The gun control bill continued its slow but steady movement through the Legislature -- this time clearing the Senate Judiciary Committee in a late-night vote.
New Mexico Telegram reported on the bill's quick passage after a long night of waiting
for the supporters and the opposition to the bill.
Now the bill heads to the Senate floor. If it passes there, it will head back to the House for concurrence on some changes made in a previous committee. With just over 24 hours left, it will have to move quickly.
Look later this morning for a piece on the big-ticket items that are still working their way through the legislature.
On to the Word:
- Yeah, there's going to be a special session. Gov. Susana Martinez confirmed she will veto the budget in a short interview with Capitol Report New Mexico.
- Dan Boyd at the Albuquerque Journal digs deeper into the budget battle.
- The saga of the Hanna Skandera confirmation was like a bad movie; the ending was underwhelming. Milan Simonich says it hurt the state.
- Former Lt. Gov. Diane Denish had some harsh words for Senate Rules Committee chair Linda Lopez and Senate Finance Committee chair John Arthur Smith, New Mexico In Focus reports. There is video at the link.
- The Associated Press reports that there is no tax deal between the legislature and the governor. It centers on the size of the corporate income tax cut.
Smith, who leads a committee that handles tax and budget issues, said he had concerns about the possible costs of tax cuts in coming years. Several business tax incentives were approved in recent years only to find out later that the state’s actual loss of revenue far exceeded what had been projected when the Legislature approved the measures.
Martinez has made business tax cuts a centerpiece of her legislative agenda for economic development. She proposed a reduction in the corporate income tax rate to 4.9 percent from 7.6 percent over several years. The governor and her supporters contend New Mexico’s tax rate is high, particularly compared to neighboring states, and that makes it difficult to attract companies.
- Is the Navajo Nation Gaming Compact in trouble? Deborah Baker says it is.
Sen. George Muñoz, D-Gallup, chairman of the compact committee, said Thursday that he wasn’t sure whether he would introduce the compact to the full Legislature before the 60-day session ends at noon Saturday because the controversy surrounding it might mean long debates that would derail action on other bills.
“I don’t think it’s fair to shut everything down to do that,” Muñoz said.
- Meanwhile Martinez is holding the Breaking Bad bill hostage unless she gets merit pay included in the budget according to KOB.
- Rep. Anna Crook, R-Clovis, defended her bill that would shield some economic development data from public records requests.
“It is only in the time of negotiation,” said Crook about when certain documents would be exempt from inspection of the public eye. “As soon as (a negotiation’s) been made, it’s public information again,” Crook said.
Information that would involve things such as incentives for businesses or financial documents disclosed when negotiations take place would be exempt. The bill has passed the House and is on its way to the Senate.
- The Public Regulation Commission rejected a power supplier's request to raise rates on the co-ops they supply.
- Albuquerque Business First reports a bill to move the corporate reporting bureau from the PRC to the Secretary of State's office passed the House. It has already passed the Senate and now moves to the governor's desk.
- The governor signed Fair Pay for Women Act on Thursday.
- There are seemingly a million faces around the Roundhouse that keep the site running that you never know their name. Joline Gutierrez Krueger says one, an ambassador for the developmentally disabled, may have seen her last sine die come Saturday as she may leave the Roundhouse.
If you’ve spent any time at the Roundhouse in the last 33 years, you’ve probably met Nannie (pronounced nahni, Hawaiian for “beautiful,” which suits her), scurrying in the halls, ferrying bills and other documents for the various top-shelf legislators she’s worked for, buttonholing lawmakers she knows on a first-name basis for her latest cause or passionately speaking before committees on behalf of the developmentally disabled.
In Santa Fe, she is known as the ambassador of the developmentally disabled.
She is also developmentally disabled.
- Jim Baca floated the name of Speaker of the House Ken Martinez for the Democratic nomination for governor.
- The Santa Fe Reporter had two more IPRA requests denied by the Governor's office. An interesting one was this:
SFR also filed a second request asking to see the checklist of campaign promises that Martinez apparently told the New York Times she keeps in her office. On Feb. 24, Times reporter Fernanda Santos wrote:So either Martinez's office lied to the New York Times or her office failed to follow IPRA. Any document that is created as a public record is subject to IPRA; whether it is only electronic, written on a piece of paper or a napkin.
Ms. Martinez said she keeps a list of the promises she made during her election campaign and puts check marks next to those she has fulfilled.
- The Ruidoso News reports one bill that didn't go anywhere this session -- a bill to give local governments the ability to ban fireworks in times of high fire danger.
- A bill that would give students who have a child maternity leave is headed to the governor's desk.
- Greg Kendall at Los Alamos Daily Post's Greg Kendall (friend of the blog) looks at the Governor's office and anonymous robocallers going after Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard, D-Los Alamos, on the drivers license issue.
- KUNM has been on the story of the move to put waste from Hanford at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, New Mexico. The latest.
- KUNM also reported on the Secretary of the Interior and Sandia Pueblo leaders approving the HEARTH Act, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama last year, in a ceremony at Sandia Pueblo.
- The Alamogordo city council could not agree on a proposed ordinance that would ban texting and talking on the phone while driving and it was sent "back to the drawing board" the Alamogordo Daily News reports. The new ordinance will only ban texting while driving.
- The Los Alamos County Council is considering a change to when it meets, the Los Alamos Monitor reports.
At the conclusion of the debate, Council Chair Geoff Rodgers asked county staffers to return with a revised proposal to conduct a Friday meeting every other month for a calendar year. Council will vote on the motion March 26.
- A bill that would raise the minimum wage for tipped employees cleared the House -- but it just about no time to navigate the Senate.
- New Mexico Compass reports on the tipped workers minim wage increase.
- The former SunCal property is going for a lot less than it was put on the market for in 2007, the Albuquerque Journal reports.
- Sequestration hasn't affected tourism to Carlsbad Caverns National Park, the Carlsbad Current-Argus reports.
Still, the park is receiving calls from potential visitors checking to see if it is open because of the automatic budget cuts, Benjamin said. "We tell them 'heck no, we are open.' We are doing everything we can do to get the word out that we are not closed. It appears we're sacrificing other things to keep the park open and the accessibility to visitors. We want people to know that. So far, that is working," Benjamin said.
- The three-term mayor of Chama is resigning for "personal reasons" the Rio Grande Sun reports.
- Questa doesn't have the only school board with drama. A member of the Raton school board who was the target of a recall election resigned instead of facing the recall. It came after a motion to explore legal options against he recall went without a second, the Raton Range reports.
- It is going to be very warm on Friday.