This message is from Ellen Pinnes and The Disability Coalition. Please do not reply to this email address. Ellen can be reached at EPinnes@msn.com.
Governor Martinez has signed into law two bills of particular interest to the disability community:
SB 11, Limitations on “Step Therapy”, sponsored by Senators Gay Kernan and Liz Stefanics and Representatives Liz Thomson and Monica Youngblood. The bill addresses use of health insurance practices, known as “step therapy” or “fail first”, that require an individual to try a lower-cost prescription drug and show it doesn’t work before use of a more expensive drug is allowed. The bill focuses on prompt appeal processes that patients and their doctors can use to bypass step therapy requirements and get the medications that work best for them.
SB 19, Uniform Guardianship and Conservatorship Code, sponsored by Senators Jim White and Daniel Ivey-Soto and Representative Gail Chasey. The final version of SB 19 was changed significantly from the introduced version, and does not enact the new national model law as originally intended. The bill opens up new guardianship hearings to the public in most cases, limits the authority of guardians to modify or ignore wills and powers of attorney or to restrict visitation, and sets new standards for future petitions seeking guardianship. It’s not clear whether the bill allows family members to readily access annual guardianship reports. Unfortunately, the new law does not include some of the improvements initially proposed, such as strengthening the role of the attorney representing the allegedly incapacitated person or encouraging creative alternatives to guardianship.
Only a few bills involving disability issues are still awaiting the governor’s decision to sign or veto:
HB 2, General Appropriations Act, the state’s budget bill for fiscal year 2019 that contains appropriations for all state government agencies. The bill includes $2 million for the DD waiver waitlist, $300,000 for Special Olympics, $100,000 for housing services to individuals with mental illness who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and $100,000 to the Human Services Department for autism services.
HB 19, Criminal Justice Omnibus Bill, sponsored by Representative Nate Gentry and Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto, which includes requirements for jails and prisons to screen inmates or detainees for substance abuse or mental health issues and facilitate their enrollment in Medicaid, and for Medicaid managed care organization (MCO) staff to assess the needs of these individuals and link them to services upon release from the correctional facility.
SB 2, Due Process for Medicaid Providers, sponsored by Senator Mary Kay Papen, which provides procedural protections for providers who have been accused of fraud.
SB 220, Crisis Triage Centers, sponsored by Senator Papen, which changes the definition of these centers to include facilities connected to hospitals and authorizes them to provide residential as well as non-residential services.
Governor Martinez has until March 7 to sign or veto bills passed by the Legislature. If you wish to contact her about any bill that is still awaiting action, you can reach her:
By phone: Call her office at 505-476-2200 and leave a message.
By email: Go to her website, www.governor.state.nm.us. Click on “Contact and Constituent Services” at the top of the page, then on “Contact the governor”, and fill out the form that comes up on the screen.
Gov. Susana Martinez
State Capitol – Room 400
490 Old Santa Fe Trail
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501
The Disability Coalition is administered by Disability Rights New Mexico and is funded in part by
the New Mexico Developmental Disabilities Planning Council through Federal Program funding.
Additional funding is provided by The Arc of New Mexico,
the Independent Living Resource Center, New Vistas and DRNM.