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Interior & Environment Funding Bill Signed Into Law

on February 22, 2019 - 5:33pm
U.S. Sen. Tom Udall
 
U.S. SENATE News:
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, lead Democrat on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, announced that the funding bill his subcommittee authored, the Fiscal Year 2019 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, was signed into law as part of the government funding package which passed Congress last week.
 
The bill provides critical funding for New Mexico’s public lands, infrastructure, environmental protection and stewardship, and programs for Indian Country.
 
In

Secrist: We Need 6 Percent For All...

on February 22, 2019 - 5:00pm
By DAN SECRIST
Executive Vice President, Steward
CWA, Local 7076

We Need 6% for All Why are Democrats treating state workers unfairly? Santa Fe, New Mexico: Yesterday the the State House of Representatives passed their budget proposal for FY 2020. Educators, Judges, and a few others, are getting 6%. Most state workers are only getting 4%.

We seriously question the priorities of the Democratic leadership of the state. To say we are deeply disappointed is an understatement. Setting a double standard on pay is wrong.

We have nothing against other workers being properly compensated, but

State Game Commission Reform Passes House

on February 22, 2019 - 4:34pm
HOUSE DEMOCRATS News:
 
SANTA FE Yesterday, the House of Representatives took a step towards reforming the State Game Commission by passing House Bill 263, State Game Commission Changes.
 
House Bill 263 would move the Commission towards more scientific and inclusive decision-making by diversifying the membership, adding stability, and reducing political influence.
 
“New Mexico needs a more professional and less political Game Commission,” Rep. Matthew McQueen (D-Galisteo) said. “Our wildlife resources—including hunting and fishing—are critical to more than $1 billion in outdoor

House Sends $7 Billion Budget Plan To Senate

on February 22, 2019 - 7:44am
The Roundhouse in Santa Fe. Courtesy/SFNM
 
By ANDREW OXFORD
The state House of Representatives approved a $7 billion budget on Thursday, sending to the Senate a plan for the next fiscal year that would provide nearly half a billion dollars in additional funds for public schools but which Republicans say amounts to an outsize increase in government spending.
 
House Bill 2 would mark an 11 percent bump in New Mexico's budget, drawing on a surplus fueled by an oil and gas boom.

Legislative Roundup: Feb. 22

on February 22, 2019 - 6:53am
Angelica Montoya of Las Vegas, N.M., a Highlands University freshman, sings during a performance by the Vaqueros de Highlands University mariachi group Thursday in the Capitol Rotunda. Photo by Luis Sánchez Saturno/The New Mexican
 
SFNM News:
 
Days remaining in the session: 22
 
Mandela visit: The grandson of the late South African president Nelson Mandela will appear Mondayat the state Capitol.
 
Ndaba Mandela, 36, will address a joint education committee of the state Legislature. A writer, he will be on his first visit to New Mexico.
 
House Majority Leader Sheryl Williams

Tales Of Our Times: Think Big, Think Again, Think Of Ways To Improve

on February 22, 2019 - 6:49am
Tales of Our Times
By JOHN BARTLIT
New Mexico Citizens
for Clean Air & Water
 
Think Big, Think Again, Think Of Ways To Improve
 

 

A close look at modern institutions---such as big companies, big political parties and lobby groups---finds a most peculiar approach to self-promotion. The custom is so familiar we forget how really bizarre it is. The oddness is unmistakable when we see it on a human scale: A man walks up to you on the street, sticks out his hand with a smile and says, “Hi, my name is Joe. I’m perfect.”

 
You might hold back a laugh, hurry away or call the police.

House, Senate Pass Competing Bills On Time Change

on February 21, 2019 - 8:18pm
By MILAN SIMONICH
If the moon turns blue or a million-to-one shot comes in, New Mexico legislators might be able to agree that time marches on.
 
But, chances are, the Senate and the House of Representatives would still have opposite views of what the clock should say.
 
Senators today voted 25-17 for a bill to permanently keep New Mexico on daylight saving time.
 
Members of the House earlier this week took a stand that's 180 degrees different. They voted 35-32 to exempt New Mexico from daylight saving time.

Steinhaus On Education Agenda At Legislature

on February 21, 2019 - 4:55pm
Los Alamos High School student liaisons to the LAPS Board of Education on the floor of the House of Representaives Feb. 18, hosted by Rep. Christine Chandler of Los Alamos, center. Students include seniors Sonyia Williams and Priscilla Marquez and Juniors Justin Pena, Ogden Berry, Zoe Butler and Ethan Rushton. Photo by Kurt Steinhaus
 
By BONNIE J. GORDON
Los Alamos Daily Post

Los Alamos Public Schools Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus has been closely monitoring the New Mexico Legislature this session.

Charter School Moratorium Advances In House

on February 21, 2019 - 4:39pm
By MILAN SIMONICH
New Mexico moved a step closer Wednesday to halting the growth of charter schools.
 
The House Education Committee voted 10-3 for a bill that would place a moratorium on new charter schools from June 14 of this year until Jan. 1, 2022.
 
Freshman Rep. Jack Chatfield, R-Mosquero, joined the Democrats on the committee in voting for the moratorium. The proposal, House Bill 434, would not cap enrollment at New Mexico's 96 charter schools, nor would it seek to close any of them. They have a collective enrollment of more than 26,000.
 
But the

House Advances Bill Modernizing New Mexico’s Voter Registration System, Moves To State Senate

on February 21, 2019 - 3:49pm
STATE News:
 
SANTA FE A bill to modernize the process how New Mexicans register to vote or update their voting registration was passed by the House on a 44-22 vote, Tuesday night.
 
“Automatic voter registration is a common sense approach that opens access to voting which in turn improves our democracy,” said Natalie Tennant, Manager for State Advocacy at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law.

County Notice Of Possible Quorum Feb. 22

on February 21, 2019 - 9:02am

COUNTY News:

Members of the Los Alamos County Council may attend Community Development Department and Public Works Department tours 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, Feb. 22 at various County locations.

A quorum may be present; however no action will be taken.

Udall Calls For Infrastructure Improvements To Bolster New Mexico Border Economies

on February 21, 2019 - 8:50am
U.S. Sen. Tom Udall
 
U.S. SENATE News:
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. U.S. Sen. Tom Udall questioned transportation leaders on opportunities for infrastructure improvements at ports of entry during a Senate Commerce Committee hearing titled “America’s Infrastructure Needs: Keeping Pace with a Growing Economy.”
 
As a member of the Senate Commerce and Appropriations Committees, Udall has long championed strong federal investment to improve infrastructure and technology throughout New Mexico, including along the U.S.-Mexico border, which would bolster economic development in New Mexico’s border

Rep. Melanie Stansbury Introduces Bill To Address Albuquerque’s Homeless Crisis

on February 21, 2019 - 8:44am

Rep. Melanie Stansbury Introduces Bill to Address Albuquerque’s Homeless Crisis. Courtesy photo

STATE News:

SANTA FE – Rep. Melanie Stansbury (D-Albuquerque) held a press conference with community organizations, advocates and officials from the City of Albuquerque to announce the introduction of House Bill 657—an Affordable Housing Study bill—which would support the development an evidence-based framework for addressing homelessness in Albuquerque and across the state.

With strong bi-partisan support, HB 657 is co-sponsored by 23 legislators, including most of the Representatives from the

State Land Office: Open For Business

on February 21, 2019 - 8:37am

Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard

NMSLO News:

  • February Lease Sales Generate Largest Bid Amount Ever For Open Lease 

SANTA FE – The State Land Office held its monthly online oil and gas lease sales, which garnered the largest open bid sale in history and generated more than $35 million for New Mexico schools, hospitals and colleges.

The open bid included 8,920.27 acres in Chaves, Lea and Eddy Counties and closed at over $12 million, more than double the previous record for an open bid.

The aggregate bid amounted to an average per-acre price of $3,961.25. 

“The Land Office is

Bill To Keep New Mexico’s Children Safe Advances

on February 21, 2019 - 7:13am

Rep. Micaela Lara Cadena

STATE News:

SANTA FE – A bill to keep New Mexico’s children safe passed Wednesday the House Health and Human Services Committee.

House Bill 500, sponsored by Rep. Micaela Lara Cadena (D-Mesilla) and Rep. Willie Madrid (D-Chaparral), would extend the authority of the Children, Youth and Families Department to regulate, inspect, and sanction programs for at-risk youth.

Rep. Willie Madrid

During the committee hearing, members heard heart-wrenching stories of abuse of at-risk youth, bringing to light both the urgency and importance of this legislation.

“The stories

House GOP Budget Calls For Rebates, Fewer Raises

on February 21, 2019 - 6:44am
By ANDREW OXFORD
Republicans in the House of Representatives want to use some of the state's budget surplus to give every New Mexican $200.
 
These rebates are part of a $6.6 billion budget that GOP lawmakers are putting forward as an alternative to a spending plan sponsored by Democrats and headed for a vote in the House as soon as Thursday night.
 
The House Republican plan would still increase the state budget, but by 5 percent instead of the 11 percent boost in spending included in House Bill 2 and related legislation.
 
New Mexico is in the midst of a

Stewart Bill To Create Wildlife Corridors To Protect Animals, People Heads To Senate Floor

on February 21, 2019 - 6:39am
SENATE News:
 
Sen. Mimi Stewart’s bill to create wildlife corridors to protect animals and people on New Mexico roads is headed to the Senate floor after it passed the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday.
 
“Without carefully planned wildlife corridors, New Mexico roads are incredibly dangerous for animals and people alike,” Stewart said. “By using overpasses and underpasses, among other tools, we can keep animals off our roads and ensure drivers and their passengers get where they’re going safely.”
 
SB 228 authorizes the Department of Game and Fish and the Department of Transportation

LANL Foundation & Eight Northern Pueblos Attend National Quality In Home Visiting Summit

on February 21, 2019 - 6:37am
Members of the LANL Foundation’s Early Childhood staff, along with representatives from the Eight Northern Indian Pueblos at the National Quality in Home Visiting Summit Jan. 30-Feb. 1 in Washington, D.C. Courtesy/LANL Foundation
 
LANLF News:
 
ESPAÑOLA — The LANL Foundation’s Early Childhood staff, along with representatives from the Eight Northern Indian Pueblos, recently attended the National Summit on Quality in Home Visiting in Washington, D.C.
 
The conference was held Jan. 30 through Feb. 1, 2019, and was hosted by the Ounce of Prevention Fund, an organization that serves

Legislative Roundup: Feb. 21

on February 21, 2019 - 6:24am
Max Rodriguez, left, and Sebastian Hatcher look up to the balcony of the Capitol Rotunda before performing music with other students from The Montessori Elementary & Middle School Wednesday in Albuquerque in Santa Fe. Olivia Harlow/The New Mexican
 
Zoelle Strober, a student from The Montessori Elementary & Middle School in Albuquerque, plays the violin during a musical performance Wednesday at the Capitol in Santa Fe. Olivia Harlow/The New Mexican
 
By The New Mexican
 
Days left in the session: 23
 
Confirmations: The Senate voted 31-0 Wednesday to confirm Kate O'Neill, the former

RCLC Meeting Postponed To March 1

on February 20, 2019 - 4:18pm

RCLC News:

The Regional Coalition of LANL Communities meeting scheduled for Friday has been postponed to March 1.

 

Governor Pushes For Payoff Of Film Credit Backlog

on February 20, 2019 - 3:08pm
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham
 
By ROBERT NOTT
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham wants state legislators to allocate up to $380 million to pay off a backlog of tax credits owed to production companies that shot movies or television shows in New Mexico.
 
Tripp Stelnicki, a spokesman for the governor, said the buildup of unpaid rebates "creates an uncertainty in the minds of producers. The governor prefers to get this done as quickly as possible."
 
Paying what's owed would require a one-time appropriation from the general fund, said House Speaker Brian Egolf, D-Santa

Rep. Stansbury Announces Critical Water Legislation

on February 20, 2019 - 2:33pm
Representatives Melanie Stansbury (D-Albuquerque) and Gail Armstrong (R-Magdalena) announced the introduction of House Bill 651. Courtesy photo
 
STATE News:
 
SANTA FE Tuesday, on Earth Science Day, Representatives Melanie Stansbury (D-Albuquerque) and Gail Armstrong (R-Magdalena) announced the introduction of House Bill 651—which will help address water management needs across the state.  
 
Responding to drought and meeting the needs of farmers, communities, energy producers, and our natural places requires having the science and tools to do so.
 
House Bill 651, the Water Data

Gessing: Tax Hikes Won’t Diversify NM Economy

on February 20, 2019 - 2:30pm
By PAUL J. GESSING
Rio Grande Foundation
 
House Democrats have revamped and are now pushing HB 6, legislation that ostensibly “reforms” New Mexico’s tax code. In reality, the legislation would impose a variety of tax hikes and raise New Mexicans’ overall tax burdens by $120 million a year.
 
The bill would have the positive impact of reducing the State gross receipts tax rate by 0.5%, but the legislation includes numerous taxes including but not limited to motor vehicle excise taxes, a 10 cent per gallon increase in the gas tax, hiking the top rate on personal income taxes from 4.9 to

Dem Leaders, Shoppers Don’t Want Food Taxed Again

on February 20, 2019 - 7:35am
Demetrio Martinez and Aurora Hentzen shop Tuesday for poblano peppers in the produce section of of El Paisano Supermarket on Cerrillos Road in Santa Fe. Photo by Gabriela Campos/The New Mexican
 
Mariah Peña and her family shop for groceries Tuesday in a Santa Fe supermarket. Photo by Rebecca Moss/The New Mexican
 
By REBECCA MOSS
On a frigid Tuesday morning, Mariah Peña drove from her home at San Ildefonso Pueblo to go grocery shopping in Santa Fe with her son and little sister.
 
Inside the Market Street supermarket, 7-year-old Damian settled onto his back

House Passes ‘Motor Voter’ Registration Bill

on February 20, 2019 - 7:27am
The Roundhouse. Courtesy/SFNM
 
By ROBERT NOTT
 
Following a contentious debate, the state House of Representatives late Tuesday voted to approve a bill that would automatically register eligible New Mexicans to vote when they conduct transactions with the Motor Vehicle Division.
 
House Bill 84 includes a provision that allows those citizens to opt out of registering or updating their existing voter registration as they apply for a driver's license or state identity card.
 
Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver spoke in favor of the legislation during a news conference at

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