Background Check Legislation Stalls in House Committee

Legislation to help keep guns out of dangerous hands hit a snag in the House Judiciary Committee today where it was tabled on a 7-6 vote. The motion to table ends debate and keeps the bill in committee, essentially ensuring that the bill will not make it to the House floor for a vote. House Bill 50, the original legislation, passed out of the House Judiciary Committee on February 10th and on to the house floor but was sent back by the bill’s sponsor, Stephanie Garcia Richard (D-Los Alamos), to have amendments made. The amendments targeted complications with the bill’s language on ‘gun transfers’ between family members and close friends. The substitute legislation, HB548, scraps the ‘gun transfers’ language and focuses the intention on requiring background checks for gun sales between strangers.

Public Lands Rally 2017: Public Lands are NOT for sale in New Mexico

Over 500 New Mexicans rallied around the Capital in support of Public Lands on Wednesday, brought together by the threats of Trump administration supporters who are calling for federal lands to be sold off to the highest bidder.

The overwhelming response from those in attendance and the legislators who spoke in the rotunda: Not in New Mexico.

Top 5 BEST things from #NMLEG 2016

Yesterday we ran through our “Top 5 WORST things from #NMLEG 2016.”

Though bad bills and bad actors were plentiful this year, there were also a lot of great things to look back on from the progressive point-of-view. Today we’re taking a look at the top 5 best things to happen in #NMLEG 2016. #5
Progressive champions in the House
Despite being in the minority, progressives in the House put forth a valiant effort this year to advance some key policies to help our kids, our economy, our education system, our voting systems, and much more. Here’s just a small sampling of these champions:

Rep. Bill McCamley had a bill to equalize the tax code in the state so that people earning most of their income from capital gains would pay the same rate as those who work hourly. “The bill would have increased the state’s Working Families Tax Credit from 10 percent of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit to 20 percent.”

Rep. Jeff Steinborn got his bill to the governor’s desk – which he’s sponsored for years now – to allow some 17 year olds to participate in primary elections.

Gov’s $7,900 Xmas Party Prompts Dems to Call for Oversight

Santa Fe –  Governor Martinez’s Christmas Parties are now legendary. Her post-party 911 call to Santa Fe Police drew national attention after she used the occasion to demand the names of anyone who complained about the rowdy post-gala pizza party she attended in an upscale Santa Fe hotel. It also didn’t help that she told police to go away instead of investigating. State Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez noted that anyone else would likely have gone to jail for that action alone:

“Any regular person who tried to do what she did would be subject to a charge of obstruction” Sen. Sanchez #NMPol
— NM Senate Democrats (@NMSenateDems) December 23, 2015
After the fact, we learn that the governor’s office paid for the big Christmas blowout was paid for by taxpayers at a cost of more than $7,900. What was wrong with the office potluck?

GOP Wins Fight Over Defunding Senior, Tribal and Education Programs in NM

It was the final battle of the legislature: will New Mexico honor our commitments to tribes, seniors and students by funding projects non-partisan budget officials labeled “critical” in communities across the state? The State Senate, in a rare bi-partisan move, approved the projects after months of negotiation with the governor and House Republican leaders.  But that deal was scrapped in the final 48 hours of the session by Republican House leaders. “Democrats are angry because Republicans in the House of Representatives rewrote the $264 million capital outlay bill to eliminate money for schools and senior citizens projects, moving the dollars to road projects… “Capital outlay dollars repair roads, keep school buildings in top condition, assist tribes with their construction needs, help smaller colleges ($400,000 for Santa Fe Community College has been lost) and spread the wealth to every corner of the state.

What is “Preemption” and Why is Nate Gentry Obsessed With It?

1. the purchase of goods or shares by one person or party before the opportunity is offered to others. 2. the action of preempting or forestalling, especially of making a preemptive attack.  

You may have heard the word “preemption” floating around the world of New Mexico politics lately like an annoying gnat you can’t quite see but won’t seem to leave you alone.

“Personal Exemptions” Widen Reach of Abortion Bills [UPDATED]

“We are now seeing the direct consequences of the 2014 elections. With a Republican in the Speaker’s seat in our House of Representatives, New Mexicans must now face these regressive policies. We should not be passing legislation on these issues at the state level.”
House Minority Leader Brian Egolf
[UPDATE]: Both of the anti-abortion bills discussed in this article — HB 390 and HB 391 — were tabled in their first Senate committee. Read more about what happened from the New Mexico Political Report HERE.  

Abortion is back in New Mexico’s spotlight.

Sen. Howie Morales Fights to Raise All School Employee Salaries

State Senator Howie Morales has been in the news a lot lately. He’s been out in front on a range of education issues, including opposition to the controversial PARCC tests. Sen. Morales has also now introduced a budget amendment to strip Governor Martinez’s “merit-pay” scheme from the state budget and replace it with an across-the-board raise for all school employees. Read below to see what Sen. Morales’ amendment is all about (emphasis mine):
Amidst hollow proclamations of moving New Mexico education forward, the New Mexico House of Representatives sent to the Senate a budget for the coming year that provides absolutely no raise for the vast majority of teachers and absolutely nothing for all the other people who help local New Mexico students be prepared for a day of learning every day. School bus drivers, School Secretaries, Education Assistants, Principals, Counselors, Nurses and others will receive no pay raise at all unless the Senate revises that budget, and it is now considering an amendment to do so.