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Senate Votes To Create Outdoor Recreation Division

on March 13, 2019 - 9:16am
The New Mexico Senate voted 38-0 Monday for a bill creating a division of outdoor recreation, one of the favored initiatives of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.
It is not to be a promotional agency but one that would be responsible for building the private-sector economy by helping businesses find ways to draw more visitors to New Mexico's rivers, forests, caverns and peaks.
The proposal, Senate Bill 462, next moves to the House of Representatives, where the Democratic leadership will fast-track it.

New Mexico Senate Nixes School Bus Air Conditioners After Hot Debate

on March 11, 2019 - 10:12pm
Few issues have fired up the New Mexico Senate this session like a bill to require air conditioning on school buses in hot locales.
After a vigorous, hourlong debate Saturday, senators defeated the proposal by a vote of 23-16.
Sen. Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces, sponsor of Senate Bill 321, said installing air conditioners on school buses is a matter of public safety. The state is responsible for buying the buses. Drivers and kids are better protected if they are kept comfortable, he said.
Skeptical colleagues gave him an earful.

UNM-LA Students Named To PTK All State Team

on March 11, 2019 - 5:14pm

UNM-LA students Annika Vestrand and Aaron Waller, members of 2019 Phi Theta Kappa New Mexico All-State Community College Academic Team, meet State Rep. Christine Chandler during the Legislative session. Courtesy photo

From left, Dr. Cindy Rooney, Dr. Sharon Hurley, Annika Vestrand, Aaron Waller, Kathryn Vigil, and Maryjane Giesler visited the Legislature Feb. 13 on Community College Day. Courtesy photo

UNM-LA News:

UNM-Los Alamos (UNM-LA) students Annika Vestrand and Aaron Waller were recognized during the State Legislative Session Feb.

Grazing Fee Decreases For 2019 Agricultural Leases

on March 11, 2019 - 4:57pm

State Land Office News:

SANTA FE – The State Land Office (SLO), in accordance with NMAC, has updated the fee assessed to ranchers and farmers who lease state trust land for livestock grazing.

The amount is determined annually using a formula that accounts for various factors such as private grazing land lease rates, beef cattle prices, and the cost of livestock production. The formula has been used to determine rental rates for livestock grazing since 1988.

“I’m happy to announce this decrease in fees to all 2019 agricultural leases of our state trust land.

Annual Recuerda César Chávez Day March & Fiesta

on March 11, 2019 - 4:53pm

NHCC News:

ALBUQUERQUE - Civil rights and labor leader César Chávez was born March 31, 1927 in Yuma, Ariz. Every year since his untimely death (1993), the Recuerda a César Chávez Committee has commemorated the birth of this humble civil rights leader by marching in his honor and celebrating his life with music, dancing, poetry and fun, culturally enriched activities for children.

This event is designed to educate the entire family about César Chávez and the farm worker movement.

Chandler: Editorial Shows Short-Term Thinking

on March 11, 2019 - 4:43pm

By Rep. Christine Chandler (D-Los Alamos)

As a freshman legislator, I surprised many people by asking to sit on the House Taxation and Revenue Committee. Few people think that such subjects are interesting, let alone desirable. I disagree. They are at the heart of how our state government functions.

One of our primary jobs as legislators is to ensure that the state can provide the services and infrastructure – education, roads and highways, public safety, and more – that are needed and relied upon by our businesses, families, and communities.

Ringside Seat: Welcome To The Real March Madness

on March 11, 2019 - 10:33am
In civilized America, nothing is quite so frenetic as the last week of a 60-day session of the New Mexico Legislature.
Hundreds of bills -- some critical, some so stupid they appear to have been introduced as a joke -- are still in play. Even some of the worst ones have a chance to receive approval before the session ends at noon Saturday.
The 42 senators and 70 members of the House of Representatives are sleep deprived and under pressure. Some are irritable. A few appear enraged.
What's it like to be a freshman in this storm of

Legislative Roundup: March 11

on March 11, 2019 - 8:21am
The Roundhouse in Santa Fe. Courtesy/SFNM
By The New Mexican
Days remaining in the session: 5
And now, the deal-making: A bill approved by the House of Representatives to put in place a statewide ethics commission at last received a hearing Sunday in the Senate Rules Committee. But it was pushed far down the agenda, and most of the panel's members left the room as soon as the issue came up.
The result: The committee didn't vote on the measure.
The Rules Committee chairwoman, Sen. Linda Lopez, D-Albuquerque, has her own bill to set up the commission.

U.S. Senators Udall And Heinrich Introduce Legislation To Celebrate, Honor Successes Of Indigenous Women

on March 11, 2019 - 8:07am
WASHINGTON, D.C. U.S. Senators Tom Udall, vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and Martin Heinrich introduced a resolution to celebrate and honor the successes of indigenous women across the country.
This resolution recognizes the heritage, culture, and contributions of American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian women in the United States, highlighting the importance of promoting equity, providing safety, and upholding the interests of strong, diverse women.
“During Women’s History Month, let us reflect on the contributions, the

Governor: House Bill 7 Will Drive Innovation, Job Creation And Business Development

on March 10, 2019 - 6:30am
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham
From the Office of the Governor:
SANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham issued the following statement Friday after the New Mexico Senate overwhelmingly approved House Bill 7, bipartisan legislation that will create Centers of Excellence at four institutions of higher learning, transforming our universities into genuine economic engines that will grow industries and create jobs across the state. The House overwhelmingly approved the bipartisan legislation March 1.
“We need to pave the way to exciting career opportunities in cutting-edge

Udall Introduces Alamogordo Native VFW Commander-In-Chief To Present Legislative Agenda To Congress

on March 10, 2019 - 6:26am

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall introduces Vincent ‘B.J.’ Lawrence, Commander-in-Chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) in Alamogordo who has dedicated a lifetime of service to New Mexico and the United State. Courtesy image


WASHINGTON, D.C. U.S. Sen. Tom Udall introduced Vincent “B.J.” Lawrence, Commander-in-Chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), to present the VFW’s legislative agenda for the year at a joint hearing hosted by the Senate and House Committees on Veterans’ Affairs.
During the hearing, Commander Lawrence advocated for important VFW legislative

Rep. Miguel Garcia Measure To Secure Personal Information Advances In Senate Committee

on March 10, 2019 - 6:12am

The Roundhouse in Santa Fe. Photo by Carol A. Clark/


SANTA FE – The Sensitive Personal Information Protection Act has passed the Senate Public Affairs Committee. House Bill 141, sponsored by Rep. Miguel Garcia (D-Albuquerque), creates a clear and strong confidentiality policy that keeps certain sensitive personal information from being disclosed by state employees.

The protected information would include social security numbers, Individual Tax ID numbers, a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, physical or mental disability, immigration status, national

Military Veterans, Active-Duty Personnel To Be Honored At 2019 Military & Veterans Day At Legislature March 11

on March 10, 2019 - 6:12am


SANTA FE — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is scheduled to lead the tributes to military veterans and active-service personnel Monday, March 11 during Military and Veterans Day at the 2019 Legislature at the State Capitol in Santa Fe.

This is the annual day during the legislative session presented by the New Mexico National Guard and the New Mexico Department of Veterans Services (DVS) to honor service members and veterans for their military service.

At a noon ceremony in the Rotunda, the Governor will be joined by DVS Secretary Judy Griego and New Mexico Army National Guard Maj.

Legislative Roundup: March 10

on March 10, 2019 - 6:12am

Nidia Martinez and other members of Mariachi Fiesta brought some life, color and music to the Capitol Rotunda Saturday in Santa Fe. Robert Nott/The New Mexican
By The Santa Fe New Mexican
Days left in session: 6
Film cap increases: The Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee unanimously approved a bill that would raise New Mexico's annual cap on tax rebates for film production companies that shoot in the state to $110 million from $50 million.
Filmmakers can qualify for 25 percent tax rebates on qualified expenses for projects shot in New Mexico.

Lawmakers Pledge Funds For Code Talker Museum

on March 10, 2019 - 6:11am
State Sen. John Pinto, a 94-year-old Democrat from Gallup, has long wanted to build a Navajo Code Talkers Museum and Visitors Center in New Mexico to honor the service of about 400 Navajo servicemen who used their language skills to pave the way for the invasion of the Japanese islands in World War II.
On Friday, his dream finally came closer to reality when Gov.

Joint Resolution To Ask Voters To Consider Runoff Elections Passes House

on March 10, 2019 - 6:05am

Rep. William Pratt


SANTA FE – The House of Representatives has passed House Joint Resolution 6. This resolution proposes to amend the state constitution to allow runoff elections in primary and statewide elections.

“Sometimes in an election when there are more than two candidates, the winner does not reach more than 50 percent of the vote,” said Rep. William Pratt (D-Albuquerque). “Majority winners have a stronger mandate, and can therefore govern more effectively, knowing that they count with the support of most of their constituents.”

A runoff election is an

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich Presses Military Leaders On Improving Military Housing Conditions

on March 9, 2019 - 1:23pm
U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich
WASHINGTON, D.C. U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) questioned top military leaders Thursday during a Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) hearing on the chain of command’s accountability to provide safe military housing and other building infrastructure to servicemembers and their families.
Recent reports have revealed the pervasive and dismal living conditions that thousands of military members and their families are subjected to on military bases

Legislation To Address Missing And Murdered Indigenous Women Crisis Passes House Floor

on March 9, 2019 - 10:43am


SANTA FE – The House Floor passed a bill Friday sponsored by Representatives Andrea Romero (D-Santa Fe), Derrick Lente (D-Sandia Pueblo), Rep. D. Wonda Johnson (D-Church Rock) and Melanie Stansbury (D-Albuquerque) to address the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women.

House Bill 278 declares an emergency and creates a task force to outline preventative measures and document these cases.

According to the Urban Indian and Health Institute, New Mexico has the highest number of missing and murdered indigenous women.

LA Federated Republican Women Meets Thursday

on March 9, 2019 - 10:14am


The Los Alamos Federated Republican Women will hold its monthly general meeting at 1 p.m. Thursday, March 14, in the Patio Room at 1001 Oppenheimer.

All regular members are encouraged to attend, and women registered Republican are invited to join the meeting to see what the organization is all about.

Meetings usually last an hour to an hour and a half, and this month’s program will be about a visit to the New Mexico State Legislative session.

For questions, contact Shona Neff, LAFRW President at 505.672.1456.

New Mexico Senate Votes To Restrict Public Access To Nonelective Job Candidate Lists

on March 9, 2019 - 9:36am
State senators Friday approved a bill denying the public access to lists of applicants for nonelective executive jobs, such as school superintendents and city and county managers.
Under Senate Bill 259, only the names and résumés of at least three finalists would have to be made public.
The proposal carried in a 27-14 vote. It now goes to the House of Representatives.

Legislative Roundup: March 9

on March 9, 2019 - 9:30am
Santa Fe High School student Jasper Rae and Steve Lipscomb carry a panel from a mural painted by students with New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence for a presentation Friday by students from around the city about gun violence in the Capitol Rotunda. Photo by Gabriela Campos/The New Mexican
Rachel Pearson, 17, center left, applauds and Camille Cooper, 16, cheers Friday while reacting to a brief speech by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in the Capitol Rotunda during a student presentation on gun violence. Photo by Gabriela Campos/The New Mexican
SFNM News:
Days left in the session: 7

SOS Toulouse Oliver On ‘For The People Act’ Passage

on March 9, 2019 - 9:22am
Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver
SANTA FE Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver released the following statement Friday after the U.S. House of Representatives passed House Resolution 1, the “For the People Act”:
“The United States House of Representatives took a bold and long-overdue step today to strengthen ethics rules, make it easier for eligible voters to register and vote, end partisan gerrymandering, and limit the influence of wealthy and well-connected special interests.

Governor Signs Law Expanding Background Checks For Virtually All Firearms Sales

on March 9, 2019 - 8:11am
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signs legislation Friday requiring background checks for virtually all firearm sales, seated next to Sen. Richard Martinez, D-Española, left, and Rep. Debra Sariñana, D-Albuquerque, at the Capitol. Photo by Gabriela Campos/The New Mexican
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Jenn Jevertson, prevention coordinator for the Santa Fe Public Schools Office of Student Wellness, pose for a selfie Friday with students gathered in the Capitol Rotunda for presentations on gun violence.

Ethics Commission Subpoena Power Is Sticking Point

on March 9, 2019 - 7:53am
Sen. Linda Lopez, sponsor of SB 619
In politics, misdeeds do not often play out in words or sweeping actions but are instead buried in papers and spreadsheets.
So, a constitutional amendment that New Mexico voters overwhelmingly approved last year to set up a statewide ethics commission allowed the proposed panel to collect documents, gather testimony and get other evidence during investigations by issuing subpoenas.
But as lawmakers debate how exactly this commission should operate, many disagree over whether the panel should have the

Senate Bill To Ban Coyote Killing Contests Passes First House Committee

on March 8, 2019 - 8:15pm
APV News:
SANTA FE — A vote of 3-1, the New Mexico House Consumer & Public Affairs Committee passed Senate Bill 76 Thursday to prohibit coyote killing contests statewide.
Coyote killing contests are organized events in which participants compete for prizes—typically cash, firearms, and commemorative belt buckles—by attempting to kill the most, the largest, and the smallest coyotes over a period of time. There are at least 25 to 30 such contests known to be held throughout the state each year. A "small dog" winner at a recent New Mexico coyote killing contest was a 9 lb. coyote pup.