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Rep. Joseph Sanchez Bill To Help Families Of Missing Persons Passes House Floor Unanimously

on February 3, 2019 - 4:33pm
NMDP News:
SANTA FE Thursday, Rep. Joseph Sanchez’s (D-Alcalde) bill to help families of missing persons passed the House of Representatives unanimously.
House Bill 16 would require the New Mexico Department of Public Safety to share pertinent missing persons information with the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, created by the United States Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice.
The “Mark Daniel Aguilar Information Sharing Requirement” would ensure a more thorough and connected process in helping to find missing persons.

SVC Applauds Heinrich And Udall Bill To Protect Border Communities, Wildlife, Environment

on February 3, 2019 - 3:29pm
SVC News:
The Southwest Environmental Center applauds New Mexico U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich for introducing legislation to protect our border communities, wildlife and environment from harmful border wall construction.
Statement from Executive Director Kevin Bixby:
We strongly support legislation introduced today by Senators Udall and Heinrich to protect our border communities, wildlife, public lands and environment from Trump’s harmful border wall.
The bill to rescind the outdated authority granted by Congress to the Secretary of Homeland Security in 2005 to

Minimum Wage Hike Advances Despite Restaurant Industry’s Fight

on February 3, 2019 - 3:28pm
Bill McCamley, secretary-designate of the Department of Workforce Solutions, speaks in favor of House Bill 31 during a committee hearing Friday. The legislation would raise the statewide minimum wage to $10 an hour in July and increase it annually up to $12 an hour in 2021. Photo by Gabriela Campos/The New Mexican
Democrats campaigned last year on a promise to raise New Mexico's minimum wage, which has remained at $7.50 an hour for a decade.
How high it will go, exactly, is a question that quickly has become wrapped in a battle waged by the

Healthcare Commission Bill Sounds Complicated, But Is Simple Way To Understand Care, Access

on February 3, 2019 - 3:22pm
Rep. Debbie Armstrong
Rep. Debbie Armstrong’s legislation to create a Healthcare Value & Access Commission and an All-Payers Database in New Mexico, which passed the House Health & Human Services Committee 5-2 Wednesday, may make the eyes of non-policy-wonks glaze over, but it implements a simple plan: To gather and analyze currently uncollected data on healthcare in New Mexico to improve healthcare policy.
“HB 88 creates meaningful, systemic change to the way we track and understand healthcare in New Mexico.

Governor Hails Bill To Lift Cap On Film Incentives

on February 3, 2019 - 3:15pm
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham touted the introduction Friday of Senate Bill 2, which would eliminate the cap on the film tax credit. Photo by Andrew Oxford/The New Mexican
Sen. Nancy Rodriguez, D-Santa Fe, introduced Senate Bill 2 on Friday. The legislation would eliminate the $50 million-a-year cap on the film tax credit. Photo Andrew Oxford/The New Mexican
Gov. Susana Martinez had a relationship with the film industry that could seem at times like something out of a shoot-em-up Western.
Now, her successor wants to be the new sheriff

Udall, Heinrich Work To Close Gender Wage Gap

on February 3, 2019 - 8:01am
WASHINGTON, D.C. Thursday, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich reintroduced the Paycheck Fairness Act, legislation that would strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963 by guaranteeing that women can challenge pay discrimination and hold employers accountable.
The bill introduction comes 10 years after President Obama passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, marking an important step in the fight to end the gender wage gap.
“Pay discrimination against women violates the basic tenant of fairness that is at the foundation of our state and our country.

Trujillo Unveils Plans To Improve Public Education

on February 3, 2019 - 7:06am
New Mexico Public Education Secretary-designate Karen Trujillo, shown at the Capitol last week during a news conference announcing her appointment by the governor, on Friday outlined some of her priorities for the department, including bolstering teacher ranks and building better collaboration with other agencies that serve children. Photo by Olivia Harlow/The New Mexican
Growing up surrounded by a mother and sisters who were teachers, Karen Trujillo decided to rebel.
“No,” she said to herself as a child, rejecting the idea she should become an

Navajo Code Talker Museum Bill Passes Committee

on February 2, 2019 - 12:50pm
State Sen. John Pinto, 94, says he is one of about just eight Navajo Code Talkers who are still alive. Courtesy photo
They spoke a language most people -- including many in their own nation -- could not understand.
They befuddled their Japanese enemies who tried to make sense of the strange code. And when World War II ended, they knew they had played a part in keeping the world free.
"We helped win the war," said Sen. John Pinto, 94, one of the few Navajo Code Talkers who's still alive.
His voice choked with emotion and sadness when he

Los Alamos County Officials Day At The Roundhouse ... Senate Finance Committee Passes ‘Lab Tax Bill’

on February 2, 2019 - 7:35am
Los Alamos County Councilor David Izraelevitz, Councilor Chair Sara Scott, County Manager Harry Burgess and Councilor Vice Chair Pete Sheehey at the Roundhouse. Photo by Morrie Pongratz
Councilors Sara Scott and David Izraelevitz smiling at the 'Do Pass' recommendation from the Senate Finance Committee. Photo by Morrie Pongratz
A Day at The Roundhouse
Los Alamos
Jan. 31, four of us from Los Alamos traveled to Santa Fe to support Senate Bill 11 (SB11), the bill to not allow 501C(3) exemptions from New Mexico Gross Receipts Taxes for National Labs.
I was

Romero Tables Own Privacy Bill Amid Sharp Criticisms

on February 2, 2019 - 7:26am
Rep. Andrea Romero
Freshman state Rep. Andrea Romero introduced a bill that proposed to fine private companies if they did not remove "damaging" or "excessive" information about people from their websites.
Romero withdrew her legislation less than 24 hours later after she was pilloried by critics who said she wanted to undermine the First Amendment and use state government to police disputes in the private sector.
Romero, D-Santa Fe, on Friday asked the speaker of the House of Representatives to table her proposal before it could be heard

Legislative Roundup: Feb. 2

on February 2, 2019 - 7:19am
SFNM News:
Days left in session: 42
Free Sundays: The new secretary of the Department of Cultural Affairs says her staff is revisiting the previous administration's decision to curtail free admission to the state's museums.
"I do believe the citizens of New Mexico should have free access to their cultural institutions on a more regular basis," Debra Garcia y Griego told the Senate Rules Committee on Friday.
State-run museums such as the New Mexico Museum of Art and the Palace of the Governors used to offer free admission to New Mexico residents each Sunday.

‘Rocket Docket’ Bills Pass New Mexico House

on February 1, 2019 - 8:31am

House Speaker Rep. Brian Egolf


SANTA FE – The New Mexico House of Representatives passed the Senate “Rocket Docket” bills this morning that will now head to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s desk for signing.

Each of the bills received bipartisan support over the last two legislative sessions and received less than five votes in opposition.

“I am very proud of the bipartisan work the House of Representatives has done to get these important, common-sense bills to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham,” House Speaker Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe) said.

UNM-LA Participates In UNM Day At Legislature

on February 1, 2019 - 7:29am
UNM-LA Instructor Art Nichols promotes the IT Cybersecurity Program at UNM Day at the State Legislature with a display on Encrypted Steganography and Watermarking. Photo by Kateri Morris/UNM-LA
UNM-LA News:
UNM-Los Alamos (UNM-LA) participated Thursday in UNM Day at the State Legislature.
The event provided opportunities for UNM Main and Branch Campuses to highlight campus organizations, specific degree programs and alumni through posters, printed media and personal interactions.
Visitors to the event included State Legislators and other government officials, UNM President Garnett

Udall, Carper Respond To EPA Withdrawing Proposal To Scrap Worker Protection Rules

on January 31, 2019 - 5:07pm
WASHINGTON, D.C. U.S. Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, and U.S. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, responded to news that the Trump Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has withdrawn—for now—its proposal to scrap two critical worker protections, the updated Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS) and Certification of Pesticide Applicators (CPA) Rule.
Carper previously secured a commitment from EPA

Bill Lets Parties Choose: Open Primaries Or Pay For Them

on January 31, 2019 - 4:21pm
The Roundhouse. Courtesy photo
One lawmaker wants to give political parties a choice of whether to let independent voters participate in primary elections.
The option is: Let independents vote or pay for the election yourselves.
Backers hope Senate Bill 418 will win over legislators wary of letting just any voter help pick their party's nominees.
If it does, the bill could also end for now a long-running debate over the role of independent voters, who are a growing segment of the electorate in New Mexico.

CVNM: Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham Keynotes Annual Legislative Reception

on January 31, 2019 - 4:14pm
CVNM News:
SANTA FE — Conservation Voters New Mexico (CVNM) will present State Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero (HD 13, Bernalillo) with the 2019 Luminaria Award at CVNM’s 13th annual Legislative Reception Feb. 6. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham will serve as keynote speaker.
CVNM’s annual Legislative Reception is a dynamic gathering of policymakers, business leaders and community members. The program will showcase CVNM’s 2019 legislative priorities.

Commissioner Garcia Richard Appoints Four Key Staff

on January 31, 2019 - 3:54pm

Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

From the Office of the Land Commisioner:

SANTA FE – Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard has appointed four key staff to assist in executing a bold agenda for the land office.

The new hires include General Counsel and three Assistant Commissioners for Mineral Resources, Commercial Resources, and Communications.

On the job for just a month, Commissioner Garcia Richard has begun to implement her key initiatives, including issuing an Executive Order to ban killing contests on state trust land, requesting land

Heinrich, Kennedy, Cassidy, Carper, And Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Legislation To Restore Wetlands And Migratory Bird Habitat

on January 31, 2019 - 9:38am
WASHINGTON, D.C. On the 30th anniversary of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA), U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and a member of the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, U.S. Senators John Kennedy (R-La.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), and colleagues introduced bipartisan legislation to reauthorize NAWCA through 2024.
The legislation would also increase authorized annual funding for the program to $60 million.
NAWCA was originally enacted in 1989 to provide

Newly Appointed Los Alamos County Councilor Katrina Schmidt Seeks To Serve Retirees And Young Families

on January 31, 2019 - 9:27am
Municipal Judge Elizabeth Allen, left, swears in Katrina Schmidt as the newest County Councilor while Schmidt's partner, Neal Martin, holds the Bible. Photo by Kirsten Laskey/
Los Alamos Daily Post

Good ideas and diversity characterized the crop of applicants who applied for the open seat on Los Alamos County Council.

Several councilors commented it was a difficult choice but in a 4-2 vote, they appointed Barranca Elementary School teacher Katrina Schmidt to fill the vacancy.

The decision was made during the regular council

Stewart Bill Overhauls Teacher Evaluation To Support Professional Development

on January 31, 2019 - 8:58am
Sen. Mimi Stewart’s bill to overhaul the state’s teacher evaluation system by focusing on professional development passed the Senate Education Committee Wednesday.
“As a retired educator, I know that professional development—not punishment—is what teachers need to succeed,” Stewart said. “And when teachers succeed, our kids succeed.”
SB 247 calls on the Public Education Department to develop--in consultation with educators and other stakeholders--by July 1, 2019, a new evaluation system based on instructional quality (which will be 50 percent of the evaluation);

Rep. Christine Chandler Champions Fair Wages And Benefits For Workers Through House Bill 246

on January 31, 2019 - 8:51am
Dist. 43 Rep. Christine Chandler
NMDP News:
SANTA FE Rep. Christine Chandler (D-Los Alamos) is championing fair wages and benefits for workers by preparing House Bill 246, regarding the Prevailing Wage, for its first committee hearing.
House Bill 246, ensures that New Mexicans are paid a fair wage for a hard day’s work by closing loop holes, providing a complaint resolution process, and increases penalties for violations. Addressing these issues in the Prevailing Wage law will keep local jobs local, workplaces safe, and ensure quality workmanship in public projects.

Bill To Ensure Sustainability Of New Mexico’s Health Care System Advances

on January 31, 2019 - 8:30am
NMDP News:
SANTA FE Wednesday, a bill to create the Health Care Value and Access Commission advanced in the House Health and Human Services Committee.
House Bill 88, sponsored by Rep. Debbie Armstrong (D-Albuquerque) and Rep. Elizabeth "Liz" Thomson (D-Albuquerque), would provide oversight and implement recommendations to ensure the sustainability of the health care system in New Mexico through the Commission.
The Health Care Value and Access Commission would collect and report on state health data and make policy recommendations to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of

Udall, Tester, Hoeven, Isakson Fight To Curb Veteran Homelessness In Indian Country

on January 31, 2019 - 8:19am
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, along with U.S. Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), reintroduced bipartisan legislation to better serve homeless or at-risk Native American veterans.
The senators' Tribal HUD-VASH Act will formally codify a joint tribal housing initiative between the U.S.

Legislative Roundup: Jan. 30

on January 30, 2019 - 5:56pm
The New Mexico State Capitol in Santa Fe. Photo by Carol A. Clark/
By The New Mexican:
Legislative Roundup: Jan. 30, 2019
Days remaining in session: 45
Open primaries: When legislative leaders assign a bill to three different committees, it's usually a sign they are not eager for it to pass.
That's what happened to a bill that would allow independent voters to cast ballots in primary elections.
But House Bill 93 is on its way after getting the backing of a sharply divided House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee on Tuesday.
The measure would somewhat open New Mexico's closed

60+ Mile Run Aims At Drawing Attention To SB 135, Licensing Naturopathic Doctors In New Mexico

on January 30, 2019 - 3:23pm
JEMEZ SPRINGS — A legislative bill which would allow Naturopathic doctors to be licensed and regulated in New Mexico is the catalyst behind a 60+ mile run, led by the New Mexico Association of Naturopathic Physicians (NMANP) who want to draw attention for the need to license Naturopathic doctors.
“The Run” takes place Feb. 10-12 beginning in Albuquerque with the Sweetheart Run - consists of a 5K, 10K and kid’s 1K run - and continuing from Bernalillo to Jemez Springs, then finishing at the State Capitol steps in Santa Fe.
Currently, Naturopathic doctors are licensed