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The Latest: New Mexico bill advances to bankroll small loans

February 26, 2019

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on (all times local):

7:00 p.m.

The New Mexico Senate has passed a bill that would provide $50 million to the state’s Small Business Investment Corporation to provide loans to small enterprises not served by traditional banks.

The bill was approved in a 36-0 vote of the Senate on Monday and now advances to the House. Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham supports the bill to double capitalization of the state’s Small Business Investment Corporation using money from a multibillion-dollar state trust known as the Severance Tax Permanent fund.

Profits from the lender’s small loans would returned to the roughly $5 billion Severance Tax Permanent Fund. That fund originates from taxes on oil and mineral extraction and provides about $200 million a year to the state general fund.

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7 a.m.

The New Mexico House of Representatives has passed two criminal justice reform bills aimed at reducing recidivism and better integrating prison inmates back into society.

The votes on Sunday by the House sent the initiatives to the Democrat-controlled Senate for consideration.

One far-reaching initiative from Democratic Rep. Antonio Maestas of Albuquerque would create a framework for counseling and addiction treatment to help prison inmates make the transition back to their communities. Other provisions address drug-overdose situations to provide some immunity from prosecution for people who call in medical professionals.

A second bill would provide new approaches to probation and parole programs. It would require parole after 30 years of incarceration for life sentences unless the state Parole Board decides otherwise.