Local Viewpoints

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  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.

Pat Hynes: The Beauty Of Life

Mar 10, 2015

  Sometimes you have to be alone to reflect on the beauty of life. Where winter is only a rumor in our world here in the desert, it is for us to enjoy this time of year. Let’s be grateful that so many of us have traded in snow shovels for sun screen.  When we are in dawn’s light, I have a long walk to pick up my Sun News. This walk is my time to look up, reflect, and to not trip. It is like I am part of the heavens that early in the morning, some of us are more delirious than others before we fully wake up.  How unique humans are in the universe.

Defending The BHI Critique Of EPA Rules

Mar 9, 2015

Gabe Elsner, an anti-fossil-fuel activist, recently published an Op-Ed on KRWG’s web site criticizing a finding by the Beacon Hill Institute (BHI) that the Environmental Protection Agency’s clean power rules would inflict substantial harm on the New Mexico economy by driving up electric rates.  He claims that BHI’s work lacks credibility because it is bought and paid for by fossil-fuel interests.  My purpose here is to respond to this criticism which Elsner and his co-authors usually make when we release our s

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.