HCR 1 hinges on two arguments. First, it claims that while the Legislature itself is a public body subject to public-records requests, individual lawmakers can’t act on its behalf—and hence, aren’t subject to IPRA in the same way. Second, it cites a “privileges and immunities” section of New Mexico’s Constitution, which mirrors a similar section in the US Constitution. Within that section is a Speech or Debate Clause, which grants lawmakers immunity for things they say and votes they cast during formal legislative proceedings.
The Santa Fe New Mexican has its take on the legislation being fast-tracked here in the final days of the session.A resolution introduced just nine days ago passed the House on Sunday and is now heading for a final vote before the Senate. It does not require approval from the governor.New Mexico Telegram covered the same territory.
It is an intriguing -- and unexpected -- subplot as the session draws to a close.
On to the Word:
Today's Roundhouse Roundup from the Santa Fe New Mexican is up.
- The budget passed the Senate unanimously -- but there are some snags, as the House Republicans don't like the bill and neither does the governor.
- More news of trying to block public information during Sunshine Week. Albuquerque Business First highlights a House bill that would shield economic development data from IPRA requests.The bill, sponsored by Anna Crook, a Clovis Republican, would exempt certain information, such as incentives and proprietary technical data, from state Inspection of Public Records Act requests.
The law passed the House on Sunday, and is scheduled for more Senate committee hearings this week. Crook was in committee and unavailable for comment Tuesday.
- Sen. Martin Heinrich will support the nomination of Sally Jewell to the post of Secretary of the Interior.
- The latest on the health insurance exchange bill from the Santa Fe New Mexican.If approved, the exchange would serve as a portal for 200,000 middle-income New Mexicans to buy private health insurance. But even as the measure’s passage looks likely, questions remain about how the exchange’s technology would interface with the state’s current software and whether the private nonprofit charged with managing the exchange would have to comply with laws covering disclosure and procurement.
If approved, the New Mexico Health Insurance Alliance would contract for the exchange and have it built and operating by October. By Jan. 1, 2014, most legal state residents would be required to have health insurance under the federal Affordable Care Act, and many would qualify for federal tax subsidies to buy a private health-insurance plan through the exchange managed by the Health Insurance Alliance.
- A late-breaking and under-the-radar issue, as the Committee on Compacts, which was created earlier in the session, approved of a gaming compact between the state of New Mexico and the Navajo Nation.
- The Senate approved a tax break for horse racing tracks, the Associated Press reports.
- The Media Economy Review writes about the "Breaking Bad Bill" passing the legislature. Now it is onto the Governor's desk where Martinez will decide whether or not to sign the legislation into law.“With federal budget cuts disproportionately hurting New Mexico, we are in dire need of enacting tax reforms to make our state more competitive to improve economic development,” said Enrique Knell, spokesman for Martinez, in an email. “Governor Martinez has expressed a willingness to consider a film bill, but it can’t be in isolation and must be part of a larger, more comprehensive package that levels the playing field to help create more jobs in New Mexico.”
- Companies who support "single sales factor" legislation (mainly Intel) are not happy with changes to a tax package, the Albuquerque Journal reported.New Mexico taxes manufacturers such Intel Corp. in Rio Rancho or Ethicon Endo-Surgery in Albuquerque on three factors: percent of sales here; percent of payroll here; and percent of property here. An average of those three then is used along with New Mexico’s corporate income tax rate to calculate the company’s tax bill.
- Your Skandera update: Milan Simonich criticizes the pace of the hearings which will enter its fourth day. Dan Boyd said the hearing will be held on Wednesday... then recanted.
- The Farmington Daily-Times looks at a wide-ranging tax "reboot" that would add a two percent consumption tax while eliminating all other taxes. The bill had little to no chance of passing this year, but has been seen by six committees.
- The Weekly Alibi parachutes into the legislative session near the end and looks at some of the more newsworthy bills.
- After Republicans said that Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard hadn't met with Republican leadership on the drivers license bill as she said that she did, Garcia Richard fires back.“Over the last week, I have met with Gov. Martinez, Sen. (Stuart) Ingle (sponsor of a similar bill on the Senate side), and Rep. (Paul) Bandy (a fellow member of the House Appropriations and Finance Committee) regarding a possible resolution to this divisive issue ... Time is short but if all parties can set the political theater aside we can still get a good bill passed this year. I again call on the governor to sit down with leadership to develop a workable solution and to stop using this issue as leverage for 2014.”
- Hailey Heinz writes that some things have actually passed -- but the vast majority of these passed in just the past few days.
- The Secretary of State opposes a bill to streamline voting in Chapparal, New Mexico. Voters in the Otero County side of the southern New Mexican town waited up to three to four hours to vote.
From The Santa Fe Reporter:One of Cote’s bills would require an early voting site within 50 miles of population areas representing at least 1,500 registered voters. (Last election, the closest early voting site for Otero County Chaparral residents was in Alamogordo, roughly 85 miles away.) A second bill would establish stricter guidelines for voting center staff and resources on Election Day.
Duran’s office has neither endorsed nor opposed the latter bill, but Guerra says it’s unnecessary because she’s already planning to add more staff for upcoming elections.
Duran’s office does oppose the early voting bill, arguing that the Chaparral mess happened because two voting precincts were represented by one election board and one polling place.
- New Mexico Capitol Report has its report on that legislation heading to the governor's desk.
- The Bernalillo County Commission began the process of raising the minimum wage in the county as commissioner Art de la Cruz introduced an ordinance to do so.If passed, Bernalillo County’s minimum wage would increase from $7.50 an hour for non-tipped employees. Starting July 1, it would go up $0.50 to $8.00 an hour, then on January 1, 2014, it would go up another $0.50 to $8.50 an hour.
- Alex Goldsmith looks at the "other" deadline the legislature is facing, besides the end of the session at noon on Sunday.During the first 57 days of the session (or 27 days during even years), any proposal that makes it past the legislature must be acted on within three days or it becomes law.This isn't one-hundred percent true; in 2010, the Senate overrode a veto of Gov. Bill Richarsdon's form the previous year's session. The House did not vote to override, so it was not overridden.
A veto then and a two-thirds vote of each chamber overrides the Governor.
But in the last three days, the power shifts to the fourth floor. The Governor gets 20 days to look at bills and any veto is final.
- A bill to increase penalties for stealing copper wire has stalled in the Senate.
- FEMA will pay for the cleanup costs for the flooding that followed the Little Bear Fire in southern New Mexico.The agency announced Tuesday that more than $1 million will be delivered to Lincoln County to cover the cost of removing and hauling debris along waterways, to restore access to roadways, and to protect property.
The FEMA reimbursement is expected to cover the lion's share of the cost of cleanup work that included hiring contractors to haul debris away. The total cost was $1.38 million.
- The German Air Force Command for the United States and Canada is leaving Fort Bliss for Holloman.
- U.S. Senators are trying again to create a Manhattan Project National Historic Park in Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, Tenn. and Hanford, Wash.“As Americans, we have a special obligation to preserve and protect our heritage, and the Manhattan Project National Historical Park will ensure that all Americans learn about the significance of the Manhattan Project and how it continues to shape our history,” said Senator Alexander.
- The Santa Fe County Commission approved $1.2 million for the new First Judicial District Courthouse.
- The Navajo Nation will get a $3 million grant to replace homes contaminated by uranium.
- New Mexico's US Attorney Kenneth Gonzales has been answering questions from Republicans over his qualifications to be a federal judge the Santa Fe Reporter said. Obama nominated Gonzales to be a federal judge.
- A former Las Vegas police officer was arrested on bribery charges.
- The Attorney General announced the state would receive $110,000 from a settlement with Google over the search bohemoth allegedly collecting data from unprotected wifi sources.
- San Juan County services according to the Farmington Daily-Times.