I am very thankful for the webcasting of the state legislature, including video webcasting of all committee hearings.
I have caught some sort of ill plague and been laid low the past few days. I could have probably fought through my illness and covered the legislature live from the Roundhouse but then I risk spreading whatever I have to the rest of the working press and the other hordes of people around the Roundhouse.
But with webcasting, I can at least partially cover the session by watching and hearing what the legislators are saying about bills. There is, of course, no substitute for live coverage.
This isn't to say the webcasting is perfect. The lack of archiving continues to be a major oversight. Actually, oversight isn't he right word -- both the House and Senate deliberately say the stream cannot be archived (or used for political purposes).
There is the governor's livestream, but it has audio that is less than quality.
Also, the streaming service cannot handle high traffic very well; Silverlight has crashed on me a number of times when high-profile bills are being heard.
On to the Word:
- Former KOB meteorologist Bill Eisenhood passed away Thursday. He was 69.
- Look for an update on the site fundraiser later today. If you want to donate, please see this post. If you can, do so as soon as you can. It helps me plan how many days I can cover live from the session and how many days I have to make due with using the webcast.
- The Santa Fe New Mexican has its Legislative Roundup for February 8 online. Sadly, there is no quote of the day.
- Gov. Susana Martinez's thoughts on immigration reform are a hot topic. The National Journal calls Martinez the most prominent Latina in the United States.
While she didn't get into specifics, Martinez said, “There’s a lot of space between amnesty and even talking about deporting 11 or 12 million people."
- Rep. Antonio "Moe" Maestas says that the citizen nature of the state legislature limits who can run for office, New Mexico Capitol Report says.
Those with no job or a public employer who allows them time off work have a tremendous advantage in winning legislative seats. People who might be better cannot take time from business or their bosses will not hold jobs for them for months at a time.
- A bill that would let those with concealed weapons licenses carry concealed guns in restaurants that serve liquor cleared a House committee.
New Mexico Capitol Report also reported on the legislation.
Those carrying guns would not drink. They are restricted by their permits from consuming alcohol when armed.
Two Democrats on the committee joined four Republicans in voting for Cook’s bill. The Democrats who supported it were Reps. Dona Irwin of Deming and Debbie Rodella of Espanola.
- The day before gun rights protesters will display their weapons around the Roundhouse, KUNM has a piece on the 2nd Amendment.
- Capitol Report New Mexico says that Gary Johnson is not fond of gun control measures. They highlighted a Daily Caller column:
We’ve seen this movie before. Violence and tragedy at the hands of gun-toting criminals begets a rush to make it harder for non-criminals to buy, sell, or even own a firearm. That pesky Second Amendment — the one about keeping and bearing arms — gets dismissed with claims that it doesn’t really mean what it says, and that the Founders never envisioned high-capacity magazines.
- In addition to a proposal to study the economic impact of legalizing marijuana that NM Telegram reported on, the state legislature will consider a bill to reduce criminal penalties for possessing marijuana.
- John Robertson of the Albuquerque Journal profiles Rep. Monica Youngblood, R-Albuquerque, one of the Republican party's young hopes.
- Alex Goldsmith at KRQE looks at a REAL ID bill in the state legislature.
House Bill 144 wouldn’t take away licenses from illegal immigrants and wouldn’t award a separate driver’s permit like Utah has decided to do.
Instead, Bandy’s bill would put the burden on New Mexico taxpayers to get themselves REAL ID compliant.
What the bill does is it allows the Motor Vehicle Division to issue “REAL ID” cards which would have to be separate from driver’s licenses and photo IDs.
- Revenues at the Balloon Fiesta were up this year.
- Previously, Robertson profiled Sen. Jacob Candelaria, D-Albuquerque, the first openly gay member of the state legislature.
- The New Mexico Medical Board exonerated a doctor in a late-term abortion case. The case was brought by Operation Rescue, a controversial anti-abortion group, and not the woman who had the abortion.
- The Farmignton Daily-Times covers the attempts by Congress to help Native American victims of domestic violence. One of the reasons the Violence Against Women Act was not renewed before it expired in 2011 is because the House version of the bill did not include provisions to protect Native Americans.
- Despite a significant legal setback, the Assistant District Attorney in Albuquerque tells the Santa Fe Reporter he isn't giving up on a trial involving prostitution solicited online. Former UNM President F. Chris Garcia and David Flory are accused of using a website to solicit the prostitution.
- The campaign against listing the lesser prairie chicken as an endangered species is heating up. Landowners say it will harm them economically.
Farmers, ranchers and members of the energy industry among a group of 60 made that point heard Thursday night at the Portales Memorial Building, where a public meeting was held by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish to reveal its plan to keep the bird off the list.
“The (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) won’t let them consider the local economy on this,” said Roosevelt County farmer George Hay. “That’s the biggest flaw in this whole thing.
- The Rio Grande Sun reports that "political novices" prevailed in school board races.
- The Taos News reports on a bill filed in the U.S. Senate and House that would protect the Río Grande del Norte area in north-central New Mexico.
Since 2009, the three lawmakers and former Sen. Jeff Bingaman have worked with the support of the local communities to pass legislation to designate the lands as a National Conservation Area.
- Paul Gessing of the Rio Grande Foundation doesn't like Medicaid.
- A pedophile priest served in New Mexico parishes according to letters released as part of a California lawsuit, the Santa Fe New Mexican reports.
- C-SPAN is looking at the Albuquerque area, the Albuquerque Journal reports. The Journal says the results should be on C-SPAN 2 and 3 on March 2 and 3.
- Today in drought in New Mexico: The Santa Fe New Mexican says the storage levels in municipal reservoirs have dropped drastically in recent years.
Water levels for the week have dropped from 51 percent in 2010 to about 38 percent in both 2012 and 2013. While the reservoirs show some recovery each April as snow melts off, even those recoveries have decreased each year.
- Albuquerque Business First reported on a study that found that buy local campaigns are effective for small businesses.