Debbie Rodella has been the representative for House District 41 since 1993. After all that time, she’s barely faced any opposition from members of her own party, last facing a primary challenge in 2006. But after a series of votes over the last few years, it has become clear to many that it’s time for a change in the district. Rodella has taken nearly $20,000 from the payday lending industry in the last decade and made sure that at least three times bills designed to protect New Mexicans died in the committee she chairs. As a whole, that industry has spent almost A MILLION DOLLARS in the last few years to oppose common-sense consumer protections. Such protections would ensure that predatory practices from these high-interest lenders would at least have some checks and balances, as well as legal protections for consumers.
The City of Las Cruces has already taken big steps in recent years to be less dependent on energy originating from fossil fuels and grid energy transmitted from hundreds of miles away. Monday, the City Council took a step further by committing to a three-step process to become 100 percent powered by renewable energy by 2050. In the near term, the city will take quick steps to becoming 25 percent renewable by 2022, just five years from now.
The resolution now binds the city to take specific steps to achieve the goals set forth in the timelines. Some of the options presented were for the city to make direct investments of photovoltaic (PV) systems and install them around city properties and buildings, create a public-private partnership with utilities to acquire renewable energy from combined on-site and off-site sources, or simply buy more renewable energy directly from existing utilities. The City of Las Cruces resolution comes after the City of Albuquerque has taken similar steps toward becoming less dependent on transmitted power.
ProgressNow New Mexico EF (501c3) has released a video ad featuring City of Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima that calls on Rep. Steve Pearce (NM-2) to step up for his constituents and represent their interests in Congress and supporting renewable energy policies.
House Republicans Wednesday voted against House Bill 193 in the House Business and Industry committee along a partisan 5-5 vote. HB 193 would have made permanent and expanded New Mexico’s investment in solar energy, creating jobs and diversifying the state’s economy at a time when its over reliance on oil and gas has left us in a deep financial crisis. Sponsored by Representative Daymon Ely (D-Corrales), HB 193 made permanent the Solar Market Development Tax Credits as well as offering them to both private individuals, low income families as well as commercial businesses. “Never has our state had such a huge need to diversify its economy and to create jobs in industries that are immune to cuts in the federal budget or swings in the price of oil and natural gas,” said Representative Ely. “At a time when New Mexicans are wondering why we aren’t the solar capital of the world, it is really disappointing to see my colleagues across the aisle fail to recognize the job creating potential of solar energy.”
House Bill 193 would have increased the solar tax credit from 10% to 15% of the cost of purchase and installation for families making less than $43,871 per year. The new “solar market development corporate income tax credit” would’ve allowed businesses to claim 10% of the purchase and installation cost of a solar energy system. Currently, there are 96 solar companies who call New Mexico home that employs around 2,000 individuals.
Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) participated in an all-night session — last night and into early this morning — with his colleagues from the Senate Climate Action Task Force to raise awareness about climate change and urge Congress to act on this critical issue. Senator Udall noted that New Mexico and the Southwest are “at the bull’s-eye when it comes to climate change” but also pointed to the fact that New Mexico is already focusing on solutions and is poised to be a major player in renewable energy development.