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House Democrats Pass Measure To Protect New Mexicans With Pre-Existing Health Conditions

on March 8, 2019 - 9:44am
HOUSE DEMOCRATS News:
 
SANTA FE The House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday to protect health care coverage for New Mexicans with pre-existing conditions.
 
House Bill 436, sponsored by Reps. Elizabeth "Liz" Thomson (D-Albuquerque), Debbie Armstrong (D-Albuquerque), William B. Pratt (D-Albuquerque), Christine Trujillo (D-Albuquerque) and Micaela Lara Cadena (D-Mesilla) would add core pre-existing conditions protections into New Mexico law.
 
Currently, 332,000 New Mexicans under the age of 65 live with pre-existing conditions, including asthma, cancer, diabetes, and heart

House Republicans Aims To Override Gun Bill By Taking It To Voters

on March 8, 2019 - 8:53am
By ROBERT NOTT
Stung by the recent passage of legislation that would expand requirements for instant federal background checks on New Mexico firearms purchasers, House Republicans are looking for a way to override the bill.
 
Their solution: Employ an arcane provision in the state constitution that would send the question directly to voters in the next statewide general election, scheduled for 2020.
 
The House of Representatives earlier this week voted almost totally along party lines to approve Senate Bill 8, moving the legislation to the desk of Gov.

RSF: On International Women’s Day 27 Female Journalists Are Victims Of Persecution In Iran, China...

on March 8, 2019 - 8:34am
Photos of several of the 27 women journalists imprisoned, some being tortured in jails around the world. Iran and China are the two largest jailers of women journalists. Courtesy/RSF
 
Women journalists held in prisons around the world. Courtesy/RSF
 
RSF News:
 
As the world marks International Women’s Day today, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) points out that 27 women journalists are detained around the world.
 
Some are being held in inhuman conditions. Some have been the victims of torture and sexual harassment. RSF calls for their immediate and unconditional release.

As more and more women

Los Alamos Democratic Party Meets March 11

on March 8, 2019 - 8:33am

LADP News:

The Los Alamos Democratic Party meets this month at 6:30 p.m., Monday, March 11, in Building 5 at at UNM-LA.

Shin: SB 11 Is Foolish And Self-Defeating

on March 8, 2019 - 7:33am
By LISA SHIN
Los Alamos

Predictably, our Governor signed Senate Bill 11, which would require a nonprofit entity with 501 (c) (3) status with the IRS to pay state gross receipts taxes (GRTs) and specifically targets our National Laboratory. Say what? I am deeply concerned about this issue, because as I have written before, “Our Legislature should advocate for policies that bring more job creators to our state, not drive them away.

Legislative Roundup: March 8

on March 8, 2019 - 6:40am
Scene Thursday at the Roundhouse. Courtesy/SFNM
 
SFNM News:

Days remaining in the session: 8

Bee advocacy: State senators voted 30-3 Thursday to authorize a new specialty license plate for supporters of "pollinator protection".
 
The plates would be produced on demand, said Republican Sen. Sander Rue of Albuquerque, sponsor of Senate Bill 234. One would cost $25 initially. Renewals would be $15.
 
A portion of that money would be transferred to the state Department of Transportation for pollinator-protection efforts, such as demonstration gardens and planting roadside vegetation.
 

Are New Mexico Voters Ready For Salaried Legislators?

on March 7, 2019 - 4:52pm
By ANDREW OXFORD
New Mexico legislators don't get paid much. Some might argue that's just as well.
 
But the Legislature's low pay is a bit closer to changing.
 
The state House of Representatives elected on Wednesday to send voters a constitutional amendment that would repeal a prohibition on the Legislature paying its members a salary. It would also create a commission that would set the salaries for statewide elected officials, such as the governor, as well as legislators.
 
House Joint Resolution 5 now goes to the Senate.

Sara Scott: We’re Seeking Community Input

on March 7, 2019 - 8:01am
By SARA SCOTT
County Council Chair

Dear Fellow Citizens,

Over the last year I’ve appreciated hearing from many of you about your goals for the future of Los Alamos and the issues you feel should be addressed.

Recently – working with the rest of the Council team and incorporating broader input from the public and County staff – we’ve developed a set of seven strategic priorities.

This doesn’t mean that the County will work only on these priorities but having them will maintain a focus on some hard challenges among ongoing County efforts and initiatives.

We’ve also discussed our strong

After Filibuster, Senate OKs Power Plant Shutdown Bill

on March 7, 2019 - 7:49am
Sen. Bill Sharer, R-Farmington
 
By STEVE TERRELL
 
A bill aimed at shutting down the coal-burning San Juan Generating Station and strengthening New Mexico renewable energy standards survived a rambling 3 1/2-hour filibuster and other parliamentary maneuvering by opponents Wednesday night in the state Senate.
 
But one victim of the games on the Senate floor was the annual House vs. Senate basketball contest at the Santa Fe Indian School gym, an annual benefit for the University of New Mexico's Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Legislative Roundup: March 7

on March 7, 2019 - 7:14am
Zeke Pirtle, 7, helps his father, state Sen. Cliff Pirtle, R-Roswell, warm up before Wednesday's game against the House Aggies in the Hoops 4 Hope contest, which benefits the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center, held at the Santa Fe Indian School on March 6, 2019. Gabriela Campos/The New Mexican
 
Chris Jans, New Mexico State Aggies head basketball coach, goes over plays with members of the state House of Representatives before their game against The Senate Lobos at the start of Hoops 4 Hope, an annual event that benefits the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center, held at the Santa Fe Indian School

Senate Panel Favors Smaller Minimum Wage Hike

on March 6, 2019 - 12:47pm
Rep. Miguel Garcia, D-Bernalillo County
 
By ANDREW OXFORD
 
A Senate committee on Tuesday snubbed Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's call to raise New Mexico's minimum wage to $12 an hour over the next several years, advancing instead a more modest bill backed by business groups.
 
Dueling proposals for increasing the wages of New Mexico's lowest-paid workers collided in a packed hearing of the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee.

State Auditor Issues Risk Advisory On Payroll Scam

on March 6, 2019 - 7:11am
STATE News:
 
SANTA FE The Office of the State Auditor released a Risk Advisory warning of prevalent phishing and spoofing attempts Tuesday to defraud government agencies through employee payroll services.
 
“Don’t be fooled, fraudsters and thieves are constantly coming up with new scams and they hope by appearing to be official, using a well-known person’s name, they can get you to let your guard down,” State Auditor Brian Colón said. “Be diligent and never give out work or personal financial information when solicited.”
 
The phishing scam seeks to change direct deposit information

Landmark Education Bill Passes House

on March 6, 2019 - 7:09am

STATE News:

  • Historic Education Reform Bill Advances to Senate

Chair Rep. Andres Romero (D-Albuquerque), House Appropriations & Finance Chairwoman Patricia Lundstrom (D-Gallup), Rep. Christine Trujillo (D-Albuquerque), and Rep. Bobby Gonzalez (D-Taos).

House Bill 5 calls for a $449 million dollars increase, for public education funding while increasing teacher minimum salaries, expanding K-5 Plus, and increasing the at-risk index.

“This bill is a once-in-a-lifetime game changer for our students across the state. While many components of H.B.

Legislative Roundup: March 6

on March 6, 2019 - 7:09am
Pedro Garcia, Shawn McHugh and Mary Nix, all teen students of the New Mexico School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, tactually explore an engraving on the wall of the Capitol Rotunda Tuesday. Photo by Gabriela Campos/The New Mexican
 
Shawn McHugh, 16, with New Mexico School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, tactually explores an engraving on the wall of the Capitol Rotunda about the Capitol Buildings Improvement Commission Tuesday. Photo by Gabriela Campos/The New Mexican
 
By The Santa Fe New Mexican:
 
Days remaining in the session: 10
 
Tears and tissues: Members of the

Trio Of Bills To Help Rural New Mexico Pass House

on March 5, 2019 - 3:43pm

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

STATE News:

  • Rep. D. Wonda Johnson champions bills to positively impact tribal and frontier areas.

SANTA FE – The House of Representatives has passed a trio of bills sponsored by Rep. D. Wonda Johnson (D-Church Rock) that will positively impact rural and frontier areas of New Mexico.

House Bill 234, Public Service Officers and Detox Facilities; House Bill 235, Counseling and Therapy Act Definitions; and House Bill 385, Access to Telecomm Rural Service Fund are all headed to the Senate for further consideration.

House

Public Education Secretary Confirmed Unanimously

on March 5, 2019 - 2:30pm
Karen Trujillo answers questions from the Senate Rules Committee during a two-hour hearing Monday, which preceded a Senate vote of 38-0 to confirm Trujillo as New Mexico's new public education secretary. Photo by Gabriela Campos/The New Mexican
 
By ROBERT NOTT
The state Senate's confirmation process for New Mexico's new public education secretary, Karen Trujillo, was short and painless.
 
It lacked the drama, conflict and fire that marked hearings involving the controversial Hanna Skandera, who toiled through four years of political battles, committee hearings

Rep. Debbie Armstrong Bill To Keep Guns From Domestic Violence Offenders Passes Senate Committee

on March 5, 2019 - 2:25pm
STATE News:
 
Rep. Debbie Armstrong’s bill to keep guns out of the hands of domestic violence offenders, HB 87, is headed to its second Senate committee hearing after it passed the Senate Public Affairs Committee Saturday by a vote of 4-2
 
“When a gun is present in a situation of domestic violence, it is five times more likely that a woman will be killed,” Armstrong said. “HB 87 is a common-sense way to reduce gun violence in New Mexico.”
 
Armstrong’s bill, cosponsored and carried in the Senate by Sen.

Measure To Prevent Surprise Health Care Billing Passes New Mexico House Of Representatives

on March 5, 2019 - 8:23am
STATE News:
 
SANTA FE ― The House of Representatives unanimously has passed House Bill 207 to protect New Mexicans from surprise billing costs.
 
House Bill 207, sponsored by Rep. Nathan Small (D-Las Cruces), protects people with health insurance from out of network and unexpected billing costs.
 
Surprise billing occurs when a patient goes for care to a hospital or clinic in their insurance network. But, if they are cared for by an out of network provider, the patient can receive a balance bill far above their regular deductible.

Bill To Prevent Predatory Towing Advances

on March 5, 2019 - 8:12am
HOUSE DEMOCRATS News:
 
SANTA FE Monday, a bill to prevent predatory towing passed the House Judiciary Committee.
 
House Bill 491, sponsored by Rep. Natalie Figueroa (D-Albuquerque) and Rep. Christine Trujillo (D-Albuquerque) would add a new section to the Unfair Practices Act to make it an unfair or deceptive practice to tow or immobilize a vehicle from an apartment complex without giving 10 days’ written notice.
 
“This bill was inspired by the story of a Purple Heart veteran whose special license plate was stolen from his vehicle, and then his vehicle was towed away in the middle

Legislative Roundup: March 5

on March 5, 2019 - 7:43am
Luann McConnell from the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces spins wool Monday in the state Capitol during Culture Day at the Legislature. Photo by Gabriela Campos/The New Mexican
 
A stack of tortillas decorated with stenciled patterns using cinnamon, colored sugars, Nutella and butter sit in a stack of edible art Monday at a booth in the state Capitol during Culture Day at the Legislature. Photo by Gabriela Campos/The New Mexican
 
SFNM News:
 
Days left in the session: 12
 
Another state song: O, Fair New Mexico has been the state song since 1973. New Mexico

SFCIR: Former LANL Director, Sig Hecker, To Discuss 'What's Next For North Korea?' March 21

on March 5, 2019 - 7:41am
Dr. Sig Hecker
 
SFCIR News:
 
Dr. Sig Hecker, former director of Los Alamos National Laboratory will present a discussion entitled "What’s Next for North Korea?" at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, March 21 at Hotel Santa Fe Hacienda and Spa, 1501 Paseo de Peralta.
 
The presentation will be introduced and moderated by Valerie Plame, former covert CIA operations officer.
 
2017 was a very dangerous year on the Korean Peninsula, with regular nuclear tests and a war of words with President Trump – from “dotard” to “Little Rocket Man”. However, rapid North/South rapprochement and the Singapore

Gun Buyer Background Check Bill Clears Legislature

on March 4, 2019 - 10:57pm

By ROBERT NOTT
 
The New Mexico House of Representatives voted 42-27 late Monday to approve a bill that would expand requirements for instant federal background checks on buyers of firearms in the state.
 
Exceptions would include sales of antique firearms or any sale involving immediate family members. It would not affect transactions involving guns that are loaned, gifted or inherited either.
 
The Senate already had narrowly approved Senate Bill 8, on a vote of 22-20 on Feb. 14, the one-year anniversary of a mass shooting in a high school in Parkland, Fla.

Governor Cheers House Passage Of Legislation Expanding Background Checks, Boosting Public Safety

on March 4, 2019 - 10:43pm

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham

From the Office of the Governor:

SANTA FE — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham issued the following statement late today after the New Mexico House approved Senate Bill 8, a common-sense public safety measure that will expand background checks on firearm sales, closing loopholes used by individuals with dangerous histories.
 
The Senate approved the legislation on Feb. 14.
 
One of several important gun safety measures introduced during this legislative session, Senate Bill 8 is a step toward ensuring safe and proper firearm ownership in the state.

House OKs Public-Private Partnerships For Roads And Broadband Projects

on March 4, 2019 - 6:53pm
Rep. Patricia Lundstrom
 
By ROBERT NOTT
More than 35 states allow partnerships in which private entities can bid to help finance and build government-owned facilities.
 
New Mexico is not yet one of those states. But it could be if a bill that the House of Representatives approved Friday by a vote of 64-0 makes it into law.
 
House Bill 286, sponsored by five lawmakers from both political parties, would allow any government agency in the state to enter into a long-term agreement with a private entity to finance and build road and broadband infrastructure.
 

Small Biz Tax Credit Passes House Floor Unanimously

on March 4, 2019 - 9:46am

House Dist. 43 Rep. Christine Chandler (D-Los Alamos)

STATE News:

SANTA FE – House Bill 526, the bipartisan Laboratory Contract with Small Business Tax Credit, Sunday passed the House Floor unanimously. Representatives Christine Chandler (D-Los Alamos), Abbas Akhil (D-Albuquerque), Jason Harper (R-Rio Rancho) and Joseph Sanchez (D-Alcalde) introduced the bill.

House Bill 526 increases the maximum tax credit amounts for Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories for contracting with New Mexico small businesses through the New Mexico Small Business Assistant Act (NMSBA).

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