HOUSE BILL 287
56th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - second session, 2024
Meredith A. Dixon and Tara Jaramillo and Marian Matthews
and Gail Armstrong
RELATING TO RISK MANAGEMENT; REQUIRING THE PUBLICATION OF TERMS OF LEGAL SETTLEMENT AGREEMENTS; PROVIDING FOR LOSS PREVENTION REVIEW TEAMS; REQUIRING REPORTS.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. A new section of the Sunshine Portal Transparency Act is enacted to read:
"[NEW MATERIAL] PUBLICATION OF LEGAL SETTLEMENT AGREEMENTS.--State agencies that enter into an agreement to settle a potential legal or other claim against a state agency without the assistance of the risk management division of the general services department shall, within thirty days of entering into a settlement agreement, provide the terms of the settlement agreements for publication on the sunshine portal, in a downloadable format, for free public access, unless the settlement agreement provides that the settlement is confidential."
SECTION 2. Section 15-7-1 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1977, Chapter 385, Section 4, as amended) is amended to read:
"15-7-1. DEFINITIONS.--As used in Chapter 15, Article 7 NMSA 1978:
A. "board" means the risk management advisory board;
B. "director" means the director of the [risk management] division [of the general services department];
C. "division" means the risk management division of the general services department;
[C.] D. "local public body" means all political subdivisions of the state and their agencies, instrumentalities and institutions;
[D.] E. "public employee" means any officer, employee or servant of a governmental entity, including elected or appointed officials, law enforcement officers and persons acting on behalf or in service of a governmental entity in any official capacity, whether with or without compensation, but the term does not include an independent contractor; and
[E.] F. "state" or "state agency" means the state of New Mexico or any of its branches, agencies, departments, boards, instrumentalities or institutions, including regional housing authorities."
SECTION 3. A new section of Chapter 15, Article 7 NMSA 1978 is enacted to read:
"[NEW MATERIAL] LOSS PREVENTION REVIEW TEAMS--MEMBERSHIP--DUTIES--REPORTING.--
A. State agencies shall notify the division immediately upon becoming aware of an individual's death or serious injury or other substantial loss that is alleged or suspected to be caused at least in part by the actions of a state agency.
B. In consultation with the division, a state agency shall appoint a loss prevention review team when the occurrence of an individual's death or serious injury or other substantial loss is alleged or suspected to be caused at least in part by the actions of that state agency. The review team shall be appointed within thirty days of a state agency becoming aware of such an occurrence. The division may direct a state agency to conduct a loss prevention review after consultation with that agency as to the purpose, scope, necessary resources and intended outcomes of the review. The division may provide guidance to a state agency conducting a review as requested by that state agency.
C. A loss prevention review team shall consist of at least three persons and may include independent consultants, contractors or state employees, but it shall not include a person directly involved in the loss or risk of loss giving rise to a loss prevention review or a person with testimonial knowledge of the incident to be reviewed. At least one member of the review team shall have expertise relevant to the matter under review, but no more than one-half of the review team members may be employees of the affected state agency.
D. The loss prevention review team shall review the death, serious injury or substantial loss and the circumstances surrounding it, evaluate its causes and recommend steps to reduce the risk of such incidents occurring in the future. The review team shall accomplish those tasks by reviewing relevant documents and interviewing persons with relevant knowledge. The review team shall submit a report in writing to the director and the head of the state agency involved in the loss or risk of loss. The report shall include the team's findings, an analysis of the causes, contributing factors and future risk and an exploration of methods that the state agency may use to address and mitigate the risks identified, including changes to policies or procedures, any legislative recommendation necessary to address and carry out the risk treatment strategies identified in the subject report and the manner in which the agency will measure the effectiveness of its changes. The final report shall not disclose the contents of any documents required by law or regulation to be kept private or confidential or that are subject to legal privilege or exemption. The final report shall be completed within six months of the of the occurrence of the incident resulting in the subject death or serious injury or other substantial loss and shall be transmitted to the director and to head of the involved state agencies.
E. A state agency shall provide loss prevention review teams ready access to relevant documents in the agency's possession and ready access to the agency's employees.
F. The director may promulgate rules to implement the provisions of this section.
G. On or before October 1 of each year, the director shall submit a report to the legislature identifying the loss prevention reviews conducted in the past fiscal year, providing appropriate metrics on effectiveness and efficiency of loss prevention review team programs and summarizing any determinations of trends in incidents, including reductions or increases in the frequency or magnitude of losses and innovative approaches to mitigating the risks identified.
H. As used in this section:
(1) "serious injury" means an injury that involves a substantial risk of death, protracted and obvious disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ or mental faculty; and
(2) "substantial loss" means a loss in a possible amount greater than one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000)."
SECTION 4. EFFECTIVE DATE.--The effective date of the provisions of this act is July 1, 2024.
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