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Morning-Word

Morning Word, 02-05-13

Day 22 of the legislative session

February 5, 2013, 8:00 am
By Matthew Reichbach
Democrats announced their plans to push for a minimum wage increase to $8.50 per hour. The plan will be introduced in the Senate by Sen. Bill Soules, D-Las Cruces, where it will have a tough road to passage. If it does manage to pass through the Senate then it would have an easier time in the House -- giving Gov. Susana Martinez a tough choice into whether or not she should veto the popular idea (it passed in Albuquerque with two-thirds of the vote).

The link above the NM Telegram piece, but you can also see the New Mexico Capitol Report dispatch, the Albuquerque Journal piece, the Capitol Report New Mexico take and what the AP put out

On to the Word:
  • School boards across the state will have their elections today. School bonds across the state will also go to the voters for approval. So don't forget to vote!

    Included are some districts for the school boards in Albuquerque Public Schools and CNM. And Santa Fe, Rio Rancho, Curry County, Farmington, Otero County, Mora Schools, around Lincoln County, Questa (which is one to watch), Taos, Penasco and many other communities.
  • Is a special session looming? Capitol Report New Mexico says an anonymous "influential" senator said if there isn't a pension fix, Gov. Martinez will call the legislators back for a special session to fix the pension problem.
  • Winthrop Quigley with some tough talk on the ideas for helping economy and the role of business leaders.
    The Legislature is being asked to provide tax breaks to small businesses that hire people. In the real world nobody, but nobody, puts someone on the payroll for, potentially, years and years just because he or she got a tax break in 2013. People are hired because businesses need them, and all the tax incentives in the world won’t change that calculus.
  • Gov. Susana Martinez signed a Bataan memorial bill, the first real bill (which means not the feed bill) to pass the legislature.
  • All the women Democrats in the House signed onto Rep. Brian Egolf's bill calling for equal pay for women, New Mexico Capitol Report says.
  • Steve Terrell reports on the "Breaking Bad Bill" designed to draw more TV shows to New Mexico with film tax credit subsidies, since they have longer and steadier employment than movies.
    “TV series are good for job creation and sustained economic growth,” Maestas told reporters Monday. “TV series that are successful stay around for several years. Movies come and go.” Longer series mean more job security for New Mexico crews, Maestas said.

    The legislator said his House Bill 379 is meant to attract more series like AMC’s critically acclaimed Breaking Bad and USA Network’s In Plain Sight. Both series, shot primarily in Albuquerque, lasted five seasons.
  • Steve Terrell also writes about "the latest purge scare" involving Secretary or State Dianna Duran.
    But you do have to follow federal law,” Lamb said. She said she’s contacted Duran’s office with a simple question, “Can the duties of the board of registration be expanded without statutory authority?” She said that nowhere in the law does it say that boards of registration report names to the secretary of state for investigation.
    NM Telegram covered the story as well.
  • As Democrats introduced their bill to raise the minimum wage to $8.50 per hour, KUNM reports on a study that shows a a majority of New Mexico workers are living paycheck to paycheck.
    Residents that fit this description are considered “liquid asset poor” which means they don’t have an emergency savings account that would allow them to go through any hardships like job loss, illness, divorce, or death.
  • Albuquerque restaurant owners wants to end minimum wage increases in Albuquerque, the Albuquerque Journal reports.
    Carol Wight, chief executive officer of the New Mexico Restaurant Association, said the group wants the city to impose a limit on much the basic $8.50 minimum wage can increase each year. Under the current ordinance, the increase is supposed to match changes in the Consumer Price Index, but it isn't otherwise capped.

    The association also wants the city to hold off on another increase for tipped employees, who got a boost of $1.70 an hour this year and are due for at least another $1.27 next year. Wight said her group wants to leave this year’s raise intact but avoid next year’s.
    The group unsuccessfully fought against the minimum wage increase in last year's election.
  • KOB covered the story in a way that only quoted restaurant owners who did not like the minimum wage increase.
  • The Associated Press covers the New Mexico Tourism Department wanting a doubled budget -- from $2.5 million to $5 million.
  • Alex Goldsmith writes about legislators debating instead of legislating. Goldsmith writes about the state House debating a memorial asking the Department of Agriculture to look into the feasibility of a horse slaughter facility.

    Ultimately...
  • Gov. Susana Martinez will head up a Republican initiative to look for Hispanic candidates.
    On the heels of the 2012 general election in which Hispanic voters largely favored Democratic candidates and helped propel President Barack Obama to re-election, the GOP is looking to Martinez to take a more prominent role in bringing new Hispanic Republicans into the fold to run for state offices.

    “Its goal is something she’s always talked about and committed to, which is to recruit more Hispanic candidates,” said Martinez political adviser Jay McCleskey. “… She’ll be very active in helping them raise resources, as well as helping them recruit candidates all across the country.”
  • Albuquerque Journal science reporter John Fleck made the journey to an unfamiliar place -- the Roundhouse. Fleck was there to accept the Earth Science Achievement Award “for outstanding contributions advancing the role of earth science in the areas of public service and public policy.” I still owe him a lunch.
  • Congratulations to the Los Alamos Daily Post!
    The Los Alamos Commerce & Development Corporation (LACDC) has selected the Los Alamos Daily Post online newspaper as its Small Business of the Year for 2013.
    See? not all newspapers are dying.
  • A bus driver reported a middle-schooler in Tucumcari with a gun.
    On Jan. 29, a bus driver who had completed his route reported to a school secretary that a student was carrying a gun in a backpack, said Aaron McKinney, Tucumcari’s school superintendent.
    It is against federal law to have a gun on campus; the unnamed student faces expulsion or a 20-day suspension.
  • More than 80 customers who shopped at Baillios will receive free TVs because of a Super Bowl promotion -- Baillios said that they would refund certain TV purchases if there was a kickoff return for a touchdown to start either the first or second half. The Ravens' Jacoby Jones returned the second-half kick 108 yards for a touchdown -- tying an NFL record.
  • The first of many furniture deliveries mark the impending opening of the First Judicial Courthouse in Santa Fe.
    Last year, Gov. Susana Martinez vetoed capital-improvements legislation that included $1.37 million earmarked for furniture, security equipment and computers for the 103,000-square-foot, $63 million courthouse. She maintained that Santa Fe County, not the state, should pay for the furnishings and other equipment.

    In December, the state Board of Finance approved $250,000 for furniture and other equipment, and the Santa Fe County Commission agreed to provide another $275,000 for tables and other furniture. About $800,000 more is being sought in the current session of the Legislature for other furniture and equipment.
  • There will be a study of the effects of uranium on Navajo women and children -- but there have been delays while they wait for federal funding, the Farmington Daily-Times reports.
  • The Taos town manager says Taos needs more money for their airport expansion.
    The airport expansion, including a new crosswind runway, is expected to cost about $24 million. Most of the project would be federally funded, but the town must come up with a $1.2 million match.

    Rodríguez said it would be “bad financial planning” to go into debt to complete the expansion without having a solid plan to recover revenues from it. “It would not be a responsible recommendation,” he said. “We need cash.”
  • RIP, Uncle Cliff. The man behind Cliff's Amusement Park passed away at the age of 97. He certainly had a full life. From the Albuquerque Journal:
    After graduating from high school, he hoboed around the country for six months, before joining the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1933, a New Deal program to get Americans back to work during the Depression. He worked on soil erosion projects in Illinois and Michigan, and his story was featured on the PBS series, “The American Experience.”

    In 1941, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps and was trained as an air traffic controller. After getting married to Zella Mae Ferguson, he returned to Illinois to try his hand at hog farming. But a hard winter of feeding the hogs through mud, ice and snow made him decide to try other pursuits — moving his family of four to Kansas to try restaurant management and Idaho to try homesteading.

    In 1958, he moved to Albuquerque on his 43rd birthday to begin a career as an air traffic controller. But he came home every night with a headache, he told the Tribune, and he didn’t like working for somebody else.

    So after visiting a small amusement park on the New Mexico state fairgrounds with his two children, he got the idea of starting his own park.
    Sure, it isn't Six Flags or Disneyland -- but it is a place that is uniquely Albuquerquean.

 

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