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Legislative Roundup: Feb. 13

on February 13, 2019 - 7:00am
Brooklyn Valencia, left, and Mercedes Strong dance a sevillanas Tuesday in the Rotunda of the state Capitol. Lawmakers from the House of Representatives and the Senate held a joint session to honor Hispanic Culture Day at the Capitol, which included some dance and musical events. Robert Nott/The New Mexican
By The New Mexican
Days remaining in session: 32
Round 3 for coyotes: Hunters, trappers and landowners in New Mexico can kill as many coyotes as they want, anytime they want. Like skunks, coyotes are an unprotected fur-bearer.
A bipartisan group of state legislators wants to alter this system by outlawing contests in which coyotes are killed for prizes or entertainment.
The Senate Conservation Committee voted 6-3 on Tuesday to advance the proposal, Senate Bill 76.
Trappers and their lobbyist testified against the measure. They said private groups that reduce the number of coyotes are an asset to the state.
Supporters of the bill say killing contests are cruel. And a farmer testified coyotes are helpful in controlling pests, including the gopher population that is destructive to his business.
Similar bills to ban killing contests have failed twice in the Legislature, though the proposal cleared the Senate in 2017.
One of the bill's sponsors, Republican Sen. Mark Moores of Albuquerque, said the bill again has a good chance to receive approval from the full 42-member Senate.
Its big test probably would be the Agriculture Committee in the House of Representatives.
Wrong source: John Daniels, a Ruidoso resident, has initiated an online petition to encourage state lawmakers to impeach Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham for "treason" because she went against President Donald Trump by pulling the state's National Guard soldiers away from the New Mexico-Mexico border.
Trump says there is an "emergency" at the border because of an influx of undocumented immigrants. Lujan Grisham called his statement a "charade."
The petition had gathered more than 32,000 signatures by noon Tuesday.
"I have a one word response: Nuts!" said House Speaker Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe in response to the petition.
He explained he was quoting the late William Westmoreland, an Army general who, Egolf said, gave that response to the German military when it demanded American troops surrender during the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944.
Though Westmoreland served in Europe during World War II, he was not the one who told the Germans, "Nuts!" That response is credited to Brig. Gen. Anthony McAuliffe.
The Germans were baffled by the response until an interpreter told them it meant the same as "Go to hell."
Quote of the day: "If everyone wants to get money, you better keep it short." --Rep. Roberto "Bobby" Gonzales, D-Taos, to presenters and lawmakers at a House Appropriations and Finance Committee, noting the long agenda as well as plans for the House to reconvene later in the afternoon.