Earlier Sunday liquor sales among bill signings

April 6, 2013 • State News

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Among the bills signed by Gov. Susana Martinez on Friday:

—Allow bars and restaurants to begin serving alcohol at 11 a.m. on Sunday, instead of noon. A Sunday noon starting time remains [auth] for package liquor purchased at grocery stores and other locations for off-premise consumption.

—Allow counties to increase the salaries of their elected officials by as much as 15 percent. A salary cap is raised for officials such as sheriff, treasurer and assessor. County commissioners must decide whether to provide a pay increase, however.

—Require coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders for health insurance plans for public employees and retired government workers. A 2009 law mandated coverage for autism in group health plans in private industry, but not the insurance plans for state and local government workers and educators.

—Prohibit public and private universities from requesting social media passwords from student applicants, and employers can’t ask for those passwords from job seekers.

—Relax state regulation of rural telephone companies and cooperatives, including allowing automatic rate increases in some cases.

—Allow all municipalities and counties to impose a lodging tax to finance convention or civic centers.

—Create an 11-member commission to hire and fire the chief public defender and oversee the Public Defender Department, which voters approved making independent of the governor’s administration. The governor would name one commission member and others would be selected by legislative leaders, the chief justice of the Supreme Court and dean of the University of New Mexico law school.

—Broaden New Mexico’s law against advertising or labeling of products as New Mexico chile unless the peppers are grown in the state.

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