Campaign money bill hits snag

By Steve Terrell: The New Mexican With time running out for this Legislature, a bill that would prohibit campaign contributions from lobbyists and state contractors hit a bump Monday in the House of Representatives. After debating House Bill 118 for more than an hour, sponsor Rep. Joe Campos, D-Santa Rosa, asked to “roll over” the […]

Government needs Sunshine Portal

By Sarah Welsh: Guest columnist Information is power, and right now the public has none. Legislators and the public are rightfully outraged at Gov. Bill Richardson’s ongoing refusal to release information about his exempt state employees, including 59 positions that were supposedly cut last month. What little information has emerged isn’t good — employees who […]

Hounds sweep twin bill, win series

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Freedom New Mexico What a difference a week makes. Eastern New Mexico University’s baseball team, outscored 37-3 in an embarrassing season-opening doubleheader loss at New Mexico Highlands on Feb. 6, bounced back to take three of four from Southeastern Oklahoma to open Lone Star Conference play this weekend, capped by Saturday’s 8-7, 6-2 sweep at […]

Legislation seeks protection for farmers

By Staci Matlock: The New Mexican A group of New Mexico farmers and heritage seed advocates are lobbying hard to get a bill through the Legislature that would protect them from liability if their fields are cross-pollinated by patented, genetically engineered seeds. It is the third time farmers have tried to get a similar bill […]

Bill delays agency mergers to 2011

By Steve Terrell: The New Mexican While legislators have been slow to act on governor’s task force proposals to consolidate state agencies, the House of Representatives on Thursday unanimously passed a measure to set up another task force to make specific recommendations for next year’s Legislature. Gov. Bill Richardson’s efficiency task force, headed by former […]

Panel derails tougher DWI penalty measure

By Steve Terrell: The New Mexican Some state senators cited financial reasons as a Senate committee on Monday effectively killed a bill that would have increased DWI penalties. Currently there is no mandatory jail time for first-time DWI offenders in New Mexico. However, Senate Bill 3, sponsored by Sen. Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe, would impose […]

2-6 Legislative tidbits

Days remaining in session: 12 Here comes the judge A new district judge position would be created for the First Judicial District under a bill approved unanimously Friday by the Senate. The disrict includes Santa Fe, Rio Arriba and Los Alamos counties. Senate Bill 6, sponsored by Sen. Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe, also creates a […]

Freeze means freeze: Lawmaker’s bill cracks down on state hires

By Kate Nash: The New Mexican A lawmaker upset over the continued hiring of state employees after a Gov. Bill Richardson-imposed hiring halt has introduced a measure that sets out stringent criteria for exemptions to the rule. Sen. Sue Wilson Beffort, R-Sandia Park, is carrying a bill (SB 215) that would only allow the state […]

Bills seek to cushion interlock fund

By Kate Nash: The Santa Fe New Mexican A pair of lawmakers are working this session to make sure the state can continue to help low-income New Mexicans who are convicted of DWI get access to ignition interlock devices. The work by Sen. Kent Cravens, R-Albuquerque, and House Majority Leader Ken Martinez, D-Grants, would define […]

Bill seeks to cancel pit waste rule

The Santa Fe New Mexican A Republican legislator from northwestern New Mexico’s oil-and-gas-rich San Juan Basin is sponsoring a bill to rescind a controversial rule by the state Oil Conservation Division that tightened pit waste regulations. Waste products produced during the drilling and pumping process are stored in pits. The OCD claims unlined pits have […]

Senate passes protection bill

By Steve Terrell: The New Mexican The state Senate once again has passed a bill designed to protect government employees from retaliation for reporting official wrongdoing — something backers said Wednesday is long overdue in New Mexico. Sen. Sue Wilson-Beffort, R-Sandia Park, sponsor of Senate Bill 96, told fellow senators that had the bill been […]

Candidates weigh in on domestic partnership bill

By Kate Nash: The New Mexican As a measure to give domestic partners many of the rights and privileges as married couples inches through the Legislature, supporters hope it becomes law this year — when Gov. Bill Richardson has said he will sign it. That’s because New Mexico next year could have a governor who […]

Zias split twin bill at Highlands

Freedom New Mexico LAS VEGAS, N.M. — Freshman left-hander Melissa Martinez threw a no-hitter, allowing only two baserunners and striking out 10, as New Mexico Highlands blanked Eastern New Mexico University 7-0 Tuesday to salvage a split of their season-opening softball doubleheader. Four Zias drove in two runs apiece as ENMU took the opener 15-6. […]

Panel snuffs tobacco tax hike

By Steve Herrell: The Santa Fe New Mexican A bill to raise money for education by boosting state cigarette taxes by $1 a pack went up in smoke Thursday when a legislative committee voted unanimously against the idea. The House Business and Industry Committee voted to table House Bill 35, sponsored by state Rep. Brian […]

Taxpayers footing bill for vacations

Freedom New Mexico It’s bad enough when they pass laws to tell you how to live your life. It’s worse when they tax you to make it harder to live your life. But when the members of Congress run up a tab at your expense for their global, jet-setting junkets on top of it all, […]

Bill would allow firearms in restaurants

By Steve Terrell: The New Mexican People with licenses to carry concealed guns could take their firearms into restaurants that serve beer and wine under a bill that zipped through a Senate committee on Wednesday. Senate Bill 40, sponsored by Sen. George Munoz, D-Gallup, cleared the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee by a 7-1 vote. […]

Domestic partnership bill divisive

By Steve Terrell: The Santa Fe New Mexican The battle in the Legislature over a bill to establish domestic-partner rights pits social advocates and lobbyists who normally are allied on a variety of issues against each other. Sen. Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe, introduced Senate Bill 183 on Tuesday. As has been the case with previous […]

Bill proposes investing in local banks

By Kate Nash: The Santa Fe New Mexican State Rep. Brian Egolf is taking the `keep it local’ mantra to the extreme. Under a bill he’s carrying this session, the state would pull the roughly $1.4 billion it has in a Bank of America account and invest it in New Mexico banks. Egolf, D-Santa Fe, […]

Bill targets domestic violence offenders in police ranks

By Steve Terrell: The Santa Fe New Mexican A person convicted of domestic violence couldn’t be certified as a law-enforcement officer for three years, and officers convicted of such a charge would lose their certification under a bill introduced Wednesday. House Bill 17, sponsored by Rep. Nate Cote, D-Las Cruces, is being pushed by Gov. […]

City council supports formation of new regional water authority

By Argen Duncan: PNT senior staff writer The Portales City Council voted Tuesday to support the formation of a new regional water authority, under certain conditions. The council approved a resolution supporting House Bill 15, in its current state, which would establish an Eastern New Mexico Water Utility Authority to manage the Ute Water Pipeline […]