Local Viewpoints

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Hearing On Texas “Sanctuary Cities” Legislation Delayed

Mar 9, 2015


   AUSTIN – Today, state Sen. José Rodríguez, Chair of the Senate Hispanic Caucus (SHC), and state Sen. Sylvia R. Garcia, Vice Chair of the SHC, used a Senate rule to postpone the Senate Subcommittee on Border Security hearing on SB 185, the “sanctuary cities” bill, which was scheduled for 8 a.m. The notice for the hearing was published mid-day Friday, which gave potential witnesses insufficient time to make arrangements to testify at the hearing.

Rep. Larry Larranaga

  Republican State Rep. Larry Larranaga is trying to destroy one of New Mexico's best laws.   The Whistleblower Protection Act protects public employees who speak up regarding crimes and malfeasance by other public officials.

   The law protects individual rights, encourages honesty and efficiency in government, and saves us money by allowing public employees expose waste and misconduct.  If you have a good-faith belief you've seen such conduct, you can speak up without fear of retaliation.  I like that.

   Larranaga doesn't.

Sanchez: "Right To Work" Mailer "A Smokescreen" For Failed Policies

Mar 7, 2015
Senate Majority Leader Michael S. Sanchez (D-29- Bernalillo & Valencia).

  Santa Fe, NM – Senate Democrats are hearing from voters who have received misleading mail sent by an organization, ‘Jobs for All New Mexicans’, claiming that so-called right-to-work legislation will improve New Mexico’s failing economy. Gov.

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

  Santa Fe, NM – Over the protests of Republican members, a so-called right-to-work bill, House Bill 75 (HB 75), today was referred to Senate committees by the Democratic majority in accordance with the chamber’s standard procedure.  Republican senators introduced an unusual motion to circumvent the normal process by which bills are sent to committee.

Report: Latino Voices MIssing In Sunday News Talk Shows

Mar 5, 2015

WASHINGTON - A report released Wednesday by Media Matters for America (MMFA) found that Latino voices are underrepresented in Sunday news talk shows.


Despite making up 17 percent of the U.S. population, Latinos made up only seven percent of guests on English-language Sunday shows, the study found. The report also revealed the limited range of topics Latino guests are invited to discuss on the shows, with 46 percent speaking about immigration issues.


Senators: Repairing Roads by Using Gas Tax Creates Jobs and Keeps New Mexicans Out of Debt

Mar 4, 2015
Senator Mary Kay Papen (D)

  Santa Fe, NM – The State of New Mexico is at a crossroads: do we invest in the infrastructure and roads that are in dire need across the state, or do we allow them to continue to erode?

Office of the Governor

  Albuquerque — Today Governor Susana Martinez announced two key initiatives to support Children, Youth, and Families Department (CYFD) caseworkers who investigate child abuse and work with families in crisis. Governor Martinez says she supports legislation to establish specific legal protections for caseworkers from assault and battery, and a separate proposal that establishes a loan repayment program. CYFD Cabinet Secretary-designate Monique Jacobson joined Governor Martinez for the announcement. 

Senators: We Must Improve New Mexico Foster Care System

Mar 4, 2015
Senator Gerald Ortiz y Pino

  Among government’s critical responsibilities is protecting children from abuse and neglect. Our goal in this legislative session is to improve the foster care system for children placed in the state’s custody because their parents are unable or unwilling to care for them.

Senator Howie Morales

Amidst hollow proclamations of moving New Mexico education forward, the New Mexico House of Representatives sent to the Senate a budget for the coming year that provides absolutely no raise for the vast majority of teachers and absolutely nothing for all the other people who help local New Mexico students be prepared for a day of learning every day. 

School bus drivers, School Secretaries, Education Assistants, Principals, Counselors, Nurses and others will receive no pay raise at all unless the Senate revises that budget, and it is now considering an amendment to do so.

New Mexico Senate Committee Approves Gila River Bill

Mar 3, 2015

  Santa Fe, NM – After lengthy debate, the Senate Conservation Committee voted to pass the committee substitute for SB455 and SB542 out of the Conservation Committee. The bills will go to the Senate Judiciary Committee next.  The committee substitute combined the two transparency bills originally introduced by Sen. Sander Rue and Sen. Joseph Cervantes to require the Interstate Stream Commission to disclose basic facts about the proposed Gila River diversion and establish requirements for a transparent public process.

Heinrich Reaction To Netanyahu: U.S. Cannot Abandon Negotiations With Iran

Mar 3, 2015
US Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM)

  U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) made the following statement on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to a joint meeting of Congress today:

For the second straight day, a group of parents, students and community members are walking out in protest of the PARCC Exams. The group is protesting because they feel the PARCC exams are harmful to public education and they want the test removed from graduation requirements.

“The PARCC exam is not an accurate measurement of ability and the test takes valuable time and money out of the classroom,” says Albuquerque High Senior and organizer Janelle Astorga.

“Our education is not for sale, we are more than a score!” says another student and organizer, Maya Quiñones.

Skandera Says PARCC Standardized Testing Is The Right Path

Mar 2, 2015
NM Education Secretary Hanna Skandera

  You may be hearing about an upcoming change in the type of annual assessment students will be taking throughout the country – including in New Mexico’s schools.

It’s called the PARCC assessment and, for our state, it will be taking the place of the Standards Based Assessment in English Language Arts and math.

An annual exam is mandated by federal law, as well as state law, and has been a part of public education in our country for many, many years.

Albuquerque High Students Protest PARCC Tests With Monday Walkout

Mar 1, 2015

Bulldogs Against PARCC, a group of parents, students and community members, are set to walk out and protest the PARCC Exams on Monday. The group is protesting because they feel the PARCC exams are harmful to public education and they want the test removed from graduation requirements.

“The PARCC exam is not an accurate measurement of ability and the test takes valuable time and money out of the classroom.” says Albuquerque High senior and organizer Janelle Astorga.

Heinrich Urges Republicans To Reconsider Plan To Let Security Personnel Go Unpaid

Feb 28, 2015
US Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM)

  U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) voted to approve a spending bill that funds the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for the remainder of the fiscal year and does not include additional anti-immigrant provisions or unfairly target DREAMers. He urged House Republicans to reconsider their risky plan to let our nation's security personnel to go unpaid.

Pearce Votes Against Homeland Security Budget

Feb 27, 2015
Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM 2)

  Washington, D.C. - Today, the House voted on a pair of bills relating to the funding of the Department of Homeland Security.  The first, in accordance with the regular legislative process, called on the House and the Senate to debate the difference between the two chambers’ bills (a formal Conference).  The other was the House suggestion to provide an additional three weeks of funding to allow the Conference to go forward.  U.S. Representative Steve Pearce (N.M.-02) issued the following statement:

Senator Howie Morales

  Santa Fe – Written communications from school district superintendents containing numerous false statements of fact about the upcoming PARCC standardized examinations today drew the ire of Democratic Senators.

Lopez: Common Core Fails Children

Feb 27, 2015

  Santa Fe, NM – Pointing to broad bipartisan support for repeal of Common Core academic standards across the nation, Senator Linda Lopez (D-11-Bernalillio) today pushed for passage of Senate Bill 196 (SB 196) in the Senate Education Committee (SEC). Sen.

Coyote Killing Contest Ban Tabled; Wildlife Advocates Vow To Continue Fight

Feb 27, 2015
Courtesy: State of Texas

  Santa Fe, NM – Wildlife advocates will not give up efforts to ban wildlife killing contests in New Mexico despite today’s 8-2 vote to table SB253 by the House Agriculture, Water and Wildlife Committee. The measure, sponsored by Senator Mark Moores (R-Albuquerque) and Representative Jeff Steinborn (D-Las Cruces), prohibits coyote killing contests. The bill passed the full state Senate by a decisive 27-13 bipartisan vote.

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

  Santa Fe, NM – Responding to parents and students who are concerned about the over-use of standardized tests, Senate Majority Leader Michael S.

National Hispanic Media Coalition Commends FCC For Net Neutrality Rules

Feb 26, 2015

  WASHINGTON - The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) commended the Federal Communication Commission's (FCC) historic vote today to adopt strong Net Neutrality rules that use the FCC's authority under Title II to prohibit blocking, throttling and paid prioritization online. In a standing-room-only open meeting, the FCC adopted the strongest Open Internet rules that it has ever put forth, implementing the light-touch regulations that more than 4 million people and countless civil rights leaders have advocated. 


Udall Lauds FCC Adoption Of Net Neutrality Rules

Feb 26, 2015
Senator Tom Udall (D-NM)

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall welcomed a vote by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to approve updated open Internet rules. The new rules prevent broadband providers from blocking or throttling lawful online content and ban agreements between broadband providers and online companies that create Internet “toll lanes.” 

New Mexico Democratic Party Chair Sam Bregman

  Governor Martinez and NM House Republicans continued their attack on working men and women by passing a ‘right to work for less’ bill through the state house last night.  This bill, championed by business and wealthy interests does nothing to create jobs or improve the economy for New Mexicans.

The sole intent of the legislation is to weaken and destroy unions and working class New Mexicans as well as the strong support that labor unions offer to the poor and middle class.

Pearce Blasts President's Veto Of Keystone Pipeline

Feb 25, 2015
Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM 2)

  Washington, D.C – Today, U.S. Representative Steve Pearce (N.M.-02) issued a formal response to the President’s veto of the Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Act.  Approved by both the House and Senate with bipartisan support, the legislation would put an end to the lengthy and unnecessary delay of the Keystone project that has spanned over six years.  Congressman Pearce issued the following reaction to the veto: 

Senator Tom Udall (D-NM)

  WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall announced that he has joined several of his Democratic colleagues in introducing legislation that would ensure Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employees are paid if congressional Republicans refuse to fund DHS by the end of this week. Out of anger at President Obama's immigration policies, Republicans have proposed legislation with harsh anti-immigrant penalties and threatened to block DHS funding — including programs that are critical for New Mexico — if their proposals are not passed into law. 

Flawed EPA Report Funded By Fossil Fuel Interests

Feb 24, 2015

A series of flawed reports attacking the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan aimed at reducing pollution from coal-fired power plants was published by the Beacon Hill Institute and funded through fossil fuel-funded front groups managed by Richard Berman. The Rio Grande Foundation published BHI’s report on New Mexico, claiming the EPA’s climate reduction plan would have a huge negative impact on jobs and the economy. 

Goodman: We Can Disagree And Still Work Together

Feb 24, 2015

  I attended Mayor Miyagashima's State of the City address Wednesday for the first time. 

   The speech, available on the City's website, was thoughtful, forward-looking, and – at least in intent – healing.  He dealt straightforwardly with the minimum wage brouhaha, praised both CAFé and certain business owners, and said the City was better off for the experience. 

   Above all he characterized city government as something we're building together. 

Senator Howie Morales

  Santa Fe, NM – There is a lot of misinformation circulating regarding the upcoming Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers test (PARCC) that will be administered to students from grades 3-11 this spring. I want to clarify the options parents have in deciding to opt their children out of taking this test.

Smith: New Mexico Needs Jobs, Highway Repairs...But Not More Debt

Feb 23, 2015
Senator John Arthur Smith (D-Dona Ana, Hidalgo, Sierra-35), Chair, Legislative Finance Committee

  New Mexico needs more jobs, and we need them now. That is what we hear from folks in the cafes and diners in Deming and across our state.

It was confirmed in a recent study by the University of New Mexico’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research: We are ranked one of the worst in the nation when it comes to economic and job growth – 48th of 50 states. That is a tough situation for families.

So what can we do to jump-start jobs and get the economy growing again? One simple way is to address New Mexico’s huge, unmet highway and road needs.

Gessing: Bill Would End Policing For Profit In New Mexico

Feb 20, 2015
Paul Gessing, President-Rio Grande Foundation

   Republican Representative Zachary J. Cook introduced a bill designed to end civil asset forfeiture—also known as “policing for profit”—in New Mexico. This unfair practice allows police to seize and keep property of citizens who haven’t even been charged with a crime, never mind convicted. Rep. Cook’s legislation would end the legal fiction of civil forfeiture—that property can be responsible for a crime—and replaces it with criminal forfeiture. Criminal forfeiture requires a conviction of a person as a prerequisite to losing property tied to the crime.