As per usual, both the House and Senate announced that there would be no sessions tomorrow. The first Friday of the legislative session is one where legislators go home while workers print out the legislation that has been introduced and get it ready for legislators.
The first week is always slow.
From New Mexico Telegram’s reports on Thursday: The bill to fund the legislative session is on the governor’s desk… A compromise proposal to solve the driver’s license issue is in the Senate — from a Republican leader… Steve Pearce said jobs are going unfilled because people can’t pass drug tests… The state Senate set its committee assignments.
On to the Word:
- New Mexico Capitol Report saw a rare instance — a Republican in the Speaker’s chair, as minority leader Don Bratton, R-Hobbs, presided over the House before U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce spoke to the legislature.
- New Mexico’s employment data is all messed up.
New Mexico’s “fully integrated tax and claims system” launched Jan. 6. Because the switchover was done Jan. 1 to Jan. 6, those collecting unemployment benefits were unable to recertify or file new claims for unemployment from New Mexico during that time.
Because of the shutdown, the number of claims the state reported to the federal government is way down, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is showing a 75 percent decrease in New Mexico claims for the week ending Jan. 5 from the number of claims filed the previous week.
- Rep. Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe, is pushing a marriage equality amendment, Steve Terrell reports.
- The Santa Fe Reporter has photos from the first day of the legislative session.
- Albuquerque Business First reports on Sen. Tim Keller’s efforts to raise requirements for NMFA board members. The New Mexico Finance Authority was recently embroiled in a scandal over an audit that turned out to be fake.
- Steve Terrell writes about Peter Wirth’s chairmanship of the Senate Conservation Committee.
- Rep. Nora Espinoza, R-Roswell, introduced a piece of legislation that “would make it a third-degree felony for any government official or firearm dealer to try to enforce federal gun laws here.”
- New Mexico Capitol Report says two Las Cruces Democrats will serve as vice-chairs in the state Senate.
- Former congressional candidate Gary Smith was indicted by a Bernalillo County grand jury after allegedly slashing the tires of a political opponent, the Santa Fe Reporter says.
- Here is the second part of a two-part series on domestic violence from the Los Alamos Monitor.
- Albuquerque approved a company to run its downtown grocery store.
The staff recommended David Silverman of Geltmore LLC, representing UR 205 Silver LLC, which presented a four-story building of 60,000 square feet. The first floor would have a 6,000-square-foot grocery, and the rest would be one- and two- bedroom apartments.
- Albuquerque Business First reports that the New Mexico Land Office says it earned $2.3 million in oil and gas leases on January 15.
- The Associated Press says a group lauded New Mexico on its school breakfasts.
The report by the Food Research and Action Center says 70 percent of low-income students in New Mexico who receive lunch also got breakfasts during the 2011-2012 school year.
- Some Eastern New Mexico business owners have questions about “Obamacare.”
Martin said he currently offers health insurance to every employee after a 90-day period. He’s unsure how the ACA will affect what he already does.
“I know to ask more questions,” Martin said. “I plan to do more research and ask a lot more questions.”
Personally, I’d have the business owner contact his congressman.
- John Fleck has the latest on the Kirtland Air Force Base fuel spill.
Contractors for the Air Force sank two wells six inches in diameter more than 500 feet into the ground adjacent to the base’s old fuel loading area, where in 1999 the Air Force discovered that an underground pipe had been leaking for decades.
Vacuum units will suck fuel vapors from the layers of soil above the groundwater, and the furnace unit will then burn it off, explained Brent Wilson, Kirtland’s civil engineer.
- Fun times in Las Vegas, as reported by the Las Vegas Optic:
The city’s governing body has awarded two-year contracts to its police chief and city clerk despite objections from one councilor who argued that the contracts violate state law and the city charter.
- Gov. Susana Martinez declared a state of emergency due to a propane shortage, the Alamogordo Daily News says.
- The Ruidoso News on the thoughts of purchasing a single engine air tanker to combat forest fires:
“After talking to a lot of people, having some of the professionals from the State Forestry, BLM, other entities like the village come and talk to us, our board decided that we would back-burner this at this point” Weaver told those at the meeting. “What we’ve been told by most of these entities is that if air support is needed, it’s close and it’s pretty easy to get through the (fire dispatch) command center. We still would really like to have something close by, just an insurance that fires can be put out but we have to rely on the expertise of our fire personnel, state, local, county. They’ve assured us that they can get that kind of equipment if they need it. So we still are interested in that kind of support if we can get it. It’s designated through the (fire severity designation) that they do and there’s a process for getting that. We’ll kind of leave it up to them to continue pushing for that. As individuals we all can continue to let people know that we’re interested in just making sure the community’s protected from fire any way they can do it.”
- New Mexico Compass’ Margaret Wright writes about the “new media wilderness.”
Filed under: Morning Word