Analysis

Synopsis:

 Senate Bill 180 (SB 180) enacts the New Mexico Reforestation Center Act. It directs the Forestry Division of the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department to enter into a joint powers agreement with the Department of Forestry at New Mexico Highlands University, the Agricultural Experiment Station at NM State University and the Department of Biology at the University of New Mexico to create the New Mexico Reforestation Center to address the impacts of climate change on the state's forests and address the state's reforestation needs. It creates a board and directs the establishment of a dedicated account for funding.SB 180 makes an appropriation of four million six hundred eight thousand one hundred dollars ($4,608,100).

Analysis:

 Senate Bill 180 (SB 180) enacts the New Mexico Reforestation Center Act. It directs the Forestry Division of the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department (EMNRD) to enter into a joint powers agreement (JPA) with the Department of Forestry at New Mexico Highlands University (NMHU), the Agricultural Experiment Station at NM State University (NMSU) and the Department of Biology at the University of New Mexico (UNM) to create the New Mexico Reforestation Center. This Center will address the impacts of climate change on the state's forests and meet the state's current and future reforestation needs through establishment of a seed bank program, a nursery program, and a planting program. SB 180 directs the Center to develop and operate comprehensive policies and projects concerning these programs; climate change modeling and database management; and outreach, education and training to support these programs.

 SB 180 directs the JPA to specify the areas of responsibilities for each party to the agreement. Responsibility will be divided among the parties based on expertise and capabilities with certain powers and responsibilities specifically delegated such as NMHU acting as fiscal agent; UNM to house the climate modeling and database management; and NMSU to support the nursery and research efforts.

SB 180 creates the NM Reforestation Board which will consist of five members including the state forester and those holding certain positions at the various educational institutional parties to the JPA. The board will elect its own chair who will serve on a rotating basis. It directs the JPA to specify the powers and duties of the board with the specific inclusion of responsibility of the board to include strategic planning for the Center and fiscal decisions and allocations of funds for the Center.

SB 180 requires NMHU to establish a non-reverting NM Reforestation Center Account no later than 1 July 2021 that will be used for operational expenses including salaries.

HB 180 appropriates four million six hundred eight thousand one hundred dollars ($4,608,100) from the General Fund (GF) to NMHU for expenditure in Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 and subsequent FYs for the first-year operational expenses of the Center as provided in the JPA.

Any unexpended or unencumbered balance remaining at the end of a FY will not revert to the GF unless the parties named to the JPA do not enter into the agreement by 1 July 2022.

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