There’s never a dull moment when the New Mexico legislature is in session!
The Senate stayed up late last night, passed 12 bills in quick succession (10 measures that fully address the budget crisis, all sponsored or co-sponsored by Senate Finance Chairman John Arthur Smith, plus 2 bills related to hemp or marijuana) and then quickly adjourned. None of the Senate bills make any mention of film, as we had hoped. Now the Senate won’t come back into session again unless the House forces them to by staying in session for three days in a row. So the Senate won’t be back for several days, possibly not until Wednesday.
Over on the House side, Republican representatives Rod Montoya (R-Farmington), David M. Gallegos (R-Eunice), James R.J. Strickler (R-Farmington) and James G. Townsend (R-Artesia) introduced HB15 this evening, which would make a temporary, one-year reduction in the film incentive program cap from $50M per year to $25M per year.
It is very important to note that this was introduced as a stand-alone bill, rather than as an amendment to the budget fix bills, meaning the sponsors failed to gather enough support in the Republican caucus to include this in the budget compromise, making this more of a political message than a serious move to destroy the program.
The bill has been referred to the House Ways and Means Committee, but may not be taken up on the House floor, and even if it reaches the floor and passes, the Senate will likely reject it.
However, all attacks on one of our state’s only successful job creation programs must be taken seriously. We will be monitoring the committee hearings closely tomorrow – there are no weekends when the legislative clock is ticking! – and continuing to shore up support from our friends on both sides of the aisle.
We’ll keep you updated and will alert you immediately if further actions become necessary.
In the end, we’re confident that the Senate and the Governor understand just how successful New Mexico’s film program is in creating thousands of jobs and bringing millions of dollars of new money into the state. For more information on the positive impacts of the film industry in New Mexico, visit our website at fbanm.com.