Local Viewpoints

Local Viewpoints
1:58 pm
Thu May 14, 2015

Udall Calls On Congress To End Mass Telephone Surveillance, Reform Patriot Act

Credit Senator Tom Udall (D-NM)

  WASHINGTON – Today, during a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senator Tom Udall urged Congress to oppose a straight reauthorization of several expiring provisions of the Patriot Act and restore Americans' privacy rights by ending the government's dragnet collection of phone records.

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Local Viewpoints
9:37 am
Wed May 13, 2015

What King v. Burwell Could Mean For New Mexicans

(Albuquerque, NM) – The health care law known as ObamaCare remains controversial, not just among the population at large, but among legal experts and in the courts. The latest decision relating to the health care law popularly known as “ObamaCare” was heard by the US Supreme Court in March of this year. The decision could impact the flow of hundreds of billions of dollars in Obamacare subsidies as well as taxes and mandates under the law.

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Local Viewpoints
1:17 pm
Sun May 10, 2015

Goodman: Two Inspiring Events

A week ago we attended two inspiring events at MVS Studios: a reading by Claudette Ortiz Franzoy from her new book and the annual benefit for J. Paul Taylor Academy.

 

Claudette is a fine writer and we love J. Paul.

 

Common Ground, is a collection of Claudette's Sun-News columns about life in the Hatch Valley. Claudette is the best columnist I've seen at the paper. The book reminds me why.

 

It's a very human, personal collection. She makes some perceptive observations, but always in the context of her village, her valley.

 

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Local Viewpoints
4:30 pm
Thu May 7, 2015

Heinrich, Udall Introduce Bill To Establish Wilderness Areas

Today, U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.) have introduced a bill to establish two wilderness areas, the Cerro del Yuta Wilderness and Rio San Antonio Wilderness, within the Río Grande del Norte National Monument northwest of Taos, New Mexico.

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Local Viewpoints
4:59 pm
Wed May 6, 2015

Heinrich Continues To Tackle Veterans Claims Backlog

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 6, 2015) - Today, U.S.

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Local Viewpoints
4:53 pm
Wed May 6, 2015

Heinrich: 10 Reasons Why The Republican Budget Is Wrong For N.M.

After U.S. Senate Republicans passed the joint budget resolution, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) released the following 10 reasons why the Republican budget would hurt New Mexico's economy and weaken the middle class."This Republican budget is all wrong for New Mexico. It increases tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires while making cuts to programs that benefit average New Mexicans working hard to get ahead," said Sen. Heinrich.

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Local Viewpoints
1:21 pm
Wed May 6, 2015

New Mexico Workforce Participation Rate Remains Depressed

  New Mexico’s job market is finally showing signs of life in the wake of the “Great Recession."

New Mexico’s job situation remains far worse than it is in any of our neighboring states, but at least there is a pulse. Unfortunately, not much was done during the recent legislative session to set the stage for continued job and economic growth, so perhaps it was inevitable that New Mexico would see some job growth after years of the State economy being flat on its back.

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Local Viewpoints
5:38 pm
Tue May 5, 2015

Heinrich Urges Full Funding For Police Body Camera Program

Credit US Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM)

  With a Republican budget agreement that could cut funding by $24 million for a critical grant program that helps police departments utilize body cameras and other innovative technology, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) joined 17 senators in calling for full funding of the U.S. Department of Justice Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne JAG) program. 

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Local Viewpoints
4:11 pm
Tue May 5, 2015

Lyft Bails On New Mexico...Who Is To Blame?

  In a story published yesterday, the ride-sharing company Lyft is leaving New Mexico citing “mounting legal pressure from local (New Mexico) regulators.” From the looks of Facebook comments that I found it was a mysterious “DWI lobby” that caused onerous regulations to be passed by the PRC thus forcing Lyft out of New Mexico.

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Local Viewpoints
11:20 am
Sun May 3, 2015

Goodman: A Chance To Make A Difference In Tuesday Election

  This week we have a chance to make a difference.

On Tuesday, May 5, we'll decide three contested seats on the Doña Ana Soil and Water Conservation District Board.

The what? 

Most folks learned about the DASWCD last year, when its board put on the ballot a measure calling for a tax increase to help fund the group. We learned that it spent much of its time passing resolutions against “Agenda 21” and against various measures to help protect wildlife. It opposed the new Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Monument.

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Local Viewpoints
3:53 pm
Sat May 2, 2015

Albers: Thank You For Making Scrap Arts Music Performances A Success

  The Doña Ana Arts Council would like to thank all in our community who helped make the recent Scrap Arts Music performances in the Rio Grande Theatre so memorable.  The audiences loved the energy, humor and incredible creativity of these Canadian musicians who constructed percussion instruments out of recycled industrial materials.  Over 800 enthusiastic local students attended the school performances on April 20th. 

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Local Viewpoints
3:49 pm
Sat May 2, 2015

Greg Lennes: LC Chamber Sponsors "Right Wing" Candidate Training

  Here we go again. I don't understand why the Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring "New Leaders Grassroots Training" for right-wing political candidates on May 9. It is run by the tea party-connected American Majority, a far right-wing libertarian group. So if you are a moderate, nonpartisan, truly business-minded or liberal candidate you should not attend, right?

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Local Viewpoints
3:47 pm
Fri May 1, 2015

Conservation Groups Ask New Mexico Game Commission to Oppose Cougar Trapping Proposal

Credit wildlife.state.nm.us

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Local Viewpoints
1:59 pm
Thu April 30, 2015

Udall And Heinrich Express Concerns About Efforts To Bring More Nuclear Waste To New Mexico

Credit Senator Tom Udall (D-NM)

  U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich issued the following statements on the proposal for New Mexico to become an interim storage site for high-level nuclear waste:

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Local Viewpoints
11:53 am
Wed April 29, 2015

A Big Step Forward for Health Care Transparency In New Mexico

  Courtesy of New Mexico In Depth:

One major reform to come out of the 2015 legislative session was a law that will dramatically increase the transparency of hospital prices and quality data.

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Local Viewpoints
11:20 am
Wed April 29, 2015

Fischmann: Lawmakers Betray New Mexico On High-Cost Loans

  Storefront consumer lending barely existed when New Mexico eliminated interest rate caps back in the early 80's.  Most people went to banks or credit unions for loans and a relatively few desperate borrowers resorted to underworld lenders that charged annual interest rates around 200 percent.  

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Local Viewpoints
6:00 pm
Tue April 28, 2015

New Mexico Democrats Negotiating With Governor On Possible Special Sesssion

Senator John Arthur Smith, (D-35- Dona Ana, Hidalgo, Luna & Sierra), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.
Credit Senator John Arthur Smith (D-Dona Ana, Hidalgo, Sierra-35), Chair, Legislative Finance Committee

  Santa Fe, NM – Senate Democratic leaders, seeking to avoid a destructive showdown on capital outlay funds worth hundreds of millions of dollars for public projects across the state in 2015, are now in talks with officials from Governor Susana Martinez’s office and Senate Republicans.  As of Tuesday afternoon, negotiations among the parties were ongoing and expected to continue.  No compromise had been reached to enable capital funds to be spent next year, nor on whether a special session to resolve the issue would occur.

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Local Viewpoints
2:37 pm
Tue April 28, 2015

Natural Resources Defense Council: Act Now To Protect Our Water

  This week, the full House of Representatives will likely consider a bill attacking a years-long initiative to protect waterways that we use as sources of drinking water, swim in, fish from, and boat on. Sponsors of this bill (H.R. 1732) call it the "Regulatory Integrity Protection Act," but it is more appropriately dubbed the "R.I.P.

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Local Viewpoints
2:35 pm
Tue April 28, 2015

Rodríguez Pushes For Increased Funding For English-Language Learners

Credit SEN. JOSÉ RODRÍGUEZ

  AUSTIN – State Sen. José Rodríguez's SB 161, which would increase funding for programs that serve English Language Learner (ELL) students, was heard in the Senate Education Committee this morning.

ELL students in Texas typically have learned a language other than English in their home, and while the predominant language of ELL students is Spanish, multicultural Texas includes students in every corner of the state who grew up with any one of dozens of languages from all over the world.

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Local Viewpoints
4:39 pm
Mon April 27, 2015

Gessing: Walmart, We Hate You. Now, Please Come Back!

Credit Paul Gessing, President-Rio Grande Foundation

  Liberals generally don’t care for Wal Mart. In fact, egged on by the left-wing Green “Chamber of Commerce,” the Las Cruces City Council recently rejected a proposal to rezone some land for a Wal-Mart.

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Local Viewpoints
4:24 pm
Mon April 27, 2015

Heinrich Opposes Trade Proposal

Credit US Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM)

  Today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) released the following statement opposing “fast track” Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation that would expedite approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) by revoking Congress’ authority to amend the deal:

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Local Viewpoints
4:21 pm
Mon April 27, 2015

Papen Calls On Martinez To Address New Mexico Mental Health Care Issues

Credit Senator Mary Kay Papen (D)

  Santa Fe, NM –Senator Mary Kay Papen (D-38- Dona Ana), Pro Tem of the New Mexico Senate and the Legislature’s most important advocate for mental health policies, today expressed serious concerns over major problems in the State’s behavioral health system.  In a letter to the Martinez Administration directors who oversee behavioral health programs – the secretaries of the departments of Human Services, Health, and Children, Youth and Families – Sen.

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Local Viewpoints
2:38 pm
Sun April 26, 2015

Goodman: The Freedom To Choose A Beautiful Death

  Florida would say that years ago I committed a crime there, probably some variety of homicide: out of love, I helped someone have a beautiful death.

Which, coincidentally, is the title of an important symposium at NMSU on Friday.

NMSU remains steadfastly neutral on the end-of-life issues the symposium will cover. NMSU has simply noticed that we all die; that longer lives and scientific advances create both options and horrors; and that people should think about end-of-life issues and plan accordingly.

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Local Viewpoints
2:58 pm
Fri April 24, 2015

Transparency In New Mexico: A Mixed Forecast

  Column Courtesy of New Mexico In Depth:  Common Cause New Mexico and other advocacy groups mounted an ambitious campaign to shower the Roundhouse in sunshine and fix some of our ailing campaign finance laws during the past legislative session, but the result fell short of what good government groups had expected. As a result, the forecast remains only partly sunny – or partly cloudy – depending on your outlook.

Partly Sunny:

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Local Viewpoints
2:49 pm
Fri April 24, 2015

Sanchez: Why Did Governor Reject New Mexico Driver's License Compromise?

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

  Santa Fe, NM – One of the great missed opportunities of the 2015 Legislative Session was the chance to finally enact a sensible compromise on how the State ought to treat the driver’s licenses of undocumented immigrants.  Governor Susana Martinez’s stubborn refusal to compromise on the issue again blocked any opportunity for a bipartisan, commonsense solution.

New Mexico has some 90,000 undocumented residents, many of whom work here, shop here, send their children to public schools here, and certainly drive vehicles to get these things done.

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Local Viewpoints
5:03 pm
Wed April 22, 2015

Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino: The Poison On The Tip Of The Veto Pen

Credit Office of the Governor

   I am once again astonished at how little attention is given by the mainstream press in this city to the damage that is done by the veto pen.  Instead of simply working out the arithmetic of how many vetoes are exercised by the Governor or how that percentage of nullifying actions compares to previous Governors’ vetoes, it would be refreshing, and a genuine contribution to the enlightenment of the voting public if the Journal, for example, would actually write about what damage those vetoes have done.

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Local Viewpoints
9:51 am
Tue April 21, 2015

San Antonio Shame: Mayor Calls LGBT Protections a “Waste of Time”

Credit City of San Antonio

  Taking part in a “faith forum” for mayoral candidates on Sunday, Mayor Ivy Taylor of San Antonio, Texas attacked a recently-enacted non-discrimination ordinance protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) city employees and contractors from discrimination. 

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Local Viewpoints
8:58 am
Tue April 21, 2015

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Transparency and the 2015 Legislative Session

  From New Mexico In Depth (NMID):

Editor's note: NMID recently asked columnists who wrote for our Januarylegislative guide to summarize how, in their opinion, transparency and openness fared during the recently-ended 60-day session in Santa Fe. This is the first of several columns.  

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Local Viewpoints
5:43 pm
Mon April 20, 2015

Senator Bill O'Neill: Reflections On The New Mexico Legislative Session

  Santa Fe, NM –The 2015 legislative session has adjourned, giving ample time to reflect on both its disappointments and accomplishments.

Certainly, the inability to pass our much-needed $264 million capital outlay bill was disheartening to say the least. Included in the capital outlay bill were vital improvements for senior centers, public school buildings, public libraries, museums, health centers, etc.

Following the usual procedure, the Senate sent a unanimously approved bill to the House with plenty of time for it to be amended and sent back to us for final approval.

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Local Viewpoints
5:31 pm
Mon April 20, 2015

Rodriguez Blasts Texas School Voucher Plan; Votes Against Senate Bill

Credit SEN. JOSÉ RODRÍGUEZ

  AUSTIN – SB 4, the Texas school voucher bill that would divert money from public to private schools, passed the Senate floor today. State Sen. José Rodríguez voted against the bill, after his amendment to require that private schools receiving public funds are held to the same standards as public schools was not accepted.

His statement is as follows:

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