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Governor signs four bills into law

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One of the laws will protect employees who speak out against government corruption

By Associated Press

LAS CRUCES — Gov. Bill Richardson has signed four bills into law from the recently concluded New Mexico regular legislative session, including a bill that protects state employees who speak out about unlawful activity and government corruption.

Richardson signed the Spaceport Informed Consent Act, the Colonias Infrastructure Act and Fund and the Las Cruces Tax Increment Project Bond bill during an appearance Saturday in Las Cruces.

The governor also signed the Whistleblower Protection Act, sponsored by Rep. Joseph Cervantes,

Meantime, the work of New Mexico lawmakers is not over.

Richardson said the special legislative session for hammering out a state budget proposal began Monday as planned.

The governor said that lawmakers have been meeting to settle their differences and he believes they are close to consensus on a plan for financing public schools and state government.

The Space Flight Informed Consent law, sponsored by Sen. Mary Kay Papen, requires that future spacegoers taking off from New Mexico’s Spaceport be fully informed of the risks of space flight.

Richardson said the new law also makes the state’s space program competitive with other regions.

“This legislation secures New Mexico’s investment in Spaceport America and its resulting job creation by ensuring we are competitive with other space states such as Virginia and Florida who have similar legislation in place,” Richardson said.

The Colonias Infrastructure Act and Fund creates a permanent fund that will ensure that residents of colonias will get assistance for infrastructure improvements.

Colonias will now receive $10 million dollars annually for water, sewage systems, roads and flood controls.

“The Colonias Infrastructure Act and Fund will ensure that New Mexico’s smallest, poorest communities will get the much needed funding that they desperately need,” Richardson said. “This bill will help our rural border towns get the clean drinking water, adequate waste water systems and sanitary housing that they deserve.”

The Las Cruces Tax Increment Project Bonds bill, sponsored by Rep. Antonio Lujan, gives Las Cruces the authority to issue bonds to redevelop the downtown area.

“Downtown Las Cruces is ready for change, it’s ready for redevelopment and this bill will ensure improvements will be made to one of New Mexico’s most important Main Streets,” Richardson said.