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Letter To The Editor: About That Support For Background Checks...

on March 4, 2017 - 9:32pm
By GLENN MICHEL
Los Alamos
 
I'm sure Devon Lymon would have respected a background check law despite all the other laws he had broken up to that point. Yup, one more law would have made all the difference to poor Daniel Webster.

I can imagine Devon having a little mental conversation with himself when he obtained that gun, "Oh! wait a minute, I can't posses guns, I'm a felon!", and poof, another possible criminal activity is thwarted by yet another rock solid gun law. 
 
Yup, we ought to throw up five or six more unenforceable gun laws, they're working great.

Doctors are a lot more

New Mexico House Passes Minimum Wage Increase

on March 4, 2017 - 7:26am

House Speaker Brian Egolf

STATE News:

  • Bill to Raise Minimum Wage to $9.25 an Hour Passes Along Mostly Party Lines

SANTA FE – House Bill 442 passed the House Friday night along mostly party lines in a 37-30 vote. HB 442, sponsored by Representatives Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe), Debbie Rodella (D-Española), Patricio Ruiloba (D-Albuquerque), Carl Trujillo (D-Santa Fe), and Miguel P. Garcia (D-Albuquerque), would raise the state’s minimum wage to $9.25 an hour, a sensible increase over the current minimum wage of $7.50 per hour.

The increase will put more than $3,000 a year in additional earnings

AG Balderas Issues Statement About Jeff Sessions

on March 4, 2017 - 7:15am
Attorney General Hector Balderas. Courtesy photo
 
AG News:
 
SANTA FE New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas released the following statement Thursday regarding Attorney General Jeff Sessions:
 
“As a chief law enforcement officer, I take testimony extremely seriously, whether it be in the courtroom or before the United States Senate. There were questions asked about conversations with Russia and that information was omitted by Attorney General Sessions during his testimony.
 
“Attorney General Sessions needs to promptly address the omission, and he needs to immediately

House Agrees Dads Can Change Diapers, Too

on March 4, 2017 - 7:12am

STATE News:

SANTA FE – House Bill 106, Baby Changing Facilities in Men’s Rooms, passed on a 44-22 vote Friday evening. Sponsored by Rep. Andrés Romero (D-Albuquerque), the bill would require that all new construction or major renovations of restrooms in public places include baby changing stations in both the women’s and men’s bathrooms.

“It’s about time we recognize the role that both parents play in raising children,” Romero said. “I’m glad we are one step closer for mothers and fathers to both have a safe, designated space to change their babies.”

House Bill 106 does not apply to

Isolated Confinement Bill Moves To House Floor

on March 4, 2017 - 6:55am

STATE News:

SANTA FE Today in the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas’ (D-Albuquerque) House Bill 175 passed by a 7-6 vote. HB 175 bans the use of isolated confinement for pregnant women and minors in New Mexico prisons and jails. It also sets a 48-hour maximum for solitary confinement of inmates with severe mentally illness.

“Isolated confinement is overused and misused in our great state,” Rep. Maestas said. “It is detrimental to public safety. If you put a human being in prolonged isolated confinement, that human will never, ever be the same.

UNM-LA: Public Notice Of Possible Quorum

on March 3, 2017 - 3:17pm

UNM-LA Public Notice:

A joint swearing in ceremony for UNM-Los Alamos Advisory Board members and Los Alamos Public School Board members has been scheduled:

  • Monday, March 6, 2017
  • 3-4 p.m.
  • Los Alamos County Judge’s Chambers in the Justice Center at 2500 Trinity Dr., Suite C

A Quorum of UNM-LA Advisory Board Members may be present. No action will be taken.

Udall Statement On His Vote To Confirm Rick Perry As Secretary Of Energy

on March 3, 2017 - 2:40pm
U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry
 
SENATE News:
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Tom Udall released the following statement on his vote to confirm former Texas Gov. Rick Perry as U.S. Secretary of Energy.
 
Udall is a senior member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee and a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water, which writes the budget for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
 
"New Mexico's economy and the jobs of thousands of New Mexicans are deeply connected to the U.S. Department of Energy.

State Auditor Launches Probe At City Of Jal

on March 3, 2017 - 2:32pm
State Auditor Tim Keller
 
STATE News:
 
SANTA FE State Auditor Tim Keller confirmed that auditors from the Office of the State Auditor (OSA) are in the City of Jal conducting field work for a special audit.
 
The special audit was initiated to review Jal’s compliance with laws, regulations and policies after concerns related to favoritism and accuracy of water billing came to light. State law calls for auditors to have unrestricted access to relevant documents and City staff.
 
“Our office has boots on the ground looking into water billing procedures in Jal,” Keller said.

Innovations In Teaching Act Passes House

on March 3, 2017 - 10:04am

HOUSE DEMOCRATS News:
  • Bill Supports Teachers Who Engage in New & Cutting-Edge Curriculums

SANTA FE The Innovations in Teaching Act passed the House floor Thursday night by a vote of 37-30. House Bill 105, sponsored by Rep. Andrés Romero (D-Albuquerque) and Rep. Nathan Small (D-Las Cruces), encourages teachers to delve into innovative and cutting-edge curriculums by allowing them to apply for a waiver from standards-based assessments.

“Rather than focus solely on high stakes testing, this bill allows teachers to innovate in their classrooms without being punished on their evaluations,” said

Letter To The Editor: If You Are Going To Quote Numbers, You Need To Provide Credible References

on March 3, 2017 - 9:54am
By KHALIL SPENCER
Los Alamos

There were near mirror-image letters in the Los Alamos Daily Post (link) and Santa Fe New Mexican Thursday claiming that state level background checks are credited with reductions of 46 or 47 percent fewer women shot to death by their partners and 48 or 53 percent fewer law enforcement officers killed by handguns. The problem is, nowhere do the authors of these letters provide sources for this information.

I put the quotes from the letters into a web search and came up with an Everytown For Gun Safety source (there may be others), almost verbatim, with links to

Bill To Level Playing Field For Minority-Owned Businesses Passes House Unanimously

on March 3, 2017 - 9:33am
Rep. Antonio Maestas
 
SENATE News:
 
SANTA FE ― Rep. Antonio Maestas' (D-Albuquerque) HB198, the Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) Opportunity Act, a bill that will bolster minority-owned small businesses by promoting opportunities, passed unanimously Tuesday through the House.
 
"In a minority/majority state, if our minority- and women-owned businesses don't grow, our state will not grow,” Maestas said. "This will encourage all state agencies to utilize HUB businesses in contracting and sub-contracting, keeping our tax dollars in New Mexico."
 
The Historically

County Manager Addresses Deputy County Manager Vacancy And Upcoming Proposed FY18 Budget

on March 3, 2017 - 9:09am

Los Alamos County Manager Harry Burgess

COUNTY News:

Los Alamos County Manager Harry Burgess addressed questions this week about filling the position of Deputy County Manager – a position that will be vacant once current manager Brian Bosshardt departs for a new job as City Manager in Bedford, Texas. Bosshardt’s last day with the County will be Friday, March 31.

Burgess said any hiring decision will be made with respect to his development of the proposed FY18 budget, an effort that is currently underway.

“We are working diligently on budget development for the new fiscal year right now,”

Letter To The Editor: Background Checks For Gun Sales

on March 3, 2017 - 8:56am
By ANNE MANNING
Albuquerque

 

We have a gun violence problem in New Mexico - the number of deaths and injuries at the hands of people who shouldn’t have their hands on a gun is very distressing. With lives at stake, a background check to buy a gun is not too much to ask! House Bill 50 and Senate Bill 48 would require such checks for ALL gun sales in New Mexico, and as a member of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, I strongly support this bill.

 

I grew up in England and was actually a good shot with a .22 rifle.

Heinrich Opposes Confirmation Of Rick Perry For Secretary Of Energy

on March 3, 2017 - 8:33am

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich

From the Office of U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) issued the following statement opposing the confirmation of former Texas Governor Rick Perry, President Trump’s nominee for U.S. Department of Energy Secretary.

“I want – and we all need – Rick Perry to be successful as our next Secretary of Energy.

New Mexico House Of Representatives Passes SGR's Bill To Open Combat Roles To Women In Military Service

on March 3, 2017 - 8:14am

Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard of Los Alamos

STATE News:

Bill Updates Outdated Policy

SANTA FE – Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard (D-Los Alamos) presented a measure Thursday that updates an outdated policy and opens combat roles to women.

HB 209 ensures women have the same opportunities as men in the military by allowing appointment or voluntary enlistment of women to any military occupational specialty or career field of the branches and services of the state’s militia consistent with current Department of Defense policy. The bill passed by a 61-6 vote.

Women are already serving,

House Passes Felon In Possession Of Firearm Bill

on March 2, 2017 - 8:44pm
Rep. Nate Gentry
 
STATE News:
 
SANTA FE  This evening the House of Representatives unanimously passed legislation to strengthen consequences for felons in possession of a firearm or other destructive device. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Nate Gentry (R-Bernalillo).
 
House Bill 52 would make the crime of being a felon in possession of a firearm a third degree felony instead of the fourth degree felony it is now. Enhancing the penalty would increase the length of the sentence from 18 months in prison plus a $5,000 fine to a three year sentence with a $,5000 fine.

Tourniquets For Law Enforcement Passes House

on March 2, 2017 - 4:11pm
Rep. Patricio Ruiloba (D-Albuquerque). Courtesy photo
 

STATE News:

 
SANTA FE  Feb. 28, the New Mexico House of Representatives passed House Bill 9, a bill that provides law enforcement with the appropriate tools and training to apply tourniquets – a proven life saving measure.
 
Sponsored by Representative Patricio Ruiloba (D-Albuquerque), HB 9 gives first responders arriving to an emergency the knowledge necessary to properly use a tourniquet to prevent excessive blood loss, saving lives and reducing the damage that can be done by the improper use of tourniquets.
 
“As a law

Memorial To Protect Chaco Canyon Advances

on March 2, 2017 - 10:36am
HOUSE DEMOCRATS News:
 
SANTA FE  Feb. 28, a memorial introduced by Representative Derrick Lente (D-Sandia Pueblo) that reaffirms New Mexico’s commitment to protect Chaco Canyon’s tribal, cultural and historical sites unanimously passed the House State Government, Indian and Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
 
HM 70 requests that Bureau of Land Management (BLM) study be completed before any new leases or exploration on the national historic park and other federal lands in Chaco Canyon are issued.
 
“This is a huge step forward for Native America and others seeking to protect historical and

Udall Statement On Confirmation Of Ryan Zinke As Secretary Of The Interior

on March 2, 2017 - 10:32am
U.S. Sen. Tom Udall
 
U.S. SENATE News:
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, ranking member on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies and vice chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, released the following statement on the confirmation of Congressman Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) to serve as Secretary of the Department of the Interior. Udall joined the Senate in voting 68-31 to confirm Zinke. 
 
“The Department of the Interior is an agency of enormous significance to the lives of New Mexicans, Native Americans, and people across the

Education Bills For Vulnerable Students Advance

on March 2, 2017 - 10:20am
STATE News:
 
SANTA FE  Two bills designed to support New Mexico’s most vulnerable students have passed their first committees in the House.
 
House Bills 411 and 301, sponsored by Representative and Majority Floor Whip Doreen Gallegos (D-Las Cruces), support at-risk students who, due to varying circumstances, face unparalleled challenges in pursuing their academic career due to their placement in the foster care system, incarceration in the juvenile justice system, homelessness and/or mental health issues.
 
Both bills increase opportunity and security for New Mexico’s at-risk

Rep. Moe Maestas Loses His Cool Again, Insults Fellow Representative During House Committee

on March 2, 2017 - 9:53am

Democratic Rep. Antonio ‘Moe’ Maestas

REPUBLICAN PARTY OF NEW MEXICO News:

ALBUQUERQUE – Wednesday afternoon during debate in the House Appropriations Committee, Democratic Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas made a series of unprompted insults directed toward Republican Rep. Sarah Maestas Barnes.

Republican Rep. Sarah Maestas Barnes

Complaining that he'd received bad press for voting to kill a popular proposal to expand Baby Brianna’s law, Rep. Maestas attacked its sponsor, Rep. Maestas Barnes, for “snivelling to KRQE” about the Democrats killing the bill.

He went on to complain about how KRQE

Zinke Sworn In As 52nd Secretary Of The Interior

on March 2, 2017 - 8:27am

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke

DOI News:

5th-generation Montanan pledges to uphold President Theodore Roosevelt’s legacy

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ryan Zinke (pronounced Zink-EE) was confirmed and sworn in Wednesday as the 52nd Secretary of the Interior.

The Senate voted 68-31 to confirm Zinke the morning of March 1, 2017, and he was sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence at a ceremony in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building later that evening. Zinke is the first Montanan to serve as a cabinet secretary and also the first U.S. Navy SEAL in the cabinet.

“I am honored and humbled to

NNMC And State Auditor Reveal High-Level Theft

on March 1, 2017 - 7:34pm

Northern New Mexico College President Richard Bailey

Staff Report

SANTA FE – The New Mexico State Auditor’s Office and Northern New Mexico College (NNMC) issued separate press releases this afternoon  announcing that an investigation has discovered an estimated $200,000 of the college’s money is missing and is suspected stolen by a senior administrative employee.

State Auditor Tim Keller said of the findings, “These were hundreds of thousands of dollars that should have been serving students and faculty, not the personal benefit of an employee.”

NNMC President Richard Bailey confirmed to

Republicans Walk Out Of Meeting To Protest Inappropriate Treatment Of Colleague

on March 1, 2017 - 7:20pm

HOUSE REPUBLICAN News:

SANTA FE – The Republican members of the House Appropriations and Finance Committee walked out of this afternoon’s committee meeting to protest a breakdown of decorum following the tabling of a previously non-controversial bill to protect New Mexico’s children from receiving pornography.

On a party-line vote, the Democrats voted to table House Bill 71, a bill sponsored Rep. Kelly Fajardo (R-Valencia) to clarify and strengthen New Mexico’s criminal sexual communications laws.

State Auditor Reveals High-Level Theft At NNMC

on March 1, 2017 - 4:20pm

New Mexico State Auditor Tim Keller

STATE News:

  • Estimated $200,000 in funds missing in ongoing investigation of senior executive

SANTA FE – Today, State Auditor Tim Keller confirmed the theft of an estimated $200,000 in funds at Northern New Mexico College. Auditors began looking into the matter after financial discrepancies were found. A high-level employee in the business office resigned in connection to the missing money. Along with stolen cash, checks were not deposited that deprived the college of additional funds. 

“These were hundreds of thousands of dollars that should have been

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