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State, Nation & World

Jobs Bill Gets Unanimous Vote in House

on February 17, 2014 - 9:05am

Speaker of the House W. Ken Martinez


SANTA FE–The pledge to create jobs in New Mexico has picked up steam in the House of Representatives. House Bill 273a (Economic Development Grant & Program), an initiative put forth by the bipartisan interim Jobs Council, passed the House on a vote of 67-0. 

HB 273a creates a grant program that allows the Economic Development Commission (EDC), which is attached to the Economic Development Department (EDD), to make grants to local economic development organizations. 

The grants will be used to hire economic development professionals (up

Bill to Establish Bilingual Seal Passes House

on February 17, 2014 - 8:49am

House Majority Leader Rick Miera


SANTA FELegislation that would cement New Mexico’s reputation as the nation’s leader in bilingual multicultural education has passed the House of Representatives with a unanimous vote 67-0.

House Bill 330 “Diploma Seal of Bilingualism,” sponsored by House Majority Leader Rick Miera, D-Bernalillo establishes a State Seal of Bilingualism-Biliteracyon New Mexico Diplomas of ExcellenceIt honors graduates who are proficient in speaking and writing a language other than English. 

Several school districts and individual schools have a bilingual

Ranchers May Sign up for Farm Bill Drought Disaster Aid within 60 Days

on February 17, 2014 - 8:35am


WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich announced that the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture will soon enable livestock producers to sign up for disaster assistance, which the senators helped to pass in the Farm Bill earlier this month.

The assistance is being expedited—signups will begin in 60 days—at the request of Udall, Heinrich and several other senators from western states, where producers have been struggling with several years of drought.

Senate Finance Approves Substitute Budget Bill

on February 17, 2014 - 8:21am


SANTA FE–A substitute bill for the General Appropriations Act (SB 313), which proposes a $6.2 billion budget package, was approved by the Senate Finance Committee (SFC) and is now on its way to the Senate Floor for debate.

The substitute bill was presented to SFC Sunday with an amended proposal of $17.5 million appropriated to the Department of Education for the Administration’s education reforms. The budget has an increase from last fiscal year of 5 percent in spending and a reserve of 8.7 percent.

The committee’s action to propose a budget is in response to the stalemate

Senate Passes Minimum Wage Constitutional Amendment

on February 17, 2014 - 7:42am

Sen. Richard C. Martinez


SANTA FE—In a 24-17 vote, Senate Joint Resolution 13 (SJR 13), which proposes a constitutional amendment to raise the minimum wage in New Mexico, has passed the Senate. The resolution will now be making its way to the House Floor.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Richard C. Martinez, D-Los Alamos, Rio Arriba, Sandoval & Santa Fe, said he couldn’t be happier that his fellow senators recognized the importance this resolution carries.

“Raising the minimum wage is the right thing to do and passing this resolution is a great thing for the people of New Mexico who will

Amendment Would Cover Fund Gap in Hospital Solvency Bill

on February 17, 2014 - 7:19am

Sen. Tim Keller


SANTA FE—Earlier this week, the Senate Public Affairs Committee (SPAC) passed a substitute bill for three senate bills focused on hospital solvency. The bill allows counties to impose an excise tax of 1/12 percent of gross receipts and requires that no action for collection of claims shall be allowed against any patient deemed indigent.

SPAC Chairman, Sen. Ortiz y Pino, D-Bernalillo said that no one was completely happy with the substitute bill, which represented a compromise.

“But there is still a bit of a gap of about $10 million that we’re hoping the

Some 2000 Attend Teachers' Roundhouse Rally

on February 16, 2014 - 1:56pm
Educators and supporters make their way to the Roundhouse Saturday for a rally to protest educational policies. Photo by Salvador Zapien/
The New Mexico band 'Nosotros' play a pre-rally concert in Santa Fe Plaza. Photo by Salvador Zapien/
Los Alamos Daily Post

SANTA FE—Thousands of educators from around the state descended on the Roundhouse Saturday to protest the educational policies of Gov. Susana Martinez and her Secretary of Education designee Hanna Skandera. Chanting “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Gov.

Los Alamos Hilltopper Wrestling Team Captures District Title!

on February 16, 2014 - 1:12pm

The Los Alamos Hilltopper Wrestling team captured the district title Saturday at Bernalillo. LAHS Athletic Director and Regional Representative Vicki Nelms, right, with LAHS Wrestling teams seniors from left, Chandler Lauritzen, Brian Geyer and Morgan Irish receiving the District Trophy for the third consecutive year - a highlight to a rough season for the seniors. Photo by Bernadette Lauritzen

From left, Jonathan Schueler, Brian Geyer, Dominic Montoya and Lane Saunders pose with LAHS Wrestling Head Coach Bob Geyer as they glory in their 'three-peat' win Saturday.

Tom Church Confirmed as NMDOT Cabinet Secretary

on February 16, 2014 - 11:13am

Tom Church


SANTA FE–The State Senate unanimously confirmed Tom Church Friday as the Cabinet Secretary of the New Mexico Department of Transportation. Church was appointed as Cabinet Secretary-Designate by Gov. Susana Martinez in April 2013.

Church has extensive experience in the NMDOT. The many roles he’s served in at the department include chief of staff, deputy secretary of business and financial operations, deputy director of administrative services and quality management bureau chief.

“Secretary Church has demonstrated his knowledge and expertise in the transportation