Local Viewpoints

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Bishop Oscar Cantu
archdiocesesantafe.org / New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops

  Congress should urge the government of Israel to halt unnecessary confiscation of Palestinian lands in the Occupied West Bank, a move that would help address the plight of Christian Palestinians in the Cremisan Valley and “renew hope for a just resolution to the conflict,” said the chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Goodman: Sometimes People Do The Right Thing

Feb 15, 2015

Lawyers and politicians aren't always popular figures, but sometimes things work out fairly, without wrangling and rancor.  Here are three recent examples.

   Twice recently I've represented plaintiffs in potential First Amendment litigation.

   First, two students who peacefully criticized the National Security Agency at an NMSU job fair were arrested and charged with crimes – unconstitutionally, we thought.

Bishop: "Fifty Shades Of Grey" Is A Sin

Feb 13, 2015
facebook.com (fifty shades of grey)

  I’m not going to tell you that you may not go to see the movie, Fifty Shades of Grey.  I’m just going to tell you to do so would be a sin. To sin is to deliberately go against God’s plan and His will for us; to expose ourselves to something that denigrates sexuality and glorifies the abuse of this gift.  All sins appear good and even pleasant from the outside or people would not choose to commit them. Take for example, the fruit on the tree in the Garden of Eden.

Rodríguez Leads Opposition To Gun Proliferation

Feb 12, 2015
SEN. JOSÉ RODRÍGUEZ

  Austin -- Senator José Rodríguez, Chairman of the Senate Hispanic Caucus, issued the following statement regarding the "campus carry" (Senate Bill 11) and "open carry" (Senate Bill 17) legislation heard in the Senate Committee on State Affairs:

Martinez Supports Domestic Violence Victim Protection Legislation

Feb 11, 2015
Office of the Governor

  Albuquerque — Today Governor Susana Martinez, Representative Kelly Fajardo (R-Belen), and victim advocates joined together to highlight the Start by Believing campaign to support victims of rape and sexual assault. Governor Martinez and Representative Fajardo also discussed proposed legislation to further protect victims of domestic violence and abuse by clarifying New Mexico law regarding domestic violence arrests.

Balderas: Lawsuit Is Trying To Stop Texas Theft Of New Mexico Water

Feb 11, 2015
Hector Balderas

  Santa Fe, NM – Today, New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas appeared before the Senate Finance Committee to give an update on Texas v New Mexico and Colorado – a critical case to protect New Mexico water rights from the federal government and Texas. Please see below for excerpts from Attorney General Balderas’ testimony:

·        New Mexico water lawsuit is about fighting federal overreach & the theft of New Mexico water by Texas.

Hynes: Let's Talk About Success

Feb 10, 2015

  The Whole Enchilada Fiesta will be without the enchilada. Bummer! I remember going to the Hillsboro Appleless Festival one year. There were no apples, they had a freeze. It was the first year I brought my parents to Hillsboro. I bribed my Dad with a promise of apple pie. They had good pies, he really didn’t care where the apples came from. Our Fiesta will continue to be reason to celebrate our community. Doing good is good for business. Our community thrives on this practice of doing good because it is good for business throughout the community and rewarding for the volunteers.

Today, the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a lower court erred in refusing to allow a wage-and-hour lawsuit, Roach v. T.L. Cannon Corp., to proceed as a class action. The Second Circuit said that the lower court improperly interpreted a U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding what is needed to satisfy the criteria for certifying a case as a class action.

Soules: Clarity And Truth Needed In Dialogue On School Fee Legislation

Feb 9, 2015
State Senator Bill Soules

  Santa Fe, NM – In his disingenuous letter to the editor that ran on Sunday, February 8 in the Las Cruces Sun News, Sen. Lee Cotter states that because I voted against Senate Bill 207 (SB 207), I do not support a free, public education, and that I support “illegal” collection of fees by public schools.  As anyone who knows me can attest, this characterization cannot be further from the truth.  Some clarity and truth-telling about this bill is clearly needed:  this legislation would prevent public schools from charging and collecting any fees for elective courses.

New Mexico's House And Senate Leaders Take Stand Against "Right To Work"

Feb 9, 2015

As the national economy shows signs of real improvement, New Mexico’s recovery has been challenging and slow. Working families want to know when we will see more jobs, higher salaries and access to quality education at every level. The state Legislature has an opportunity to put New Mexico in a position to provide that economic security and rebuild the middle class.

"Moral Monday" In New Mexico

Feb 9, 2015

  ALBUQUERQUE—New Mexico’s second Moral Monday rally begins at noon on February 9, will focus on the state budget as a moral document, and is being organized by New Mexico Voices for Children.

  Santa Fe, NM – Senate Democrats today, came out strongly against Governor Martinez’s plan to borrow $300 million or more for road and highway repair, and said the funds must be obtained more responsibly. Borrowing the funds leaves a future generation of New Mexicans to pay off the debt.  The Governor’s proposal would finance current highway projects by issuing new debt that would be paid off over many years using revenue from the state’s severance tax on oil and gas production.

 

   Note: The column below, written Wednesday, appeared in the Las Cruces Sun-News this morning, Sunday, 8 February.   On Friday the Recallers turned in petitions seeking to recall City Councilors Olga Pedroza, Nathan Smart, and Gill Sorg.  By my count, the legal deadline for the Sorg and Pedroza petitions passed Monday. There's good evidence they collected their first signatures the weekend of November 28-29.  .

Pearce Welcomes Proposed Rules To Expand Home Loan Access

Feb 7, 2015
Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM 2)

  Washington, D.C.  – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced several proposed changes to its mortgage rules that would expand access to home loans for many underserved buyers living in rural areas and small towns in New Mexico and across the country.  In response to the announcement, U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce (N.M.-02) issued the following statement.

“The CFPB’s actions last week to alter its mortgage rules are a welcome step in balancing consumer protection and over-regulation.

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

  Senate Majority Leader Michael S. Sanchez (D-29-Bernalillo & Valencia) issued the following statement regarding the Joint Session of the Legislature for American Indian Day held earlier today:

Martinez: Let's Stick To The Facts About "Right To Work"

Feb 4, 2015

  As I watch this year’s legislative session, I am concerned with the misinformed claims made by Republican Governor Martinez that have made right-to-work/anti-worker legislation her top priority.  When I think of all the issues we face here in our state in building a healthy economy I am appalled that the Governor will be attacking our working families.

Udall Acknowledges New Mexico DREAMers In Senate Speech

Feb 3, 2015
Senator Tom Udall (D-NM)

  WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall shared the stories of two hardworking DREAMers from Santa Fe and Belen, N.M. in a speech from the Senate floor. His remarks came just after voting against beginning debate on a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which he said unfairly targets young undocumented immigrants.

Pearce Joins Republicans For Another Vote To Repeal The Affordable Care Act

Feb 3, 2015
Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM 2)

  Today, Congressman Steve Pearce released the following statement after the House of Representatives passed H.R. 596, a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act.  

“It has been nearly five years since Obamacare has been enacted into law. In that time, the law has been defined by broken promises and unworkable implementation,” said Pearce. “It has forced Americans to pay more for their health care coverage, led some to lose their doctors or the insurance plans they designed for their families.”

Soules Pushes For New Mexico Minimum Wage Of $10.10

Feb 3, 2015
State Senator Bill Soules

  Santa Fe, NM – A Senate bill introduced Tuesday would incrementally increase the statewide minimum wage per hour starting in 2016, and it calls for an increase in pay of $2.60 over the current rate of $7.50 as required by state law.

Soules: "Right To Work" Is Wrong For New Mexico

Feb 3, 2015
State Senator Bill Soules

  When I ran for public office, I made a commitment to make decisions based on facts, accurate information, and data and not on emotions, word-spin, and marketing.  The so-called “right-to-work” bills moving through the New Mexico Legislature are perfect examples of laws where spin and marketing are used to obfuscate, obscure, and confuse people about the real effects and purposes of the legislation.

  President Obama’s budget proposes doubling the federal budget to combat antibiotic resistance.  This is exciting, especially given that medical experts – from the World Health Organization to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – warn that antibiotics are rapidly losing their effectiveness, putting the health of millions at risk.

What Is The True Cost Of Oil And Gas Flaring In New Mexico?

Feb 2, 2015
Dom Smith at Ecoflight

  Santa Fe, NM –New Mexico State Senator Benny Shendo Jr. (D-22 Bernalillo McKinley, Rio Arriba, San Juan & Sandoval), introduced Senate Memorial 29 (SM29) seeking to uncover the true costs to taxpayers and the environment of oil and gas flaring in the state.

http://www.nmlegis.gov/lcs/legislator_details.aspx?SPONCODE=SCAND

  Santa Fe, NM – Today, Senator Jacob Candelaria, (D-26-Bernalillo) held a press conference about the importance of paid family and medical leave and highlighted the New Mexico Family Act (SB 375), which would bring paid family, maternity and sick leave to New Mexico. SB 375 would provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave.

  (Albuquerque, NM) – The Rio Grande Foundation, using data produced by the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University (BHI) has analyzed the Obama Administration Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed “Clean Air Regulations” and found that if consumers are concerned with the electricity rate hikes being proposed by Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM), they will face an even greater impact under the new federal regulations.

facebook.com/somos un pueblo unido

  Santa Fe - Over a thousand immigrant workers and their children from throughout New Mexico marched to the Roundhouse on Monday to protest the sixth attempt by the Governor and her anti-immigrant allies to repeal the current law that requires undocumented immigrants to be licensed.  Hundreds of New Mexican children carrying New Mexican flags led the march wearing bright yellow t-shirts that said "My my mother is an immigrant.

  There's a school-board election set for Tuesday, February 3rd.

   Is anybody still reading? 

   I hope so.  Whom we choose is important – even if we don't have kid or grandkids in the Las Cruces Public School System.  Not only do these folks decide how to spend a bunch of public money, they help determine the educational climate here, which has a bearing on business and quality of life for everyone.

Sanchez: Governor’s Reports About Benefits Of "Right To Work" Are False

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

  Santa Fe, NM –Emails revealing that Governor Susana Martinez’s top political strategists began planning to create misinformation on a key state policy three years ago in order to gain political advantage today drew sharp criticism from Senate Majority Leader Michael S.

  Somos Un Pueblo Unido, New Mexico's statewide immigrant's rights organization, denounced the dangerous and shameful actions by Republican members of the House Safety and Civil Affairs to move forward two recycled proposals that would take drivers' licenses away from the immigrant parents of up to 100,000 children in New Mexico.

 

Heinrich: Strengthen Overtime Protections For New Mexico Workers

Jan 30, 2015
US Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM)

  U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) joined a group of 26 senators in supporting updating overtime rules to ensure more middle-class workers are paid fairly for overtime hours. In a letter to President Obama, the senators urged the administration to increase the income threshold to $56,680 per year to strengthen overtime protections for millions more middle-class workers. The current annual salary threshold to receive time-and-a-half pay for overtime hours is $23,660 impacting a mere 11 percent of salaried workers nationwide.

I think “Marriage Equality” will be law throughout the U.S. later this year.          

   The U.S. Supreme Court has been heading that way since 2003, when it prohibited  a Texas law against consensual gay sex in Lawrence v. Texas.  (Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in dissent that after Lawrence, there was no basis for denying same-sex couples the right to marry.)  In 2013 it tossed out federal law defining marriage as between a man and a woman.  In each opinion Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the Court, wrote of gay people's dignity and equality. 

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