Thursday was the final day for legislators to introduce legislation — which always means a flurry of activity in the introduction of legislation portion of the floor session.
Alex Goldsmith tweeted the final score — 675 bills for the House and 641 for the Senate.
The House has the obvious advantage in the bill introduction game; there are 70 members of the House to 42 members of the Senate.
The House wins this round — but they can take on each other on the basketball court on March 1. That time, at least, it is for charity.
On to the Word:
- Today’s legislative roundup from the Santa Fe New Mexican is up.
- Two Albuquerque city councilors said they support expanded background checks.
- The Senate version of the “Breaking Bad” bill that would increase the film incentives for TV shows that film in New Mexico passed a Senate committee.
- a rally in Santa Fe targeted domestic violence.
“Domestic violence destroys lives and weakens the very foundations of our society, the family,” said Lt. Gov. John Sanchez at the Roundhouse rally. “I am asking and calling on men, husbands, fathers … to stand up to break the cycle of domestic violence. It’s a responsibility we have as men in this state and this country.”
- Steve Terrell reports on a drivers license bill from Sen. Pete Campos, D-Las Vegas.
- The Santa Fe Reporter reports on legislation that would revert federal lands to state control.
- The Santa Fe New Mexican reports on the House approving a PRC qualification bill.
PRC candidates will need 12 years worth of education or work experience, or both, in fields pertinent to overseeing utilities, transportation or telecommunications. Degrees or experience could be in fields such as economics, law, engineering, water management, accounting or earth sciences.
- Albuquerque Business First reported on the same bill.
- And the Santa Fe Reporter reports on the difference between the House and Senate versions.
- Alex Goldsmith highlights another example of the coalition of Republicans and conservative Democrats banding together to likely kill a progressive bill in the state Senate.
- The Santa Fe Reporter reported that the governor’s office responded to their IPRA request.
But finally on Tuesday evening, governor’s office records custodian Pamela Cason sent SFR a response:
“Our Office has already produced to you all responsive documents for your request,” Cason writes. “The Office of the Governor did not withhold or deny any responsive public documents held by our Office under any privilege or statutory exception.”
To us at SFR, it’s still odd that the Governor’s Office won’t explain why it’s not providing a widely-leaked email to top-level governor’s office staffers that we already know exists. We’re not the only ones.
- A bill by Sen. Howie Morales, D-Silver City, would revamp the school grading system, New Mexico Capitol Report reports.
His bill would remove grading authority from the department and give it to a newly formed state council that would include teachers, principals, superintendents, school board members and representatives of charter schools.
Morales said he spoke to Gov. Susana Martinez about his ideas for restructuring the system before introducing his bill hours before the filing deadline.
Critics have said the grades are volatile, which may show that they are not representative of actual school achievement.
- El Grito writes about a rally to raise the minimum wage on Thursday.
- Stuart Dyson reports that things are running smoothly in the legislature. Of course, we haven’t seen any high profile battles on most of the controversial legislation. There are many bills that can cause harsh divides in the two chambers — and they are working their way through the House and Senate.
- Capitol Report New Mexico writes about how New Mexico legislators are the last in the nation not to be paid salaries.
- The Los Alamos National Labs director wrote a memo to LANL employees regarding sequestration, the Los Alamos Monitor reports.
- Earlier this week, Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich introduced Kenneth Gonzales at his confirmation hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Gonzales is the current U.S. Attorney from New Mexico but is up for a federal judgeship.
- The Albuquerque Journal reports on a potential whistleblower suit from a judge.
Schultz’s nine-page claim focuses on the alleged ramifications of her allegations that state District Judge Michael Murphy made remarks that were tantamount to bribery.
For instance, Schultz in the notice claims her criminal caseload was increased and she was assigned an intern who spied on her and sprayed her office with perfume knowing she was allergic to it.
Murphy is accused of telling a prospective judicial candidate in 2006 that she could better her chances of appointment to the bench by donating money to a local Democratic Party operative in Las Cruces. Schultz contends Murphy repeated similar comments to her in a private conversation.
- I’m not a lawyer, but this report in The Raton Range doesn’t sound good for the person with the accusations against elected officials in Raton:
A district judge this week denied a Raton citizen’s motion for a preliminary injunction against four city commissioners and the city manager — a group whom the citizen’s complaint accuses of improprieties and misuse of public funds — and gave the man 20 days to file a response to motions from the city attorney that argue for dismissal of the case.
- The Las Vegas Optic says drilling advocates are “mounting a multi-faceted offensive against cities and counties that have been stifling drilling activities.”
- A plan to create a pellet plant in Otero County is hitting snags.
- New Mexico will get $546,000 from a Toyota settlement.
- In “what the hell” news from Farmington:
Farmington police are looking for a man suspected of either ejaculating or throwing semen onto at least two women at a local Walmart on separate occasions.
- And as a unicorn chaser, your cute Albuquerque news: the koala at the zoo got a mate just in time for Valentine’s Day.
- Some northern New Mexico residents may be looking at higher electricity bills, the Rio Grande Sun reports.
In the coming months, the Co-op will seek state approval to recoup easement payouts by slapping ratepayers with nine new surcharges, one each for the seven pueblos and two nations with whom the Co-op will have settled long-standing easement disputes. Board vice chair Ron Lovato said the last of the negotiations, with Santa Clara and Jemez Pueblo, are nearing their end.
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