Richardson signs bill creating bi-national commission


Gov. Bill Richardson has signed legislation creating a bi-national entity with the Mexican state of Sonora.

HB 295 creates the New Mexico-Sonora Commission, which will establish a framework to allow the neighboring states to address cross-border issues of common interest, such as trade, tourism, health and public safety.

New Mexico’s border with Sonora is located on the southwestern edge of the “boot heel” of the state. Although there is only about 12 miles of shared border, trade and tourism have increased substantially between the two states over the past 10 years, according to the governor’s office.

The Commission will institutionalize existing ties and allow the two states to quantify the trade and tourism relationship, Richardson said, as well as promote each other’s products and attractions.

“Also, the growing concerns of border security and health issues, such as trans-border epidemics, will be better addressed by this new channel of communication,” Richardson added in a prepared statement.

The Commission will be administratively attached to the Economic Development Department’s Office of Mexican Affairs and Trade.

Sonora is an $18 billion economy with sectors such as automotive and aerospace manufacturing, agriculture and aquaculture, mining and tourism.

HB 295 was sponsored by Rep. Rudy Martinez, D-Grant and Hidalgo, and came after an official visit by Eduardo Bours Castelo, governor of Sonora. Bours visited Albuquerque businesses such as Team Technologies, Albuquerque Studios and Schott Solar.

He also met with Richardson and they signed a memorandum of understanding setting forth issues to be addressed by the commission.