Eyes on the House: The battle over webcams in the House of Representatives ain’t over yet. Previously, the House agreed to broadcast audio from floor sessions over the Internet, but decided to wait until at least 2010 for any further video expansion. Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones, R-Bernalillo, who ignited the conflict by broadcasting proceedings from a webcam on her laptop, was allowed to continue streaming from the Voters & Elections and Taxation & Revenue committees and Capital Outlay subcommittee.
Now with the help of former Republican legislative candidate Howard DeLaCruz-Bancroft, Arnold-Jones has moved her stream to a new Web site. DeLaCruz-Bancroft tells SFR he also built Web streaming kits for Reps. Candy Ezzell and Dennis Kintigh, both Republicans from Chaves County, who sit on several additional committees.
Eyes on the Senate: The online publication New Mexico Independent has teamed up with independent blogger MG Bralley to stream video from Senate Rules Committee hearings when ethics bills are scheduled.
NMI writer Gwyneth Doland says the stream receives approximately 30 viewers per hearing, with nearly 150 visitors watching the archives later. Steve Allen, executive director of the good government group Common Cause New Mexico, tells SFR the sunshine is making a difference.
“Let’s put it this way: The meetings when [NMI] was in attendance, we had hearings on ethics bills; when there was no camera present, we had absolutely no hearing on ethics bills,” Allen says.
Other Bills to Watch: HB 577, the bill by Rep. Lucky Varela, D-Santa Fe, to allow Highlands University to purchase CSF, squeaked by the House Education Committee with a 6-5 vote. The bill now waits in line for a hearing before the House Appropriations & Finance Committee, for which Varela serves as deputy chairman.
SB 464: Last year, SFR reported on the open-door policy between local high schools and military recruiters. This bill by Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino, D-Bernalillo, which would limit high school recruiter visits to six per year, is expected to receive its first hearing before the Senate Education Committee this week.
SB 12: Senate Republicans launched their latest offensive against domestic partnerships with a new poll showing 59 percent of New Mexicans oppose same-sex marriage, while 42 percent oppose legal domestic partnerships. The bill is ready for the Senate floor and could be heard as early as Feb. 25.