Veterans cautious of health reform

By Tom Philpott: PNT columnist As House and Senate Democrats negotiate a final compromise national health care reform bill, military people across the nation — and their advocates in Washington D.C. — remain vigilant for side effects. The Obama administration and Democratic congressional leaders have tried to reassure military members, retirees and veterans that national […]

Text of Gov. Richardson’s state of the state speech

A link to Gov. Bill Richardson’s state of the state address delivered today at the start of the state Legislative session.

Council to discuss support for Ute water project

PNT Staff Report During their meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, Portales City Council is set to discuss a resolution of support for a proposed bill to authorize Eastern New Mexico Water Authority to operate the Ute Water Pipeline Organization. The state Legislature opens Tuesday and is to consider the bill during the […]

Governor optimistic about cooperation during session

By Steve Terrell: The New Mexican Many legislative sessions in recent years have been known for the stormy, sometimes rancorous relationship between Gov. Bill Richardson and lawmakers, mainly those in the state Senate. On the threshold of Richardson’s last regular session — his second term expires on Dec. 31 and he legally can’t seek re-election […]

Local schools unaffected by GI Bill slowdown

Staff and wire reports Staff and wire reports Although many universities and colleges are still waiting for tuition payments for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who attended school last fall under the new GI Bill, representatives of local institutions say they’re not having a problem. The Veterans Affairs Department says the number of veterans with claims […]

Oasis closing for furloughs

Freedom New Mexico Oasis State Park will close for five days this winter and spring as part of Gov. Bill Richardson’s plan to reduce state spending by employee furloughs. The park is set to be closed Thursday, as well as Jan. 15, Feb. 9, March 2 and March 23, according to a news release from […]

Senate bill to include $1.5 million in road projects for Clovis

Freedom New Mexico A spending bill finalized for a Senate vote contains nearly $1.5 million for road projects in Curry County, according to a release from U.S. Sens. Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall. More than $11.6 million for New Mexico is in the bill, including $500,000 for replacement of the Hull Street Overpass and $974,000 […]

Software glitch delays GI payments

By Tom Philpott: PNT columnist Amanda Collier started college last August armed with a certificate of eligibility to use Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits that her dad, a Coast Guardsman of 22 years, had earned and transferred to her. Next week Amanda will take final exams for her first semester at the University of Central Oklahoma. […]

House passes landmark health care bill

By The Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — In a victory for President Barack Obama, the Democratic-controlled House narrowly passed landmark health care legislation Saturday night to expand coverage to tens of millions who lack it and place tough new restrictions on the insurance industry. Republican opposition was nearly unanimous. The 220-215 vote cleared the way […]

Bill OKs $1 million for Ute project

Freedom New Mexico A multi-billion dollar bill signed into law Wednesday includes $1 million for the Ute pipeline project. The $34 billion 2010 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill was signed into law by President Obama, according to the offices of Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall from New Mexico. Projects receiving money include the Ute […]

Senate OK’s budget cuts; bill goes back to House

The Associated Press SANTA FE — The New Mexico Senate has approved a budget-cutting bill that is the central piece in a deficit reduction package being considered in a special legislative session. The Senate approved slightly less in spending cuts than the $257 million previously approved by the House. Now the bill must go back […]

Bills would give schools operating leeway

kry60m-1023phsadminbldgweb.jpg

By Argen Duncan: PNT senior writer Pending state legislation could allow New Mexico schools more flexibility in how they handle possible budget cuts, but local administrators are waiting to see what happens and prioritizing. Wednesday night and Thursday, the state Senate passed three bills that, if they pass the House, would allow schools to adjust […]

First budget fix bill goes to NM governor

By Deborah Baker: The Associated Press SANTA FE — New Mexico lawmakers have sent Gov. Bill Richardson the first bill in a package of measures to fix a $650 million budget shortfall. The legislation frees up $117 million, largely by raiding the cash balances of state agencies and taking $68 million from a college scholarship […]

Lawmakers share blame for delay

By Tom Philpott: PNT columnist Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki got a bipartisan hug from the House Veterans Affairs Committee last week as lawmakers accepted his plan to fix Post-9/11 GI Bill payment delays, and blamed their own rush to enact the complex education benefit last year for some of the challenges VA now faces. […]

Government only drives up reform costs

Freedom New Mexico Finally ending what has been one of the more excruciating legislative episodes in recent history, the Senate Finance Committee has approved the Baucus bill. It happened after months of debate and negotiation on health care legislation. Now the real battles can begin. The Baucus bill, named for committee chairman Max Baucus of […]

TRICARE fee increases blocked

By Tom Philpott: PNT columnist The last decision made by House-Senate conferees negotiating final details on a fiscal 2010 defense authorization bill was to insert language that will rollback an announced Oct. 1 increase in fees charged to TRICARE Standard beneficiaries for stays in civilian hospitals. The surprise fee increases, reported here last week, gave […]

RGH clinics moving closer to rural status

PNT staff The Roosevelt General Hospital Board learned Tuesday the Portales clinic is 90 days away from being able to bill as a designated rural health clinic, once Medicare and Medicaid send a billing code. The new billing number will allow the clinic to bill under the rural health clinic designation so in time they […]

Energy bill could raise utility rates

By Argen Duncan: PNT senior writer Local electricity providers expect customer costs to go up if a proposed federal cap-and-trade climate legislation passes the U.S. Senate without changes. This summer, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, which has a number of provisions to limit carbon emissions […]

Scaled-back health care bill most likely

Freedom New Mexico The past few weeks, as Slate.com writer Christopher Beam has put it, “have amounted to a long, cold shower for Democratic health care proposals.” First came the report from Douglas Elmendorf, director of the Congressional Budget Office, which showed that all the current Democratic proposals being considered in various committees not only […]

Afghanistan no longer bigger threat to U.S.

Freedom New Mexico Most of the chatter in Washington is still about domestic issues and how the Obama administration is doing now that the bloom is starting to fade. Will the Senate approve the cap-and-trade bill? How many Republicans will vote to confirm Judge Sonia Sotomayor? Will further nationalization of health care be passed at […]