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Morning Word: Republicans Pass Budget Bills

Death penalty measure advances to floor vote

October 4, 2016, 7:30 am
Budget Bills Unsettled
Various budget proposals put forward by House Republicans and Senate Democrats are designed to close a shortfall in the state’s general fund and restore operating reserves, but the two chambers still disagree on the best approach. Democrats, who adjourned on Sunday, are due back at the Roundhouse on Thursday to hash it all out and send something to Gov. Susana Martinez.

Republicans Cut Film Industry Tax Incentives
On Monday, the House Ways and Means Committee voted to cut back the state’s film tax incentive $20 million for the next 12 months. That could go a little way toward shoring up the state’s budget, but industry insiders worry that Hollywood producers could start looking for better deals out of state. They point to Louisiana, which saw a decrease in productions when they made similar cuts.

Death Penalty Bill Advances
After removing the words “mentally retarded” from a measure to restore the death penalty in New Mexico, Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee voted to advance Gov. Susana Martinez’ initiative to a full floor vote, perhaps as early as today. It’s unlikely the measure will be heard by Senate Democrats when they get back to Santa Fe to focus on budget issues.

Martinez’ Job Performance Numbers Drop
The governor’s proposal to bring back the ultimate punishment may be popular, but her own approval ratings have slipped, as 44 percent of those surveyed by the Albuquerque Journal say they disapprove of her job performance.
Martinez had a 69 percent approval rating in a Journal Poll conducted in September 2012, nearly halfway through her first term.

“It’s difficult for governors to maintain popularity for two consecutive terms,” said Journal pollster Brian Sanderoff, president of Research & Polling Inc., who pointed out that New Mexico’s two previous governors, Gary Johnson and Bill Richardson, also saw their approval ratings dip during their second terms.
Crazy Endings
Speaking of former Gov. Gary Johnson, Nate Silver over at FiveThirtyEight suggested if Johnson were somehow to win the Land of Enchantment’s five electoral votes in November, the presidential race could end up in a deadlock where neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump get the required 270 votes and send the race to the House of Republicans. New Mexico had not been expected to be a swing state this year, but as the race narrows that status appears to be changing.

The New Mexican Accused of Union-Busting and Intimidation
“A cluster of protesters gathered outside the front door of The Santa Fe New Mexican on Monday, Oct. 3, to publicly air their concerns with what they say is discrimination, intimidation, harassment and union-busting at the newspaper,” reports SFR’s Elizabeth Miller.
The group gathered largely in support of Janette Perez, who says she was recently fired from the newspaper’s production department after voicing complaints when she felt she’d become the target of inappropriate comments from another supervisor.
Tree Kills Park Visitor
An unidentified female tourist visiting Bandelier National Park was killed Monday when she was struck by a falling tree.


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