Gov’s tax bill gets a smackdown

A 430 page behemoth tax bill the governor supports (and is using to try and torpedo the legislature’s work fixing the budget she broke) got a dose of reality this morning.

Momentum is building for better early childhood funding

If you’ve followed the NM legislature at all over the last few years you’ve no doubt heard about the proposal to fund early childhood programs through an increased distribution from NM’s $15 billion (yes, billion) Land Grant Permanent Fund.

Gov vetoes emergency funding for NM courts, but spent $200k remodeling her office

Included in this year’s “Legislative Feed Bill” (the bill passed every year to pay legislative staffers and fund state expenses during the session) was emergency funding for New Mexico’s courts. The court system needs this money to pay jurors and keep the operations of the judicial branch of government functioning properly – kind of a big deal. But today Gov. Martinez again vetoed $800,000 of funding for the courts (for the third time), throwing public safety in New Mexico into jeopardy. “Vetoed provision of the bill would have provided $800,000 to bolster funding for jurors and court interpreters that could be exhausted in early March.”

And while Gov. Martinez doesn’t see fit to spend $800,000 for an absolutely critical function of New Mexico’s state government, she had no problem spending more than $200,000 remodeling her office last year. In 2016, $206,000 was appropriated out of legislative cash balances signed by the governor to upgrade her office (see bel0w).

Thousands in NM immigrant community demand clean energy & green jobs from Gov. Martinez

Last week immigrant community members throughout New Mexico came together and submitted over 2,400 petitions to Gov. Martinez demanding she take action to protect the health and well being of their communities and increase renewable energy output in the state. The petition gathering was organized by Juntos: Our Air Our Water — a project of Conservation Voters New Mexico Education Fund — which organizes Latino communities to protect air and water and advocate for clean energy. From the Los Alamos Daily Post (emphasis added):
The petition gathering started early September after Juntos had conducted a survey, October 2015 through February 2016, which demonstrated that 89 percent of the surveyed families – mostly from the Latin immigrant community – expressed that their number one concern was the air quality and air pollution levels found in their communities. […]

The petitions recently turned in demand that the Martínez administration implement a strong plan to help our state transition to clean, renewable energy – specifically wind and solar energy – and creates more “green jobs”. Investments in renewable energy are investments in healthy families, and yet the Martinez administration continues to invest in dirty energy, despite its impact on New Mexicans’ air, land, water and health.

#ProtectOurVote – Resources for Election Day

Our free and open elections are the envy of the world and problems on Election Day are rare. Still, we know that voter intimidation — and other problems — at the polls is a possibility. While trained poll watchers will be deployed throughout New Mexico on Election Day, everyone should be aware of how to protect your vote and how to access resources if you have problems voting. 

Below you’ll find resources you can use — like hotlines staffed with lawyers and election experts — if you or anyone you know encounters problems voting. Also, there are talking points here that you can use to push back on claims of “rigged” elections and other baseless claims like voter fraud. RESOURCES
Four toll free hotlines will be operated on Election Day 6:30 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. These hotlines will not only help voters with locating their polls but are also able to answer questions or report problems:
866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) for English
888-VE-Y-VOTA (888-839-8682) for Spanish
1-888-API-VOTE (888-274-8683) for Asian voters
1-844-418-1682 for Arab American Voters
Polling locations may also be found at www.vote411.org or contact the County Clerk’s office, or the Secretary of State website:
https://voterview.state.nm.us/VoterView/RegistrantSearch.do

THINGS TO KNOW
Intimidation consists of inducing or attempting to induce fear in any member of the precinct board, voter, challenger or watcher by use of or threatened use of force, violence, infliction of damage, harm or loss or any form of economic retaliation upon a voter, precinct board member, challenger or watcher for the purpose of impeding or preventing the free exercise of voting or the impartial administration of the election.

Sec of State investigation of Gov's fundraising violation doesn't add up

You might remember a story during this year’s legislative session where Secretary of State (SOS) Dianna Duran alleged that fundraising links maintained by Act Blue, a third-party site helping Democrats raise money online, violated state prohibitions on fundraising during the legislatives session. But we knew that Republican’s maintain a similar system which she failed to include in her investigation, so we started digging. We found that multiple Republican legislators and Governor Martinez herself had active online fundraising links using Piryx, a third-party online donation vendor which services conservative candidates and causes.   So we filed a complaint with the SOS’s office, the department responsible for overseeing compliance with fundraising laws. Our complaint asked: “Are the governor, 3 senators, and 4 representatives listed in violation or compliance with the legislative session fundraising prohibition in the Campaign Reporting Act?”*

The SOS’s office initiated an “investigation” and then told us that she had concluded that the Piryx links we referenced were inactive, so no law was broken.