Local Viewpoints

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  Local business interests who hired people to collect signatures to recall City Councilor Gill Sorg failed to collect enough signatures to trigger a recall election; but the recall proponents may file suit.


The bar was low. They needed only 10% of the district's registered voters. Their cause was so unpopular they had to lie about what the petition was for. Voters in District 5 seem quite content with Councilor Sorg. (We'll learn next week whether they got enough signatures for a recall vote on Olga Pedroza.)


Udall Leads Fight Against Dark Money In Politics

Apr 2, 2015
Senator Tom Udall (D-NM)

WASHINGTON – Today, on the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s McCutcheon decision that further eroded the nation’s campaign finance laws, U.S. Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) sent a letter asking the Obama administration to implement an executive order requiring government contractors to disclose political spending. The letter was also signed by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

Senate Majority Leader Michael S. Sanchez (D-29- Bernalillo & Valencia).

  Santa Fe, NM – Senate Majority Leader Michael S. Sanchez (D-29-Bernalillo and Valencia) today said he and Senate Democrats may be willing to support calling a special session of the Legislature following Governor Susana Martinez’s reported comments this week. Sen. Sanchez has sent out the following statement:

Martinez Signs Legislation Aimed At Protecting Families

Mar 31, 2015
Office of the Governor

  Today, Governor Susana Martinez signed a series of bills to help protect New Mexico’s families. Among other things, the legislation cracks down on child prostitution, provides additional funding to help victims of violent crimes, and requires all cell phone and pager companies to issue Amber Alerts via text to their customers.

Las Cruces Green Chamber Launches "No More Walmarts" Campaign

Mar 31, 2015

  LAS CRUCES---The Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce (LCGCC) Board of Directors announced this week they are launching a "No More Walmarts" campaign   in response to the recent approval in February by the Las Cruces Planning and Zoning Commission for the rezoning of 7.31 acres of land at the corner of Tashiro Drive and Valley Road. The Planning and Zoning Commission approved an application for the construction of a grocery store, drive-through pharmacy, and a 12 bay self-serve gas station.   


What Really Happened To Capital Outlay During New Mexico's 2015 Legislative Session?

Mar 30, 2015
Senate Majority Leader Michael S. Sanchez (D-29- Bernalillo & Valencia).

  Santa Fe, NM – Following the Governor’s press conference at the end of the 2015 Legislative Session, residents of New Mexico may be excused for being confused about what actually happened to spending on infrastructure projects across the state.  Governor Susana Martinez did not help matters when she levelled false accusations against Senate Democrats.

Goodman: Enjoying The Theater In Las Cruces

Mar 29, 2015

  May I take a break from drought and recall and be playful?

Last Saturday evening we saw “Recreational Living” at the Las Cruces Community Theater.

David Spence's play won a contest among former students of Mark Medoff. The prize was this production at LCCT directed by Mark.

I expected a good evening, because I know and respect Mark; but the performance was more fun that we'd anticipated.

Let's admit first that I'm an old curmudgeon who often leaves the theater growling.

Udall Leads Effort To Keep Dark Money Out Of Elections

Mar 27, 2015
Senator Tom Udall (D-NM)

  With the Senate debating amendments to this year’s proposed budget resolution, Republicans voted against an amendment offered by Sens.

Heinrich Pushes Bill To Prevent Public Lands From Being Sold

Mar 27, 2015

  U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) introduced an amendment to the Senate's budget resolution that would protect America's parks and public lands, including national forests, wildlife refuges, and conservation lands, from being sold off as a deficit reduction tactic. The amendment is cosponsored by U.S.

Today the National Task Force for Combatting Resistant Bacteria released a five-year action plan to tackle the growing problem of antibiotic resistance.  While the plan takes several important steps necessary to control the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, it misses the opportunity to call for critical reforms in the agricultural sector that are essential to protect public health.

Stratton: Civil Asset Forfeiture Bill Worth Signing

Mar 26, 2015

For those New Mexicans who believe in bipartisan government, reaching across the aisle and the political spectrum--there is good news. The New Mexico legislature has just unanimously passed HB 560, without a single dissenting vote in either house. HB 560 revises the procedure involved in the forfeiting of citizens’ assets by government agencies, a practice referred to as “asset forfeiture.”  

Recapping The New Mexico Legislative Session

Mar 24, 2015

  During the past two months, New Mexicans from every corner of the state sent 6,258 emails through Think New Mexico's website, and legislators listened. As a result, when the 2015 legislative session wrapped up on Saturday, Think New Mexico had successfully achieved 4 of the 5 goals we worked toward during the session:
Health Care Transparency Passed

As we reported to you on Friday, the bill to create a public website with health care cost and quality information has reached the Governor's desk and we are optimistic that she will sign it. 

  I was both reassured and somewhat disturbed to read Secretary of Education Hannah Skandera’s recent guest column on the PARCC test.  On one hand, she soothingly explained what a boon this multi-million dollar corporately-produced assessment will be for our schools.  On the other hand, so much of what she said was just plain wrong.

Heinrich Blasts Republican Plan To Gut The Affordable Care Act

Mar 23, 2015
US Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM)

  Today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) highlighted the need to continue making health care coverage available for families across New Mexico through the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and opposes efforts by Republicans to dismantle the law in the budget resolution.

Goodman: What Can We Do About A Tragedy In Mexico?

Mar 22, 2015

  Bianca is a farmer and a mother. Her son Jorge is a carefree young man, full of laughter. He plays his guitar and sings to her – when he's not fixing a neighbor's recalcitrant computer. He loves children, and attends a small teachers' college.

But he has disappeared.

Estanislao grows corn and beans and trades in food. Today, wearing a bright red cap reading, “Union Pacific – Building America,” he could be some NMSU student's visiting uncle.

Senator John Arthur Smith (D-Dona Ana, Hidalgo, Sierra-35), Chair, Legislative Finance Committee

  Santa Fe, NM – Without any warning, the Republican-controlled House Ways and Means Committee today took action – with no historical precedent – to strip $80 million worth of infrastructure projects from the capital outlay bill earlier approved by bipartisan consensus in the New Mexico Senate.  The House Committee’s action on Senate Bill 159 (SB

Rodríguez: Gun Proliferation Bills Pass Texas Senate

Mar 18, 2015

  AUSTIN – Senator José Rodríguez issued the following statement regarding Senate Bill 17, the "open carry" bill that passed the full Senate yesterday, and Senate Bill 11, the "campus carry" bill, which passed today:

McSorley: Hemp Industrialization Equals Jobs for New Mexico

Mar 17, 2015

  Santa Fe, NM – I am pleased that my bill, Senate Bill 94 (SB 94), designed to help New Mexico lay the foundation for hemp industrialization, has passed the Senate and the first committee in the House of Representatives.

Report: Minority Families In New Mexico, U.S. Falling Behind

Mar 17, 2015

  ALBUQUERQUE— A sharp racial/ethnic divide has emerged within the world of low-income working families, posing a critical equity and economic challenge to New Mexico and the nation, a new study concludes.

Hispanics and African-Americans, who will continue to emerge as a larger segment of the workforce, will remain under-prepared and underpaid unless lawmakers in New Mexico are willing to pursue policies that would improve conditions. 

  Santa Fe: Last Thursday, Senate Bill 537, the transparency bill which the New Mexico Association of Commerce and Industry helped to draft, passed the Senate on a unanimous 39-0 bipartisan vote.  But with less than a week remaining in the 2015 legislative session, this broadly supported bill has yet to be heard in its first House committee. 


Rodriguez: Anti-Immigrant Bill Is Bad For Texas

Mar 16, 2015

  AUSTIN – Senate Bill 185, which was heard in the Senate Subcommittee on Border Security today, would outlaw so-called “sanctuary cities” — a term that has not been defined — by prohibiting Texas governmental entities from passing laws to restrict police from asking about immigration status.

The bill affects cities, counties, special districts, and districts attorneys. It exempts school districts and hospital districts, but includes peace officers employed or commissioned by school districts and hospital districts.

  Recently I visited with eighteen voters who'd signed the recall petition against Olga Pedroza.

   Each voter asked to take his or her name off the petition.  All but one described election fraud, whether or not s/he used that term.

   The lies varied. 

  It is time to slam the door in the faces of the recall gang and their canvassers, who are paid $11 per hour to spread lies and misinformation in our community!  Let's stop this corruption of our political process.  Illinois Tea Party agitator and campaign leader Jeffrey Isbell,  Pam Wolfe, who is Field Coordinator for the Americans for Prosperity New Mexico and trainer of the canvassers and their  wealthy supporters are undermining our community. It is disgraceful. They have no evidence against the City Councilors in the recall.

NMFOG: Sunshine Lights the Way for Good Government

Mar 14, 2015

  Elected officials and candidates love to proclaim themselves to be "pro-open government."  That's a little like being "pro-education" or "pro-family."  The sentiment is nice, and sounds great in a speech, but can mean little in reality.


Senate Democrats Proud to Defeat Matt Chandler’s UNM Regents Appointment

Mar 13, 2015
Senate Majority Leader Michael S. Sanchez (D-29- Bernalillo & Valencia).

  Santa Fe, NM – Senate Democrats today defeated the controversial nomination of Matt Chandler to the University of New Mexico (UNM) Board of Regents by Governor Susana Martinez by a vote of 23 to 17.  Senators pointed to the strong opposition expressed by many UNM students and faculty, and numerous attorneys from Curry County where Chandler served as District Attorney, as key factors in rejecting the appointment. Chandler’s high-profile record of divisive, unfair partisanship also ruled him out from being getting the Senate’s appointment to the Board of Regents.

Texas State Lawmakers Introduce Comprehensive Medical Marijuana Legislation

Mar 13, 2015

AUSTIN – Texas state lawmakers introduced legislation Friday that would allow patients with cancer, seizure disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other debilitating conditions to access medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. 

  Properly funding government requires a delicate balancing act to meet the public’s needs. We in the Legislature are allocating more than $6 billion in taxpayer money to ensure New Mexicans receive critical services. A majority of those dollars go to educate our children and provide health care for the needy.

Often overshadowed in the budget debate are the courts and their core mission of delivering fair and timely justice for individuals and businesses.

Tribal Gaming Constitutional Amendments Filed to Level the Playing Field Among Texas Tribes

Mar 12, 2015
<p><a href="http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=2280">Image: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net</a></p>

  (Austin, TX) – Today, Senator Jose Rodríguez  (D-El Paso) and State Representative Senfronia Thompson (D- Houston) filed SJR 51 and HJR 129, respectively, proposing a constitutional amendment authorizing  gaming on tribal lands belonging to the Alabama-Coushatta Tribes of Texas and the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo (also known as the Tigua Indian Tribe).

New Mexico Senate Democrats: Anti-Worker Bills Defeated

Mar 11, 2015
Senator Gerald Ortiz y Pino

  Santa Fe, NM – Anti-worker legislation yesterday was defeated by a majority of members of the Senate Public Affairs Committee.  Members said the so-called “right-to-work” bills would hurt working people and shrink New Mexico’s middle class.  Two bills, each entitled Employee Preference Act, failed to pass the committee by a vote of 5-3.  The bills were pushed by Governor Susana Martinez and corporate special interests including the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the Koch brother network of right-wing organizations.

Senator Mary Kay Papen (D)

  Santa Fe, NM –  Today, the Senate passed Senate Bill 55 (SB 55) to clarify the definition of Medicaid fraud, and mandate that due process is given to health providers who are accused of Medicaid fraud. The bill is sponsored by Senate Pro Tempore Mary Kay Papen (D-38-Dona Ana). Known as a tireless advocate for behavioral health issues, Sen. Papen has been especially vocal following the debacle of 2013 in which most of the state’s behavioral health providers were accused of Medicaid fraud and forced out of business without due process by the Department of Health.