The New Mexico House of Representatives had a busy weekend, passing several pieces of legislation.

On Sunday, the House of Representatives passed legislation establishing a clear standard for affirmative consent at New Mexico colleges and universities to prevent sexual assault and harassment. The bill passed the House with a bipartisan vote of 44-17 and will now move to the Senate.

“Affirmative consent” refers to the knowing, voluntary and mutual decision among participants to engage in sexual or physical activity, with clear permission provided.

House Bill 43 requires all post-secondary educational institutions that receive state funds to adopt trauma-informed policies addressing affirmative consent and investigate allegations of sexual assault and harassment. This includes providing programs to help prevent sexual misconduct, training for staff responsible for investigating allegations, and health care, counseling and other services for those who are impacted.

“Ensuring that everyone at our higher education institutions understands the importance of clear, affirmative consent can help prevent sexual assault before it occurs,” said lead sponsor Rep. Elizabeth “Liz” Thomson (D-Albuquerque). “This bill also ensures that allegations of sexual assault and misconduct will be thoroughly investigated, and victims will have access to critical health, mental and legal services.”

Saturday, the House of Representatives passed several bills.

House Bill 193 unanimously passed; it outlines tenure-based bonuses to help retain and recruit law enforcement statewide.

“Rewarding law enforcement for their continued service is not just the right thing to do, it will help us retain quality officers and recruit new cops to the force,” said sponsor Rep. Art De La Cruz (D-Albuquerque).

Under House Bill 193, officers would be eligible to receive retention bonuses from the Law Enforcement Retention Fund at five-year benchmarks of years of service. The bill also extends the benefit to cross-departmental service and provides officers who serve more than 21 years with annual 5% bonuses.

“Making sure our police departments are well-staffed and fairly compensated is an important step to improving community safety across New Mexico,” said co-sponsor Rep. Meredith Dixon (D-Albuquerque).

The House of Representatives also passed House Bill 5, which would create the Workforce Development and Apprenticeship Trust Fund, with a strong bipartisan vote of 63-5.

The Workforce Development and Apprenticeship Trust Fund would support training and apprenticeship programs to train New Mexicans for good-paying jobs in in-demand trades. HB 5 appropriates $30 million from the general fund to the newly created trust to fund existing apprenticeship and training programs throughout the state.

“Increasing the technical skills and practical experience of our workforce is good for workers and for business,” said lead sponsor Rep. Joy Garratt (D-Albuquerque). “Investing in our registered apprenticeship programs is a vital part of developing our workforce pipeline. This fund will help us prepare for tomorrow’s challenges and create family-supporting jobs for New Mexicans for decades to come.”

The Workforce Development and Apprenticeship Trust Fund is one of several key investments proposed by House Democrats this session to build a skilled workforce, fill critical vacancies, and strengthen the state’s economic outlook. Other significant workforce development investments include pre-apprenticeship programs to engage youth, loan repayment for medical professionals, scholarships for students in STEM, and practicums for social workers.

HB 5 is also sponsored by Reps. Christine Chandler (D-Los Alamos) and Kathleen Cates (D-Rio Rancho), Senate Majority Whip Michael Padilla (D-Albuquerque) and Sen. Siah Correa Hemphill (D-Silver City). It now heads to the Senate.

A bill to reduce the carbon footprint of transportation fuels in New Mexico passed the House floor Saturday by a vote of 36-33.

House Bill 41, New Mexico’s Clean Transportation Fuel Standard, would establish benchmarks to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels by 20% before 2030 and by 30% before 2040. The bill would also incentivize the production of lower-emission fuels by offering credits to producers. Fuel producers could buy and sell these credits, creating a market that would strengthen the state’s economy.

The proposal would generate an estimated $470 million in economic investment, including 1,600 permanent jobs and 2,300 construction jobs, as well as a $240 million capital investment in production and manufacturing.

“It’s vital to New Mexico’s future that we take meaningful and pragmatic action to reduce our carbon footprint,” said bill sponsor Rep. Kristina Ortez (D-Taos). “By incentivizing the use of cleaner fuels in high-emission industries like transportation, we can address the impacts of climate change, while also strengthening our economy.”

Friday, the House of Representatives approved legislation to reduce gun violence by instituting a seven-day waiting period between when an individual purchases and takes ownership of a firearm. House Bill 129 passed the House today with a vote of 37-33, and will now move to the Senate.

“House Bill 129 will prevent temporary moments of crisis from becoming tragedies. It will also allow law enforcement to run thorough background checks to help keep firearms out of the wrong hands,” said lead sponsor Rep. Andrea Romero (D-Santa Fe). “Waiting periods are a simple, but important step we can take to reduce gun violence and save lives.”

Some of the deadliest mass shootings in the United States were committed with firearms that were purchased only days before, including the Uvalde, Texas, shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers, as well as the Pulse Nightclub shooting that killed 49 and injured 53.

Waiting periods have also been shown to reduce firearm suicides by up to 11% and firearm homicides by up to 17%. They are recommended by FBI experts and supported by the overwhelming majority of Americans.