Local Viewpoints

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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.

U.S. Senator Tom Udall D-NM

  Commentary:   Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich announced that they are urging President Obama to temporarily suspend immigration removal actions against children and families from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras until questions about due process can be addressed.

New Mexico Senate Committee Moves Joint Resolution to Legalize Marijuana

Feb 10, 2016
Senator Gerald Ortiz y Pino

  Commentary:  A proposed constitutional amendment that would legalize the recreational use of marijuana passed a Senate committee this morning.

Conservationists Ask Lawmakers to Scrutinize New Mexico Game Commission Actions

Feb 10, 2016

  Commentary:   New Mexico conservation groups are calling on state lawmakers to look into recent actions taken by the New Mexico Game Commission.

In a letter [attached] sent to members of the Senate Rules Committee, the Sierra Club and Southwest Environmental Center said they were concerned that actions taken by the Game Commission over the past year “do not appear to be fiscally sound, responsive to the public, based on good science or in the best interests of New Mexicans.”

  Commentary:   The list of citizens, commerce organizations, lawmakers and some of the governor’s most staunch supporters is growing for the State Senate’s bipartisan solution to become compliant with federal Real ID regulations. Governor Susana Martinez’s steadfast refusal to put this issue behind us and accept a proposal that can satisfy the citizens of New Mexico must come to an end.

Attorney General Balderas Urges U.S. Senate to Pass the HANGUP Act

Feb 10, 2016
New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas

  Commentary:   Today, Attorney General Hector Balderas is urging the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation to pass the ‘‘Help Americans Never Get Unwanted Phone calls Act of 2015’’ or ‘‘HANGUP” Act.  In the letter, Attorney General Balderas and 24 state attorneys general, called on the committee to pass the Act, which repeals a recent amendment to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) to allow debt-collection robocalls to consumers’ cell phones.

New Mexico Senate Bill: Don't Like The Smell Of Cow Manure? Too Bad

Feb 10, 2016
Senator Stuart Ingle - (R)

  Commentary:  To folks in rural areas, the smell of cow manure is the smell of money. To new neighbors, the smell might be objectionable and deemed a nuisance.

Those smells, along with other sights and sound of the ag industry like crop dusters flying overhead, slow moving tractors on roads and spraying crops would be protected against nuisance claims under SB 72a, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Stuart Ingle (R), who is identified as a farmer on the New Mexico legislative website.

Udall On Supreme Court Action: "No One Is Putting A Stay On Climate Change"

Feb 10, 2016
U.S. Senator Tom Udall D-NM

Commentary:  U.S. Senator Tom Udall issued the following statement on the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to block the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan to reduce carbon emissions and fight climate change:

Richard Kadzis

  Commentary:  They are different yet so much alike.

When comparing the politics of New Hampshire to South Carolina in this presidential election year, timing and tendencies make for a compelling scenario. I can make that comparison from first-hand observation, having worked on the ground either covering or shaping outcomes in both states.


Commentary:  President Barack Obama today released the final budget of his administration for fiscal year 2017. The president’s budget is the first since the congressional passage of the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). NEA President Lily Eskelsen García issued the following statement.


“President Barack Obama’s budget rightly shines a spotlight on education and students for the eighth year in a row. Educators appreciate and welcome the additional investments in public education.


Cotter Pushes Ethics Bill

Feb 9, 2016
Senator Lee Cotter

  Commentary:   Senator Lee Cotter (R-Las Cruces) is committed to ensuring candidates be honest when they run for office.

He is sponsoring a bill he believes will encourage candidates for public office to be more honest in how their campaign dollars are spent by knowing the auditors of their campaign reports have an effective tool that they currently don’t have easy access to.

  Commentary:  New analysis of campaign finance reports has found that five weeks before Republicans seized control of New Mexico’s House of Representatives in November 2014, a Florida-based private prison company – Geo Group Inc. – donated over $30,000 to a Republican Super-PAC which launched a series of high-profile, factually inaccurate negative ads smearing two incumbent Democratic representatives in the tightest races that election season.

Vision without execution is hallucination

Feb 9, 2016

  Commentary:   Vision without execution is hallucination.

Senator Howie Morales

  Commentary:  Senate Democrats today spoke out strongly in response to Attorney General Hector Balderas’s finding that there was no pattern of fraud by ten behavioral health providers that were accused of it by Gov.

Presidential Politics Gets Interesting. A little. Maybe.

Feb 8, 2016

Commentary:  It is probably taboo for a news columnist to state this: presidential politics can be rather dull.


Goodman: Updates On Some Recent Columns

Feb 7, 2016

Commentary:  This column is an update on several past columns about matters as to which there have been recent developments worth mentioning.

Rep. Bill McCamley (D-New Mexico House District 33)

  Commentary:    Today, Republicans in the House Ways and Means Committee voted against the Working Families Tax Credit and Capital Gains Act on a party line vote 6-5. The Working Families Tax Credit and Capital Gains Act, sponsored by Representative Bill McCamley (D-Mesilla), is the state equivalent of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit that provides a tax credit for hard working families and also repeals the capital gains deduction. 


Sen. Ivey Soto Pushes for Better Pay for Critical School Employees

Feb 5, 2016
Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto

  Commentary: Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto (D-15-Bernalilo) has introduced legislation to increase the pay of some low paid school district employees to improve their economic circumstances. Currently, the minimum pay rate for school district cafeteria staff, school bus drivers, and all non-certified school personnel and educational assistants is $6.00 per hour. The Ivey-Soto bill, SB 152, will increase wages for these employees to $15.00 per hour and will be heard in Senate Education Committee tomorrow.

‘Direct Care Workforce Act’ Introduced In New Mexico Legislature

Feb 5, 2016

 Commentary: Every eight seconds, someone in the United States turns 65 years old-that’s 10,800 Americans a day. Here in New Mexico the senior population is growing. The goal of this legislation is to create a permanent Direct Care Workforce Subcommittee that would provide assistance with quality of life for those 65 years of age and older, as well as those with disabilities.