The committee will also consider Senate Bill 74. That bill, sponsored by Sen. William P. Soules (D-Las Cruces) would amend the state’s Public Utility Act.
The bill creates a “clean energy” definition in the act. But according to an analysis by the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission, the bill could lead to a change in the rate customers pay for electricity. And the Commission also notes that the bill might limit the development of hydrogen energy technology.
In case you missed it
Gun bills have been a big discussion so far in the 2023 session. Among other bills, Senate Bill 116, sponsored by Sen. Carrie Hamblen (D-Doña Ana). That bill would make it illegal for someone under the age of 21 to purchase an automatic or semi-automatic firearm.
“This isn’t mean to try and put any particular group at a disadvantage,” Hamblen says. “Our state’s laws when they were formed, in terms of the age to buy a weapon, were not consistent in the first place. We’re just trying to make that even across the board.”
The bill would also make it illegal for individuals under age 21 to possess a semi-automatic or automatic firearm in some cases. For more details on that bill, check out this KRQE News 13 story.
Another big story yesterday was the Governor’s announcement that she’s pushing for another round of tax rebates this year. Of course, those would still have to be approved by legislators.