Local Viewpoints

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New Mexico Passes Bill Allowing ATVs On Paved Public Roads

Feb 18, 2016

Commentary: SB 270a allows all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and  off-highway vehicles (OHVs) to drive on paved roads up to 55 mph unless prohibited by local authorities.  This has a local option where local entities could opt in.  Many Mountain States have similar laws. It passed the Senate this morning and the House passed it with the “opt in” amendment. The amended bill will return to the Senate for concurrence.

Currently,  ATVs are allowed to only cross a public paved road, not to travel on one, otherwise they could be cited by authorities.

Thompson: Allow Volunteers To Help Migrant Children

Feb 18, 2016

  Commentary:   The housing of unaccompanied youth from Central America at the Holloman Air Force Base is of great interest to me and the members of CIVIC (Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement) and the Social Action Committee of my church.  We wanted to collect Spanish-language books, clothing, and supplies for art and writing activities to donate to the young people.  We also wanted to visit the children to provide both educational and fun activities to make them feel more welcome and unafraid while they wait to be processed to safe homes.

Just passed the Senate and is headed to the Governor's desk. 

Commentary:   According to the FIR House Bill 192 allows municipalities and counties to use lodger’s tax revenues to provide airlines with minimum revenue guarantees that would entice them to offer air service to currently underserved communities. This bill would also allow a municipality or county to issue revenue bonds secured by future lodger’s tax proceeds.

New Mexico Legislators fear disclosure of spending on public works

Feb 17, 2016
Trip Jennings-New Mexico In Depth

Commentary:  Some state lawmakers fear that making public how they divvy up money each year for public infrastructure projects might harm their re-election chances.

Others complain of being bullied by the media. Still others say making public what lawmakers spend on projects each year would make reporters’ jobs too easy.

It’s been an interesting session walking the hallways of the Roundhouse and hearing how state lawmakers respond when asked to make public how they each spend state dollars on public projects.

New Mexico Senate Passes Bill To Expand Film Tax Credit

Feb 17, 2016

Passes Senate 28-5, On to House.   Commentary:  

The State Senate passed Senator Lisa Torraco’s bill to create more jobs in the film industry in New Mexico, for New Mexicans.

“This bill is all about employing more New Mexicans in the film industry,” Senator Torraco said. “When this bill becomes law, we expect the film industry to expand even more in the state, creating 50 to 150 new jobs for our residents.”

New Mexico Senate Bill Would Allow ATVs To Travel On Paved Roads

Feb 17, 2016

Senate Passed today 34-7, on to House.   Commentary:

Sb 270 allows all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and  off-highway vehicles (OHVs) to drive on paved roads up to 55 mph unless prohibited by local authorities.  This has a local option to allow it or not.  Many Mountain States have similar laws.

Currently,  ATVs are allowed to only cross a public paved road, not to travel on one, otherwise they could be cited by authorities.

Study Will Review New Mexico PRC Staff Expertise

Feb 17, 2016


Passed Senate 38-0, Passed House 63-0   Commentary:


Senate Minority Caucus Chair Steve Neville sponsored a bill that requests the Legislative Council to contract for an independent study of the Public Regulation Commission (PRC). The study is to determine if the commission has advisory staff with the required expertise to assist and advise the commissioners to make fully informed and proper decisions in the public interest on complex cases.


Senator Neville said an example of a complex PRC case filing is in the Farmington area.  He said the

Paterson, New Jersey / Matthew Stagliano, New Jersey Education Association (NJEA.)

 Commentary:  Today, community leaders, parents, students, and educators “walked in” to more than 900 schools in more than 30 cities as part of the nationwide walk-in movement organized by the Alliance to Reclaim our Schools (AROS), of which the National Education Association is a partner. Parents, educators, and students gathered in front of their schools before the beginning of the school day for rallies in support of the public schools all our children deserve.

Dental Health for Kids Begins with Parents

Feb 17, 2016

 In New Mexico and throughout the country, February 2016 is being celebrated as “Children’s Dental Health Month” to emphasize that the oral health is just as important as physical and mental health. A healthy mouth allows a child to be free from pain thus they can attend school and be productive adults in later life.

The mouth is a window into what's going on in the rest of your body, often serving as a helpful vantage point for detecting the early signs and symptoms of systemic disease — a disease that affects or pertains to your entire body, not just one of its parts.

  Commentary:   The Center for Western Priorities today released a new report, The Wrong Side of History: 100 Years of Opposition to Our Nation’s Natural Treasures. The report examines past and present opposition to land conservation in the United States, demonstrating that the often colorful language used by opponents of new parks and monuments has changed little over the last century.

We Cannot Quit on Capital Outlay Reform

Feb 16, 2016

Commentary:  Over the past few years, reform of New Mexico's capital outlay system has received more and more attention.  There is little doubt that our system, particularly compared to other states, needs fixing.  We are the only state that expects the legislature to approve a capital outlay bill without any system for planning, vetting or selecting projects.  Instead, we operate in a free-for-all system that fails to make the most of our limited infrastructure dollars.

Udall Introduces Legislation to Ensure Migrant Children Receive Due Process

Feb 16, 2016
U.S. Senator Tom Udall D-NM

  Commentary:    Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall announced that he has introduced legislation to ensure that unaccompanied migrant children seeking asylum in the United States receive legal representation and a fair hearing. The Fair Day in Court for Kids Act will address concerns that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is improperly rushing recently arrived asylum seekers from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras through the immigration court process.

Goodman: Serious Problems In County Government

Feb 15, 2016

 Commentary: Imagine someone wants you to invest in a big company. 

“Who's your internal auditor?” you ask.

“Milton was, but he kept reporting embarrassing facts. We fired him. Some allegation of misconduct.”

“Who replaced him?”

“A very experienced lady, two or three years ago, but she took one look and quit within a week.”

“Who replaced her.”

“No one yet.”

“Well who's your risk manager?”

 Commentary: The State Senate on Sunday evening voted down a proposed constitutional amendment that would have legalized the recreational use of marijuana on a 17-24 vote. Before the final vote, however, the Senate approved an amendment that would have raised the legal age to use marijuana from 21 to 25 years of age.

Senator Martin Heinrich (D) New Mexico

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) released the following statement on the passing of U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia:

"Justice Scalia was a dedicated jurist and public servant. For nearly 30 years, he served the Supreme Court with clarity and deep passion for the law. My thoughts and prayers are with Justice Scalia's wife, Maureen, and his family during this difficult time.

New Mexico Republican Leader Lauds Driver's License Compromise

Feb 13, 2016
Senator Stuart Ingle - (R)

  Commentary:  The New Mexico State Senate passed a compromise bill to resolve the driver’s license  issue confronting the state for a number of years; and the bill meets requirements of what the federal government is requiring of all 50 states to better protect the nation.

Full Senate Approves New Mexico Driver's License Compromise

Feb 13, 2016

  Commentary:  The New Mexico Senate tonight unanimously approved House Bill 99, as amended, an historic, bipartisan compromise to bring the state’s driver’s licenses into compliance with federal REAL ID requirements. The bill now advances to the House of Representatives for concurrence with the Senate’s amendments. The measure would make New Mexico driver’s licenses compliant with the federal REAL ID Act if it is approved by the House, and signed by the Governor.

Senate Passes Bill To Return Tax Overpayments

Feb 13, 2016

Commentary: SB 166 allows a New Mexico taxpayer to take a tax credit the following tax year for taxes on personal income that were overstated and overpaid.  The bill passed the Senate 37-0 and now goes to the House.

“People have lost out on overpayment of their state taxes, now we will fix that,” bill sponsor Senator Sue Wilson Beffort said.

The overpayment of taxes could have resulted from overstated amounts of  such things as personal income, social security, Medicaid, Workers Compensation.

Senate Rules Approves Measure to Raise the Minimum Wage

Feb 13, 2016
State Senator Bill Soules

 Commentary: The Senate Rules Committee voted a do-pass Saturday on Senate Joint Resolution 18 (SJR 18) that would let voters decide in the November general election whether to raise the statewide minimum wage.

SJR 18, sponsored by Senator Bill Soules (D-37- Doña Ana), would base the wage increase on the annual rate of inflation and each increase could not exceed 4%. The minimum wage in New Mexico hasn’t changed since 2009 when it increased to $7.50 an hour, despite price increases across the board for housing, food and other essential items.

Senate Passes Bill to Protect Young Athletes from Brain Injuries

Feb 13, 2016
Senate Majority Leader Michael S. Sanchez (D-29- Bernalillo & Valencia).


  Commentary:  The State Senate passed a bill Saturday that expands guidelines for treating head injuries suffered by student athletes by lengthening the rest period after a suspected concussion, and calls for these procedures to cover non-school related youth athletic programs.

Senate Bill 137 (SB 137), Student Athlete Brain Injury Protocols, which passed the Senate on a 35-4 vote, amends the protocols that were enacted in 2010.


Republicans Vote to Stop Consumer Protection Bill

Feb 12, 2016
Rep. Jeff Steinborn

  Commentary:  Republicans in the New Mexico House of Representative Regulatory and Public Affairs Committee (RPAC) voted today on a party line vote to stop legislation to establish a “vehicle insurance advisory committee.” The legislation, House Memorial 90, would have established a consumer driven advisory committee within the state office of Superintendent of Insurance to provide consumer protection and oversight ideas for vehicle insurance industry policies in the State of New Mexico.

Firearm Background Checks Unanimously Passes New Mexico Senate

Feb 12, 2016
Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto

  Commentary:  Senate Bill 331, (SB 118), the “Background Check Reporting for Firearms” sponsored by Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto (D-15- Bernalillo), today unanimously passed the Senate.  The bill requires the New Mexico Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) to electronically transmit information about people who are adjudicated mentally ill or committed to a mental institution to the FBI’s instant criminal background system.

Legislature Must Take Balanced Approach to Budget, Revenue Crisis

Feb 12, 2016

  Commentary:   Veronica C. García, Ed.D., executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, which advocates on behalf of the state’s low-income children, released the following statement regarding the current budget crisis:

  Commentary: Out-of-town paid organizer Jeffrey Isbell’s op-ed (2/7) ignores the fact that hundreds of thousands of dollars from anonymous out-of-state rightwing organizations funded his wages, the losing recall effort, the losing rightwing City Council candidates and the filthy, lying anonymous mailers! The progressive Las Cruces organizations he excoriates are locally staffed and can mobilize educated, well-in

BHA Statement on Arrest of Cliven Bundy, Oregon Standoff

Feb 11, 2016

Commentary: In the wake of the arrest in Oregon of Cliven Bundy, a Nevada scofflaw and leader of a movement to seize public lands from the American people, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers President and CEO Land Tawney issued the following statement: 

Rep. Nate Gentry

 Commentary: New analysis of campaign finance reports has revealed that since the 2014 elections that put Republicans in charge of the House, Republican Majority Leader Nate Gentry took over $160,000 from corporations and wealthy special interests.

ProgressNow NM's new analysis of campaign finance reports looked at over 12,000 individual contributions and segmented out the 2,304 corporate contributions reported by candidates and elected officials between the November 2014 election and the last reporting period in October 2015 (the most recent data available).

New Report Shows How Community Schools Transform Schools, Communities, Lives

Feb 11, 2016

  Today, the Center for Popular Democracy, Coalition for Community Schools, and the Southern Education Foundation released a report, Community Schools: Transforming Struggling Schools into Thriving Schools .

  Commentary:  Over two dozen domestic violence and sexual assault service providers, and the New Mexico Hispanic Bar Association, announced their opposition to fingerprinting and background check requirements for immigrants applying for driving authorization cards.

Nachison: Angelica Rubio for House District 35

Feb 11, 2016
Angelica Rubio

Commentary:  The primaries for state legislators arrive in some four months. District 35 is an open seat. One candidate is outstanding.

Angelica Rubio has touched thousands of Las Crucens’ lives. She worked to protect the Organ Mountains, reveled in its national monument designation, protecting them for future generations. Angelica managed the minimum wage petition campaign and saw to its unexpected passage by the City Council — $10.10 in 2019. She has worked hard to increase the voting population in local and state elections, a never-ending task.