SENATE BILL 268
56th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2023
Michael Padilla and Pete Campos
RELATING TO CIVIL LIABILITY; ENACTING THE WILDFIRE RECOVERY ACT; ESTABLISHING RECOVERY FOR DAMAGE CAUSED BY WILDFIRES; PROVIDING ECONOMIC RECOVERY FOR PROPERTY DAMAGE CAUSED BY WILDFIRES; PROVIDING NONECONOMIC RECOVERY FOR EMOTIONAL DISTRESS CAUSED BY WILDFIRES; PROVIDING WILDFIRE LITIGATION AND TAX RELIEF; PROVIDING A DEFINITION.
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 "Wildfire Recovery Act".
SECTION 2. [NEW MATERIAL] DEFINITIONS.--As used in the Wildfire Recovery Act:
A. "person" means:
(1) a club, cooperative association, company, corporation, estate, firm, individual, joint venture, limited liability company, limited liability partnership, partnership, receiver, syndicate, trust or other entity, including an electric, gas, water or utility owned or operated by a county, municipality or other political subdivision of the state; or
(2) an agency of the federal government, the state, a political subdivision of the state or a tribal government, or an instrumentality of the state, a political subdivision of the state or a tribal government; and
B. "wildfire" means a fire intentionally or negligently started by a person that causes harm to another person.
SECTION 3. [NEW MATERIAL] WILDFIRE DAMAGE TO PROPERTY.--A person who owns real or personal property damaged by a wildfire is entitled to recover the following:
A. for damaged real property, the higher amount of the actual cost to restore the damaged property to its pre-fire condition or the diminution of value caused by the wildfire. Costs of restoration include the replacement value of all structures, trees and vegetation, including the full commercial value of lost timber or other natural resources;
B. for damaged or lost personal property, the replacement value for destroyed personal property and the restoration costs for damaged personal property;
C. for evacuation displacement, the costs for alternate living expenses during displacement;
D. for lost use of damaged real property, the fair market monthly rental value of the real property before the wildfire multiplied by the number of months the person remained away from or was unable to use the real property;
E. business loss and personal income loss; and
F. other economic losses.
SECTION 4. [NEW MATERIAL] WILDFIRE DAMAGE TO PERSON.--A person who fled a wildfire or lost real or personal property caused by a wildfire is entitled to recover the following:
A. for a person who evacuated from a wildfire with a reasonable fear for personal safety, noneconomic emotional distress damage whether the person suffered physical injury or not;
B. for a person who owned real or personal property damaged or destroyed by a wildfire, noneconomic emotional distress damage whether the person suffered physical injury or not;
C. for a person who suffered personal injury caused by a wildfire, economic and noneconomic recovery; and
D. for the heirs of a person who is killed by a wildfire, recovery of economic and noneconomic damages.
SECTION 5. [NEW MATERIAL] WILDFIRE LITIGATION AND TAX RECOVERY RELIEF.--
A. A person who makes a claim for damages caused by a wildfire is entitled to the reasonable costs of contracted attorney fees and expenses.
B. A person who has recovered funds from a wildfire claim shall not be required to pay state income tax on any portion of the gross recovery.
SECTION 6. APPLICABILITY.--The provisions of this act apply to actions taken on or after January 1, 2022.
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