The Las Cruces City Council adopted three Resolutions regarding proposed legislation that the New Mexico Legislature will consider during the 2021 session, which began Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021.
The seven-member Council unanimously adopted a Resolution urging the New Mexico Legislature to establish a state public bank, owned by and for New Mexico residents. City Council also unanimously approved a Resolution urging the Legislature to increase disbursements from New Mexico’s Land Grant Permanent Fund (LGPF) for early childhood education services. The Council also voted 6-1, with Mayor Ken Miyagishima casting the lone dissenting vote, to support a Resolution that could legalize and regulate cannabis and cannabis-related products for recreational use.
The Council was told a state public bank would keep funds local by depositing them in a public bank rather than a traditional commercial bank that is driven by mandates to maximize shareholder profits. A state bank could use deposited funds to finance loans for activities such as infrastructure development, business loans, economic development projects, and other endeavors deemed worthy of investment. A state public bank also could provide financing for projects that lacked financing options if left to the mechanisms of traditional commercial banking.
Widespread support for establishing state public banks has been increasing across the U.S. in recent years. However, the Council received emailed comments from a local economist and a Las Cruces banker who opposed efforts to establish a state public bank.
The Resolution regarding early childhood education endorses the City’s support for increasing disbursements made from the LGPF for early childhood education and care in New Mexico. The City also urges the Legislature to take appropriate actions that enable such an increase to be brought about so that more money is available to increase early childhood education opportunities and outcomes that will provide beneficial long-term impacts for all New Mexicans.
Since 2013, numerous proposals have been brought before the Legislature to increase disbursements made from the LGPF for early childhood education in New Mexico. Requiring an amendment to the state constitution, such proposals have failed to pass both chambers of the legislature each time they have been made.
In 2020, House Bill 83 was passed and created the Early Childhood Education and Care Fund with a one-time appropriation from the general fund of $300 million.
The Resolution urging the Legislature to increase disbursements for early childhood education services will still require approval from New Mexico voters as well as the endorsement from New Mexico’s Congressional delegation.
The Resolution supporting the legalization and regulation of cannabis and cannabis-related products for recreational would benefit manufacturers and retailers of products that would be sold in the state. If approved by the Legislature, New Mexico would join 15 states, and the District of Columbia, who have legalized the public’s use of recreational cannabis.
However, Mayor Ken Miyagishima, who has steadfastly been opposed to the legislation, said it would be wrong to profit from cannabis. He added any changes to state laws regarding cannabis may impact law enforcement resources.
Additionally, the Council approved the following items:
A Resolution approving $953,342 to plan, design and build a behavioral health facility at 535 S. Miranda St., The City of Las Cruces will lease the facility to La Clinica de Familia (LCDF) for 10 years, with an option that LCDF could buy the facility. The behavioral health facility will serve the community’s indigent population.
An Ordinance repealing and replacing Division 17 – Building Standards, of Chapter 30, Buildings and Building Regulations of the Las Cruces Municipal Code, and adopting the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code, as amended and adopted by the New Mexico Construction Industries Division. The new ordinance will go into effect March 15 and is intended to find ways to economize and save on energy costs in the construction of residential and commercial buildings in Las Cruces.
A Resolution adopting the Las Cruces International Airport Landscape Master Plan. The plan is for long-term cohesive design at the airport, creating an appealing entry and arrival area into Las Cruces, and to enhance economic development opportunities at the airport and for the City..