Political News

Jobs Bill Gets Unanimous Vote in House

Speaker of the House W. Ken Martinez

NM HOUSE News:

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


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Bill to Establish Bilingual Seal Passes House

House Majority Leader Rick Miera

NM HOUSE News:

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


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

U.S. SENATE News:

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. The program provides assistance to ranchers who experienced grazing and livestock losses due to natural disasters


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Senate Finance Approves Substitute Budget Bill

NM SENATE News:

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 within


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Senate Passes Minimum Wage Constitutional Amendment

Sen. Richard C. Martinez

STATE News:

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


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Amendment Would Cover Fund Gap in Hospital Solvency Bill

Sen. Tim Keller

LEGISLATIVE News:

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 state


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Tom Church Confirmed as NMDOT Cabinet Secretary

Tom Church

STATE News:

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


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Officials Comment on Radiation at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant

Operators prepare drums of contact-handled transuranic waste for loading into transportation containers. Courtesy/energy.gov

STATE News:

CARLSBAD—U.S Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich issued the following statement after an air monitor detected higher than usual radiation levels around 11:30 p.m. Friday on the underground levels of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in Carlsbad:

“We are in close contact with officials at the Department of Energy and WIPP, and we will continue to monitor the situation as more information becomes available. The safety of WIPP personnel


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House Highlights from Saturday, Feb. 15

STATE News:

House Highlights from Saturday, Feb. 15:

On the Floor

House Bill 330, Diploma Seal of Bilingualism sponsored by House Majority Leader Rick Miera (D-Bernalillo-11), has passed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 67-0. HB 330 provides for a State Seal of Bilingualism-Biliteracy on New Mexico Diplomas of Excellence for graduates who are proficient in speaking and writing a language other than English. HB 330 requires the Public Education Department to adopt rules to establish criteria for students to earn the state seal of bilingualism-biliteracy. It now heads to the Senate.


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Stand Up Against Violence Toward Women

‘I want to see a world where those who commit gender crimes are treated with outrage while those who survive are treated with empathy and respect. I want a world where the media and social norms reinforce how wrong it is for a man to take advantage of a woman’s space, mind or body. Where boys and men are taught to behave and stand up for their sisters, friends and partners, and girls/women are taught that they can go where they want, wear what they want and be who they are without fear of attracting the ‘wrong kind of attention.’ I want a world where all creatures on this planet are respected,


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State Fair Director Avoids Subpoena

Dan Mourning. YouTube PrintScreen/Rob Nikolewski 

STATE News:

SANTA FE–New Mexico State Fair Director Dan Mourning avoided a threatened subpoena from Senate Rules Committee (SRC) Chair Linda M. Lopez, D-Bernalillo, by showing up to a Thursday morning hearing.

After a string of absences, Mourning finally spoke about State Fair business, specifically the ongoing issue of the controversial racetrack and casino lease awarded to the Downs at Albuquerque.

Two previous SRC hearings left glaring gaps of information about the State Fairgrounds after senators heard previous testimony


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Democrat Lawrence Rael Files Candidacy for Governor

Lawrence Rael officially files candidacy for Governor. Courtesy/Rael Campaign

ELECTION News:

Lawrence Rael has filed with the Secretary of State’s Office to become a Democratic candidate for governor of New Mexico.

“Growing up in a tiny town in Northern New Mexico, in the kind of poverty too many of New Mexico’s children are battling—few would have imagined that I would be here today,” Rael said. “Before I believed in myself, I was surrounded by a community that believed in me. That’s why I believe we can be a global leader in renewable energy. I believe we can work together


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Senate Committee Votes Unanimously For Hospital Solvency Bill

Jerry Ortiz y Pino, chair of the Senate Public Affairs Committee

N.M. SENATE News:

SANTA FE – Wednesday, the Senate Public Affairs Committee, in a straight party line vote, passed a substitute bill for Senate Bills 314, 368 and 268, designed to allow counties to come up with funding solutions to cover Medicaid and Medicare cuts to hospitals statewide.

The compromise provides for counties to impose an excise tax of one-twelfth percent of gross receipts. A representative from the New Mexico Association of Counties said counties were in agreement with the proposal. A hospital advocate who attended


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Bills Improving Transparency of Legislature Clear First Hurdle

Rep. Jeff Steinborn

LEGISLATIVE News:

Bills Would Require Webcasting of Interim Committees and Archiving of Session Webcasts

SANTA FE—Two pieces of legislation that would increase the accessibility and transparency of the New Mexico Legislature passed unanimously in the House Appropriations and Finance Committee last night. 

House Resolution 2 (HR2), sponsored by Rep. Jeff Steinborn, D-Doña Ana, would require that all webcasts of committee meetings and floor proceedings during the legislative session be archived. Currently, session webcasts can only be watched live which


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Brewery District Memorial Passes Senate Floor

STATE News:

SANTA FE–Senate Memorial 81 (SM81), which officially calls to establish a brewery district in Albuquerque, has passed the senate floor.

Breweries named in the memorial are Nexus, La Cumbre, Left Turn Distillery and Il Vicino because of their close proximity to one another. An amendment, which added Left Turn Distillery to the memorial, was later implemented. Many of the brewers were in attendance at the floor debate.

Senators Tim Keller, D-Bernalillo and Daniel Ivey-Soto, D-Bernalillo, co-sponsored the memorial, saying they’re both excited and happy to see that the brewery


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New Mexico Congressional Delegation Supports Minimum Wage Increase

CONGRESSIONAL News:

WASHINGTON, D.C.–Wednesday, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, and U.S. Representatives Ben Ray Luján and Michelle Lujan Grisham announced their enthusiastic support for increasing New Mexico’s minimum wage.

The New Mexico state legislature is currently debating a measure to raise the minimum wage and provide for annual inflation increases to strengthen the economy and help lift more families into the middle class. Udall, Heinrich, Luján and Lujan Grisham also support raising the federal minimum wage.

“Increasing the minimum wage ensures families have


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NMFRW Hold 2014 Legislative Board Meeting

New Mexico Federation of Republican Women Past President Elaine Miller, left, and NMFRW 1st Vice President JoAnn Johnson preparing to enter the Governor’s Mansion in Santa Fe Friday for tea and a visit with Gov. Susana Martinez. The NMFRW held its 2014 Legislative Board Meeting last weekend during which Miller and Johnson were introduced in the House of Representatives session Friday morning. Johnson, who is the Los Alamos County assessor, introduced Lt. Gov. John Sanchez at a special luncheon Saturday. Courtesy/NMFRW


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Officials to Welcome California Company to Rio Rancho

Gov. Susana Martinez

 

STATE News:

 

SANTA FE—Gov. Susana Martinez will join economic development leaders at 1 p.m. today in welcoming a California manufacturer relocating to New Mexico – a move that will create up to 50 new, well-paying jobs in Rio Rancho.

 

The name of the company will be reveal this afternoon. The company cites New Mexico’s much-improved tax competitiveness, along with welcoming local and state governments, as among the reasons for its relocation to New Mexico.


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Bill Limiting Changes to High School Graduation Requirements Passes Senate Education Committee

Sen. John Sapien

STATE News:

SANTA FE–Senate Bill 307 (SB307), designed to assure that New Mexico students are given a clear idea of graduation requirements over their four years in high school, unanimously passed the Senate Education Committee. The bill now heads to the Senate Public Affairs Committee.

This bill gives students and parents assurance that the state will not keep changing graduation requirements for students in the middle of their high school careers,” said Sen. John Sapien, D-Bernalillo and Sandoval, who co-sponsored the bill with Sen. Joseph Cervantes, D-Dona Ana.

Sen.


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Bill Would Improve Health Care for Rural Veterans

 U.S. SENATE News:

Bill would improve access to care by expanding transportation options, recruiting and retaining doctors and prioritizing improvements at rural clinics

WASHINGTON–U.S. Senators Tom Udall, D-N.M., and Dean Heller, R-Nev., introduced a bill to address some of the biggest barriers to health care for veterans in rural communities.
 
More than six million veterans, including a third of all Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, live in rural communities. But as many as half of those veterans may be going without care from the VA. Rural veterans too often struggle to access


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