Aztec lawmaker’s fire bill headed to Senate

By Dan Schwartz, The Daily Times, Farmington, N.M.
Tribune Content Agency

March 20–FARMINGTON — A local legislator’s bill designed to fight wildfires that has passed five committees and the House with little opposition is scheduled for a hearing on the Senate floor this afternoon.

Rep. Paul Bandy, R-Aztec, drafted House Bill 38 to shift $15 million a year from the New Mexico Office of the Superintendent of Insurance to a fund for long-term forest and watershed restoration projects. Normally, that money would go to the state general fund.

But revisions in various committees have led to the allocation being cut sharply. Now, as the bill is written, the restoration fund would receive $2.25 million in fiscal year 2016 only and $250,000 each subsequent year, according to a fiscal impact report published Wednesday.