SENATE BILL 115
56th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - second session, 2024
RELATING TO PUBLIC LIABILITY; AMENDING SECTION 15-7-3 NMSA 1978 (BEING LAWS 1978, CHAPTER 166, SECTION 8, AS AMENDED); ESTABLISHING COVERAGE LIMITS ON INSURANCE COVERAGE OFFERED BY THE RISK MANAGEMENT DIVISION OF THE GENERAL SERVICES DEPARTMENT; REQUIRING THE APPROVAL OF THE SECRETARY OF FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION FOR SETTLEMENTS OF CLAIMS OVER SPECIFIED AMOUNTS; PROVIDING FOR NOTIFICATION TO THE LEGISLATIVE FINANCE COMMITTEE OF APPROVALS.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. Section 15-7-3 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1978, Chapter 166, Section 8, as amended) is amended to read:
"15-7-3. ADDITIONAL POWERS AND DUTIES OF THE RISK MANAGEMENT DIVISION.--
A. The risk management division of the general services department may:
(1) enter into contracts;
(2) procure insurance, reinsurance or employee group benefits; provided that:
(a) coverage shall not exceed: 1) five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) for insurance for property damages; 2) one million fifty thousand dollars ($1,050,000) for general liability insurance; and 3) the limits established in Section 41-4A-6 NMSA 1978 for civil rights liability;
(b) any proposal or contract for the procurement of any group health care benefits shall be subject to the provisions of the Health Care Purchasing Act; and [provided further that]
(c) reinsurance or excess coverage insurance may be placed by private negotiation, notwithstanding the provisions of the Procurement Code, if the insurance or reinsurance has a restricted number of interested carriers, the board determines that the coverage is in the interest of the state and cannot otherwise be procured for a reasonable cost and the director seeks the advice and review of the board in the placement and in designing private negotiation procedures;
(3) in the manner prescribed by Subsection E of Section 9-17-5 NMSA 1978, after a notice and a public hearing, prescribe by rule reasonable and objective underwriting and safety standards for governmental entities and reasonable standards for municipal self-insurance pooling agreements covering liability under the Tort Claims Act and adopt such other regulations as may be deemed necessary;
(4) compromise, adjust, settle and pay claims; provided that no settlement of a claim shall be made unless the settlement has been approved in writing by the secretary of finance and administration for:
(a) a payment from the public property reserve fund in excess of two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000); or
(b) a payment from the public liability fund in excess of five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000);
(5) pay expenses and costs;
(6) in the manner prescribed by Subsection E of Section 9-17-5 NMSA 1978, prescribe by rule the rating bases, assessments, penalties and risks to be covered by the public liability fund, the workers' compensation retention fund and the public property reserve fund and the extent such risks are to be covered;
(7) issue certificates of coverage in accordance with Paragraph (6) of this subsection:
(a) to any governmental entity for any tort liability risk covered by the public liability fund;
(b) to any governmental entity for any personal injury liability risk or for the defense of any errors or act or omission or neglect or breach of duty, including the risks set forth in Paragraph (2) of Subsection B and Paragraph (2) of Subsection D of Section 41-4-4 NMSA 1978; and
(c) to any governmental entity for any part of risk covered by the workers' compensation retention fund, the surety bond fund or the public property reserve fund;
(8) study the risks of all governmental entities;
(9) initiate the establishment of safety programs and adopt rules to carry out such programs in the manner prescribed by Subsection E of Section 9-17-5 NMSA 1978;
(10) hire a safety program director who shall coordinate all safety programs of all state agencies;
(11) consult with and advise local public bodies on their risk management problems; and
(12) employ full-time legal counsel who shall be under the exclusive control and supervision of the director and the secretary of general services.
B. The risk management division of the general services department shall provide liability coverage for the following risks:
(1) a claim made pursuant to the provisions of 42 USC Section 1983 against a nonprofit corporation, members of its board of directors or its employees when the claim is based upon action taken pursuant to the provisions of a contract between the corporation and the department of health under which the corporation provides developmental or intellectual disability services to clients of the department and the claim is made by or on behalf of a client; and
(2) a claim made pursuant to the provisions of 42 USC Section 1983 against a nonprofit corporation, members of its board of directors or its employees when the corporation operates a facility licensed by the department of health as an intermediate care facility for individuals with developmental or intellectual disabilities and the claim is based upon action taken pursuant to the provisions of the license and is made by or on behalf of a resident of the licensed facility.
C. Within thirty days of the receipt of an approval from the secretary of finance and administration for payment of a settlement pursuant to Paragraph (4) of Subsection A of this section, the director shall notify the legislative finance committee of the settlement approval.
[C.] D. The director shall report findings and recommendations, if any, for the consideration of each legislature. The report shall include the amount and name of any person receiving payment from the public liability fund of any claim paid during the previous fiscal year exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000). The report shall be made available to the legislature on or before December 15 preceding each regular legislative session."
SECTION 2. EFFECTIVE DATE.--The effective date of the provisions of this act is July 1, 2024.
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