The House Republican Caucus had a big leadership shakeup on Monday.
Rep. Tom Taylor, R-Farmington, no longer controls the minority party. Instead, Rep. Donald Bratton, R-Hobbs, will take over the Minority Leader spot.
Rep. Nate Gentry, R-Albuquerque, will now get the GOP Whip spot and Rep. Alonzo Baldonado, R-Los Lunas, will be the Republican caucus chair.
The Four Corners area, the Republicans largest stronghold in Northern New Mexico, is shut out of hte leadership battle.
The actual changes shouldn't be too drastic in the House. The House Republicans are still in the minority, and by an even larger margin than they were before this year's elections, and the Democrats hold all the cards.
The House Republicans will attempt to aggressively push Gov. Susana Martinez's agenda -- but the House likely under Ken Martinez, D-Grants, in the Speaker's chair may not be as friendly a place for Martinez' agenda as it did in her first two years.
On to the Word:
- Election results still are not final in New Mexico. The Associated Press:
The secretary of state's office is still reconciling discrepancies in some county election results, including in Sandoval County where one of the recounts may take place, New Mexico Bureau of Elections Director Bobbi Shearer said.
State law requires recounts when the margin between the top candidates is less than one-half of 1 percent.
- There will be two races that currently reach that recount target according to the Albuquerque Journal. House District 23 between Paul Pacheco and Marci Blaze is barely in the one-half of one-percent range while the House District 37 race between Rep. Terry McMillan and Joanne Ferrary is currently tied.
- Steve Terrell dubs the battle over the Senate President Pro Tem position as the Pro Tem Polka.
- Forbes with some bad news for New Mexico. Via the New Mexico Business Weekly:
Forbes magazine calls them “death spiral states.”
And New Mexico is at the top of the list.
- Gov. Susana Martinez and Rep. Steve Pearce discuss something that is considered key to Republican political efforts in the future with Michael Coleman: winning the Hispanic vote.
- An audit finds problems with some payments in McKinley County according to the AP:
Balderas' office also says there are potential violations of the Governmental Conduct Act related to the county's contracts for plumbing, heating, air conditioning and other services with Dallago Corp. The company is owned by Chairman David Dallago.
Balderas' office designated the county for a special audit in May after allegations of questionable procurement activity were reported via the auditor's fraud hotline.
- A piece on BusinessInsider.com says New Mexico State University is the second-most dangerous college campus in the country. The University of New Mexico ranks eight. NMSU officials dismiss the report:
The crime data are accurate, as Lopez acknowledged, but the FBI specifically warns about using the data as a means to rank the safety or effectiveness of jurisdictions and institutions because "rankings ignore the uniqueness of each locale" and create misconceptions which can have adverse effects. In fact, browsing through data from multiple years elicited a pop-up on the FBI website, repeating the warning about rankings.
- The Legislative Health & Human Services Committee finishes its two-day meeting in the Roundhouse today.
The Indian Affairs Committee finishes its two day meeting in the Roundhouse as well.
Tomorrow, the Investments & Pensions Oversight Committee and Radioactive & Hazardous Materials Committee meet.
- The FDA halted the reopening of a Sunland Inc. processing plant that shells peanuts. The company had to recall organic peanut butter because of links to salmonella illnesses in September. The plant has been closed since September.
- The Santa Fe New Mexican describes marginal tax rates, something that is not well-explained in all the discussion about taxes and the deficit.
- Another black eye for the Albuquerque Police Department via KOB:
The ongoing dispute took a bizarre turn Saturday. Lucero said an Albuquerque police officer, who showed up to respond to yet another complaint from his neighbor, encouraged the men to fight to resolve the matter.
- In Santa Fe, a new PAC from Meow Wolf (called Wolf PAC) aims to affect local issues with three priorities: decriminalization of marijuana in Santa Fe, moving Zozobra back to Fridays and "urge the Santa Fe City Council to help create a proper music venue" according to the Santa Fe Reporter.
- The Santa Fe New Mexican has an article as well on WolfPAC.
- Capitol Report New Mexico reports on nearly $5 million in cost overruns for a student center at New Mexico Highlands University.
- The New Mexico Business Weekly outlines what was in its latest print edition.
- UNM Men's soccer can't get past the Sweet Sixteen again, the Alibi writes.
- The Deming Headlight:
On Saturday, the Luna County Sheriff's Office arrested William Hefley, 18, on an extreme cruelty to animals charge for shooting and killing a five-year-old Harris Hawk valued at $3,000.
- The Albuquerque Zoo's newest rhino has been named Chopper.