Weekly Legislative Update – Week ending Feb. 22, 2013

Posted on 22. Feb, 2013 by Stephan Helgesen in Politics

SB 58  Reports to Immunization Registry (Beffort)

Santa Fe—The Senate passed unanimously SB 58- Reports to Immunization Registry. The bill sponsored by Senator Sue Wilson Beffort would change immunization reporting from optional to required.

SB 58 amends the Immunization Act (Act), Section 24-5-8 NMSA 1978 within the NM Public Health Act, to require physicians, nurses, pharmacists and other health care providers report on immunizations to the immunization registry, known as the New Mexico Statewide Immunization Information System (NMSIIS).

For Immediate Release Thursday, February 21, 2013  Contact: 986-4702

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Senate Passes Bill to Help Employees do their Jobs in Sensitive Situations

“Sometimes We Don’t Want to Advertise ‘I’m from the Government

and I am Here to Help’”

SB 51a- Protective and Undercover License Plates

Senator Sander Rue

Santa Fe- The Senate Passed 25 to 15 a bill to help state employees working in sensitive situations avoid advertising they work for the state. The bill sponsored by Senator Sander Rue,  SB 51- Protective and Undercover License Plates- would allow state employees to be issued non-government issued license plates if they work in sensitive situations where they could be placed at higher risk if the general public knew they were public officials. The bill now goes on to the House.

Senator Rue has said, “Sometimes we don’t want to advertise “I’m from the Government and I am here to help.”  Senator Sander Rue quoted the nine most terrifying words in the English language from President Ronald Reagan. “Sometimes advertising they are a state employee can put those employees working in the field in jeopardy and can jeopardize the critical work they are doing for the state.”

The bill sets in law a process to issue non-government license plates to state employees who work in agencies and departments such as CYFD, and to probation and parole officers who need to work undercover in sensitive situations without the public knowing they are public officials. And the law also creates a mechanism to prevent abuse.

Senator Rue said the bill is designed to protect state employees and help them do their jobs in sensitive situations without the public knowing,  by the  license plates on their state vehicles, that they are public employees.

“CYFD employees often times have to intervene in traumatic family situations, a job that is difficult enough,” Senator Rue said. “We need to do everything we can to assist them in doing their critical work in the field without jeopardizing their situation under sensitive circumstances by advertising they are a CYFD employee,” Senator Rue said.

The bill also adds language to 66-6-15 NMSA to allow MVD to issue undercover and sensitive activity plates to Indian tribes, pueblos, counties, municipalities and other governmental entities.

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For Immediate Release Thursday, February 21, 2013    Contact: 505-986-4702

New Mexico State Senate Republican Office

Instead of Attacking Legal Gun Owners, Crack Down on Drunks Who Use Their Vehicles as Weapons

155 New Mexicans Killed by Drunks

SB 410 – DWIs for Habitual Offender Sentencing

Habitual Offender Act  to  include DWIs that are currently excluded

SB 409 – Increase Penalties for Multiple DWIs

Increase the penalties for fourth and higher convictions of DWI

3 year sentence could increase to 12 years on 8th offense

Sponsor:  Senator Craig Brandt

(Santa Fe)  “Instead of spending time in the legislature attacking gun owners who want to protect their families, it is time to get tough on drunks who use their vehicles as weapons. Let’s crack down on a drunk driver who can spray a crowd with three tons of shrapnel,” State Senator Craig Brandt (R-Rio Rancho) said. His two bills- SB 410 – DWIs for Habitual Offender Sentencing and SB 409 – Increase Penalties for Multiple DWIs have passed the Senate Public Affairs Committee and will next be heard in Senate Judiciary.

“Last year, 155 New Mexicans were killed by drunk drivers. When are we going to get serious and crack down on drunk drivers who continue to drive drunk?” Senator Brandt said. “These drunk law breakers need to be treated like the habitual offenders they are in our legal system. And if that does not get their attention, we need to throw the book at them when they are convicted of four or more DWIs.”

Under SB 409,  a fourth offense with  a maximum 1.5 year sentence could increase to a three year sentence while an 8th offense could be increased to 12 years from its current 3 year maximum.

SB 410 proposes to treat repeat DWI law breakers as habitual offenders under the Habitual Offenders Sentencing Act. As a habitual offender, drunks who continue to drive could be given tougher sentences if they break the law again. Currently, felony DWI convictions are expressly excluded from the habitual Offender Act while persons convicted of more than one noncapital felony are considered habitual offenders whose basic sentences can be enhanced for subsequent felony convictions.

SB 410 proposes a statutory change to the Habitual Offender Sentencing Act [Section 31-18-17  NMSA] to include a prior felony DWI conviction.

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For Immediate Release  Thursday, February 21, 2013 Contact: 505-986-4702

New Mexico State  Senate Republican Office

Senate Passes Senator Bill Burt’s Bill

To Help Military Families

SB 258a Professional  Licenses for Military and Spouses-

Senator Bill Burt-(R-Alamogordo)

Santa Fe- The New Mexico State Senate passed a bill 41-0 that encourages members of the military and their spouses to live and work in New Mexico. SB 258/a Professional Licenses for Military and Spouses- helps by giving them a break on obtaining professional licenses in the state. The bill now goes on to the House for consideration.

Senator Bill Burt (R-Alamogordo) is sponsoring  SB 258/a Professional Licenses for Military and Spouses- allows expedited occupational and professional licensing of military service member, spouses of military service members and veterans who are licensed in other states.

“For all people wanting to live and work in New Mexico, the state should process their professional and occupational license applications in a timely manner,” Senator Burt said. “Members of the military who are active duty or recent veterans and their spouses who have obtained occupational licenses in other states or jurisdictions should receive reciprocity with those licenses so we encourage them to live and work in New Mexico without causing them much delay.”

Senator Burt’s bill calls for issuing a license to a qualified applicant who submits satisfactory evidence that the applicant holds a license that is current and in good standing and that the licensing requirements are substantially equivalent to the licensing requirements for that occupation or profession in New Mexico. In additional to cities and states, jurisdictions in the bill could include a branch of the United States Armed Forces.

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For Immediate Release Thursday, February 21, 2013  Contact: 986-4702

Committee Action  Wednesday night on the following Senate Republican Bills:

SB185a FRONTIER COMMUNITIES PROGRAM (Sen. Woods ) SFC DP 9-0

SB196 LONG-TERM CARE INSURANCE PARTNERSHIP PROGRAM (Cotter) SFC DP 9-0

SB0181a PROFESSIONAL LICENSURE STANDARDS & BOARDS (Sen. Rue) SJC DP 8-0

SB0372 BARBER & COSMETOLOGIST CEASE & DESIST ORDERS (Sen. Torraco) SJC DP 6-1 goes to SFloor

SB0290 INCREASE CERTAIN CARELESS DRIVING PENALTIES (Sen. Ryan/Rep. Miera) SJC DP 8-0 goes to Senate Floor

Santa Fe—Hobb’s Senator Gay Kernan, the ranking member on Senate Education  and Senator  John Sapien from Corrales, the Chairman of Senate Education  discuss education reform and their bills to improve education in the state on KCHF TV Channel 11’s “Issues and Answers with Diane Kinderwater.”

Senator Gay Kernan – “Education Reform”

Friday, February 22, 2013 – 10:30 pm

Sunday, February 24, 2013 – 11:00 pm

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 – 6:30 pm

Saturday, March 2, 2013 – 10:00 pm

Sunday, March 10, 2013 – 2:00 pm

On to Next Committee: SB 368 Time to Give a Hard Reboot to NM Tax System

“Wipe out nearly every tax and start over with a simple

2% Across-the-Board- Consumption Tax.”

Moved out of Senator Conservation without a recommendation 6-0, on to next committee- Senate Corporations

SB 368 Hard Reboot of NM Tax System-  Repeal Nearly Every Tax, Replace  them with a 2% Across-the-Board Consumption Tax

Santa Fe- Wipe out hundreds of taxes in New Mexico and replace them with a simple and low 2% across-the- board consumption tax.

That is what is in the major tax overhaul bill (SB 368)  Senator Bill Sharer (R- Farmington) introduced in the Senate today.  Representative Tom Taylor (R-Farmington) introduced a similar bill in the House.

“Give the tax system a hard reboot and bring it back to the basics of what the original Gross Receipts Tax (GRT) was intended to be while eliminating all of the GRT deductions, credits and exemptions that have grown around it over the years,” Senator Sharer said.  “This is real tax reform. While we have played around the edges of taxation for decades we now have a bill that will be a true “hard reboot” of the tax system. It is time to quit tinkering and just do it.”

The back-to-the basics tax plan includes implementing a low 2% broad based tax on everything that is sold, purchased and rented in New Mexico and eliminating the Personal Income Tax, the Corporate Income Tax, the Compensating Tax and nearly all of the “special sales taxes.” Special taxes include such things as the vehicle excise tax, the taxes on insurance premiums and the Convoy Tax.

While the tax plan is simple, the tax bill is comprehensive and over 200 pages.

“For a long time we have talked about a broad based tax with very low rates.  This bill does exactly that.  The original GRT was based on this idea, it is time to go back to that idea”, said Rep. Taylor.

Senator Sharer said all of the revenue that is wiped out by the reboot of the tax system will be  replaced with the extremely simple 2% standard consumption tax under the current GRT system.

“It will be just easier to understand and compute. You know what you buy, sell and rent. Simply add 2% for the state’s cut rather than the over 8% tax that is charged now in some cities. We won’t need to charge those high taxes once the special interest credits, deductions and exemptions are eliminated.” Senator Sharer said. Under the plan, local governments will be able to add up to a 1% GRT for the towns and cities.

Senator Sharer said, “This year alone there are 51 new tax bills, obviously our tax system is an epic failure.” The few existing taxes that will remain under the plan are the: Property tax, Severance Taxes and gasoline tax. Rep. Taylor said the plan also protects the poorer New Mexicans by offering up to 100% tax refunds. “This is the only bill that we have seen that considers the basic principles of taxation: adequacy, equity, efficiency, and simplicity,” Rep. Taylor said.

Senator Mark Moores (R-Albuquerque) will be on KCHF TV Channel 11’s “Issues and Answers with Diane Kinderwater”  the following dates and times:

Senator Mark Moores – “Midsession”

Thursday, February 21, 2013 – 4:30 pm

Friday, March 1, 2013 – 10:00 am

Sunday, March 3, 2013 – 11:00 pm

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Senate Passed No Skills, Knowledge Test for

Hired Custom Harvester Drivers

“Helps farm neighbors be neighborly.”

SB 202 – Farm-Related Industries Driver’s License

Senator Cliff R. Pirtle

(Santa Fe) The New Mexico Senate Passed SB 202.  It now goes to the House for consideration. The sponsor of the bill,   Senator Cliff Pirtle (R-Roswell) wants to correct an oversight in the law that treats the drivers of hired custom harvesters and commercial farm and ranch operators that travel the back roads of New Mexico within 150 miles of the owner’s farm or ranch differently.

Senator Pirtle’s SB 202 would grant the hired custom harvesters the ability to receive the same  exemptions that  farm and ranchers  currently receive.

“Under this correction in the law, all harvesters- for hire or private- will be treated the same and will enjoy the same exemptions. They will be able to get the new CDL C class license,” Senator Pirtle said. “In addition to their own fields, this will help farmers harvest their neighbor’s fields without having to take the knowledge and skills test. It helps farm neighbors be neighborly.”

Pirtle’s bill adds a new section to the motor vehicle code to allow employees of certain farm-related service industries to obtain restricted commercial driver’s licenses, if they meet all of the qualifications for that license, without having to take commercial driver’s license (CDL) knowledge and skills tests.

Senate Passed No Skills, Knowledge Test for

Hired Custom Harvester Drivers

“Helps farm neighbors be neighborly.”

SB 202 – Farm-Related Industries Driver’s License

Senator Cliff R. Pirtle

(Santa Fe) The New Mexico Senate Passed SB 202.  It now goes to the House for consideration. The sponsor of the bill,   Senator Cliff Pirtle (R-Roswell) wants to correct an oversight in the law that treats the drivers of hired custom harvesters and commercial farm and ranch operators that travel the back roads of New Mexico within 150 miles of the owner’s farm or ranch differently.

Senator Pirtle’s SB 202 would grant the hired custom harvesters the ability to receive the same  exemptions that  farm and ranchers  currently receive.

“Under this correction in the law, all harvesters- for hire or private- will be treated the same and will enjoy the same exemptions. They will be able to get the new CDL C class license,” Senator Pirtle said. “In addition to their own fields, this will help farmers harvest their neighbor’s fields without having to take the knowledge and skills test. It helps farm neighbors be neighborly.”

Pirtle’s  bill adds a new section to the motor vehicle code to allow employees of certain farm-related service industries to obtain restricted commercial driver’s licenses, if they meet all of the qualifications for that license, without having to take commercial driver’s license (CDL) knowledge and skills tests.

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Committee Action today and last night on the following Senate Republican Bills:

SB 316 (RUE) TEACHER LICENSING & PERFORMANCE RATINGS Tabled  SEC 5-4

SB 302a (BRANDT) HOME & CHARTER SCHOOL STUDENT PROGRAM UNITS DPa SEC 6-0 Next to SFC

Last Night:

SPAC  SB 411  [Ryan]  CHILD ABUSE & ABANDONMENT REPORTING  DP 6-1  Yes: Brandt, Candelaria, Griggs, Ivey-Soto, Keller, O’Neill  No: Ortiz y Pino  Next: SJC

SPAC  SB 413 [Neville]  LOCAL SUBSTITUTE CARE REVIEW BOARDS  Tabled.  Will work on during the Interim.

SPAC  SB 410 [Brandt]  DWIS FOR HABITUAL OFFENDER SENTENCING  DP 6/1  Yes:  Brandt, Candelaria, Griggs, Ivey-Soto, Keller, O’Neill  NO:  Ortiz y Pino  Next:  SJC

SPAC  SB 409 [Brandt] – INCREASE PENALTIES FOR MULTIPLE DWIs  DP 6-0  Next SJC

SB 94 PENALTIES FOR NO BOAT FLOATATION DEVICES (Sharer) SCONC DP 8-0  Next to SJC

SB 175 UTILITY COMPANY FIRST RIGHT OF REFUSAL (Leavell) SCONC DP 8-0  NEXT TO SJC

SB 321 UTILITY CHARGES FOR CERTAIN SCHOOLS (Payne) DP SCONC next to SCORC

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For Immediate Release Tuesday, February 19, 2013 Contact: 986-4702

New Mexico State Senate Republican Office

The Senate and Senate Committees took action on the following bills today.

Senate Passed:

SB 39- College District Bonds for Hard & Software- Sen. Rue- 39-1 SB 39 provides a new source of funding for computer hardware and software for community colleges by adding those purchases to eligible uses of funds borrowed under the College District Tax Act (debt-service mill

SB 140/a NM Poison & Drug Information Center- Sen.  Moores-38-0 SB 140a formalizes the NMPDIC in statute and outlines program responsibilities consistent with contemporary

United States poison centers and mandates that the program continue to meet American Association of Poison

SB 180/a  Trust Company Certificate Fees and Requirements- Sen. Neville- 39-0 SB 180 would raise the minimum paid-up capital requirements for newly organized trust companies from

Committee Action-

SB 443 GOVERNMENT PROCUREMENT REQUIREMENTS (RUE) SCORC DP (7-0) on to SJC

SB 412a UPDATE MODEL ACTS OF INSURANCE CODE (LEAVELL) SCORC DP (7-0) on to SJC

SB0466 Senator Neville passed SJC 6-0 ADDITIONAL JUDGESHIPS goes to SFC

SB0258a Senator Burt’s PROFFESSIONAL LICENSES FOR MILITARY & SPOUSES passed SJC DP  6-0 goes to SFloor

SB0176 SJC DP 6-0 goes to SFloor SUBDIVISIONS ACT DEFINITIONS Senator Beffort’s bill

SB   54  (BEFFORT) LOCAL GOVERNMENT PLANNING FUND SFC DP 7-0 next to Sfloor

SB  173 (MOORES)   STATE FINANCIAL REGULATION FUND SFC DP 6-0 next to Sfloor

SB  301 (BRANDT) NM SCHOLARS ACT SCHOLARSHIP ELIGIBILITY SFC DP  7-0 next to Sfloor

Editor – This information was submitted by Diane Kinderwater of the New Mexico State Senate Republican Office

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rationalized Science

Posted on 19. Feb, 2013 by Stephan Helgesen in Social/Cultural

So convenient a thing it is to be a rational creature, since it enables us to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do. — Benjamin Franklin, Autobiography

Otto von Bismarck was the great Prussian minister who unified Germany during the second half of the nineteenth century.  Of laws, he once said:  Law is like sausage—if you like it, you should not watch it being made.

I spent almost twenty years in Washington, DC, watching our government grind out sausage.  In this process, influence is vital.  This explains why like-minded people band together into groups with impressive names like “The Union of Concerned Scientists,” “Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility,” and “Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy.”  The implication associated with these names is obvious:  if you disagree with the members of such organizations you are unconcerned, irresponsible, or insane.

Now New Mexico has its own organization of “New Mexicans for Science and Reason.”  At the risk of being branded irrational and anti-science, I would like to take issue with a couple of claims made by David Thomas, president of this organization, in his Op-Ed “Writer Wrong on Climate Change” (Albuquerque Journal, Feb 4, p. A11).

Thomas’s Op Ed is a critique of an earlier article published in the Journal—E. Thomas McClanahan, “‘Climate Change’ Fearmongers Lose Ground to Data,” (Journal, 25 Jan, A9).  In response to McClanahan’s comment about there being a “lack of significant warming since 1998,” David Thomas wrote:  “This is simply wrong — there has been significant climatological warming since that year. The word ‘climate’ refers to a multi-year average, and the climatic average temperature is significantly higher now than it was in 1998.”

I am not quite sure what semantics game Thomas is playing with his comment about what has transpired since 1998.  However, in November of last year, the UK Daily Mail reported that the British Met Office’s Hadley Centre and the Climatic Research Unit of East Anglia University jointly released figures showing “that from the beginning of 1997 until August 2012 there was no discernible rise in aggregate global temperatures.”

Even before the release of the UK data, two leading American climatologists had already noted that there had been no global warming for about a decade and a half.  These climatologists are Richard S. Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Judith Curry, head of the climatology department at the Georgia Institute of Technology.  As long ago as 2008, Lindzen reported that there had been “no warming since 1997 and no statistically significant warming since 1995.”

Curry’s position on global warming was highlighted more recently as a result of a report from a study group headed by Professor Richard Muller, a physicist from the University of California-Berkeley.  Muller’s study concluded that the earth’s temperature had increased by 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit in the last two hundred-plus years.

This conclusion was well-reported in the press.  Less well reported is the fact that Muller was and continued to be skeptical about the role of human activities as a cause of this increase.  Furthermore, Muller noted that even if this warming is caused by human activity, there is virtually nothing the U.S. can do to abate its effects, given the growing carbon emissions produced by the expanding economies of India and China.

Another major point missing from some of the coverage of Muller’s report is Professor Curry’s dissatisfaction with reports of the Muller committee’s findings.  Curry, who was a member of Muller’s panel, held that the publicity surrounding the Muller study had mischaracterized its results by saying that this study should end skepticism about global warming.

In fact, Curry noted, the Muller study had pointed up a major anomaly for those who might still believe that the earth is warming and that this warming is caused by human use of fossil fuels: there had been no increase in the global temperature since 1998 in spite of the fact that carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas that is considered the major cause of global warming, has continued to increase.

Regarding the continuing increase of CO2, the Journal featured an article in June of last year with the following sensationalist headline:  “Levels of Carbon Dioxide Troubling” (Journal, June 1, 2012, p. A9).  The article featured a number of lamentations from various supporters of global warming.

Yet, the data on increasing CO2 when combined with the stabilization of global temperatures over the past decade and a half call into question any direct cause-and-effect linkage between carbon dioxide and global warming.  This in turn suggests that the continued use of fossil fuels will not produce the catastrophic results predicted by global warming zealots like Al Gore.

Thomas’s article also raises questions about how global warming advocates view the nature of the scientific process.  At one point, he claims that “the great majority of scientists” involved in climate research hold that “humans are causing most if not all global warming by releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.”  Leaving aside questions about the size of this majority, assuming it exists, let’s look briefly at the role majorities might have played in the history of science.

For one thing, had the majority prevailed in 1543 when Nicolas Copernicus published his classic Revolution of the Heavenly Orbs, astronomers would have continued to adhere to a geocentric concept of the universe.  Had the majority prevailed in 1603 when Johanne Kepler published his New Astronomy, astronomers would have rejected Kepler’s elliptical planetary orbits and continued to explain planetary motion by using the circles on circles employed by the ancient astronomer Ptolemy.

Had the majority prevailed in 1789 when Antoine Lavoisier put forward the oxygen theory of combustion, scientists would have continued believing that combustion was produced by the release of phlogiston from the substance being burned.

Regarding those who have accepted the idea of anthropogenic global warming and malign anyone who disagrees with their views, I would remind them of the words of J. B. S. Haldane:  “To sum up, science has owed its wonderful progress very largely to the habit of doubting all theories, even those on which one’s action is founded.”

This article was submitted by Donald Baucom


 

 

Obama’s energy plans—triumph or tragedy

Posted on 18. Feb, 2013 by Stephan Helgesen in Energy/Environment

The State of the Union Address (SOTUA) is now last week’s history. Nearly every aspect of it has been fully dissected. For example, the National Taxpayers Union (NTU) has done a line-by-line analysis of what they call the “most expensive and widest ranging State of the Union Address yet.” They found that the “quantifiable agenda items” in the President’s proposals “weighed in at $83.4 billion.”

The NTU called the efforts to combat climate change the “most costly single agenda item”—citing a “version of the ‘cap-and-trade’ bill to which Obama referred in his speech was priced at $282.4 billion total, or $56.5 billion per year.” The SOTUA specifically calls for “a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change, like the one John McCain and Joe Lieberman worked on together a few years ago.”

I’ve listened to and watched the coverage. I’ve not heard anyone address this one line from the speech—maybe it’s been covered and I just missed it. If so, maybe you missed it, too.

“I’m also issuing a new goal for America: Let’s cut in half the energy wasted by our homes and businesses over the next 20 years.”

On the surface, it sounds innocent enough. No one wants “waste”—especially not wasted energy. To fully understand the impact of the simple statement, you have to read the supporting document released coincidentally with the SOTUA: The President’s Plan for A Strong Middle Class & A Strong America.

Within the plan, we find the following: “doubling American energy productivity by 2030, starting with a new Energy Efficiency Race to the Top for states: The President is laying out a bold but achievable goal to slash energy waste through increased efficiency.”

This whole energy efficiency idea came from the Energy 2030 report recently released by the Alliance Commission on National Energy Efficiency Policy. The idea is that “energy productivity, or the amount of economic output possible at a given level of energy supply, increases as does efficiency, thereby allowing us to do more with less energy.”

Kateri Callahan, president of the Alliance to Save Energy, which spearheaded Energy 2030, said the following in response to Obama’s inclusion of their ideas: “We very much welcome that the administration embraced some of the recommendations.”

Addressing the line in question, energy writer Elisa Wood said: “It will take some serious work to achieve the goal. We must upgrade energy infrastructure, adopt advanced technologies, educate and motivate consumers, and institute a favorable regulatory climate, the commission said. These steps will cost hundreds of billions of dollars, but the potential exists to capture a trillion dollars in energy savings.”

Again, efficiency, on its own, is a laudable goal. The inclusion of this comment in the SOTUA—which most agree the “laundry list” of dreams will never happen—does represent Obama’s ideology of pushing less energy usage.

This is troubling because it is widely accepted that energy consumption and economic growth go hand-in-hand. A successful country uses more energy. For example, one of the reasons the US is using less gasoline is that so many people are unemployed. They are not driving to and from work every day. They are not taking long driving vacations. They are hunkered down. Heavy manufacturing requires abundant, available, and affordable energy.

Energy is one of manufacturing’s biggest expenses. But because of closed factories, we are actually using less electricity in the industrial sector than we did in 2000.

If the President truly wants to bring manufacturing back to America, as he claims, instead of pushing for less energy use, he should be working to make available as much low-cost energy as possible. But he is pushing for more “clean energy”—which is also many times more expensive, as Americans are beginning to see on their utility bills.

The problem with the whole “efficiency” argument can be found, in part, in Wood’s comment:  it will “cost hundreds of billions of dollars.”

News flash! We are in the worst economic crisis of most of our lifetimes. We have a spending problem. We do not have an energy problem—especially not an electricity problem (and the Energy 2030 report focuses primarily on electricity).

Within our borders, we have enough coal, natural gas, and uranium (to fuel nuclear power plants) to power a strong, growing American economy for 300 years. Instead of promoting our abundant fuels, our president is ideologically bound to promoting energy that is inefficient, ineffective and uneconomical—while threatening our best competitive advantage in the global marketplace: low-cost energy.

If what I am positing here is incorrect, the Keystone pipeline would be approved (I do not think it will be—but I hope I am wrong); the EPA would be directed to dial back on the threat of a fracking ban—allowing the states to manage their own regulations, as they currently do; liquefied natural gas export terminals would be approved; modern super critical coal-fueled power plants would be built and older plants, that are burning so much cleaner today than they were 40 years ago, would be allowed to live out their productive lives instead of being shut down prematurely; Nuclear power plants would be built where they are the best choice; new refineries would be permitted—replacing the Rube Goldberg contraptions that need frequent maintenance that we are currently limping by on; federal lands would be opened up for access to our oil and natural gas resources that can be extracted with precision; the endangered species act wouldn’t be used to block energy development, including copper mining; and so-called “investments” in expensive green energy—that line the pockets of the President’s friends—would be curtailed (after all, we do already know how to make electricity from the wind and the sun, if we ever really need it, and we can take the technology off the shelf and implement it); and the economy would be booming—à la North Dakota.

Sadly, America is heading the other direction—pushing for reduced energy usage. What would the United States look like in a reduced energy environment?

At best, check out Europe. At worst, just ask the passengers of the cruise ship Triumph who had to sleep outdoors in a makeshift tent city because there wasn’t electricity for air conditioning, who ate raw food because there was no way to cook it, and who had to use plastic bags as toilets because there was no way to process the waste. A life without energy is no triumph—it is a tragedy.

This article was submitted by the author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon, who serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.


 

 

 

 

Childhood’s End

Posted on 18. Feb, 2013 by Stephan Helgesen in Politics, Social/Cultural, Uncategorized

In 1953, Arthur C. Clarke published a science fiction novel titled Childhood’s End.  In this work, Clark gave us a Teilhard de Chardinian vision of humanity’s future.  In Clarke’s work, the consciousness of certain advanced humans merged to form a new superconsciousness that departed earth in a spectacular pulse of energy, presumably for an eternal pilgrimage through the infinite cosmos.  The departure of this spirit leaves the earth a dead husk.

Under the Progressive vision for the future, childhood ends in a different way.  Progressives regularly urge an earlier and earlier start for government run educational programs.  As a result, we now speak of “‘cradle-to-career’ education” in our public discourse on national policies.  This would entail starting (mandatory?) public education when a child reaches four years of age.

Although research indicates that all advantages to an early start in school are washed out by the time a child reaches the third grade, progressives would increase this program from its current level that includes only 25% of children to 90%.  This would greatly increase the cost of public education for what may be virtually no improvement in educational achievement.

But there could be another, perhaps more troubling, aspect of the idea of an earlier start to the public educational process.  It removes children from the influence of their families at an earlier age and places them under the control and influence of government-run educational programs.

Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World constitutes a chilling look at where all of this could lead, especially when “cradle-to-career” education is combined with the collapse of the family and advances in the science of in vitro fertilization.

In Huxley’s dystopia, the idea of natural birth has become anathema.  Sex is free as long as one does not develop a preference for a particular partner.  Not only does the union of sperm and egg take place in vitro, but the resulting fetus also develops in vitro.  The development of fetuses is controlled to produce people of various intelligence levels to provide workers and managers for the various tasks required by the economy and society.

One of the most chilling aspects of Huxley’s book is his description of the conditioning of young children who are raised in government facilities.  For one thing, they are taken into hospitals to view those who are dying as part of the program to inure them to the process of dying.

Having been raised in a loving, extended family, I can scarcely view the prospects for the future of childhood as anything other than bleak.  Moreover, the prospects for humanity’s future dims with the demise of a traditional childhood, if we are to believe psychologist Carl Jung, who warned us that as we move farther and farther from our natural roots we become increasingly disoriented.

Soon, we shall have reached a point in this process in which we can no longer return to a saner, safer culture, for we have become like the Nietzchean superman who not only burns his bridges, but destroys the land behind him as he sets sail on a dark, unknown sea.

This article was submitted by Don Baucom


 

 

 

Recent News from the Legislature courtesy of New Mexico State Senate Republican Office

Posted on 18. Feb, 2013 by Stephan Helgesen in Politics

Senate Passes 34-6 Economic Relief for NM Restaurants and Taverns by extending Sunday Sales

Senate Passed 34-6

SB 154 Hours of Sunday Alcohol Sales

Sponsor: Senator John Ryan

Video and audio at: http://youtu.be/UNU6bgfmZ1w

Santa Fe— The New Mexico State Senate today passed a bill to make New Mexico restaurants and taverns more competitive with neighboring states so they can boost their business by allowing them to serve liquor such as champagne with Sunday brunch  at 10:00 a.m. rather than noon as the law currently permits.  The sponsor of SB 154- Hours of Sunday Alcohol Sales, Senator John Ryan (R-Albuquerque)  said all alcohol would be allowed to be served beginning at 10:00 a.m. as a way to not discourage business in New Mexico.

“This is a good business bill,” Senator Ryan said. “We have a lot of tourists from all over the world who come here expecting to have champagne with their Sunday brunch only to find alcoholic beverages can’t be served until noon.  The sports bars which cater to the sports enthusiasts who want to watch Sunday football games are not able to serve their patrons until noon. This bill will help increase business on Sunday mornings by allowing liquor to be served at a reasonable time. More business and more employment could be the result.

SB 154 changes the legal start of Sunday sales by the drink for alcoholic beverages in a licensed restaurant or bar from noon to 10:00 a.m.

Senator Ryan said many bars and taverns buy NFL packages that attract customers early to their businesses but they are unable to buy alcoholic beverages until noon.  He said many tourists who come to the state for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta and for snow skiing might be more likely to spend more money if this bill becomes law.

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For Immediate Release  Thursday, February 14, 2013 Contact: 505-986-4702

New Mexico State Senate Republican Office

Committees took action Thursday PM  Feb. 14, 2013 on the following Republican Senate Bills:

SB9aa Neville STATE INVESTMENT COUNCIL CHANGES DP SFC 8-0 to Sfloor;

SB39 Rue COLLEGE DISTRICT BONDS FOR HARDWARE & SOFTWARE DP SFC 8-0 to Sfloor

SB86CS Beffort PUBLIC EMPLOYEE AVERAGE SALARY CALCULATIONS DP SFC 7-0 to Sfloor

SJM 1  Rue – Family Friendly Workplace Task Force DP 6/0  Next to Senate Floor

SPAC: SB 335 (Ingle:  Assisted Living Facility Contract Refunds)  DP 5/0  onto SJC

SPAC:  SB 304 Payne:  2nd Degree Murder Prosecution Time Limit  No Rec 5/2 to SJC

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For Immediate Release Thursday, February 14, 2013 Contact: 505-986-4702

New Mexico State Senate Republican Office

Senate Passed Bill to Save

State-Owned Man’s Best Friend from Being Destroyed or Possibly Being Auctioned off to Drug Dealers

Committee sub for SB-139a  Disposition of State-Owned Animals

Senator Mark Moores (R-Albuquerque)

SCONC DP 6-0 Next to the Senate Floor

(Santa Fe) The New Mexico State Senate this afternoon passed unanimously a bill to save man’s best friend who has retired after serving the state from being destroyed or from being auctioned off.  The committee substitute from SB 139s gives the dogs the opportunity to find a loving home with its trainer rather than take the chance the former K-9 could be auctioned off to a drug dealer. The K-9 would be protected under a bill sponsored by Senator Mark Moores (R-Albuquerque.)

Senator Moores’ bill provides that police dogs that have worked for both State Police and for the Corrections Department be offered first to their trainers or handlers free of charge when they retire from the force.  The police dogs known as K-9 dogs would then be offered to a non-profit organization if they are not a threat to public safety.

“It just makes sense that these well trained dogs be allowed to live with their trainers once their work for the state is completed,” Senator Moores said. “Currently, these dogs are treated like all other state owned property, they are auctioned off or destroyed like an old computer or rundown vehicle.”

Senator Moores said many of the dogs had been trained as drug sniffing dogs and he does not want them auctioned off to unknown criminals.  “We do not want to take the chance these drug sniffing dogs be auctioned to drug dealers, that would be bad for the dogs and terrible for the state,” Senator Moores said. “These hard working dogs deserve to stay with the trainers they have bonded with over the years.”

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For Immediate Release Thursday, February 14, 2013 Contact: 505-986-4702

New Mexico State Senate Republican Office

Keep on Track or Risk

Losing Driver’s License

SB 393- Early Intervention to Prevent Drop Outs

Senator Craig Brandt

Desired Outcomes:

Increase Graduation Rates, Better preparation for college or career

Serve as Early Warning System- ID students at risk, immediate intervention

Prevent Dropouts-student, parent, principal agree after exit interview, sign statement- Can only drop out due to financial hardship, illness, court

If no exit interview or exceed habitual truancy – at risk of losing driver’s privilege

Santa Fe- Senator Craig Brandt, a former School Board member from one of the state’s high schools with the best graduation rates, is sponsoring a bill to prevent school drop outs throughout the state.  SB 393 is designed to increase graduation rates and decrease the number of dropouts by better preparing students for success in college and in their careers. If students do not take some of the steps to prevent them from dropping out, they are at risk of losing their driver’s privileges.

SB 393 sets up an early warning system of those who are at risk of dropping out and provides for  immediate intervention to keep them on track with the Next Step Plan.

An intervention similar program has been implemented in the Rio Rancho School District and has contributed to their growth in its graduation rate.

“Identify students at risk and getting them the immediate support they need to get back on track was successful in Rio Rancho and can make a huge difference across the state,” Senator Brandt said. “There is so much hope for our students and their futures if the legislature has the courage to make these critical improvements. If the students do not go along with the efforts to help keep them in school, they could lose their driver’s permit or license. That could keep them on track.”

The data used in early warning system to identify students at risk include: 3rd grade reading proficiency rates; multiple discipline referrals; habitual truancy rates in grades 6 –9; 9th grade GPA below 1.5; and failure of any core courses during grades 6 –9.

Under the proposed changes, students would only be able to drop out of school if they are between 16 and under 18 if the students, parents, principals agree after exit interview conducted by the school.  All of them would also have to sign statement acknowledging that dropping out will reduce the student’s earning potential.  And the changes would only allow withdrawal from school due to the student’s financial hardship, illness, if there is a court order that has jurisdiction over the student.

If a student drops out without completing the exit interview or if a student exceeds the habitually truancy rate between grades 8-12, they might lose their driving privileges during the second year of the plan’s implementation.

The above information was submitted by the State of New Mexico Republican Senate Office. For more information, contact: 505-986-4702

 

New Legislative Update

Posted on 09. Feb, 2013 by Stephan Helgesen in Politics

For Immediate Release  Friday, February 08, 2013 Contact: 505-986-4702

New Mexico State  Senate Republican Office

Committees took action Friday PM  Feb. 8, 2013on the following Republican Senate Bills:

SCORC SB 85 OUT-OF-STATE PURCHASER GROSS RECEIPTS (Beffort) DP (7-0)  on to SFC

SB 347 ACCESS DEVICE DATA ACT (Rue) DP (8-0)

SB 79cs SJC  DP 9-0 Sponsor Rue ELECTRONIC PROFESSIONAL LICENSE RENEWAL goes to Senate Floor

SB 77 SJC DP   7-3    Sponsor: Rue EMS PROVIDER BACKGROUND CHECKS goes to Senate Floor

From Friday AM:

SB 39 Rue COLLEGE DISTRICT BONDS FOR HARD & SOFTWARE DP SEC 8-0 Next to SFC

SB 115 Ingle EDUCATIONAL RETIREMENT CHANGES DP Unanimous SEC Next to SFC

SB 57 Beffort UNM HEALTH CENTER NURSING ENROLLMENT w/o rec SEC 9-0 Next to SFC

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For Immediate Release Friday, February 8, 2013 Contact: 986-4702

New Mexico Senate Minority Office

On to Senate Floor- Background Checks for EMTs

“This is a public trust and safety issue.”

Senate Bill 77- Criminal Background Checks for EMTs

Senator Sander Rue

On to Senate Floor, passed SJC 7-3,  DP 8-0 from SPAC

“This is a public trust and safety issue,” Senator Sander Rue said of SB 77. “This bill was created to increase public health and safety for New Mexicans seeking emergency medical services.” Senator Rue said helpless people needing emergency care in their homes or at the scene of an accident can feel more confident that the emergency medical technician (EMT) or paramedic  touching them is not a convicted criminal like a child molester,  if  SB 77  becomes law.

Senate Sander Rue of Albuquerque is sponsoring SB77 that would require EMTs, paramedics and all of those licensed under the Emergency Medical Services Act to pass qualified background checks in order to be licensed in the state of New Mexico.

“People needing emergency care in their homes are in a very helpless situation. They need to feel confident that the people they are allowing into their homes when they are most vulnerable, are not criminals that could do them more harm. A background check for EMTs could easily identify areas of concern in an EMTs background,” Senator Rue said. “People deserve to feel at ease that the person rendering assistance has had a thorough background check.”

Senator Rue’s bill would require applicants and licensees under the Emergency Medical Services Act to submit to nationwide criminal background checks. The bill also requires the applicants and licenses pay for the background checks and fingerprinting for a fee of $52.50.

The fingerprints would be sent to the FBI for a national criminal history background check and to the Department of Public Safety for a state criminal history. The requirement needs to be placed in statute in order for the FBI to give out this background information.  The bill also requires that criteria be established regarding what information from the background checks may form the basis of denial, suspension or revocation of a license or any other disciplinary action.   There is also a provision allowing for appeals under the Uniform Licensing Act.

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For Immediate Release  Friday, February 08, 2013  Contact: 505-986-4702

New Mexico State Senate Republican Office

No Skills, Knowledge Test for

Hired Custom Harvester Drivers

“Helps farm neighbors be neighborly.”

SB 202 – Farm-Related Industries Driver’s License

Senator Cliff R. Pirtle

Video and Audio Avail: http://youtu.be/4v3xwTvAggY

(Santa Fe) Senator Cliff Pirtle (R-Roswell) wants to correct an oversight in the law that treats the drivers of hired custom harvesters and commercial farm and ranch operators that travel the back roads of New Mexico within 150 miles of the owners farm or ranch differently.

Senator Pirtle’s SB 202 would grant the hired custom harvesters the ability to receive the same exemptions that  farm and ranchers  currently receive.

“Under this correction in the law, all harvesters- for hire or private- will be treated the same and will enjoy the same exemptions. They will be able to get the new CDL C class license,” Senator Pirtle said. “In addition to their own fields, this will help farmers harvest their neighbor’s fields without having to take the knowledge and skills test. It helps farm neighbors be neighborly.”

Pirtle’s bill adds a new section to the motor vehicle code to allow employees of certain farm-related service industries to obtain restricted commercial driver’s licenses, if they meet all of the qualifications for that license, without having to take commercial driver’s license (CDL) knowledge and skills tests.

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For Immediate Release   February 8, 2013  Contact:  505-986-4702

New Mexico Senate Minority Office

Ensure Clean Water by Maintaining Clean Water Tanks

Senate Minority Caucus Chair’s Bill to do that

Senate Passed  39-0 : Senate Floor Substitute for SB 93 – City Water Storage Tank Contractors

Senator Steven P. Neville

Video-Audio avail at: http://youtu.be/Z8cpM0Rz1z4

Santa Fe—It is a simple premise. Clean water needs to be stored in clean water tanks in order to remain clean.  Unmaintained rusty, grimy, dirty water tanks store…you guessed it…what ends up being rusty, grimy, dirty water.  Senate Minority Caucus Chair Steve Neville is sponsoring a bill to better ensure that New Mexico communities are able to clean, repair and maintain their water tanks in a timely manner that won’t bust the bank. A simple change in the current law will help do this.

His bill SB 93-City Water Storage Tank Contractors- will allow communities to hire on a contractual basis companies to maintain their water tanks over a period of years rather than require all the maintenance be completed and paid for in one year as current law requires. A floor substitute for the bill that made a slight change from the municipal code to the purchasing act passed 39 to 0.

Senator Neville said a former mayor of Farmington brought the problem to his attention. “It will be more manageable for our communities to be able to have what ends up as being a maintenance agreement paid for over several years rather than what we have now. Now we have what is in essence a capital project that needs to be paid for in one year. Can you imagine what is happening  to their budgets, or to the quality of their drinking water when some of our smaller communities need to clean and repair more than one water tank at upwards of $500,000 a tank and they cannot afford it?” Senator Neville said.

He said the New Mexico Municipal League supports this legislation and has adopted Resolution 2012-9 in support. “There could also be a cost savings to our communities by using multi-year contracts,” Neville said.

This bill enacts a new section of the municipal code to allow a municipality to contract for water storage tank maintenance through direct negotiations or by request for proposals. Current law does not allow municipalities to procure and enter into multi-year agreements for water tank maintenance. Allowing a municipality to enter into a multi-year agreement would allow for a more comprehensive and consistent maintenance system with one contractor being

Responsible for maintenance rather than multiple contractors for specific tasks.

Currently, 41 states now allow municipalities to enter into multi-year professional services agreements for tank maintenance.

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For Immediate Release Friday, February 08, 2013  Contact: 505-986-4702

New Mexico State Senate Republican Office

New Twist to Deterring Corrupt Officials-

Throw ‘em out and take their Cash

AG and SOS support bill

SB 238 – Removal From Public Office for Felonies

Senator Mark Moores

Audio and Video Avail at: http://youtu.be/eRgGFAskbl0

(Santa Fe) There is a new twist to deterring an old problem. What to do with a corrupt government official who will not leave office.

“Throw them out of office immediately upon a felony conviction and turn over their campaign funds to the state,” that is a solution offered by State Senator Mark Moores (R-Albuquerque) in his SB 238- Removal from Public Office for Felonies. It is a solution supported by both the Attorney General and the Secretary of State.

Unlike many other anti-corruption initiatives before it, Senator Moores’ bill extends the removal from public office to cabinet secretaries and to anyone appointed to a public board or commission.

“Under my bill, there will be no question about what to do with the seat of an elected public official, cabinet secretary or an appointee who has been convicted of a felony while in office,” Senator Moores said. “The corrupt and disgraced public leader shall be deemed to have resigned from that office immediately upon conviction and the office will be deemed vacant. Plus, all funds belonging to that person’s campaign committee then shall be subject to forfeiture to the general fund to be used for the benefit of the public.”

Under SB 238 a “Public office” is defined to mean any elected office, any cabinet position, or any appointed position on a public board or commission.

The State Attorney General, Gary K. King, supports SB 238 and thanked Senator Moores for sponsoring it.  “I am pleased to support it. Your proposal is consistent with other public corruption initiatives I have supported and pursed…I believe it is a good addition to current law.”

Senator Moores said the Secretary of State’s (SOS)  office states that it “supports the public policy regarding the forfeiture of campaign funds upon a felony conviction.”

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For Immediate Release  Friday, February 8, 2013  Contact: 505-986-4702

New Mexico State Senate Republican Office

Cell Phones to become like Smuggled-in Guns and Drugs in prison- Contraband

Bill to Ban Cell Phones from Being Brought Into Prison Cells

On Senate Floor Calendar This Afternoon

SB 40aa – No Electronic Communications in Jails

Senator Sander Rue

(Santa Fe) Cell phones and other electronic devices are contraband, just like smuggled in guns, drugs, and drug paraphernalia,   if they are brought into a jail or prison for the purpose of giving them to an inmate under an amended bill sponsored by State Senator Sander Rue (R-Albuquerque.)

“The purpose of the bill is to prevent inmates from using cell phones to continue to engage in criminal activity like drug trafficking from their cells,” Senator Rue said. “This law is to deter family members, friends or even correctional staff from giving inmates cell phones. Cell phones and other electronic devices will be added to the list of contraband that includes guns, drugs and drug paraphernalia. The law needs to keep up with the ever-changing technology.”

Senator Rue said the purpose of the bill is not to criminally punish visitors or staff who accidently or inadvertently bring cell phones into a jail or prison.

The bill adds “electronic communication or recording device” to the list of contraband not to be brought into a correctional facility. The bill defines “electronic communication or recording device” as excluding “a device that is or will be used by prison or jail personnel in the regular course of business or that is otherwise authorized by the warden”.

Cell phones and electronic communications or recording devices will be added to the list of items considered contraband. It will now be a third degree felony to bring an electronic device into a prison and a fourth degree felony to bring an electronic device into a jail.

Senator Rue said in the past year, 17 employees were caught with cell phones in NMCD prisons without advance permission, violating NMCD policy. Additionally, 9 cell phones were confiscated from inmates. “It is reasonably assumed that the inmates got the cell phones from either a visitor or a correctional employee and that has to stop for the safety of the correctional facility and for the public,” Senator Rue said.

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For Immediate Release Thursday, February 07, 2013 Contact: 505-986-4702

New Mexico State Senate Republican Office

SB 258 Professional Licenses for Military and Spouses- passed SPAC 7-0, on to SJC

Senator Bill Burt-(R-Alamogordo)

Santa Fe- A bill that encourages members of the military and their spouses to live and work in New Mexico by giving them a break on obtaining professional licenses in the state in headed to the Senate Judiciary Committee after the Senate Public Affairs Committee passed it unanimously this afternoon.

Senator Bill Burt (R-Alamogordo) sponsored SB 258 Professional Licenses for Military and Spouses- allows expedited occupational and professional licensing of military service member, spouses of military service members and veterans who are licensed in other states.

“For all people wanting to live and work in New Mexico, the state should process their professional and occupational license applications in a timely manner,” Senator Burt said. “Members of the military who are active duty or recent veterans and their spouses who have obtained occupational licenses in other states or jurisdictions should receive reciprocity with those licenses so we encourage them to live and work in New Mexico without causing them much delay.”

Senator Burt’s bill calls for issuing a license to a qualified applicant who submits satisfactory evidence that the applicant holds a license that is current and in good standing and that the licensing requirements are substantially equivalent to the licensing requirements for that occupation or profession in New Mexico. In additional to cities and states, jurisdictions in the bill could include a branch of the United States Armed Forces.

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New Mexico Republican Senators Updated Website and Facebook Page Up and Running “Make them your favorites!”

(Santa Fe)  Our newly updated “New Mexico Republican Senators” website and Facebook page have recently been published onto the World Wide Web. This year’s new look features our seven  newly elected Senators and our 10 veteran Senators along with their biographies, videos, new releases, and photos.

To visit the website visit:  www.newmexicorepublicansenators.com

While logged into the website, click on the link to our newly created “New Mexico Republican Senators” Facebook page.  If you enjoyed the visit, don’t forget to click “like”.

You can go directly to the Facebook page by clicking here:

https://www.facebook.com/NewMexicoRepublicanStateSenators#!/NewMexicoRepublicanStateSenators

Republican Senate Minority Communications Director, Diane Kinderwater said, “Remember to make them your favorites!”

Editor – The preceding were submitted by Diane Kinderwater of the New Mexico State Senate Republican Office

 

Latest Legislative Update

Posted on 07. Feb, 2013 by Stephan Helgesen in Politics

Bill to Speed up Background Checks Prior to Placing Children in Emergencies on to Senate Floor

SB 141 Background Checks for CYFD Emergency Placements

Senator Sander Rue

Do Pass 8-1 Senate Judiciary Tonight, on to Senate Floor

Santa Fe— On to the Senate floor is a bill sponsored by State Senator Sander Rue (R-Albuquerque)  to allow the Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) to conduct a federal criminal history records check with the FBI of all adults residing in a home where a child might be placed by the state when there is an emergency and a child is in need of state protection. It would producer faster criminal checks than what CYFD is currently able to attain.

The bill passed out of Senate Judiciary tonight with a vote of 8 to 1.

SB 141 is designed  to improve the safety of children placed in the home of relatives, neighbors or friends in an emergency situation.  If it becomes law, abused and neglected children needing emergency protection from the state would not be placed in a home with a known convicted felon because background checks would be conducted faster than the current process  and prior to a child being  placed in a home.

“We want to ensure that when an emergency arises,  the state places  no child in a home that could be potentially volatile if a felon is living in the home,” Senator Rue said. “The state needs to do everything it can to protect these children that are under its care and we need to be able to do it quickly.  This will allow the state to do instant nationwide name checks through the National Crime Information Center.”  The NCIC conducts a broader, nationwide check to cover what could be potential concerns in the home.

CYFD currently conducts fingerprint-based national criminal records background checks on all foster and adoptive parent applicants, however these checks do not provide immediate results. The bill provides CYFD with more timely access to federal criminal records histories than currently is available.  This information is critical to assessing child safety in the placement.

This bill adds a new section to the Children’s Code permitting the Children Youth and Families Department to request from a criminal justice agency a federal name-based criminal history record check of each adult residing in a home where a child will be placed in an emergency due to the absence of the child’s parents or custodians. The bill also contains provisions for fingerprint-based verification by the department of public safety of name-based checks completed.  The bill contains an emergency clause.

According to Senator Rue, law enforcement may place a child into the emergency protective custody of CYFD when law enforcement believes that a child is abused or neglected and that there is an immediate threat to the child’s safety.  In such circumstances, the parent is unavailable to provide care and protection to the child, and CYFD is responsible for identifying a safe and appropriate placement for the child. Placement options can include appropriate relatives so as to reduce the trauma to the child and preserve family connections.

The bill also establishes provisions for follow-up on any name-based check with a fingerprint-based check within fifteen calendar days from the date of the name-based check.  The bill provides provisions to remove a child from the home immediately if any adult resident in the home fails to provide fingerprints or written permission to perform a federal criminal history record check when requested to do so.  When placement of a child in a home is denied as result of a name-based check and the resident contests the denial, the bill allows the resident to still submit fingerprints with written permission allowing for the fingerprint based check.

For the purpose of this bill, the term “emergency placement”  is defined as instances when CYFD is placing a child in the home of private individuals, including neighbors, friends or relatives as a result of sudden unavailability of the child’s primary caretaker.

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Committees took action Wednesday afternoon and evening on the following Republican Senate Bills:

  • SB 20 Senator Neville- Raise Probation Costs for Defendants- tabled in  Sen. Judiciary 5 to 5

 

  • SB 93 Senator Neville- City Water Storage Tank Contractors- do pass Sen. Judiciary 8-0 goes to Senate Floor

 

  • SB 10 Senator Rue- Notice for Surveys on Law Grants- do pass Sen. Judiciary 8-0

 

  • SB 40/a Senator Rue- No Electronic Communications in Jails  Do Pass Sen. Judiciary 10-0 on to Senate Floor.

 

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Santa Fe- Senator Sue Wilson Beffort (R-Sandia Park) is sponsoring a bill to allow a school employee to carry a concealed handgun on school property.

Currently, state law prohibits anyone from carrying guns on school property except police and school security guards.

Under the Senator’s bill, each school in the state could designate one employee to carry a concealed gun.

“We need to stop a tragedy before it happens,” Wilson Beffort said.

Senator Wilson Beffort said changes have to be made in light of the school shootings across the nation.  Last December, 26 students and school workers were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.

The designated employee must be in possession of a valid concealed handgun license.

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State-Owned Man’s Best Friend-Auction off? Destroy? Live Happily Ever After?

SB-139a  Disposition of State-Owned Animals

Senator Mark Moores (R-Albuquerque)

(Santa Fe) Man’s best friend who has retired after serving the state could now find a loving home with its trainer rather than take the chance the former K-9 could be auctioned off to a drug dealer. The K-9 would be protected  under a bill sponsored by Senator Mark Moores (R-Albuquerque.)

Senator Moores’ bill provides that police dogs that have worked for both State Police and for the Corrections Department be offered first to their trainers or handlers free of charge when they retire from the force.  The police dogs known as K-9 dogs would then be offered to a non-profit organization if they are not a threat to public safety.

“It just makes sense that these well trained dogs be allowed to live with their trainers once their work for the state is completed,” Senator Moores said. “Currently, these dogs are treated like all other state owned property, they are auctioned off or destroyed like an old computer or rundown vehicle.”

Senator Moores said many of the dogs had been trained as drug sniffing dogs and he does not want them auctioned off to unknown criminals.  “We do not want to take the chance these drug sniffing dogs be auctioned to drug dealers, that would be bad for the dogs and terrible for the state,” Senator Moores said. “These hard working dogs deserve to stay with the trainers they have bonded with over the years.”

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Public Schools to be Paid for Teaching Part-time Home Schooled Students

SB 302a Home Student Program Units

Senator Craig Brandt (R-Rio Rancho)

Santa Fe–Home schooled students would be allowed to take one or more classes in all  public schools in the state  and the schools would be able to receive state funding for those part-time home schooled students under a bill sponsored by Senator Craig Brandt (R-Rio Rancho.)

“Currently, not all school districts allow home schoolers to take one or two courses in their schools because the state does not fund those home schoolers,” Senator Brandt said. “That will change under my bill, home schoolers will be allowed to take one or more courses and public school districts will receive funding for those students they teach in their public classrooms. It is only fair.”

Senator Brandt said currently, public schools do not receive any state funding for students who are taught at home.

While a Rio Rancho School Board member, Senator Brandt tried to ensure that all  home schoolers had access to Rio Rancho public schools, but they were denied it by the rest of the school board. “Right now home schoolers cannot take one class in the Rio Rancho school district.  I am committed to working  on this funding issue so all New Mexico public schools will teach all of our children, as required in the State Constitution.

“It will encourage home schoolers to take courses such as chemistry or biology that might be more challenging  to be taught at home while it compensates the schools for taking in these students,” Senator Brandt said. “I believe the students will feel more welcomed in the classroom if the school district receives the additional funding.”

According to the analysis of the bill, SB 302a- Home Student Program Units  amends the Public School Finance Act by adding a new section that allows home schooled students to enroll in classes at traditional public schools and generate additional program units.  The bill allows home school students that take one or more classes at traditional public schools and generate program units by the cost differential factor of 0.25.  The program units generated by this provision are to be paid to the school district in which the student attends. A home schooled student is eligible to enroll in a public school in the attendance zone in which the student resides or in another public school outside the attendance zone as provided in Section 22-1-4 NMSA 1978.   The school district must verify each home schooled  student’s academic and other eligibility to enroll in the class.

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Committees took action today, Wednesday on the following Republican Senate Bills:

SB 216 Ingle ENMU MASTERS OF NURSING PROGRAM DP 8-0 SEC Next to SFC

SB 183 Kernan  REPLACE GED TERMS WITH EQUIVALENCY DIPLOMA DP 8-0 SEC Next to SPAC

SB 150 Kernan ENMU ROBOT WORKSHOP & COMPETITION DP 8-0 SEC NEXT TO SFC

Last night:

SB 182 Procurment Code Changes (Rue; Lucky Varela) SPAC DP 8-0 SJC

SB 185a Woods – FRONTIER COMMUNITIES PROGRAM  – SPAC DP 8/0 Next SFC

SB 247a (Beffort) CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT SERVICES PROCUREMENT – SPAC DP 7/1 For: BRANDT, GRIGGS, IVEY-SOTO, KELLER, KERNAN, O’NEILL, ORTIZ y PINO  No: CANDELARIA

SB 180 (Neville) DP SPAC 6/2  For: Brandt, Griggs, Ivey-Soto, Kernan, O’Neill, Ortiz y Pino  No: Candelaria, Keller  Next: SCORPS

SB 94 PENALTIES FOR NO BOAT FLOATATION DEVICES (SHARER) held over for a later meeting in SCONC

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SB 258 Professional  Licenses for Military and Spouses

Senator Bill Burt-(R-Alamogordo)

Santa Fe- Senator Bill Burt (R-Alamogordo) is sponsoring a bill that encourages members of the military and their spouses to live and work in New Mexico by giving them a break on obtaining professional licenses in the state.

SB 258 Professional Licenses for Military and Spouses- allows expedited occupational and professional licensing of military service member, spouses of military service members and veterans who are licensed in other states.

“For all people wanting to live and work in New Mexico, the state should process their professional and occupational license applications in a timely manner,” Senator Burt said. “Members of the military who are active duty or recent veterans and their spouses who have obtained occupational licenses in other states or jurisdictions should receive reciprocity with those licenses so we encourage them to live and work in New Mexico without causing them much delay.”

Senator Burt’s bill calls for issuing a license to a qualified applicant who submits satisfactory evidence that the applicant holds a license that is current and in good standing and that the licensing requirements are substantially equivalent to the licensing requirements for that occupation or profession in New Mexico. In additional to cities and states, jurisdictions in the bill could include a branch of the United States Armed Forces.

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Killed in Sen. Judiciary-Bill to Make Stealing Utility Hardware A Felony

“At least put this crime on par with stealing a goat”

Tabled Senate Judiciary 5 to 5

SB 28a Neville Penalties for Larceny of Cable Hardware

Santa Fe- A bill that passed unanimously in Senate Public Affairs, was essentially killed in Senate Judiciary when it voted 5 to 5 for passage and the SB 28a was tabled.  The sponsor of the bill compared the theft of wire at a utility that could potentially cause a city-wide power outage to the theft of a goat. Stealing a goat in New Mexico is a felony, while causing a power outage due to stealing the utility’s wire is only a misdemeanor crime.

With his bill, Senator Steve Neville (R-Farmington) wanted to make the larceny of telecommunication or utility cable or hardware to be a third degree or second degree felony, not a misdemeanor. He said the type of crime and its penalty should be based on the damages to the utility and the cost of getting the utility back on-line after the theft, not based on the cost of the stolen wire or piece of hardware.

All Republicans and Democrat Senator Martinez voted to pass SB 28a, while all of the other Democrats on the committee voted against passing it.

The above information was submitted by the State of New Mexico Republican Senate Office


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