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Morning-Word

Morning Word, 01-22-13

Day 8 of the legislative session

January 22, 2013, 8:00 am
By Matthew Reichbach
Don't worry -- the slow pace of the legislative session will pick up soon. The Senate Finance Committee and House Appropriations and Finance Committee usually get off to a running start -- but they aren't looking at legislation yet, just getting information on the fiscal outlooks of different departments. No committee is looking at legislation yet (the feed bill does not count).

Other committees don't have anything to look at yet -- the printers are working overtime to get all the bills done. The analysts in the legislature and different departments are analyzing the bills put forward.

Once they have the actual legislation and the information on what kind of impacts the bills will have fiscally and otherwise, the committees will have enough information to make a more informed decision. Then we will see things go on.

For now... not much action in the Roundhouse.

On to the Word:
  • The Albuquerque Journal has a lot of information on the South Valley shootings. They tried to figure out who, exactly, Nehemiah was.

    And they look at if the guns were legally purchased and if the father, who was among the five victims, was legally allowed to own the guns.
    Greg Griego often told people he was an ex-con or had a felony in his past, possibly in California.

    If that’s true, he would have been allowed to own guns if 10 years had passed since his sentence and probation had ended. Otherwise, state and federal law would have prohibited him from possessing or owning the guns used in the killings — an AR-15 assault-type rifle and a .22 caliber rifle.

    He still may have been able to purchase a gun in New Mexico, one of 36 states that doesn't require background checks for people buying firearms at gun shows or from private sellers.
  • The recent shooting in the South Valley will likely intensify the gun control debate in the legislative session KOB and the AP report.
  • Capitol Report New Mexico:
    Speaker of the House W. Ken Martinez (D-Grants) was asked directly if he would favor an assault weapons ban but he hedged.

    “Everything’s on the table,” Speaker Martinez said before saying, “I’d have to look at the language that’s introduced.”
  • Democracy for New Mexico writes about Eric Griego's loss. I apologize to Mary Ellen, but I am excerpting a whole bunch here:
    The sadness of loss and the depth of despair is an interesting journey. Today I found out that one of our progressive leaders Eric Griego had the ultimate tragedy hit his family. Sudden violent ends to his brother and his sister in law and nephews and nieces. Gone. Gone from the planet as we know them. My heart is broken. My heart is broken for the loss and pain for my brother Eric and his family. It comes to me in this moment of loss in our small community here in NM how much I love Eric and so many others. How this day will be a changing epic day for the rest of Eric’s life and all that love Eric and his family's life. Eric is a fighter for the underdog. He does not spend time dwelling in the world of the haves. If only his nephew had reached out to all the programs Eric has supported and kept alive. But no this young man could reach out to one thing that was handy in those hours and minutes, a gun. There is a fearlessness when we lose someone this close. A desire to hold on to life and work extra hard, or to let go of life. A fearless Eric Griego is exactly what this planet and NM and us livers needs right now. It is a painful tragic way to get there but it is what we need. We must not be succumbed with the mundane of life we must be fully engaged in the world of the living. We are our brothers keepers. I love you Eric and I love what you fight for. Healing fearless loving energy coming your way.
    There is more about President Obama's inauguration and Martin Luther King, Jr. also.
  • Jim Baca wonders why no one asked Gov. Susana Martinez or Mayor Richard Berry about the shooting.
    We sat around yesterday and wondered why the Albuquerque Journal, who covered the tragedy well, and the rest of the media has never brought the Governor in for an interview on gun violence. Or the Mayor. I saw the Governor on TV last night pressing for more tough laws on sexual predators, but once again no one asked her about gun control. Why does she get a 'bye'? Every time she doesn't want to make comments her staff says she is unavailable. She is a coward on the tough stuff.
  • Winthrop Quigley of the Albuqeurque Journal looks at the different sides of proposed business tax changes including a single sales factor and a cut of the top corporate income tax rate.
  • Will Democrats and Republicans in the legislature forge a compromise on the issue of drivers licenses for undocumented immigrants? The Albuquerque Journal says they are close to an agreement -- which could force the hand of Gov. Martinez if a compromise bill crosses her desk and she has to decided whether or not to veto it.
  • Another big battle in the legislature is likely coming over health care exchanges. Democratic legislators say that legislation is needed for a state-run exchange; Gov. Susana Martinez says it can be done administratively, bypassing the Democratic-controlled legislature. The legislature is considering legislation for an exchange -- but Martinez has vetoed this legislation in the past.
  • Sen. Joseph Cervantes, D-Las Cruces, has introduced a bill that would bar the use of state resources for political purposes, the Santa Fe New Mexican reports. And it is all related to Gov. Susana Martinez's top political adviser Jay McCleskey.
    Asked about Senate Bill 136, introduced Monday, Sen. Joe Cervantes, a Democrat, said, “Last year, there was a case of a political operative using Public Education Department employees to create a list of emails for him. This bill would explicitly prohibit what most of us think is unethical, when [public employees] are on state time.”

    He was referring to Jay McCleskey, Gov. Susana Martinez’s consultant, who requested the list from Public Education Department spokesman Larry Behrens. In a May 2, 2012, email sent to McCleskey, Martinez and a list of officials in her administration — all on private rather than public emails — Behrens detailed how he compiled the list.
  • Some New Mexicans in Washington D.C. celebrated President Obama's inauguration New Mexico style, the Albuquerque Journal reports.
  • I think we can safely say that Greta van Sustren is on team Susana Martinez. The Fox News personality says a press release from ProgressNow New Mexico just shows that Democrats are scared of Martinez's prospects for 2016.

    The post linked to SusanasSecret.com which says that Martinez signing an absentee ballot request for her husband was a violation of state election law -- something that Secretary of State Dianna Duran, a fellow Republicans, says was legal.
  • Stuart Ingle has some thoughts on his committee assignments.
    Members of the Senate Committees' Committee (how bureaucratic can a name be?) were discussing the mundane business of postage, letterhead and business cards for senators.

    Ingle said he did not need any. A clerk asked him if he was a member of any new committees, thereby necessitating a change in his letterhead and cards.

    "I've got the same old horsesh--," said Ingle, the Senate minority leader.
    Honestly? I don't think it's a big deal, depending on the tone of voice he used.
  • Dan McKay at the Journal covers the Martin Luther King Jr. Day events in Albuquerque.
  • The Doña Ana County Branch NAACP held their Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. annual Breakfast Celebration.
  • Great Martin Luther King, Jr. rally photo from the Alamogordo Daily News.
  • Water writing at New Mexico Compass as they cover the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority board meeting.
  • Solar energy is competitive with fossil fuels without subsidies -- at least in sunny areas like New Mexico.
    McIlmoil says solar power plants are nearing a point at which they would be competitive with building a similar-sized coal-fired plant. In New Mexico and West Texas, El Paso Electric (EPE) and Element Power signed an agreement late last year to provide electricity from the Macho Springs Solar Project near Deming to El Paso Electric customers at a competitive rate.
  • The Albuquerque Journal covers Sen. Tom Udall's filibuster reform efforts.
  • The Clovis News Journal looks at opinions on the proposed gun ban.
    Clovis Police Chief Steve Sanders says it doesn't matter whether he personally supports a proposed federal assault weapons ban.

    "I don't really have a stance," Sanders said. "We will uphold whatever laws that are actually enacted. We don't have a whole lot to do with it. It's up to the federal government to take care of it."
    But...
    Roosevelt County Sheriff Darren Hooker says he swore an oath to the U.S. Constitution, not the federal government. So if a federal ban on assault rifles was to become law, he's made it clear it wouldn't be enforced in his county.

    "The sheriffs don't enforce federal law, and therefore I wouldn't have to worry about it," Hooker said. "It's a federal law and I don't have to."
  • In a Santa Fe plumbing store you can now get groceries, the Albuquerque Journal reports.
  • Farmington may install GPS on its buses.
  • The Weekly Alibi spots an interesting piece in the Sierra County Sentinel -- announcing a Gopher Tail Bounty program.

 

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