Area lawmakers plan budget priorities

New Mexicans can’t expect smart budget building without smart prioritization. With that in mind, Sen. Clint Harden, R-Clovis asked, what’s our No. 1 priority? Education, one voice said. Job creation, a few seconds later. Don’t raise taxes on small businesses. Health care, too. With that, the last 20 seconds of Thursday’s legislative breakfast summed up […]

Environmentalists need to be reasonable

Biased lawmakers enacting knee-jerk legislation have created countless problems in our system of justice, especially with mandates that handcuff judges’ ability to let the punishment fit the crime. The Supreme Court on Monday took a welcome step toward restoring some sanity to the system. The court ruled that judges should have — and do have […]

Immigration reform should not be rushed

Freedom Newspapers This viewpoint, which reflects those of Freedom Communications, was written by the editorial staff at the Orange County (Calif.) Register. Sen. Lindsey Graham seems the odd man out in Congress these days. The South Carolina Republican has taken heat from both parties for trying to work with the Democratic majority on major legislation, […]

Lawmakers express disappointment with special session

By Sharna Johnson: Freedom New Mexico Depressed, infuriated and disappointed — those are just some of the feelings area lawmakers are bringing home after a four-day special session of the state Legislature ended Thursday with tax hikes on food and cigarettes. The Legislature adjourned with a new budget after approving more than $230 million from […]

N.M. lawmakers OK $200 million tax increase package

By Barry Massey: The Associated Press SANTA FE — The state Legislature approved a measure Wednesday to raise taxes by more than $200 million next year to help balance the state budget, the largest tax increase package in more two decades. Passage of the measure moved lawmakers close to the finish line of a politically […]

Legislative tidbits: Bill would limit bills

Days remaining in session: 28 Bill would limit bills A measure introduced by Sen. Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe, would limit the number of bills a lawmaker can introduce each session. Under the plan, lawmakers could prefile as many bills online as they like before a session starts, but then would be limited to five bills […]

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 […]

Ethics advocates hoping to be heard at legislative session

By Kate Nash: The New Mexican With most of lawmakers’ attention focused on the state budget this session, ethics reform and good government advocates are hoping legislators have time to dedicate to reform. Already, several lawmakers have prefiled ethics bills online while other public officials have outlined what measures they are willing to support. So […]

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. […]

Lawmakers disagree on distributing dairy money

By Argen Duncan: PNT senior writer Lawmakers in Congress from eastern and western states disagreed Thursday on how to distribute $350 million in federal money designated to help dairy farmers. Under an agreement set Wednesday, $60 million would go to buy surplus dairy products, but there were no details on how to dole out the […]