HOUSE BILL 171
56th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2023
RELATING TO EXECUTIVE REORGANIZATION; CREATING THE OFFICE OF PEACEBUILDING; PROVIDING POWERS AND DUTIES; CREATING THE CITIZENS' PEACEBUILDING ADVISORY COUNCIL; MAKING AN APPROPRIATION.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. [NEW MATERIAL] SHORT TITLE.--This act may be cited as the "Office of Peacebuilding Act".
SECTION 2. [NEW MATERIAL] DEFINITIONS.--As used in the Office of Peacebuilding Act:
A. "council" means the citizens' peacebuilding advisory council;
B. "dialogue process" means a facilitated process of people taking turns talking and listening to each other to allow an exchange of diverse ideas, information, opinions and experiences to foster greater understanding between people;
C. "director" means the director of the office;
D. "office" means the office of peacebuilding; and
E. "restorative justice" means a facilitated process allowing everyone involved in a conflict to be heard, to acknowledge responsibility for harm caused, to seek ways to repair the harm and to restore relationships and community.
SECTION 3. [NEW MATERIAL] OFFICE ESTABLISHED.--The "office of peacebuilding" is created. The office is administratively attached to the department of finance and administration. For purposes of this section, the term "administratively attached" has the meaning specified in Section 9-1-7 NMSA 1978.
SECTION 4. [NEW MATERIAL] DIRECTOR--APPOINTMENT.--
A. The administrative head of the office is the "director of the office of peacebuilding", who shall be appointed by the governor with the consent of the senate.
B. The director shall be an administrator who has shown successful administrative experience and has no fewer than eighty hours of training in alternative dispute resolution, mediation, dialogue or restorative justice and at least two years of experience in applying these skills in a community setting or equivalent life experience.
C. The director shall serve and have all the duties, responsibilities and authority of the office during the time prior to final action by the senate confirming or rejecting the appointment.
SECTION 5. [NEW MATERIAL] DIRECTOR--POWERS AND DUTIES.--
A. The director shall:
(1) be responsible to the governor for the operation of the office;
(2) manage the operation of the office;
(3) apply the resources and skills of the office statewide to:
(a) the prevention, management and resolution of conflict;
(b) public education on peace and nonviolence;
(c) the study and promotion of social, environmental and sustainable economic conditions that create a culture of peace; and
(d) the development of a peace education curriculum, including use in classrooms and restorative justice programs, with educators and schools at all levels;
(4) assist in the analysis and growth of existing policies and programs and develop new approaches and encourage innovation, in collaboration and coordination with established institutional and agency efforts and nongovernmental organizations, including alternative dispute resolution centers, statewide peace studies programs, statewide peace and justice centers, public school peer mediation, dialogue and restorative justice programs and juvenile court programs;
(5) help integrate the peace education curriculum into the training programs for new and experienced teachers and recommend peace studies courses as part of teacher education in New Mexico; and
(6) gather information on effective community peacebuilding activities and disseminate the information by:
(a) sponsoring and organizing conferences;
(b) creating awareness of the activities of the office;
(c) facilitating a forum for discussing peace issues and studies; and
(d) exploring the meaning and practice of peace and nonviolence in the lives of New Mexicans.
B. The director may:
(1) provide peace education grants for the creation and expansion of peace studies programs and practice at all educational levels;
(2) provide grants to nonviolent communication and nonviolent conflict resolution programs and local nongovernmental peacebuilding initiatives;
(3) employ professional and clerical assistance, contractors and general counsel as deemed necessary and oversee staff performance, setting priorities within time and budget constraints; and
(4) accept grants and gifts on behalf of the office.
SECTION 6. [NEW MATERIAL] COUNCIL--CREATION--MEMBERS--RESPONSIBILITIES.--
A. The "citizens' peacebuilding advisory council" is created and is composed of the director and eleven appointed members as follows, who reflect a concern for the integrity of the environment, the creative imagination of the arts and the multicultural, gender, economic, geographic and political diversity of the people of New Mexico:
(1) two representatives from established state or local peace advocacy organizations, appointed by the director;
(2) one representative from the New Mexico faith community, appointed by the director;
(3) one representative from a local, county or state law enforcement agency who has specialized in violence prevention, appointed by the secretary of public safety;
(4) one health professional with expertise in behavioral and public health issues, appointed by the secretary of health;
(5) one professional mediator, appointed by the director;
(6) one veteran who has served in an armed conflict, appointed by the secretary of veterans' services;
(7) one public school educator with knowledge of peace curriculum development, appointed by the secretary of public education;
(8) one representative of the university of New Mexico's peace studies program, appointed by the governor;
(9) one youth representative, between the ages of fifteen and twenty-four years, appointed by the governor; and
(10) one member appointed by the secretary of Indian affairs.
B. The term of service of appointed council members shall be four years. The initial terms shall be staggered so that the terms of six members shall expire at the end of the initial two years, and the terms of five members shall expire at the end of the initial four years. The initial terms shall be selected by random drawing. A member of the council shall not serve more than two full terms. In the event of a vacancy on the council, a new member shall be appointed by the original appointing authority for the unexpired term.
C. The council shall select a chair, a vice chair and other officers as it deems necessary.
D. The council shall meet no less than twice annually and may meet more frequently upon the call of the chair. The council shall:
(1) use the dialogue process in its interactions with each other and the staff;
(2) provide assistance and make recommendations to the director and the governor concerning peace-related policies and practices;
(3) annually, assess peace-related activities in the state and submit a report to the director and the governor reviewing the impact of state peace activities on governmental entities and communities; and
(4) publicize and allot time to receive and report public input at regular council meetings, thus maintaining a grassroots connection with the residents of New Mexico.
E. Council members shall receive per diem and mileage as provided for nonsalaried public officers in the Per Diem and Mileage Act and shall receive no other compensation, perquisite or allowance.
F. The office shall provide for its own space and for the space and administrative needs of the council.
SECTION 7. APPROPRIATION.--Five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) is appropriated from the general fund to the office of peacebuilding for expenditure in fiscal year 2024 and subsequent fiscal years to carry out the purposes of the Office of Peacebuilding Act. Any unexpended or unencumbered balance remaining at the end of a fiscal year shall not revert to the general fund.
SECTION 8. EFFECTIVE DATE.--The effective date of the provisions of this act is July 1, 2023.
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