Addressing questions, House Judicial Committee substitute accepted and approved by House Judiciary Committee

Santa Fe, N.M. – Today, in a rapidly changing technological world, House Bill 11 reorganizes New Mexico’s PRC to carry out its important technical and regulatory functions so New Mexico can be a leader in energy, infrastructure and health and safety. Sponsored by Representative Linda Trujillo (D-Santa Fe) and Representative Nathan Small (D-Las Cruces), changes proposed in House Bill 11 for the PRC are critical to the State’s future. Structurally, House Bill 11 places more technical, qualified, and professional staff, along with the necessary leadership that provides commissioners the objective direction they need to make informed and timely decision-making that moves New Mexico forward.

“This reorganization is good for employees – giving them needed protections and a path for professional advancement,” said Representative Linda Trujillo (D-Santa Fe). “To better serve New Mexicans, we believe now is the time to modernize the PRC’s structure.”

“This modernization of the PRC will empower a highly professional and efficient organization,” said Representative Nathan Small (D-Las Cruces). “If we don’t make these targeted changes to protect employees, value their contributions, and provide the technical expertise the PRC deserves; we will be navigating a difficult road map for economic development and a clean energy future.”

House Bill 11 makes three significant changes to the PRC to professionalize and protect staff and provide consistency in its decision-making process. By placing its administration under the state’s Regulation and Licensing Department, hiring additional experienced technical staff to objectively advise commissioners, and removing much of the politics within the PRC by opening up key positions to be appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate.  

The House Judiciary Committee substitute for House Bill 11, clarifies that PRC reorganization would not reduce classified positions in the current PRC; provides commissioners the ability to select their chief of staff from a list of qualified candidates provided by the governor if commissioners remain elected; ensures decisional independence by the chief of staff; and maintains PRC oversight of the fire marshall and the state’s pipeline safety bureau.

The HJC substitute for House Bill 11, passed the House Judiciary Committee in a 7-3 vote and advances to the House floor.