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Morning-Word

Morning Word, 01-31-13

Day 17 of the legislative session

January 31, 2013, 8:00 am
By Matthew Reichbach
For all the grief that the Legislature gets for not working hard until the last few weeks, there have been some long days for legislators already. Some committee hearings have went long into the evening -- and this is after committees begin at 8:00 am.

With many more contentious bills needing to make their way through the process, it would be no surprise if the late-night hearings continued throughout the session.
  • A Senate bill would allow one armed employee at each New Mexico school, the Santa Fe New Mexican reports.
    Sen. Sue Wilson Beffort, R-Sandia Park, introduced Senate Bill 230, which would allow each school in the state to designate one employee to carry a concealed weapon. If enacted, the bill wouldn’t mandate but rather would enable school leaders to make a decision to arm an employee, Beffort said.

    “If this bill were to pass, it would be an extremely serious decision that schools could not take lightly,” Beffort said by phone Wednesday afternoon. “The issue is to stop a tragedy before it may happen. We hope it would never be necessary.”
  • There was a rally in Santa Fe opposing the repeal of a law that allows undocumented immigrants to obtain driers licenses.
  • The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the Legislative Finance Committee recommends changes to school fundign formula.
    "Money is not flowing to where children need it at the end of the day," Charles Sallee of the LFC told a joint session of Senate and House education committee members at the Roundhouse on Wednesday morning.

    Also, the formula currently encourages districts to identify high numbers of students for special-education programs and includes unclear guidelines that may allow districts to claim more money than needed for these programs.
  • KUNM spoke to the Santa Fe Reporter’s Alexa Schirtzinger about the state’s Special Education funding being in jeopardy — something that has the ability to throw the state budget out of whack.
  • Sen. Pat Woods, R-Broadview, supports constitutional amendments proposed by twp Democrats to overhaul the school regent appointment process.
    The amendments proposed in House joint resolutions would require elections board of regents members at the University of New Mexico and New Mexico State University. It was also require candidates for appointed regent positions to be vetted through a legislative commission. 
  • The Senate Rules Committee passed an amended bill to increase qualifications for Public Regulation Commission members.
    Senate Bill 8, jointly sponsored by Sen. Tim Keller, D-Albuquerque, and Rep. Paul C. Bandy, R-Aztec, originally called for candidates to have at least a bachelor’s degree and seven years’ experience in a field relevant to the agency’s work with utilities, telecommunications and motor carriers. It was amended to allow those with an associate degree and seven years’ experience to qualify.
  • Capitol Report New Mexico reported on the hearing as well.
  • A voter ID bill is likely to be tabled once again in committee this morning, New Mexico Capitol Report says.
  • NM Capitol Report also reports on a bill to end animal-killing contests in the state. The push comes after a very controversial contest to see who could kill the most coyotes in a weekend.
  • Gov. Martinez will pursue legislation to include clawback provisions on all using Local Economic Development Act funds. Albuquerque Business First reported on the governor's news release.
  • Leslie Linthicum writes about a proposal for gun education.
  • The Albuquerque Journal covers the latest on the trial over alleged improper use of Help America Vote Act funds -- including a request for a delay of the trial because of the hospitalization of a defense lawyer. The trial has already been four years in the making.
  • One chain restaurant is leaving Santa Fe and another is entering the city capital, the Albuquerque Journal reports. The owner of the Village Inn that is closing down specifically said that wages did not effect their decision -- instead, their lease was not renewed.
  • New Mexico Compass reported on the Bernalillo County commission hearing and said while there was no vote on a minimum wage increase or tightening restrictions on strip clubs, the body did -- cautiously -- extend the jail methadone program.
  • The Los Alamos Monitor reports on a budget hearing in Los Alamos County to address decreasing revenues.
    Los Alamos has the lowest imposed property tax rate of any New Mexico county.

    As a county, council has the authority to levy 11.85 in operating mils, but imposes just 8.85 mils. Council also has the authority to impose 7.65 mills as a municipality, but the current municipal levy is 1.748 mils.

    An increase of two mils would raise $1.4 million in revenue, and the county would still have the lowest imposed rate of any county. A one mil levy would increase property taxes on a $300,000 home approximately $200 a year.
    The council rejected a call to increase gross receipts taxes by 1/16 percent.
  • A study of the effectiveness of film tax incentives is overdue according to KRQE.
    A study that could help lawmakers and the governor make a more informed decision on the future of the incentives cap was requested two years ago. Now it's about nine months past due, according to the state lawmaker who sponsored a bill calling for the study in 2011.

    KRQE News 13 has learned the study is nowhere near completion because it hasn't even begun.
  • An Arroyo Hondo Land Grant Board of Trustees member pleaded guilty to one count of fraud as part of a plea deal with prosecutors.
    Lawrence Ortíz was facing felony charges of forgery and attempted fraud related to a warranty deed filed in 2010 laying claim to the entire Arroyo Hondo land grant north of Taos. The deed purported to pass ownership of 20,000 acres from a single person (Ortíz’ father) to a newly formed land grant board and to the unnamed heirs of the grant’s original settlers.
  • The cleaning of uranium on Navajo Nation land is not done, the Farmington Daily-Times reports.
after a very controversial contest to see who could kill the most coyotes in a weekend.
  • Gov. Martinez will pursue legislation to include clawback provisions on all using Local Economic Development Act funds. Albuquerque Business First reported on the governor's news release.
  • Leslie Linthicum writes about a proposal for gun education.
  • The Albuquerque Journal covers the latest on the trial over alleged improper use of Help America Vote Act funds -- including a request for a delay of the trial because of the hospitalization of a defense lawyer. The trial has already been four years in the making.
  • One chain restaurant is leaving Santa Fe and another is entering the city capital, the Albuquerque Journal reports. The owner of the Village Inn that is closing down specifically said that wages did not effect their decision -- instead, their lease was not renewed.
  • New Mexico Compass reported on the Bernalillo County commission hearing and said while there was no vote on a minimum wage increase or tightening restrictions on strip clubs, the body did -- cautiously -- extend the jail methadone program.
  • The Los Alamos Monitor reports on a budget hearing in Los Alamos County to address decreasing revenues.
    Los Alamos has the lowest imposed property tax rate of any New Mexico county.

    As a county, council has the authority to levy 11.85 in operating mils, but imposes just 8.85 mils. Council also has the authority to impose 7.65 mills as a municipality, but the current municipal levy is 1.748 mils.

    An increase of two mils would raise $1.4 million in revenue, and the county would still have the lowest imposed rate of any county. A one mil levy would increase property taxes on a $300,000 home approximately $200 a year.
    The council rejected a call to increase gross receipts taxes by 1/16 percent.
  • A study of the effectiveness of film tax incentives is overdue according to KRQE.
    A study that could help lawmakers and the governor make a more informed decision on the future of the incentives cap was requested two years ago. Now it's about nine months past due, according to the state lawmaker who sponsored a bill calling for the study in 2011.

    KRQE News 13 has learned the study is nowhere near completion because it hasn't even begun.
  • An Arroyo Hondo Land Grant Board of Trustees member pleaded guilty to one count of fraud as part of a plea deal with prosecutors.
    Lawrence Ortíz was facing felony charges of forgery and attempted fraud related to a warranty deed filed in 2010 laying claim to the entire Arroyo Hondo land grant north of Taos. The deed purported to pass ownership of 20,000 acres from a single person (Ortíz’ father) to a newly formed land grant board and to the unnamed heirs of the grant’s original settlers.
  • The cleaning of uranium on Navajo Nation land is not done, the Farmington Daily-Times reports.
  •  

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