54th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2019


Linda M. Lopez




SECTION 1. [NEW MATERIAL] SHORT TITLE.--This act may be cited as the "Hispanic Affairs Department Act".

SECTION 2. [NEW MATERIAL] PURPOSE.--The purpose of the Hispanic Affairs Department Act is to create a single, unified department to administer laws and exercise functions that will enable the executive branch to achieve a coordinated and effective system dedicated to improving educational achievement gaps and health care and other access to state programs and reducing poverty rates among Hispanics in New Mexico.

SECTION 3. [NEW MATERIAL] DEFINITIONS.--As used in the Hispanic Affairs Department Act:

A. "department" means the Hispanic affairs department; and

B. "secretary" means the secretary of Hispanic affairs.

SECTION 4. [NEW MATERIAL] DEPARTMENT CREATED.--The "Hispanic affairs department" is created as a cabinet department in the executive branch. The department includes the following divisions:

A. the administrative services division; and

B. the program services division.


A. The chief executive and administrative officer of the department is the "secretary of Hispanic affairs". The secretary shall be appointed by the governor with the consent of the senate. The secretary shall hold the office at the pleasure of the governor and shall serve in the executive cabinet.

B. An appointed secretary shall serve and have all of the duties, responsibilities and authority of that office during the period of time prior to final action by the senate confirming or rejecting the secretary's appointment.


A. The secretary is responsible to the governor for the operation of the department. It is the secretary's duty to manage all operations of the department and to administer and enforce the laws with which the secretary or the department is charged.

B. To perform the secretary's duties, the secretary has every power expressly enumerated in the laws, whether granted to the secretary or any division of the department, except where authority conferred upon any division in the department is explicitly exempted from the secretary's authority by statute. In accordance with these provisions, the secretary shall:

(1) except as otherwise provided in the Hispanic Affairs Department Act, exercise general supervisory and appointing authority over all department employees, subject to any applicable personnel laws and rules;

(2) delegate authority to subordinates as necessary and appropriate, clearly delineating such delegated authority and the limitations thereto;

(3) organize the department into those organizational units that will enable it to function most efficiently, subject to any provisions of law requiring or establishing specific organizational units;

(4) within the limitations of available appropriations and applicable laws, employ and fix the compensation of those persons necessary to discharge the secretary's duties;

(5) take administrative action by issuing orders and instructions, not inconsistent with the law, to ensure implementation of and compliance with the provisions of law, the administration or execution of which the secretary is responsible, and to enforce those orders and instructions by appropriate administrative action or actions in the courts;

(6) conduct research and studies that will improve the operations of the department and the provision of services to the residents of the state;

(7) provide courses of instruction and practical training for employees of the department and other persons involved in the administration of programs with the objective of improving the operations and efficiency of administration;

(8) prepare an annual budget of the department;

(9) provide cooperation, at the request of heads of administratively attached agencies, in order to:

(a) minimize or eliminate duplication of services;

(b) coordinate activities and resolve problems of mutual concern; and

(c) resolve by agreement the manner and extent to which the department shall provide budgeting, record keeping and related clerical assistance to administratively attached agencies; and

(10) appoint, with the governor's consent, for each division, a director. Persons appointed to these positions serve at the pleasure of the secretary.

C. The secretary may apply for and receive, with the governor's approval, in the name of the department, any public or private funds, including United States government funds, available to the department to carry out its programs, duties or services.

D. When functions of departments overlap or a function assigned to one department could be performed better by another department, the secretary may recommend appropriate legislation to the next session of the legislature for its approval.

E. The secretary may make and adopt such reasonable procedural rules as may be necessary to carry out the duties of the department and its divisions. A rule promulgated by the director of a division in carrying out the functions and duties of the division shall not be effective until approved by the secretary. Unless otherwise provided by statute, a rule affecting a person or agency outside the department shall not be adopted, amended or repealed without a public hearing on the proposed action before the secretary or a hearing officer designated by the secretary. The public hearing shall be held in Santa Fe unless otherwise permitted by statute. Notice of the subject matter of the rule, the action proposed to be taken, the time and place of the hearing, the manner in which interested persons may present their views and the method by which copies of the proposed rule, proposed amendment or repeal of an existing rule may be obtained shall be published once at least thirty days prior to the hearing date in a newspaper of general circulation and mailed at least thirty days prior to the hearing date to all persons who have made a written request for advance notice of hearing. All rules shall be filed in accordance with the State Rules Act.


A. The department shall:

(1) investigate, study, consider and act upon the entire subject of Hispanic affairs within New Mexico, including problems of health, economy and education and the effect of local, state and federal legislative, executive and judicial actions. The department shall collaborate with other state departments and agencies that have an interest or stake in the subject being investigated, studied or considered. In performing its functions, the department shall provide an opportunity for the presentation and exchange of ideas with respect to Hispanic affairs of the state by all interested persons;

(2) assist in setting the policy and act as the clearinghouse for all state programs affecting Hispanics of New Mexico;

(3) focus on the Hispanic Statement of Cooperation agreement entered into by the Hispano round table of New Mexico and thirty-one other signatories to improve education, employment, business opportunities and cultural awareness and celebration in New Mexico and extend those efforts statewide;

(4) pay particular attention to lawsuits against the state or political subdivisions such as Yazzie/Martinez v. State of New Mexico and Carbajal v. Albuquerque Public School District and the efforts of the state and political subdivisions to comply with court orders and offer assistance to other state agencies or political subdivisions in complying; and

(5) work with governments, military installations, businesses and industries to develop diversity action plans and improve employee diversity in every field of economic endeavor.

B. The department may:

(1) hold hearings, conduct meetings, make investigations and confer with officials of local, state and federal agencies to secure cooperation among the local, state, federal and Native American tribal governments in the promotion of the welfare of Hispanics of New Mexico;

(2) contract with public agencies, tribal governments and private persons to provide services and facilities for promoting the welfare of Hispanics of New Mexico; and

(3) do all things right and proper to expand education, economic, cultural and other opportunities for the largest minority group in New Mexico and the nation.


A. Those organizational units of the department and the officers of those units specified by law shall have all of the powers and duties enumerated in the specific laws involved. However, the carrying out of those powers and duties shall be subject to the direction and supervision of the secretary, who shall retain the final decision-making authority and responsibility for the administration of any such laws.

B. The department shall have access to all records, data and information of other state departments that are not specifically held confidential by law.

SECTION 9. [NEW MATERIAL] DIVISION DIRECTORS.--Except as otherwise provided by law, the secretary shall appoint, with the approval of the governor, directors of divisions established within the department. The directors so appointed are exempt from the Personnel Act.

SECTION 10. [NEW MATERIAL] BUREAU CHIEFS.--The secretary may establish within each division such bureaus as the secretary deems necessary to carry out the provisions of the Hispanic Affairs Department Act. The secretary shall appoint a chief to be the administrative head of a bureau. A chief and all subsidiary employees of the department are covered by the Personnel Act unless otherwise provided by law.

SECTION 11. [NEW MATERIAL] ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES DIVISION--DUTIES.--The administrative services division of the department shall provide administrative services to the department, including:

A. keeping all official records of the department;

B. providing clerical services in the areas of personnel and budget preparation; and

C. providing clerical, recordkeeping and administrative support to the Hispanic affairs commission and other agencies administratively attached to the department, at their request.

SECTION 12. [NEW MATERIAL] PROGRAM SERVICES DIVISION--DUTIES.--The program services division of the department shall provide program implementation and support for field programs and services.


A. The "Hispanic affairs commission" is created. The commission consists of eleven members who are residents of New Mexico appointed by the governor as follows:

(1) two members who are members of the Hispano round table of New Mexico;

(2) two members who are members of the league of united Latin American citizens;

(3) two members who are members of a Hispanic chamber of commerce;

(4) one member who is a member of the Mexican American legal defense and education fund;

(5) one member who is a member of the national Hispanic cultural center foundation;

(6) one member who is a member of the American civil liberties union;

(7) one member who is a member of the Mexican American women's national association; and

(8) one member who is non-Hispanic.

B. Members who represent organizations shall be appointed by the governor from lists of three names submitted by each of the organizations represented.

C. Members shall serve four-year terms. A vacancy shall be filled by appointment by the governor in the same manner as the original appointment for the unexpired term of the vacating member.

D. The commission shall elect a chair and such other officers as it deems necessary.

E. Members are entitled to receive per diem and mileage pursuant to the Per Diem and Mileage Act, but shall receive no other compensation, perquisite or allowance.

SECTION 14. [NEW MATERIAL] DUTIES OF THE COMMISSION.--The Hispanic affairs commission shall:

A. conduct meetings to provide an opportunity for the presentation and exchange of ideas with respect to Hispanic affairs by any interested party that result in the promotion of the welfare of Hispanics in New Mexico;

B. receive and disseminate information on issues that significantly impact the welfare of Hispanics in New Mexico; and

C. advise the secretary on policy matters related to the department's powers and duties.

SECTION 15. APPROPRIATION.--Seven hundred thousand dollars ($700,000) is appropriated from the general fund to the department of finance and administration for expenditure in fiscal year 2020 to pay expenses of establishing the Hispanic affairs department. Any unexpended or unencumbered balance remaining at the end of fiscal year 2020 shall revert to the general fund.

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