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Morning-Word

Morning Word, 02-04-13

Day 21 of the legislative session

February 4, 2013, 8:00 am
By Matthew Reichbach
Well, the Super Bowl has come and gone and now we just have Lobos basketball to watch until Spring Training starts (sorry, Aggies fans). Oh, and the legislative session. That's still going on.

We will get the debate over universal background checks on gun purchases (see below for more on that issue) and a number of other interesting bills this week.

Nothing is, of course, set in stone (just see the GMO-labeling bill for an example of that). But stay tuned -- things can change quickly at the legislative session.

On to the Word:
  • Rep. Cathrynn Brown, R-Carlsbad, blamed ProgressNow New Mexico, the "liberal media" and the drafters of the legislation for the uproar over the bill's originally language that many said would have criminalized abortions for pregnancies resulting from rape or abortion. Brown wrote this in an opinion piece for the Carlsbad Current-Argus.
    The drafters know the rules to follow when it comes to statutory construction, and they also do necessary research and provide analysis. When the second drafter and I were reviewing the text of HB 206, I asked him to include a statement in the bill that the statute would not be used to prosecute girls or women who voluntarily seek an abortion.

    The statute was to focus on punishing the perpetrator, not the victim. The drafter told me that such a statement was not necessary, because "prosecutors who apply the statute will understand that." I relied on his advice.

    I asked the drafter to make it more explicit at least in the bill title that HB 206 is targeted at prosecuting perpetrators, not victims. In rushing to introduce the bill before the close of the daily session, I failed to double-check his revisions; I just assumed the adjustments were correctly made.
    Brown was forced to change the language in her bill.
  • New Mexico Capitol Report says the release was only made available to the Carlsbad Current-Argus and refused to offer it to Milan Simonich, who writes the blog. The whole thing is worth a read.
  • A universal background check bill will be heard in another committee on Monday, meaning it will be the most-talked about piece of legislation to be heard on Monday.
  • A bill that would require "all party consent" for recordings was tabled in a Senate committee.
    A law precluding secret conversations would put victims of family violence at risk of not being able to prove their allegations, said David Brent Olson. In front of the committee, he played a recording he made of a man who had threatened his life.

    Never could he have gotten such damning evidence if he had to reveal that the conversation was being recorded, Olson said.
    Media also opposed the bill because of their frequent use of recording interviews.
  • Secretary of Energy Steven Chu is stepping down. This is one of many federal positions with major effects in New Mexico, thanks to funding for Los Alamos and Sandia National Labs.
  • One example from the Albuquerque Journal:
    Sandia National Laboratories spent more than $400 million on goods and services supplied by New Mexico vendors in its last fiscal year and awarded $256 million in contracts to small businesses in the state.
  • The Farmington Daily-Times reports on a rally from gun supporters in Farmington.
    Sharer said gun rights are not about deer hunting or target shooting, but forestalling tyranny.

    "The Second Amendment is there so you can protect yourself against whoever wants to be your dictator," he said.

    Sharer criticized proposed state legislation that would expand background checks to gun shows and private transactions. "(House Bill) 77 is just plain wrong," he said.
  • A bill to reform the State Investment Council moved forward through the Senate Rules Committee on Friday, New Mexico Capitol Reprot said.
  • The Media Economy Review looks at a proposed change to tax credits for films that would allow unused funds to roll over to the next year and for TV shows to be exempt from the cap on the credit.
  • There will be protesters at a hunters convention in the wake of legislation that would ban animal killing contests, the Las Cruces Sun-News reports.
  • The Rio Rancho Observer reports on two bills from freshman Representative Jason Harper, R-Rio Rancho. One would provide protection for public improvement districts following the sistuation in Rio Rancho with the Mariposa development. Another is clawback legislation that would require clawbacks for all economic development agreements with the government.
  • The Clovis News Journal says there should be no limits on when liquor can be served at bars in New Mexico.
    The state ought to get completely out of the way of business owners’ ability to do business.

    No one in their right mind suggests one should abuse alcohol, but prohibition never works.

    Just as anti-smoking laws interfere with business owners’ rights to run their own affairs, regulating when vendors can sell alcoholic beverages intrudes on their ability to improve their business performance.
    With the DWI endemic that New Mexico has suffered from, such an effort would certainly be dead in the water in the New Mexico legislature.
  • The Albuquerque Journal reports Rio Rancho's police chief says the Rio Rancho Police Department is in crisis.
  • It is dry out there.

  • Rio Rancho's funds from the GRT in January came in above estimates but was still behind that of January 2012 according to the Rio Rancho Observer.
  • Steve Terrell reports on lobbyist expenses so far through the legislative session.
  • Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., visited Los Alamos National Labs, the Los Alamos Monitor reports.
    “We talked about cleanup and a number of issues related to my committees,” Heinrich said in a brief phone interview Friday. We went through some budgetary issues and covered a bBroad [sic] spectrum of issues associated with the lab today.

    “Most of the visit was presentations by staff at the lab. There was not a lot of back and forth.”
  • Dan Boyd writes about a "new-school trio" of Duke City legislators who are in leadership positions in the legislature.
  • There will be a new trial in the Deming gun smuggling case, the Deming Headlight reports.
    U.S. District Court Judge Robert C. Brack granted two motions filed in December by attorneys for Rick Reese, his wife Terri Reese and their son Ryin Reese. The first had asked for a new trial because of Sixth Amendment violations; and the second had sought conditional release of the jailed family members.

    In explaining his decision, Brack wrote, in part, that evidence "intentionally or negligently" suppressed by the government "could have easily altered the outcome of the trial."
  • Alamogordo's mayor will have a little more power in 2013 according to the Alamogordo Daily News.
  • The funding for school board campaigns are not public according to the Las Cruces Sun-News. There is a bill in the legislature to change this.
  • Who are the legislators at the Roundhouse? The Albuquerque Journal's John Robertson:
    The answers are all over the map, ranging from predictable thickets of lawyers to a historic drought of farmers and ranchers.

    The largest, single category is “retired,” according to my breakdown of the “Occupations List” prepared by the Legislative Council Service.
  • But in 1915, it was a different makeup, Robertson wrote.
  • President Barack Obama says he believes that the Boy Scouts of America should allow gay Americans to participate. KOB gets some local reaction.
  • The late-term abortion debate is coming to Albuquerque. Well, actually, it is already here, but the newest chapter will be written in teh city.
  • An effort to recall two school board members in Raton will go forward after a ruling by a district court judge.
    State law requires school board recall petition forms to “cite grounds of malfeasance or misfeasance in office or violation of the oath of office.” In the petitions, Stuart and Hestand accuse Castellini and Holland of behavior that violated the district’s Code of Ethics and that they exhibited lack of professionalism toward board members and school staff and engaged in “micro-managing the district.”

    In his ruling, Paternoster wrote that his decision was not about testing the evidence presented before him but was to “examine the evidence to determine if it is sufficient under the declared standards to permit the recall petition process to move forward.”
  • Campaign signs have been reported stolen again. This time, it is in Ruidoso in the Ruidoso Municipal School Board race.

 

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