HOUSE BILL 104
56th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - second session, 2024
Reena Szczepanski and Elizabeth "Liz" Stefanics
RELATING TO PUBLIC HEALTH; CREATING THE STATEWIDE PUBLIC HEALTH AND CLIMATE PROGRAM; CREATING THE PUBLIC HEALTH AND CLIMATE RESILIENCY FUND; MAKING APPROPRIATIONS.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. A new section of the Public Health Act is enacted to read:
"[NEW MATERIAL] STATEWIDE PUBLIC HEALTH AND CLIMATE PROGRAM.--
A. By January 1, 2025, the environmental health epidemiology bureau of the epidemiology and response division of the department shall establish a statewide public health and climate program.
B. In implementing the statewide public health and climate program, the environmental health epidemiology bureau shall:
(1) administer the public health and climate resiliency fund to assist local communities in preparing for and responding to public health emergencies related to ongoing climate change and extreme weather events;
(2) help improve interagency collaboration focused on:
(a) health equity;
(b) improving surveillance for assessing excess injuries and deaths related to ongoing climate change and extreme weather events;
(c) reviewing and recommending appropriate updates to health and safety standards relating to ongoing climate change and extreme weather events; and
(d) reducing health impacts of extreme weather and climate adaptation in New Mexico;
(3) assist in the formulation of concrete, coordinated and cohesive action plans supporting local communities in building health resiliency to future climate impacts;
(4) provide climate and public health expertise to assist local community planning in:
(a) making health-informed decisions about current and future climate impacts;
(b) integrating the latest climate and public health science into emergency preparedness programs;
(c) accessing federal and other funds for climate adaptation;
(d) improving surveillance of health care utilization and excess disease, injuries and deaths related to ongoing climate change and extreme weather events;
(e) providing appropriate mechanisms for rapidly assessing and reporting on excess disease, injuries and deaths related to ongoing climate change and extreme weather events; and
(f) identifying and implementing locally appropriate interventions that prevent or mitigate the impacts of climate change on health; and
(5) facilitate meaningful community engagement within communities most harmed, or determined by climate science as most likely to be harmed, by extreme weather events."
SECTION 2. A new section of the Public Health Act is enacted to read:
"[NEW MATERIAL] PUBLIC HEALTH AND CLIMATE RESILIENCY FUND CREATED.--
A. The "public health and climate resiliency fund" is created as a reverting fund in the state treasury. The fund consists of appropriations, gifts, grants, donations, income from investment of the fund and any other money distributed or otherwise allocated to the fund. The department shall administer the fund. Money in the fund is appropriated to the department for the purposes set forth in Subsection B of this section. Disbursements from the fund shall be made by warrant of the secretary of finance and administration pursuant to vouchers signed by the secretary of health or the secretary's authorized representative.
B. Money in the public health and climate resiliency fund may be used by the department to make grants of up to two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) to a political subdivision of the state or an Indian nation, tribe or pueblo for the purposes of preparing for and responding to public health emergencies related to extreme weather and other climate impacts.
C. The secretary shall prioritize grant applications that:
(1) emphasize planning, projects and activities to benefit people in low-income and disadvantaged communities;
(2) provide for integration of public health concerns and recommendations with other local emergency and climate adaptation plans, projects and activities;
(3) emphasize planning, projects and activities that are also eligible for grant funds from state or federal programs or help New Mexico become eligible for federal funds;
(4) involve local health councils as direct participants in the planning process; and
(5) assess the appropriateness of potential adaptation measures for a community, including the need for and the possible implementation of:
(a) household and workplace safety measures, such as air purifiers, weatherization, air quality sensors, indoor thermometers and outdoor thermometers, at major worksites and support initiatives to facilitate access to energy efficiency and assistance programs;
(b) cool-air, smoke, flood and wildfire shelters;
(c) backup generators and electricity storage facilities in libraries, government buildings, schools and community centers; and
(d) fire safety measures such as clearing brush for the elderly and people with disabilities, widening roads for evacuation and burying power lines.
D. Not less than fifty percent of the total grant funds approved by the secretary shall be awarded to political subdivisions with total human populations equal to or less than one hundred thousand.
E. There shall be no requirement for matching funds for eligibility for grant applications pursuant to this section."
SECTION 3. APPROPRIATIONS.--
A. One million one hundred thousand dollars ($1,100,000) is appropriated from the general fund to the department of health for expenditure in fiscal year 2025 to support the statewide public health and climate program within the environmental health epidemiology bureau of the epidemiology and response division of the department of health. Any unexpended or unencumbered balance remaining at the end of fiscal year 2025 shall revert to the general fund.
B. Ten million dollars ($10,000,000) is appropriated from the general fund to the department of health for expenditure in fiscal years 2025 through 2029 for the public health and climate resiliency fund. Any unexpended or unencumbered balance remaining at the end of fiscal year 2029 shall revert to the general fund.
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