HOUSE BILL 189
55th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2021
Miguel P. Garcia
RELATING TO LEGAL SERVICES; PROVIDING FOR THE COMMUNITY GOVERNANCE ATTORNEY COMMISSION TO ADJUST THE MAXIMUM ALLOWABLE SALARIES FOR ATTORNEYS PURSUANT TO THE COMMUNITY GOVERNANCE ATTORNEY ACT.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. Section 21-21Q-3 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 2019, Chapter 43, Section 3) is amended to read:
"21-21Q-3. COMMUNITY GOVERNANCE ATTORNEY AND CONDITIONAL TUITION WAIVER PROGRAM CREATED--ADMINISTRATION--RULEMAKING SELECTION PROCESS--REPAYMENT.--
A. The "community governance attorney and conditional tuition waiver program" is created and shall be administered by the department. The department shall:
(1) promulgate rules for implementing the program and for a reasonable living stipend in consultation with the university; provided that the maximum living stipend shall be based upon the availability of funds and information provided by the university regarding the current cost of attendance at the university;
(2) publicize the program to law students and to prospective law students;
(3) collect and manage repayment from students who do not meet their obligations under the program; and
(4) solicit and accept funds for the program, including grants and donations.
B. Participants shall enter the program in their final year of law school. The department shall select participants according to rules it promulgates and, in consultation with the commission, shall create a standard process for law students to apply to participate in the program.
C. The department shall award no more than two new waivers a year, in addition to renewing existing waivers for eligible participants, subject to the availability of funding.
D. Participation in the program shall be evidenced by a contract between the participant and the department. The contract shall provide for the payment of a participant's waiver and shall be conditioned upon the participant fulfilling the program obligations and meeting the university's standards for satisfactory academic progress. An applicant to the program shall sign the contract prior to being accepted into the program.
E. The contract shall include the following terms for repayment of the waiver:
(1) interest shall accrue upon termination of the participant's course of study at the following interest rates:
(a) eighteen percent per year if the participant completes a course of study and no portion of the principal and interest is forgiven pursuant to Subsection F of this section; and
(b) seven percent per year in all other cases; and
(2) the maximum period for repayment shall be ten years, commencing six months from the date the participant completes or discontinues the course of study.
F. The contract shall provide that the department forgive fifty percent of a waiver for each year that a participant is employed full time as a community governance attorney with a maximum salary of not more than fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) per year, subject to adjustment by the commission pursuant to Subsection G of this section.
G. The commission may approve subsequent increases in the maximum salary established pursuant to Subsection F of this section; provided that the maximum salary shall not exceed the salary rate for entry-level attorneys paid by legal service assistance entities in New Mexico that receive funding from the federally established legal services corporation."
SECTION 2. EFFECTIVE DATE.--The effective date of the provisions of this act is July 1, 2021.
- 4 -