Local Viewpoints

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Commentary:  President Barack Obama today released the final budget of his administration for fiscal year 2017. The president’s budget is the first since the congressional passage of the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). NEA President Lily Eskelsen García issued the following statement.

 

“President Barack Obama’s budget rightly shines a spotlight on education and students for the eighth year in a row. Educators appreciate and welcome the additional investments in public education.

 

Cotter Pushes Ethics Bill

3 hours ago
Senator Lee Cotter

  Commentary:   Senator Lee Cotter (R-Las Cruces) is committed to ensuring candidates be honest when they run for office.

He is sponsoring a bill he believes will encourage candidates for public office to be more honest in how their campaign dollars are spent by knowing the auditors of their campaign reports have an effective tool that they currently don’t have easy access to.

  Commentary:  New analysis of campaign finance reports has found that five weeks before Republicans seized control of New Mexico’s House of Representatives in November 2014, a Florida-based private prison company – Geo Group Inc. – donated over $30,000 to a Republican Super-PAC which launched a series of high-profile, factually inaccurate negative ads smearing two incumbent Democratic representatives in the tightest races that election season.

Vision without execution is hallucination

9 hours ago

  Commentary:   Vision without execution is hallucination.

Senator Howie Morales

  Commentary:  Senate Democrats today spoke out strongly in response to Attorney General Hector Balderas’s finding that there was no pattern of fraud by ten behavioral health providers that were accused of it by Gov.

Presidential Politics Gets Interesting. A little. Maybe.

23 hours ago

Commentary:  It is probably taboo for a news columnist to state this: presidential politics can be rather dull.

 

Goodman: Updates On Some Recent Columns

Feb 7, 2016
https://www.facebook.com/chopesbar

Commentary:  This column is an update on several past columns about matters as to which there have been recent developments worth mentioning.

Rep. Bill McCamley (D-New Mexico House District 33)

  Commentary:    Today, Republicans in the House Ways and Means Committee voted against the Working Families Tax Credit and Capital Gains Act on a party line vote 6-5. The Working Families Tax Credit and Capital Gains Act, sponsored by Representative Bill McCamley (D-Mesilla), is the state equivalent of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit that provides a tax credit for hard working families and also repeals the capital gains deduction. 

 

Sen. Ivey Soto Pushes for Better Pay for Critical School Employees

Feb 5, 2016
Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto

  Commentary: Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto (D-15-Bernalilo) has introduced legislation to increase the pay of some low paid school district employees to improve their economic circumstances. Currently, the minimum pay rate for school district cafeteria staff, school bus drivers, and all non-certified school personnel and educational assistants is $6.00 per hour. The Ivey-Soto bill, SB 152, will increase wages for these employees to $15.00 per hour and will be heard in Senate Education Committee tomorrow.

‘Direct Care Workforce Act’ Introduced In New Mexico Legislature

Feb 5, 2016

 Commentary: Every eight seconds, someone in the United States turns 65 years old-that’s 10,800 Americans a day. Here in New Mexico the senior population is growing. The goal of this legislation is to create a permanent Direct Care Workforce Subcommittee that would provide assistance with quality of life for those 65 years of age and older, as well as those with disabilities.

POLL: Food tax extremely unpopular with New Mexicans

Feb 5, 2016

  Commentary:  A recently released poll conducted by Third Eye Strategies for the Center for Civic Policy shows that while New Mexicans are divided on many issues, they come together in opposition to imposing a new sales tax on food.

Data from the poll shows that four-fifths (80%) of registered voters oppose taxing food and just 15% support it. When couched as part of a broader effort to lower the sales tax on all goods, opposition stays strong (62%) while support comes in at just 29%. Voters in all income groups oppose it similarly.

Child Advocates Caution against Reinstating Food Tax

Feb 4, 2016

 Commentary:  Dr. Veronica C. García, Ed.D., executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, issued the following statement regarding legislation (SB 281) that would reinstate the gross receipts tax on the purchase of food for consumption at home:

nmlegis.gov

Udall, Heinrich Urge Extended Hours of Operation at Santa Teresa Port of Entry

Feb 3, 2016
U.S. Senator Tom Udall D-NM

Commentary:   Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich wrote to the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) urging him to extend the hours of operation for northbound commercial traffic at the Santa Teresa Port of Entry (POE) and publicize recently extended southbound hours. 

Medicaid Expansion Resulting in Job Growth and New Mexico Savings

Feb 3, 2016

  Commentary:  A new report finds that the Medicaid Expansion has significantly increased jobs and revenues in New Mexico, generating a surplus that covers the cost of expansion itself. The report by Dr. Lee Reynis, economist at University of New Mexico’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research, updates prior research from 2012 and details the economic and fiscal impact of Medicaid expansion.

Steinborn Pushes For More Solar Power At New Mexico State-Owned Buildings

Feb 3, 2016
Rep. Jeff Steinborn

  Commentary:  Representative Jeff Steinborn has teamed up with a bi-partisan group of legislators to introduce legislation exploring the idea of putting solar power on more state buildings.  House Memorial 51 directs the General Services Department (GSD) to work with the state Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department (EMNRD) and the solar industry to “evaluate the potential energy and cost savings for expanding the use of solar power in state facilities.”

Don't Kid Yourself, Solitary Confinement is Torture

Feb 3, 2016

  Commentary:   "We do not torture," said President George W. Bush. Recently President Obama stated again: "The United States does not torture." Actually, we have and we do. Not just in war, but in our federal and state prisons. In government prisons and prisons run by for-profit corporations, we torture prisoners. Tens of thousands of them. Solitary confinement is torture.

 

Paul Gessing, President-Rio Grande Foundation

  Commentary:  Tamara Kay and Gorden Lafer re-hashed many of their arguments against the Rio Grande Foundation and its work in support of “right to work” in New Mexico.

Public Domain Photo (U.S. Government)

  Commentary:  On Jan. 18, I helped celebrate Martin Luther King Day by reading a proclamation at First United Methodist Church, with my gratitude to event organizers R.C. Johnson, James Simmons and Nurieh Glasgow. I had decided beforehand not to introduce this proclamation with any personal remarks.

The thinking was that government is the people’s business, not about individuals or personalities. We need look no further than the presidential campaign to see how personalities can detract from substantive issues.

  Commentary:  Open Primaries, a national leader on election reform, today announced the launch of a campaign to build support in the state House Judiciary Committee to approve HJR 12, the Open Primary Elections Constitutional Amendment. This bill will give all voters in New Mexico equal participation and say in their elections, bring competition back to electoral races and offer New Mexico’s citizens the functioning government they so desperately want.

Congressman Pearce Lauds Bill That Claims To Improve Federal Housing Program

Feb 2, 2016
Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM 2)

Commentary:  Congressman Steve Pearce issued the following statement after the House passed H.R. 3700, the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016:

 

President's Proposal To Dedicate $1.1 Billion To Address Prescription Opioid And Heroin Epidemic

Feb 2, 2016
Senator Tom Udall (D-NM)

Commentary: U.S. Senator Tom Udall today welcomed President Obama's proposal to dedicate $1.1 billion to fight the heroin use and prescription opioid abuse epidemic in New Mexico and across the country. Udall has long fought to increase support to help communities treat and prevent both problems, particularly prescription opioid drug abuse, which is too often a gateway to heroin use.

In 2014, New Mexico had the second-highest rate of drug overdose deaths in the nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The return of ‘Kindergarten math’ in battle over right-to-work

Feb 1, 2016

 Commentary: Despite being dealt a death blow in the state Senate at the final hour during the last legislative session, proponents of right-to-work laws are at it again. What was most alarming about last year’s debate was how lobbyists manipulated facts to propel their pet bills through the legislature.

Richard Kadzis

  Commentary:  Any journalist who’s covered a crowded presidential primary field knows it’s a wild ride. Just read the book “The Boys on the Bus,” and you’ll get an authentic, inside account.

Take the 1976 election year as an example, then, fast forward to 2016. Four decades separate these elections. Yet they reveal similar, early patterns.

Then, with Gerald Ford as the incumbent who succeeded Richard Nixon in the aftermath of Watergate, only Ronald Reagan challenged for the GOP nomination.

Goodman: County Treasurer Should Resign

Jan 31, 2016
Dona Ana County Treasurer David Gutierrez

  Commentary:  Dear David Gutierrez: 

I respectfully request again that, for the benefit of Doña Ana County, you resign and get treatment.

As County Treasurer you asked a woman working for you to have sex with you for money. You apparently knew, or should have known from prior incidents, that she wasn't interested in sex with you. The County Commission and the County Democratic Party each invited you to explain, then censured you. You also refused to discuss the incident with me. 

  Commentary:  With over 150 immigrant workers and their US Citizen children looking on from the gallery, all Republicans, along with Representatives Dona Irwin and Stephanie Garcia-Richard, in the NM House of Representatives voted to take away the drivers' licenses of over 90,000 New Mexicans, immigrant residents who live, work and pay taxes here, and force them to carry a discriminatory one-year driving privilege card marked with their immigration status. HB 99, was sponsored by Albuquerque Republican Rep. Paul Pacheco and backed by Governor Martinez.

Senate Democrats Call on Governor Martinez to Address Jobs Crisis

Jan 27, 2016
http://www.nmlegis.gov

 Commentary: Democratic leaders in the New Mexico Senate today called on Governor Susana Martinez to immediately place their package of jobs legislation on the call of the Legislative Session in order to address the jobs crisis. The package of 14 bills introduced by Senate Democrats would create more than 24,000 new jobs now and stimulate economic growth.  The senators emphasized the urgency of the state’s job crisis, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting that New Mexico continues to have the highest rate of employment at 6.7%.

Richard Kadzis

  Commentary:  What kind of experience do you have when you go to work every day?

On the surface, it may seem unimportant, but think of the time you spend keeping your nose to the grindstone for the sake of family, quality of life and your future.

Work can grind on your psyche, especially when you feel as if you’re just another cog in the wheel doing your job without much of a voice in getting results, or in the process of making things happen.

New Mexicans Need a Bipartisan REAL ID Solution

Jan 25, 2016
Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto

 

  Commentary—The National Education Association today issued its annual Legislative Report Card for the 114th U.S. Congress, 1st session, which tallies votes and other relevant legislative actions from January through December 2015. The Report Card tracks members’ of Congress overall support for public education, students and educators, with each member receiving a letter grade of A through F.

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