Broadband Aid: For those who didn’t spend Valentine’s Day smitten, take comfort: Feb. 15 showcased a different kind of amor. It was national Show Your Love for Broadband Day.
The campaign’s goals, New Mexico Media Literacy Project Executive Director Andrea Quijada tells SFR, include universal access to content-neutral broadband—meaning that whether you look at porn or government contracts, your internet provider can’t stop you. (The Federal Communications Commission is considering content control in its National Broadband Plan, due out this March.)
The other goal is access, particularly for rural New Mexico. Right now, the state ranks a disappointing 46th, Quijada says, in internet connectivity.
New Mexico’s congressional delegation has expressed support for universal broadband, and Quijada says the MLP wants more support to submit as public comment to the FCC. Because really—not having to hang up the phone while you check email is almost as good as sex.
Let the Games Begin! The New Mexico Senate is no bandanna-wearing, ice-skating heartthrob, but last week its members did their best to secure a small chunk of history.
On Feb. 8, the Senate voted for the first time in this administration to override Gov. Bill Richardson’s veto. A day later, it did it again for SB 460, a plan to restructure the scandal-plagued State Investment Council.
It was a powerful point to make, but SB 460’s original sponsor, Sen. Steven Neville, R-San Juan, knew the bill wouldn’t go anywhere without a House vote. On Feb. 10, he wrote to House Speaker Ben Luján, D-Santa Fe, nearly begging him to bring the bill up. So far, Neville says, he’s heard nothing.
“The speaker rules with an iron hand,” Neville says. “A legislature should be independent, but the House—the governor has a lot more control over some of their leadership.”
SIC reform bills are alive in both the House and Senate, but Neville wants the SB 460 override as “insurance.”
“We have a bill that’s better,” Luján says of his own HB 289, which passed the House unanimously on Feb. 14. “We have a stronger bill; why would we need [the override]?” Luján says.
Both bills shift authority from the state investment officer—Gary Bland’s old position—to the council and from the executive to the Legislature. The bipartisan Senate bill removes the governor from the SIC; the House bill doesn’t.
Though Richardson spokesman Gilbert Gallegos called the overrides “political games,” Neville says it could be the only way to avoid another veto.
“We have to use the tools we can,” Neville says. “That’s just part of the game.”