HOUSE BILL 507
56th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2023
Jason C. Harper and Crystal R. Diamond
RELATING TO COURTS; CREATING A DISTRICT WATER COURT; PROVIDING FOR AN ADDITIONAL JUDGESHIP IN THE THIRTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT; MAKING AN APPROPRIATION.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. Section 34-6-16 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1971, Chapter 52, Section 3, as amended) is amended to read:
"34-6-16. JUDGES--THIRTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT.--There shall be [nine] ten district judges in the thirteenth judicial district."
SECTION 2. A new section of Chapter 34, Article 6 NMSA 1978 is enacted to read:
"[NEW MATERIAL] DISTRICT WATER COURT.--
A. The "Sandoval, Valencia and Cibola district water court" is established in the thirteenth judicial district.
B. The water court shall be a civil court that shall hear all cases relating to water in the judicial district in which the district water court is located, as well as other civil cases. A district water court shall give priority to water cases.
C. A district water court judge shall be nominated, appointed and elected in the same manner as other district judges.
D. Upon taking office, a district water court judge shall devote substantial time to the study of water law and other water-related subjects, especially as that study relates to the arid western regions of the United States. A district water court judge may confer and consult with other district water court judges about issues of water law.
E. A district water court judge shall not permit ex parte communications, but a district water court judge may hold informal discussion and planning sessions that shall be open to all parties, members of the public and government agencies, with advance notice to the public.
F. A district water court judge's use of water, ownership of water rights or interest in property shall not require disqualification from water cases pursuant to Article 6, Section 18 of the constitution of New Mexico.
G. A district water court judge may request a special master or a judge appointed by the supreme court to hear particular matters when the district water court judge may be perceived to have a significant conflict of interest."
SECTION 3. APPROPRIATION.--Five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) is appropriated from the general fund to the thirteenth judicial district court for expenditure in fiscal year 2024 for furniture, supplies, equipment and salaries and benefits for one additional district judge and support staff. Any unexpended or unencumbered balance remaining at the end of fiscal year 2024 shall revert to the general fund.
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