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Committee Tables Proposal for Early Education Funding

on February 19, 2014 - 7:11am
Sen. Michael Sanchez


SANTA FE—The Senate Finance Committee Monday night voted 8-2 to ’table without prejudice’ a Senate Joint Resolution that would have let New Mexico voters decide in a constitutional amendment whether to extend the current 5.5 percent funding level taken from the Land Grant Permanent Fund to a total of 7 percent.

Concerns about the resolution grew among some legislators that the Land Grant Permanent Fund would be depleted over time.

Energy Secretary Moniz to Make Major 'All of the Above' Energy Announcement

on February 18, 2014 - 9:24am

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz

DOE News:

WASHINGTON, D.C.–Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz will address the National Press Club Wednesday, where he will make a major announcement regarding the Administration’s "all of the above energy strategy" and the path toward a low carbon energy future.

Building on his recent travel across the country, the Moniz will discuss the importance of developing a diverse energy portfolio and offer insight into the Department’s next step in supporting cutting-edge energy technologies.

Veterans, Active-Duty Service Members and VA Service Organizations Honored at State Legislature

on February 18, 2014 - 7:03am
Los Alamos Veterans & Riders participate in the 2014 Military & Veterans' Day at the New Mexico Legislature.
From left, Randi Moore, Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard, Jim Hay, Ken Nadeau and Shaunessy Nadeau. Courtesy photo
NM Adjutant General Andrew Salas; Mary Cox, USN - Vietnam; Priscilla Rae Mares, USN - Vietnam; David Townsend, USA - WWII; Andres Gonzales, USA - WWII; General Miles, NMNG Adjutant General (WWII-era/non-combat); Don Reid, USA - Vietnam (there to escort Gen. Miles to the front); Tomas Begay, USMC - WWII (Code Talker) and NMDVS Secretary Timothy Hale. Courtesy/NMDVSMA


Bill to Reverse ‘Brain Drain’ Clears Senate Floor

on February 18, 2014 - 6:41am


SANTA FE—Senate Bill 36, an initiative carried by Senate Majority Whip Tim Keller, D-Bernalillo, seeks to help reverse the “brain-drain” in New Mexico. The bill cleared the Senate Floor Monday and now heads to the House of Representatives.

An estimated 75 percent of New Mexico graduate students want to stay and work right here at home, but only 25 percent are able to do so. The bill seeks to give a $5,000 tax credit to companies who hire graduate students from Science, Technology, Health, Education and Math (STHEM) programs from New Mexico universities.

“The statistics show

E-Cigarettes Bill Passes SPAC

on February 18, 2014 - 6:36am

Electronic cigarette. Courtesy/


SANTA FE—House Bill 15, which prohibits the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, has passed the Senate Public Affairs Committee (SPAC) and now heads to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Senate Majority Whip, Tim Keller, D-Bernalillo and Rep. Paul Bandy, R-San Juan are co-sponsors of the bill.

“This bipartisan bill is important because we want to avoid the chance of minors acquiring e-cigarettes under the mistaken belief that they are a ‘safer’ alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes,” Keller said.

More than 20 states around the country have

Comprehensive DWI Prevention Bill Passes House

on February 18, 2014 - 6:29am

Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard


  • House Bill 10a targets repeat drunk drivers

SANTA FEBi-partisan legislation that would target repeat drunk drivers passed the House of Representatives Monday by a vote of 51-5.

House Bill 10a (DWI Sentencing and Interlocks), sponsored by Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard, D-Los Alamos, Sandoval, Rio Arriba, Santa Fe, Rep. Elizabeth “Liz” Thomson, D-Bernalillo, and Rep. Tim Lewis, R-Sandoval closes some serious loopholes in current law, prevents repeat drunk drivers from returning to the streets, and increases the penalties for repeat offenders.

Foreclosure Process Task Force Memorial Passes Senate 29-13

on February 18, 2014 - 6:26am


SANTA FE—The Senate passed a memorial Sunday that calls for the creation of a task force to develop a set of recommendations to the legislature on how to avoid the issue of improper home foreclosures.

“Passage of this legislation is a victory for all New Mexico homeowners,” Sen. Michael Padilla, D-Bernalillo said. Padilla sponsored Senate Memorial 11 (SM 11). “This legislation will bring all aspects of the home loan mortgage industry together to avoid improper foreclosures.”

The task force will be made up of housing corporation representatives, independent living resources,

Senate Proposes Elected Board of Education

on February 18, 2014 - 6:22am
Sen. Michael Padilla


SANTA FE—Legislation that would let voters decide whether to let public school education policy be decided by professional educators, instead of the changing gubernatorial administrations, was reviewed by the Senate Judicial Committee in the Roundhouse Saturday afternoon.

Senate Joint Resolution 2 (SJR2) proposes to create an elected state Board of Education that will appoint a qualified superintendent of education.

“These last few years have seen the public schools in New Mexico being directed by the political climate of the governor’s administration instead of

New Mexico’s Aviation Industry on Display in Santa Fe

on February 18, 2014 - 6:13am


SANTA FE—Come fly with us … and see what’s happening in New Mexico’s skies. Wednesday, Feb. 19, the New Mexico Airport Managers Association, in conjunction with the New Mexico Department of Transportation’s Aviation Division, will host Aviation Day 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the West Wing of the State Capitol. 

Dozens of members of New Mexico’s aviation community will be on hand to discuss the impact and importance of aviation in the state. There also will be displays from organizations including the New Mexico Aviation Aerospace Association, Balloon Fiesta, the 58th Special Operations

Column: Billions Sitting on the Sidelines While Critical Ideas Lack Funding

on February 18, 2014 - 6:12am

Senate Majority Whip

As the legislative session winds down and the final budget is crafted, I can’t help but reflect on one of the great tragedies of current state government. With every tax break, education program, special interest and critical line item being accounted for, it is easy to forget that our state government is awash in cash.

There are hundreds of millions of unused tax dollars, excess bonding capacity and thousands of unfilled jobs, tucked away throughout state government.

Lottery Solvency Bill Passes Senate Finance

on February 18, 2014 - 6:03am


SANTA FE—New Mexico’s Lottery Tuition Fund could be a little closer to getting its solvency issue resolved as Senate Bill 347 (SB 347) passed the Senate Finance Committee Monday.

The bill appropriates $11 million from the general fund for fiscal year 2014, appropriates $11.5 million in general fund revenues for fiscal year 2015, and in fiscal year 2016 creates a distribution from the general fund portion of revenues resulting from the liquor excise tax.

Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, D-Bernalillo and Valencia, who sponsored the bill, was the lead sponsor of the

Senate Passes Memorial Celebrating Fifth Anniversary of International District

on February 18, 2014 - 5:59am


SANTA FE–The New Mexico State Senate passed Senate Memorial 90, recognizing the fifth anniversary of the “International District,” previously known as the “War Zone.”

Sen. Tim Keller, D-Bernalillo led the charge in 2009 to erase the negative “War Zone” label by changing the name of the area in Albuquerque to the “International District.” That was accomplished with the 2009 passage of Senate Joint Memorial 24, which mirrored county and city legislation.

“Our desire for a new identity truly came from the ground up.

Legislators Ask AG to Expand Investigation of Controversial Lease Award

on February 18, 2014 - 5:54am
New Mexico Roundhouse


SANTA FE—A group of 14 state legislators, prompted by information learned in the Senate Rules Committee (SRC) this week, sent a letter to the Attorney General Thursday requesting that the office expand its investigation of the controversial lease award to The Downs Racetrack & Casino.

The letter, signed by eight senators and six representatives, is based upon statements made public from three former and current State Fair Commissioners, all Republican appointees of Gov. Susana Martinez.

Senate Passes Legislation to Help State Permanent Fund

on February 18, 2014 - 5:39am

State News:

With bipartisan support, the Senate passed legislation Saturday that, if voters approve, will allow state investors to take greater advantage of a burgeoning global economy, which throughout the last decade has proven to outperform current investment strategies required by law.

Senate Joint Resolution 4 (SJR4) seeks to let voters decide whether to amend the state constitution to remove the current 15 percent cap on what can be invested on international securities.

'Helping Our Middle Class Entrepreneurs' Act Introduced

on February 18, 2014 - 5:32am

U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham

U.S. HOUSE News:

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, N.M.-1, has introduced the Helping Our Middle Class Entrepreneurs (HOME) Act (H.R. 4052), legislation to support small businesses and encourage entrepreneurship.

Specifically, the bill would simplify the income tax filing process for small business owners who operate primarily out of their homes by creating a permanent $1,500 standard home office deduction. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, home-based enterprises make up 52 percent of all small businesses.


Bill to Crack Down on Rampant Copper/Metal Theft Unanimously Passes House

on February 17, 2014 - 10:17pm

Rep. Bobby Gonzales


Legislation allows for arrest, prosecution, and sentencing for disruption of Communications and Utilities

SANTA FE—A bill that criminalizes the theft of or intentional damage to communications and utilities, including copper theft, has passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 60-0. 

House Business and Industry Committee Substitute for House Bill 239 (Disruption of Communications and Utilities) as amended, sponsored by Rep.

Skandera Fails to Receive Confirmation Recommendation

on February 17, 2014 - 12:43pm

Hanna Skandera


SANTA FE–Hanna Skandera failed to receive a favorable recommendation for confirmation as New Mexico’s Public Education Department Secretary in a Senate Rules Committee hearing today.

A motion for “No Recommendation” stalled in a 5-5 vote. A motion to recommend her confirmation to the full Senate failed on a 4-6 vote. Another motion to reject her confirmation was made but failed to receive a second. The effect of the tie vote means that the full Senate will not consider her nomination for confirmation.

Rules Chair Sen.

Today Marks 129 Presidents' Days

on February 17, 2014 - 11:00am

Happy Presidents' Day:

Presidents’ Day is an American holiday celebrated on the third Monday in February. Originally established in 1885 in recognition of President George Washington, it is still officially called “Washington’s Birthday” by the federal government.

Traditionally celebrated Feb. 22—Washington’s actual day of birth—the holiday became popularly known as Presidents’ Day after it was moved as part of 1971’s Uniform Monday Holiday Act, an attempt to create more three-day weekends for the nation’s workers.

While several states still have individual holidays honoring the birthdays

Steinborn Introduces Bill to Study Water Conservation

on February 17, 2014 - 9:23am
Rep. Jeff Steinborn 


Legislation Brings Together Top Water Programs at NMSU and UNM to Study Best Water Conservation Ideas Across the Globe

SANTA FE—In an effort to develop new ideas to better conserve our limited water resources, Rep. Jeff Steinborn, D-Dona Ana, has introduced House Memorial 83 to conduct a significant far reaching study.

Legislation Passed to Address Kirtland Fuel Spill

on February 17, 2014 - 9:11am

Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton


SANTA FE–The New Mexico Congressional delegation is being asked to fund and assemble an independent task force of experts to address the Kirtland Air Force Base bulk fuel spill cleanup—the largest toxic spill into a public water supply in U.S. history (Associated Press 2012). 

House Consumer and Public Affairs Substitute for House Joint Memorial 13, sponsored by Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton (D-Bernalillo-19), was passed Friday in the House of Representatives by a vote of 39-16. 

The findings are to be reported by November 2014 to the

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