October 22, 2017

Latino Democrats Battle Each Other in Heated California Congressional Race

Posted on 30. May, 2013 by Stephan Helgesen in Politics

From The Rothenberg Political ReportWhat looked like an easy road to Congress for Redlands, California Mayor Pete Aguilar has turned into a complicated race among a trio of Hispanic Democrats. What is more, this has the potential to divide Latinos in California and Washington, D.C. Aguilar is running for the Democratic nomination in order to face Rep. Gary Miller (R), in one of the most Democratic districts currently represented by a Republican.  To read the entire article, log on to: www.rothenburgpoliticalreport.com

 

 

 

 

New Law- New Long-term Insurance Program

Posted on 17. Apr, 2013 by Stephan Helgesen in Healthcare, NM, Politics

New Law- New Long-term Insurance Program Would Allow New Mexicans to Keep More of their Assets While Qualifying for Medicaid- takes effect June 14, 2013

The law:

  • Gives New Mexicans more choice to do with their own money
  • Incentive allows estate to retain value of policy that could be passed to heirs
  • Saves Medicaid program when people are on private insurance.

(Santa Fe)  It is now law. A person does not necessarily have to be destitute in order for  Medicaid to pay  their nursing home expenses.

Freshman Senator Lee S. Cotter (R-Las Cruces) sponsored SB 196- Long Term Care Insurance Partnership and it has been signed into law.

It allows New Mexicans with private nursing home insurance to be able to exempt the amount of their insurance benefit from the amount of assets they can retain in order to qualify for Medicaid. They could still qualify for Medicaid if their assets total only $2,000. The amount of the insurance benefit would be separated out and would not be taken into consideration for qualifying purposes.

“New Mexicans who have invested in long-term care insurance will have more choices in how to spend their own money.  They will not have to spend their assets, including their insurance benefit, down to that last $2,000 in order to qualify for Medicaid if they need to go into a nursing home,” Senator Cotter said. “

They can keep amount of their insurance benefit and use it how they like.  They can use it to improve their lives while in a nursing home or they can leave their assets to their heirs.  The value of the insurance benefit is theirs to spend it as they see fit.”

Senator Cotter said the new law, which will go into effect June 14, 2013, will also help save the federal Medicaid program dollars. He said New Mexicans will appreciate the incentive of purchasing their own private insurance and might not ever go on the federal program. Others would have to be on the federal program, until their private insurance is exhausted.

Senator Cotter said the long-term insurance incentive program has been passed by 42 other states. Senator Cotter reiterated, “The program allows New Mexicans to have a choice. It gives them an incentive to save assets and provide for their long term health care instead of forcing New Mexicans to reduce their assets to $2,000 before they can apply for Medicaid.”

He said it modifies Medicaid eligibility rules by requiring that, individuals’ assets counted when considering Medicaid eligibility, exclude the amount of qualified long-term care insurance. The lower the “counted assets” the higher the chance the person will qualify for Medicaid.

SB 196 requires that the Human Services Dept. (HSD) modify the state Medicaid Plan and create a long-term health insurance partnership program in consultation with the Superintendent of Insurance to give incentives for individuals to obtain long term care insurance.

This was submitted by the New Mexico Senate Republican Office. For more information, contact: Diane Kinderwater at diane.kinderwater@nmlegis.gov

Carrots and sticks, honey and vinegar

Posted on 02. Apr, 2013 by Stephan Helgesen in Healthcare, Politics

We are a nation of laws, but we’re also a nation built on incentives. The problem is that our elected representatives do not seem to understand basic human nature.

That may explain why they mostly focus on the sticks (law-making) and don’t consider the carrots (incentives) as a way to influence American  behavior.  Both political parties are guilty of excessive and bone-headed law-making from time to time, but both parties are not always equal in their distrust of their fellow citizens which has led to the passage of hundreds of unwieldy laws and thousands of onerous regulations.

Yes, there is a distinction between laws and regulations. Laws beget regulations. Regulations are the bureaucratic flotsam and jetsam that ultimately wash up on the shores of the unwitting average citizen, and which demand their full and immediate attention. When we realize that a law has spawned a multitude of regulations we’re surprised, confused and angry. We feel betrayed and don’t understand how very different the regulations are from the original law.

At this point, my father would have said, “Son, the devil is in the details,” and he would have been right. That’s where the devil always resides, and he’s not picky about his roommates, either. Here I speak of the thousands of bureaucrats who view themselves as shadow law-makers – ideologically-driven green eye shade types who see regulation-writing as their way of interpreting and influencing the law.

Before I do a number on bureaucrats (which they so richly deserve), let me call out the House and Senate Committees and staffers AND THE GENERAL PUBLIC for either not thoroughly reading the proposed laws and the resultant regulations or for not objecting to them during the review/comment process. Fortunately, (yes I said fortunately), we have lobbyists and non-government organizations (NGOs) that religiously take on that task.

Because their mission is to protect their special interest constituents, they pour over regulations to make sure that the regulators are not pulling a fast one that would disadvantage their bosses. The public should want the same involvement BEFORE the laws were passed as well as during the comment period, but that’s another story. It would seem that many Americans are blasé about the impact that legislation and the ensuing regulations have on their lives.

Case in point is the three-year old 3,256-page Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka. Obamacare). If law professors and political science/civics teachers needed a textbook case for earlier citizen involvement in the political process, this is it. Many credible critics have spoken eloquently on this subject, but Dr. Barbara Bellar (a licensed physician and lawyer in Illinois) stated the bureaucratics and ham-handedness of it succinctly in one (albeit long) sentence:

“We’re going to be gifted with a healthcare plan we are forced to purchase and fined if we don’t which purportedly covers at least ten million more people without adding a single new doctor but provides for 16,000 new IRS agents, written by a committee whose chairman says he doesn’t understand it, passed by a Congress that didn’t read it, but exempted themselves from it and signed by a President who smokes with funding administered by a Treasury chief who didn’t pay his taxes for which we will be taxed for four years before any benefits take effect by a government which has already bankrupted social security and Medicare, all to be overseen by a Surgeon General who is obese and financed by a country that is broke.”

The act created 159 new bureaucracies and boards and thousands of new regulations, and to add insult to injury, the government is now contemplating shortening the public comment time on its proposed regulations from the normal 60 days to 15!

President Theodore Roosevelt (the original Progressive) said, “Walk softly and carry a big stick.” It’s probably time for the Progressives to channel some really big brains like Bugs Bunny, or at the very least, Elmer Fudd. Maybe they can locate some of the carrots they will need to make their makeover plan for America more palatable to the average citizen. Otherwise, they’ll wind up with a very unfunny cartoon parody of a once-great country.

- Editor (Opposing views are always welcomed. Send them to us at: editor@newmexicanvoice.com)

Politics and Energy: Two Articles

Posted on 02. Apr, 2013 by Stephan Helgesen in Energy/Environment, Politics

Article 1: New regulations create more wealth for green cronies

On Good Friday, a day fewer people would be paying attention to the headlines than on most other days, the Obama administration released news about its plans to raise the price of gasoline.

Gasoline prices for the first quarter of 2013 are higher than the same time in 2012. Intentionally pushing prices up would seem stupid in the midst of a struggling economy—that is, if your goal is to help those most impacted by higher fuel and food prices, rather than boosting the bottom line for your billionaire donors.

The plans, announced Friday, call for stricter limits for sulfur in gasoline—from the current 30 parts per million to 10. (Sulfur is an important element that is found naturally in crude oil has many industrial uses.) The EPA estimates that the low-sulfur gasoline will raise the price of a gallon of gas by “less than a penny,” while industry sources say it will be closer to ten cents a gallon.

Energy analyst Robert Rapier, told me that the new regulations “will certainly make gasoline more expensive.” He said; “Note that diesel was historically less expensive than gasoline until the ultra-low sulfur diesel standard was passed.

Since then, diesel has often been more expensive than gasoline. I am not saying whether or not those standards were needed, maybe they were. But the impact on cost is undeniable. I worked in a refinery when those standards were passed, and we spent a lot of capital making sure we could comply.”

Though air pollution is a worthy consideration, it is low on the public’s list of priorities, while gas prices are of utmost importance. If the public doesn’t see air pollution as a problem, and the President’s popularity has peaked, why would he put out policy that would hit the middle class the hardest? Because, despite his campaign rhetoric, he’s not “a warrior for the middle class.”

One year ago, Christine Lakatos launched her blog— “The Green Corruption Files”—through which she set out to prove that “green corruption is the largest, most expensive and deceptive case of crony capitalism in American history.

Stay tuned as we expose one piece of this scandal at a time.”  Last summer, Lakatos and I partnered to draw more attention to Obama’s Green-Energy Crony-Corruption Scandal. To date, I’ve written fifteen columns based on her research—this is the sixteenth.

A week ago, she posted her expose on George Soros and his profiting from his, apparent, insider information on green-energy investments. Within her post, Lakatos says: “be prepared for regulations and legislation that will, in some form or another, resemble cap-and-trade and demand additional funds to bank roll Obama’s efforts to save our planet.” Exactly one week later, the new EPA standards on gasoline were released.

The standards will raise the cost of fuel—which has been the underlying goal of the Obama energy agenda: make what works more expensive so people will accept the high cost of “green energy” in the name of saving the planet. (Remember outgoing Energy Secretary Chu’s 2008 statement: “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.”)

But, as the Soros story shows, it’s not about the planet, it’s about the profit. Soros’ investment portfolio shows he invests where he can make money—both traditional and green energy (though, as you’ll see, through Obama’s green energy emphasis, he has more control over green energy investments). In a 1998, 60 Minutes interview, Soros said: “I am basically there to make money. I cannot and do not look at the social consequences of what I do.”

Soros’ relationship with Obama goes back almost as far as his manipulation of money and markets.

It is reported that back before, Obama became a Senator, or announced his presidential bid, and before the founding of the Soros-funded Center for American Progress (CAP), Morton Halperin, (the director of Soros’ Open Society Institute), John Podesta (the former Clinton White House chief of staff), Jeremy Rosner (a former speech writer for Bill Clinton), Robert Boorstin (a Democrat strategist and also a former speech writer for Clinton) and Carl Pope (a Democrat strategist and environmentalist) met in 2002 at Soros’ Long Island Southampton beach house to draft a plan to defeat President Bush in the presidential election of 2004. Without that meeting, Lt. Col. Robert “Buzz” Patterson, says: “Barack Obama would be … an unremarkable and unheard of state senator. Instead, Barack Obama is the President of the United States.”

Soros was an early donor to Obama’s senatorial race. “Soros and his family gave Barack Obama $60,000. This does not include money that Soros was able to funnel to so-called 527 groups (Moveon.org, for example) that have also been politically active; nor does it include money that Soros was able to raise from tapping a network of friends, business associates, and employees.”

Once Obama was running for president, Soros was there again with support to the tune of $5 million—which put him on the Forbes’ 2008 list of Obama’s Billionaire Buddies. But the king of contributions wasn’t done there, and in September 2012, Soros pledged $1.5 million in donations to a trio of super PACs backing Obama and congressional Democrats. Soros’ political contributions are widely known, as is his funding of left-leaning organizations such as CAP, The Tides Center and the Apollo Alliance—which all play a part in his ability to cash in on green.

Soros was instrumental at the least, integral at the most, in writing Obama’s 2009 Stimulus Bill that put nearly $100 billion into various green energy companies and projects. Additionally, there is a little-publicized connection between Soros, green energy advocacy, and the White House.

Since buying access, Soros has been a frequent White House visitor and met with Obama’s, then, top economist Larry Summers—exerting his influence.

The Soros-funded Apollo Alliance brags about its role in writing the 2009 Stimulus Bill. In an interview, the best-selling author of Throw Them All Out, Peter Schweizer, states: “Billionaire George Soros gave advice and direction on how President Obama should allocate so-called ‘stimulus’ money in a series of regular private meetings and consultations with White House senior advisers even as Soros was making investments in areas affected by the stimulus program.”

Schweizer, then, reveals, “In the first quarter of 2009, Mr. Soros went on a stock-buying spree in companies that ultimately benefited from the federal stimulus.” He continues: “It is not necessarily the case that Soros had specific insider tips about any government grants,” nevertheless, Soros’ “investment decisions aligned remarkably closely with government grants and transfers.” The majority of those investments were in green energy ventures that gained from the stimulus and/or government regulation such as BioFuel Energy that benefitted when the EPA announced a regulation on ethanol.

Shortly after the 2009 Stimulus, more to secure his investments than because of any core belief, Soros launched several new groups to help propagate the manmade climate change narrative that is the foundation for green energy investments—without belief in manmade climate change, we don’t need renewables as there is no energy shortage.

Some of the little-publicized connections include Cathy Zoi, former CEO of Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection, and who, while at the Department of Energy, oversaw the disbursement of more than $30 billion in green-energy stimulus funds. In early 2011, she resigned to work for a Soros fund: Silver Lake Kraftwerk. Another is Denis McDonough who has replaced Jack Lew as Obama’s Chief of Staff. McDonough was a Senior Fellow at Soros-funded CAP, which Bloomberg News called: “an intellectual wellspring for Democratic policy proposals.” Other CAP/Obama advisors central to the green-energy scheme include Carol Browner, Van Jones, and Steve Spinner.

So, what return has Soros gotten on his stimulus-inspired stock buying spree plus investments in companies like First Solar and Solar City? Lakatos’ thorough research discovered that Soros’ green tab exceeds $11 billion of stimulus money (dwarfing Citibank’s) –– and we, the taxpayers, footed the bill. Keep in mind, this tally doesn’t factor in any profit Soros has made off these investments—or will continue to make as a result of Obama’s climate change agenda being pushed by EPA regulation.

As save-the-planet regulations and legislation come out of the Obama administration, which raise costs for the middle class and hurt America’s struggling economy, remember the Soros story. It illustrates that Obama is not the “warrior for the middle class” he campaigned as, but he’s most concerned about creating wealth for his “green cronies”—of which Soros is just one. This new EPA low-sulfur gasoline proposal is just the latest in a series of green regulations. We don’t know for whom it creates wealth, but we know it isn’t the middle class.

—————

Article 2: Winning the battle for American jobs, economic growth, and affordable energy

Following the Conservative Political Action Conference—known as CPAC—it has been reported that the faithful feel discouraged, dispirited, and defeated. Dr. Ben Carson, who emerged from the Conference as the new conservative darling, has stated that America is heading for failure. Generally, I agree. However, I see a chink in the armor.

The alliance of the environmental lobby and big government advocates have been winning—Obama is back in the White House, the new cabinet members seem worse than the last, and the Keystone pipeline has become a battle line. With the victory, however, they’ve perhaps gotten over confident and pushed too hard. They’ve had a series of losses that have put them on the defense—and everyone knows, you win on the offense.

Their losses haven’t made headline news—making them easy to miss, and the alliance is not likely to beat a hasty retreat, but looking at them added together, I see an opening for a breakthrough.

In case you missed them, here are some of the recent reversals they’ve received:

  • On March 20, the Supreme Court shot down “overzealous greens” that hoped to “hobble the logging industry by reclassifying rural storm water runoff under the Clean Water Act’s ‘point source’ standards, which require costly federal permits.” The Court ruled: “more effective regulation could be done by states and state foresters.”
  • On March 19, the Obama Administration scrapped “a series of graphic warning labels on cigarette packages that were blocked by a federal appeals court”—a win for the “tobacco industry’s free-speech rights under the First Amendment.” Howard Koh, assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services, says the FDA won’t be deterred from implementing stronger warning labels.
  • Senator Dianne Feinstein’s gun-ban bill became a victim of friendly fire when, in a March 18 meeting, Majority Leader Harry Reid notified a “frustrated Feinstein” that her assault-weapon ban “wouldn’t be part of a Democratic gun bill.” The exclusion means “almost certain defeat” but, according to the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence’s Ladd Everitt, it has “fired up gun violence prevention advocates.”
  • On March 15, hyper-liberal Bill Maher had an epiphany on his HBO show Real Time. In a conversation with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, regarding Paul Ryan’s budget, Maher announced that rich people “actually do pay the freight in this country.” He continued, calling the taxes the rich pay: “outrageous” and “ridiculous.” He warned his liberal friends: “you could actually lose me.”
  • Facing the reality of a nuclear attack, on March 15 the Obama administration announced a reversal on missile defense. In 2009, Obama killed the Bush administration’s plans for 14 US ground-based long-range missile interceptors—which are now, in opposition to the “Democratic Party’s long aversion to any kind of missile defense,” playing catch up. Missile Defense advocates are now vindicated.
  • Government overreach received a setback on March 11, when “a judge threw out New York City’s ban on supersized sugary drinks.” Judge Milton Tingling said the soda ban “would not only violate the separation of powers doctrine, it would eviscerate it.” And, that has the “potential to be more troubling than sugar sweetened beverages.”

The list could continue to include NBC’s ratings fall and Obama’s sudden shift in relations with Republicans, but you get the idea.

“Marita,” you might say, “this is an interesting list, and I get your point, but you write on energy, and none of this has anything to do with energy.”

Here are some similar setbacks to the left’s energy agenda:

  • Going back a couple of months, on January 25, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, in a unanimous decision, found that the EPA was projecting far too much production of cellulosic ethanol and mandated the exaggerated fuel standards—confirming that “EPA’s renewable fuels program is unworkable and must be scrapped.” The nonexistent-fuel requirement is costing refiners $8 million dollars in fines paid to the federal government—which are passed on to consumer—due to the unreasonable 2012 mandate.
  • Last month, regulators met in California “hoping to hash out a solution to the peculiar stresses placed on the state’s network by sharp increases in wind and solar energy.” The state is “running low on conventional plants, such as those fueled by natural gas” and now “it doesn’t have the right mix.” Utility executives are predicting rolling brown outs as early as this summer. Other states with high dependence on wind and solar resources face similar problems.
  • “In a preemptive move to protect against possible court challenges,” “an early step toward President Barack Obama’s second-term goal of cutting emissions linked to climate change has hit a snag.” Reported on March 19: “The Obama administration is weighing changes to a proposed Environmental Protection Agency rule to limit emissions at new power plants.” The EPA’s rule would “essentially ban new coal-fired power plants”—which “may not withstand legal scrutiny.”
  • On March 20, another Solyndra-esque, government-funded solar panel manufacturer embarrassment came to light. SoloPower began the first round of layoffs just months after opening with a high-profile ribbon cutting and is now “selling some of its equipment through a third party and is attempting to restructure its $197 million federal loan guarantee.” The story shows that “politicians are proving to be lousy venture capitalists with this and other green energy subsidies.”

Again, this sampling of stories illustrates the cause for my optimism.

In war, and we are in a war, when one side sees signs of weakness, it is time to act and exploit the vulnerabilities; go on the offensive. The weapons we have are social media, email, and our telephones. Here are some of the battles we could win if we join in the fight for American jobs, economic growth, and affordable energy.

  • The Keystone pipeline is in the news again due to the recently released State Department report that concludes that it is environmentally safe. The pipeline, alone, has the unique ability to create jobs without taxpayer monies, spur economic growth in the states it will cross and other states that will participate in construction support, and lower the cost of gasoline through increased supply. We all need to add our “comments.” Tell the State department to end the four-year delay and approve the Keystone pipeline.
  • Anti-surface mining ads running in Tennessee on March 19 are just the latest in the war on coal. The war is raging against coal mining—which provides good paying jobs for thousands of Americans—and against coal-fueled power plants with 300+ scheduled for closure in the next few years and no possible replacement.

We need an energy policy that works for each locale rather than one-size-fits-all requirements. For example, in New Mexico, we have coal-fueled power plants built right next to a coal mine, yet EPA regulations are shutting down five of the nine units. Likewise, West Virginia has an abundance of coal, and they, too, are closing plants.

In the Pacific Northwest, hydropower is efficient, effective, and economical, but environmental groups are forcing their removal. Call or email the White House and tell the Obama administration to make good on the “all of the above” promise and not limit or mandate specific electricity sources.

  • Due to the combination of new technology and new applications of sixty-year-old technology, America now has an abundance of natural gas. Many markets across the globe need our natural gas—which could be liquefied and shipped worldwide and help the US trade deficit.

In a free market, companies should be allowed to sell their products to the highest bidder, but due to trade agreements and the slow approval process of applications to build new Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminals, this boost to the economy is being stifled. LNG exports are one of the few issues that truly have bipartisan support—yet, environmentalists oppose them and the Department of Energy has been dragging its feet on LNG export applications. Contact your Senators and Representative and tell them to oppose legislation that would limit LNG exports.

There is more we could do, but together these simple steps—passed on to everyone you know through Facebook, Twitter, and your personal email list, and acted upon—can serve as our forlorn hope (the first wave of soldiers attacking a breach in defenses). Let’s band together with a common strategy, a surge, that can turnaround the current direction and make America great again.

These articles were 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.


News from the Legislative Session – Three bills signed into law

Posted on 30. Mar, 2013 by Stephan Helgesen in Politics

Senator Rue’s Anti-Corruption Bill signed into law

Santa Fe- Senator Sander Rue’s bill that fights corruption with sole source state contracts was signed into law today.  The governor today signed SB 182- Procurement Code Changes.   The bill was also sponsored by Representative Lucky Varela.

Senator Rue said sole source work is especially vulnerable to fraud because it is not competitive when there is only one bidder.  Senator Rue had said about his bill:

“We need to knock out any chance what-so-ever of corruption, fraud and abuse in bidding for state work,” Senator Rue said.  “In the procurement code, there needs to be more transparency so illegal activities can’t be hidden from the public. There should no longer be any chance of sweetheart deals of the past. We don’t want to have a mobster mentality in the state. If there is a violation, hit the offenders with stiffer penalties.”

The new law makes five significant changes to the New Mexico Procurement Code (CODE) to deter illegal activity in the bidding process.  For all bids, it increases penalties for violations and requires all records to be saved for at least three years. In sole source bids, it allows for protesting the non-competitive bids; it tightens the definition of who is eligible to receive the sole source bids; and it increases transparency of the sole source bids.

Senator Rue said all contractors should have the same, fair opportunity to bid on state contracts.

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Senator Pat Woods’ bill to Revitalize Frontier Communities was Signed into Law

69 Incorporated Rural Communities Affected

(Santa Fe) Senator Pat Woods (R-Broadview)“Frontier Communities” bill was  signed into law by the governor today.  Previously, a bill he co-sponsored to lower the price of fishing licenses to encourage more outdoor recreation was also signed into law.

Senator Woods said he is pleased the governor signed the bill to included  smaller,  rural communities in the New Mexico Main Street program.“We are no longer the wild, wild West but we are still very unique because we are the last frontier in the United States and people want to experience that.  Frontier communities give you an experience you cannot find anywhere else. They deserve to be included in the New Mexico Main Street program so the smaller, rural  communities can be revitalized and enjoyed for decades and centuries to come.” Senator Woods said. “We are grateful for the opportunity to help preserve our heritage in the 69 incorporated rural communities that now can be included this program.”

Senator Woods said $100,000 for the New Mexico Main Street program was included in the budget bill.

Senator Woods’ bill, SB 185aa amends the New Mexico  Main Street Act [3-60B-1 and 4 NMSA 1978] to include a new category. The new category of community economic development support by the MainStreet Program is called “Frontier Communities.” It is to help rural communities under 5,000 in population with economic development initiatives.

Through the New Mexico Main Street programs a program which is supported by the National Trust for Historic Preservation,  technical assistance is given to the communities to revitalize them. Assistance is given to rehabilitate buildings, to address infrastructure needs and to  fund capital improvements. It is done through a non-profit corporation, with local Main Street organizations working in partnership with cities.

The Main Street program is part of an economic development network of more than 37 states and 1200 communities across the country that was launched in 1984 in New Mexico.

The low-cost, special  $2.00 fishing license bill was  signed into law by the  governor earlier this month, on March 8th.  The law, co-sponsored by Senator Woods, allows boy scouts under 18 years old to fish with a discounted temporary special fishing license at Philmont Scout Ranch in Northeastern  New Mexico.

“We need to do all we can to attract kids to the outdoor experience,” Senator Woods had said.  “If a discounted $2.00 fishing license gets more kids to cast a line,  great!”

Senator Woods said attracting scouts to Northeastern  New Mexico  is  also great for business in the area.  He said scouts from all over the country travel to the Philmont Scout Ranch, spending money in the area when they arrive. He also notes the ranch hires as many as 3,000 people and that their salaries add to economic development in the area.

**********

Sen. Ingle’s  Bill to Better Assure Healthier Teacher Pension Plan Signed into Law

SB 115a-Educational Retirement Changes

Sponsored by Senate Minority Floor Leader Stuart Ingle (R-Ingle)

SB 115a makes numerous changes to the ERB including:

  • Increases employee contributions, reduces COLA;
  • Maintains employer contributions at levels enacted in 2005;
  • Increases the age to quality for the cost of living adjustment for new hires;
  • Requires minimum age of 55 to receive retirement benefits that are not reduced.

Santa Fe-  The bill, sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Stuart Ingle (R-Portales)   to better assure that there will continue to be a pension for teachers and other educators in New Mexico’s public schools was signed into law today.   Currently, the Education Board Fund (ERB)  that pays for teacher retirement has huge unfunded liabilities.  There are $6.2 billion dollars fewer dollars in the fund than what are needed for the pensions for current retirees and for  employees who will retire in the future.  The bill makes changes to the pension plan to improve the ERB financial stability from its current 60.7% of unfunded liabilities to over 100% funded by 2043.

“We need to do this now,” Senator Ingle has said. “The legislature has the ability to hopefully fix this matter now so the fund will grow healthier well into the future.  I appreciate the governor signing this important and necessary piece of legislation.”

This information was submitted by the New Mexico State Senate Republican Office. For more information, contact 505/986-4702., ATTN: Diane Kinderwater

Final NM Legislative Session Update March 17, 2013

Posted on 17. Mar, 2013 by Stephan Helgesen in Politics

Suspenseful Final Minutes of Session – “Fix it” Session Fixes Much

Taxes Cut to Encourage Business Development

Soundbite with Senate Minority Leader Stuart Ingle Avail at: http://youtu.be/QGdjBgLtScQ

Senate applauds as session ends: http://youtu.be/BP_jitvKSeo

Santa Fe – The “fix it” legislative session ended with state lawmakers successfully tackling numerous challenges facing the state, and the session ended in suspense. As the clock ticked down to the noon sine die, a compromise tax cut was passed by both chambers with one minute to share.  It is on its way to the Governor’s office.

Many important pieces of legislation to address New Mexico’s needs were passed unanimously in the Senate indicating the Senate worked diligently and respectfully together to address critical issues.

In the final minutes of the 60-day session, a compromise bill to encourage corporations to expand their operations in New Mexico passed the legislature. The bill that created suspense addresses a number of items including restoring the TV show tax credit that was just limited to that industry. The governor had vetoed a previous bill with the TV show tax credit  because she said she  had not received a rate tax cut for all corporations.

The provisions of the TV show tax credit were amended into the corporate tax cut in the final minutes of the session.  The Corporate Tax rate would be reduced from 7.6% to 5.9% over a five year phase- in. The tax savings would be over $8 million for the first year to over $80 million in tax savings the fifth year.  “I think it is going to send a message that if you come to this state, we are going to be on your side instead of businesses always wondering if their success is going to depend on what legislators decide.” Senate Minority Leader Stuart Ingle said at the close of the 2013 session. “These two or three tax cuts are really going to help with recruiting businesses and corporations.”

Three important fixes to better address the insolvency of public funds passed both chambers and are on their way to the governor’s office. A fix to the unemployment insurance fund also passed both chambers while the fate of Legislative Lottery Scholarship Program fix was not known in the final minutes.

“There were a number of problems that needed fixing this session and the Senate worked hard to tackle them,”  Senator  Ingle said.  “Some of the fixes will become law and some will need to be addressed at future sessions. I am especially impressed with the seven new Republican Senators who were very successful in their first session to pass important legislation for their districts and for the state in the Senate.  They hit the road running and they never stopped. This freshman class of Republican Senators  is  a very impressive group. They presented critical analysis of the legislation, and they debated the issues. I look for to continued great things from them going forward.”

The  State Senate  passed a balanced state budget. The budget is being sent to the governor for her action.  Highlights of the budget that will operate state government in fiscal 2014 include:

Overall operating budget:

$5.9 billion state spending plan

$246 million increase in state spending

4.4% increase from this year’s level

The largest budget item is Public Education  K-12:

$2.57 billion to Public Education, 4.6% increase, $112 million increase

Two of the three major bills were designed to fix the severe funding problems that have left public retirement funds insolvent were sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Stuart Ingle. Senator Ingle also carried the bill to fix the Unemployment Insurance program situation.

INSOLVENT FUND FIXES

Education Retirement

Currently 37,000 retirees, 42,000 currently vested, 53,000 non-vested

SB 115a, sponsored by Senator Ingle,  makes numerous changes to the ERB. “This assures a healthier teacher pension plan, without changes, there might not be a retirement in the future,” Ingle said. The fix includes:

Increases employee contributions

Maintains employer contributions at levels enacted in 2005

Increases the age to quality for the cost of living adjustment for new hires

Requires minimum age of 55 to receive retirement benefits that are not reduced

State Employee Retirement Fix-

SB 27- also sponsored by Senator Ingle, shores up the pension system for over 86,000 public employees. Their annual cost of living increase would be 2% rather than the current 3% in order to close the gap between $6 billion in assets and cost of future benefits. Also require employees contribute an additional 1.5% of their salaries into the pension fund. Those hired after June of 2013 would have to work longer before they qualify for their pension.

Judicial Retirement Fix- attempts to address solvency.

Unemployment Insurance program

Its sponsor, Senator Ingle, said the bill assures adequate reserves and fairer premium rates.

Fairer rates based on employers’ use of fund

Workforce Solutions sets formula, assures soundness

Implemented in 2015

Legislative Lottery Scholarship- To shore up this fund to provide scholarships to New Mexico colleges for New Mexico high school graduates, the  Senate voted 40-0 to use a quarter of the payments, around $40 million, from the  tobacco settlement to help pay for the lottery scholarship program.  The Senate also passed a memorial to study solutions to the dwindling fund.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Republican Senators introduced various pieces of legislation to help small business and the Senate passed bills to improve the state’s economic health.

Capital Outlay: The New Mexico State Senate passed a bill to invest $222 million into vital infrastructure for New Mexico.   Senators said the investment will help create economic development opportunities throughout the entire state. Funding comes from the extractive industries, mostly from oil and gas production.

Senator Sue Wilson Beffort (R-Sandia Park) sponsored a bill passed by the Senate to help revitalize small towns in rural NM by lowering taxes on microbrewery production. Senator Pat Woods (R-Broadview) would help revitalize by the Frontier Communities Programs that passed the Senate.

The viability of the $209 million Spaceport in Southern New Mexico received the much needed law to limit liability lawsuits against suppliers.

Senator Neville’s bill  to assure clean water tanks in New Mexico cities and towns passed both chambers and is headed to the governor’s office.

The Senate and House passed a bill to boost the TV industry in the state. It would increase to 30 percent the rebate for money spent on TV production if they shoot at least six programs in a single season.  The governor vetoed this bill.

All Republican Senators voted against raising the state minimum wage to $8.50 an hour from the current $7.50. But being in the minority, the minimum wage passed the Senate. The wage would be the highest in the region and Republicans feared it would kill business opportunities in the state.

Senate Minority Whip Bill Payne (R-Albuquerque)  sponsored a bill exempting  UNM from a special utility fee, encouraging its own renewable energy generation.

A bill sponsored by Senator John Ryan (R-Albuquerque) passed both chambers. It is  to encourage more  tourism and economic development by allowing  New Mexico restaurants and bars to be more competitive by extending Sunday sales of liquor.

A bill passed both chambers, sponsored by Senator Sander Rue (R-Albuquerque)  makes it easier to apply online for professional and occupational licenses. “It is time we gave up the typewriter and move into the 21st Century,” Senator Rue said.

A novel bill sponsored by Senator Bill Sharer (R-Farmington) was introduced to repeal nearly every sales tax and income tax and replace them with a 2% across-the-board consumption tax. “Simplifying  the entire system increases economic opportunities and retains the same revenue for the state.”

A bill sponsored by Senator Carroll Leavell (R-Jal) passed both chambers. It fixes a mistake in the law to assure the rural job tax credit actually creates new jobs.

A bill introduced to invest $2.5 million in state money to mitigate the damage caused by the drought in the lower Pecos river basin and the Carlsbad irrigation district service area was sponsored by Senator Leavell.

A bill is on its way to the Governor’s office was sponsored by Senator Pat Woods (R-Broadview) . It  allows boy scouts to purchase an inexpensive fishing license.

There were also Senate bills introduced to:

help military families obtain professional licenses easier in the state. Sponsored by Senator Bill Burt (R-Alamogordo.)

exempt military retirees from state income tax to spur economic development.

increase alcohol training and reduce to a misdemeanor mistake of serving to a minor. Sponsored by Senator Burt.

eliminate the double taxation on Bio Diesel  fuels delivered to the state. Sponsored by Senator Ingle.

protect consumers regarding fertilizers and soil conditioners. Sponsored by Senator Woods.

change existing liquor laws to provide for more available licenses to increase economic opportunities in the state. Sponsored by Senator Ron Griggs (R-Alamogordo).

bill to end Day Light Savings, sponsored by Senator Cliff Pirtle’s (R-Roswell).

end skills and knowledge test for hired custom harvester drivers sponsored by Pirtle.

PUBLIC SAFETY/ END CORRUPTION

Anti-corruption bill sponsored by Senate Minority Caucus Chair Steve Neville (R-Farmington) passed  both chambers is being  sent to the governor’s office. If signed into law, it will change the makeup of the State Investment Council so the $16 billion permanent fund can become better secured and better invested for future generations.  Senator Neville sponsored another bill on its way to the governor’s office to allow defendants to be charged more of their probation and parole costs.

Senator Mark Moores’(R-Albuquerque) bill became law to provide that police dogs be offered first to their trainers or handlers when the dogs retire from service.

Senator Sander Rue’s (R-Albuquerque) bill is on the governor’s desk to increase penalties for procurement code violations, as well as increase transparency, making it more difficult to bride state officials for state work.  Both chambers also passed Senator Rue’s bill to allow CYFC to conduct criminal history checks prior to placing a child in a home when there is an emergency.

Additional bills were introduced to:

remove the statute of limitations for murder in the 2nd degree.

obligate everyone to report child abuse

crack down on drunk drivers’ who use their vehicles as weapons.

increase careless driving penalties if someone dies or is seriously hurt.

allow ignition interlocks for certain DWI crimes to allow people to be productive citizens.

seize campaign funds and throw out of office immediately guilty corrupt government officials.

prohibit naming public buildings after living people.

allow sheriff and police to have more vehicle choices to catch criminals.

make cell phones and electronic devices contraband in prison.

lessen  punishment for not wearing a lifejacket.

allow school districts to decide whether 3 employees can have a handgun in school for production.

require background checks for EMTs.

Protect some state employees with protective license plates.

Require voter rolls to be checked to ensure that noncitizens are not registered to vote in New Mexico.  If they are registered to vote illegally, the bill allows a court process to cancel that voter registration.

allow school districts to decide if up to three employees could have a conceal carry  handgun to protect the schoolchildren and educators.

EDUCATION

Senator Craig Brandt’s (R-Albuquerque) bill requiring public schools to allow homeschoolers to take classes and be paid for it, is headed to the governor’s desk.

SB 260 that would have given early intervention help to students deficient in reading from kindergarten through second grade, and to insure no child is promoted beyond the 3rd grade who cannot read,  was tabled in committee.

The fate of Public Education Department Secretary Hanna Skandera was discussed at length in the Senate Rules committee in Scandera’s confirmation hearing. No vote was ever allowed to be taken.

Also introduced:

A bill sponsored by Senator Gay Kernan (R-Hobbs) was designed to keep costs down for students who need to take an exam to receive a high school equivalency diploma passed the Senate. She sponsored another bill to give public school districts an additional year of budget flexibility to deal with continuing  budget shortfalls.

HEALTH  CARE

There was a bill to encourage private long-term insurance program to give New Mexicans more choice while allowing them to retain more of their estate for their heirs when they eventually go on Medicaid was sponsored by Senator Lee Cotter (R-Las Cruces.)

Affordable Care Act requires a state operated Health Insurance Exchange. The Senate passed legislation that would establish a state operated exchange.

Other initiatives:

Driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants – The compromise bill, SB  to stop issuing driver’s license to most undocumented immigrants passed the  Senate.  A House bill, HB 606, to change the way driver’s licenses are given to illegal immigrants was awaiting action in the Senate.

Gun Control-  HB 77- Requires background check between one private citizen and another private citizen at gun shows, taking away property ownership rights by inserting a 3rd party into the sale and nowhere is that allowed in the constitution.

PRC Reform- SB 8- the Corporations Division would move to the Secretary of State’s office. HB 47 would create a separate Insurance Division and remove it from the PRC.

There were several attempts to draw money from the state land grant permanent fund. There was also debate to return straight ticket voting to state law.

The House voted on a bill to lower the penalties for small amounts of marijuana.

Senate passed a bill to allow voters to make online changes to their voter registration information.  HB 588 “pilot community engagement team” to provide help to mentally ill before they reach a crisis point.

At the close of the session Saturday, not all of the action in the House and the ultimate action by the governor were known.

This End of Session Report was submitted by Diane Kinderwater of the New Mexico State Senate Republican Office. Ms. Kinderwater can be reached at 505/986-4702

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Waffle Cure

Posted on 14. Mar, 2013 by Stephan Helgesen in Politics, Social/Cultural

Say what you want about Cagney, Bogart, Mitchum or Wayne, one thing is for certain; they were men of few but powerful words. Sure, sure, I know they were actors, but their characters represented something Americans used to prize highly…brevity and sincerity.

You knew where you stood when Cagney gave you that piercing look or The Duke cocked his head just before unloading a four-word answer like, “you bet I do.” Mitchum may have looked like he ate something bad and was tasting it all over again, but you stopped and waited until the moment of his seeming indigestion had passed and he had rolled out his response.

It’s almost painful to watch their old movies because I’m constantly fast-forwarding to the present, to the current crop of weasel-wordsmiths that populate America’s political or celebrity world.  You know the ones I mean, the wafflers who are simply out to evade the questions we ask them. I don’t mind telling you, I’m fed up to the rim of my barracks bag with people who cannot seem to give a straight answer to a simple question.

True, there are some questions that make us dig way down deep into the well of our personal feelings, and I can understand when someone feels that a question is just too personal to answer. I can even accept an answer like, “Sorry, I haven’t thought that one through,” but what really sticks in my craw is hearing a person go way off the reservation into the never never land of high falutin’ rhetoric.  It’s like watching a sleep walker amble around not knowing where he’s going until he finally bumps into something and wakes up.

I realize that evasion by running out the clock is a normal tactic folks use when they don’t want to answer a question, but it has to stop. I have begun to blame the interviewers who don’t press their guests. They’re the real culprits – the waffle enablers.

There are solutions, however, but they are not politically correct ones. What about mandating that all Sunday interview programs (we’ll start small and work our way up) install guest chairs with seats laced with electrical wiring? You know, the stuff that’s similar to the wiring under our heated floor tiles.

A low electrical charge would be constantly present and be sort of comforting like the heated seats in our cars. BUT, when a guest starts to stray far afield from the question, an off-stage technician would turn up the rheostat and give the guest a little jolt of the juice. Just how much would be determined by a live studio audience (very democratic, no?).

I’m confident that this simple device would do the trick and make the programs considerably more fun to watch. Imagine your least favorite politician suddenly sit up straight and answer a question honestly after receiving a little electric shock to his/her derriere!

My mind is simply overflowing with images of certain people I would like to see on the ‘hotseat.’ As a matter of fact, that’s what we would rename the talk shows: Piers Morgan: Tonight on the Hotseat, Moyers and Hotseat Co., or my favorite, 20/20 @ 220 volts.

For a period of twelve years (1975-87), Senator William Proxmire from my home state of Wisconsin gave out the Golden Fleece award to the public officials or government departments that wasted the most money. I remember one of them vividly. It was the Dept. of Education that spent over $200,000 on a curriculum package that taught college students how to watch television.

Using Proxmire’s example, we could get nominations from all over America and create our own awards ceremony for ‘America’s Biggest Wafflers’. I’m betting companies would line up around the block to sponsor our show and that eventually we’d even overtake the Oscars. What kind of trophy should we give? What else, a golden waffle iron!

- Editor

NM Legislative Session Weekly Update: March 4-8, 2013

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

The following information was provided by the New Mexico State Senate Republican Office (newest to oldest chronological order)

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

Law Enforcement to Have More Vehicle Options

SB 396a- American-made vehicles in procurement code

Senator Steven Neville (R-Farmington)

More vehicle choices for sheriffs and police

Exempt law enforcement from current procurement code restrictions

Allow purchases of vehicles assembled outside of  the US

Santa Fe — New Mexico sheriff’s departments and police departments could soon have more choices in the models of vehicles they use to track down criminals. The law enforcement agencies from smaller towns throughout New Mexico will have more options if a bill that passed the Senate today becomes law.

SB 396a passed the Senate 36 to 1 and advances to the House.

Smaller towns tend to use the state’s bidding practice to buy vehicles for their officers. Currently, the state’s procurement code restricts them to cars, trucks and SUVs manufactured or assembled in the United States. The bill sponsored  by Senate Minority Caucus Chair Steve Neville (R-Farmington) would exempt law enforcement vehicles from the restrictions in the code.  Law enforcement agencies would be able to purchase vehicles that meet their needs from anywhere in the world.

“Land enforcement agencies from larger cities have their own procurement codes that do not necessary have the same restriction as the state’s procurement code.  Law enforcement agencies in our smaller towns that use the state’s code need to have more choices when buying vehicles to meet their needs,” Senator Neville said.  “The exemption gives them more choice.”

Senator Neville said the New Mexico Sheriff’s Association that represents 33 New Mexico Counties requested the change to give them more flexibility.

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

School District Flexibility Passes Senate

Similar Measure Passed House

SB 464 School District Solvency Flexibility

Senator Gay Kernan (R-Hobbs)

Santa Fe — SB 464, School District Solvency Flexibility, sponsored by Senator Gay G. Kernan of Hobbs, passed the Senate today to give public school districts an additional year of budget flexibility to deal with continuing budget shortfalls.  A similar measure has passed the House.  The bill will allow districts one final year of flexibility in a number of areas that directly affect their budgets: class loads, teaching loads, length of school day, staffing patterns, and purchases of instructional materials.  The waivers in the bill were first introduced in 2009 in response to school budget cuts imposed by the Legislature that year.

“No one is happy that this type of measure is needed for another year,” said Senator Kernan, “But until school budgets are restored to their pre-recession levels, districts have almost no choice but to seek flexibility.  Particularly with the threat of sequestration hanging over the heads of many districts, another year of these waivers will be vitally important for our schools.”

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

Bill to Eliminate Double Taxation Passes Senate

Santa Fe — The Senate passed a bill to eliminate the double taxation on special fuels delivered to New Mexico. Senate Minority Floor Leader Stuart Ingle (R-Portales) is sponsoring the bill that is now headed to the House.

The bill solves the double taxation issue by allowing a deduction for the special fuel excise tax on the biodiesel product manufactured or imported, if it is sold to a rack operator for blending or resale. Currently, the pure biodiesel is taxable twice. When it is either delivered or used directly, and when it is taxed on the entire volume of the blended fuel.

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

Senate Passes Bill to “End Catch-22”

Bill to Allow Ignition Interlocks After Sentence is Completed for Killing or Great Bodily Harm

SB 442- DWI Interlocks for Certain Crimes

Senator Ron Griggs (R-Alamogordo)

Change current statute

Allow ignition interlock license for those: Convicted of great bodily harm/ vehicular homicide by DWI

Qualified if: Completed serving sentence, including probation and parole  End “Catch-22” to allow people to become productive.

Santa Fe — People who have been convicted of DWI and killed or seriously injured someone and served their entire sentence would be able to drive legally if a bill that passed the Senate today becomes law. As it stands now, those people could never get a drivers’ license again.

The bill, SB 442- would allow an ignition interlock license to those convicted  of  vehicular homicide by DWI or convicted of great bodily harm by DWI. Currently, they are prevented from qualifying for an ignition interlock license.

Senator Ron Griggs (R-Alamogordo) sponsors the bill. He said those who serve their complete sentence need to be able to drive so they can be productive members of society.

“People need to be able to drive to get to work,  to get to  school or to go to court-ordered treatment programs,” Senator Griggs said. “If they are denied an interlock license, they are most likely denied an opportunity to support themselves and their families. We need to end the catch-22 they are in.”

Senator Griggs stressed that the ignition interlock license would only be issued if the person has completed their sentence for the crime, including any period of probation and parole. “Right now, they would never be able to get a drivers’ license again.”

Senator Griggs said those who are still serving their sentences for those crimes would not be eligible.

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

Senate Passes Small Town Businesses to get Boost from Microbrewery Tax-Lowering Bill

Video, audio at: http://youtu.be/QeKyxLkwzO0

Santa Fe — The State Senate passed a bill to help revitalize small towns and boost businesses in rural New Mexico by lowering the taxes on microbrewery production. The bill is sponsored State Senator Sue Wilson Beffort (R-Sandia Park). SB 81aa advances to the House.

SB 81aa- Liquor Tax Microbrew Volume Limit is designed to help expand the microbrewery business in New Mexico. It does that by charging a lower tax rate on 10,000 additional barrels of beer and thereby encouraging business growth.

Senator Wilson Beffort has said: “This bill is to help build up the downtown areas in rural communities like Moriarty, where the microbrewery is an attraction for tourists and for New Mexicans alike, to visit the rural setting while enjoying the gourmet-type New Mexico beers. This bill covers the small microbreweries, not the large package beer companies,” Senator Wilson Beffort said. “The tax savings would allow the microbreweries to buy more equipment to expand their production and help increase light manufacturing jobs in the area.”

The bill would help the 30 microbreweries or micro pubs and 5 packaging breweries in the state grow by lowering the tax rate on production of barrels over 5,000. It holds the liquor excise tax to $.08 per gallon charged on all barrels up to 15,000. Currently, those under 5,000 are charged $.08 and those produced from 5,000 to 15,000 are charged 33 cents more to $.41 a gallon.

“These New Mexico small businesses are at the mercy of the high tax rate in  trying to  grow their business while our neighbors to the north, Colorado, pay the lower eight cents a gallon on all beer sold within their state,” Wilson Beffort said. “Let’s boost business in our small towns by lowering tax rates.”

The Taxation and Revenue Department estimates the total recurring impact will be a loss from $830,000 in 2014 to $1.3 million in 2017 if six brewers qualify.

There is a ten year sunset on the bill and the effective date is January 1, 2014.

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

UNM’s Renewable Energy Field of Study to get its Own Boost of Energy

SB 321-Utility Charges for Certain Schools

Senate Minority Whip Bill Payne (R-Albuquerque)

University of New Mexico (UNM) exempt from Renewable Portfolio Act/Exempts utility charges for renewable energy 2.5% of electricity charges to invest in own renewable energy generation

$300,000 to $500,000 fee savings to be invested in renewables.

Santa Fe –  The renewable energy field of study at UNM could get its own  boost of energy if a bill that passed the Senate becomes law. It could receive a $300,000 to $500,000 boost.

SB 321, sponsored by Senate Minority Whip Bill Payne, passed the Senate unanimously and has now advanced to the House. It allows UNM to be exempt from a special utility fee charged to all utility customers  for the development of  renewable energy (by PNM.)

“This savings for UNM will go towards encouraging its own renewable energy generation at the university because it will be invested in UNM’s development and production of renewable energy,” Senator Payne said. “The savings will be invested in course and laboratory materials for students who are interested in the renewable energy field of study.” Senator Payne said the fee savings could generate as much at $300,000 to $500,000 for UNM.

SB 321 amends the Renewable Portfolio Act by exempting UNM as a political subdivision of the state. In doing so, UNM  would be exempt from the utility charge for renewable energy.  Utility customers who are exempt from the fee have an annual consumption exceeding 20 million kilowatt hours and have their own renewable generation.

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For Immediate Release  Wednesday, March 06, 2013  Contact: 505-986-4702

Tucumcari Rancher Confirmed by Senate for State Game Commission

Santa Fe — The New Mexico State Senate unanimously confirmed the appointment of Tucumcari rancher Scott  Bidegain as a member of the State Game Commission. Bidegain was sponsored by Senator Pat Woods (R-Broadview). He told his Senate colleagues that Bidegain is the epitome of a cowboy who has close encounters with wildlife.

“If you look up the definition of a cowboy you would have a picture of Scott Bidegain. He is a true American icon,” Senator Woods said on the Senate floor today. “He is also very close to wildlife as evidenced by the brace on his hand from a mountain lion bite that broke his hand.”

Bidegain said he was rescuing his dogs from a cave on his property when he  came upon a mountain lion and  the mountain lion bit him. Senator Woods said the Game Commission is fortunate to have someone of the Bidegain’s  to serve for four years on the seven member commission. Bidegain, 33,  said he will work towards  a balanced approach on the State Game Commission, “Wildlife comes first, no one else will look out for them.”

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For Immediate Release Wednesday, March 06, 2013  Contact: 986-4702

Rawson Reappointed To Four More Years as State Investment Council Hits Record High

Santa Fe – Former state senator and Las Cruces businessman Leonard Lee Rawson was unanimously reconfirmed by the New Mexico State Senate to serve four more years on the New Mexico State Investment Council. Rawson was originally appointed to the State Investment Council in April 2010. At that time, the state’s permanent fund totaled around  $13 billion dollars. The fund has grown by around four billion dollars since Rawson has been on the council. Today, the fund is at an all time high of about $17 billion dollars.

Rawson credits the great financial returns to more than a recovering market. He said the days of the pay-to-play scandals surrounding the State Investment Council are over. Decisions are now based on sound investments.

“We have cleaned house since the days of corruption surrounding the State Investment Council.  It is now totally restructured. The result has been a dramatic increase in funds,” Rawson said. “We are making decisions based on the best investments for the state, not based on who can personally benefit from the state’s billions.”

Rawson said that the council is now very engaged and has hired all new financial managers and consultants. He said last year’s over 14% return has a lot to do with the asset allocation decisions the council made.

“The council is making decisions for the right reasons now.  We are focused on the best investments and they are no longer the political decisions from the days of pay-to-play scandals,” Rawson said. “We have beaten the market because of the decisions we have made and we are paying close attention to those decisions.”

The State Investment Council manages funds in the State’s Land Grant Fund and the State’s Severance Tax Permanent Fund. Those funds are generated from royalties on the state’s lands and from taxes on what is provided from the land, such as oil, gas and minerals.

Rawson, one of 11 members on the council, is a legislative appointee. He will serve until 2017.

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For Immediate Release Tuesday, March 5, 2013  Contact: 986-4702

Senate Passes Unemployment Insurance Bill to Assure Adequate Reserves and Fairer Premium Rates

SB 334CS- Unemployment Fund Contributions and Formula

Senate Minority Leader Stuart Ingle

Fairer rates based on employers’ use of fund

Workforce Solutions sets formula, assures soundness

Implemented in 2015

Santa Fe — The New Mexico State Senate Passed SB 334cs, sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Stuart Ingle (R-Portales) on a vote of 40 to 2. The bill now advances to the House.

Senator Ingle said the bill improves fairness of unemployment insurance premium contribution tax rates paid by employers and contributes to the long-term health of the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund (UCTF).

The bill changes the current law so employers’ unemployment claims experience relate more closely to their unemployment tax rates to be fair to all employers when setting unemployment premium tax rates.  It would allow the Department of Workforce Solutions to set part of the formula that would be used to determine how much money businesses would be required to pay into the unemployment fund. The new formula helps to assure adequate UCTF reserves. The new formula would take effect in January 2015.

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For Immediate Release  Wednesday, March 6, 2013  Contact: 505-986-4702

Recent Committee action  from Tuesday evening on following Republican Senate Bills:

SB 521a TWO-TIERED DRIVERS’ LICENSES (Sen Ingle) SPAC Tabled 5-3

SB 532 FORFEITURE OF DWI VEHICLES (Sen. Moores) SPAC no rec to SJC 5-3

SM 72 TRUANCY & DROPOUT PREVENTION TASK FORCE (Kernan)  -  SRC DP 6-0     goes next to SEC

SB 464 SCHOOL DISTRICT SOLVENCY FLEXIBILITY (Kernan) SFC DP 9-0 to Sfloor

SB 387ALGAE & GEOTHERMAL ENERGY EQUIPMENT VALUATION (Sen. Leavell) SCONC DP 9-0 Next to SFC

SB525 CHEMICAL TESTS FOR DWI (Sen. Rue) SPAC no rec 6-2 Next to SJC

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For Immediate Release  Tuesday, March 05, 2013 Contact: 986-4702

Bill to Change this: No to Life Jacket-  Yes to Court Appearance and Possible Jail time

Punishment does not fit the crime

Now-No lifejacket- appear in court, up to 6 months in jail, $500 fine or both

SB 94 change- treat like traffic ticket, option to pay or appear in court to contest

1st violation- $30, 2nd-$50, 3rd or more-$150

Santa Fe — It is important that lifejackets fit to be effective, but if you do not wear one on the water in New Mexico, the punishment does not fit the crime.  You would need to go to court and could face a jail cell for up to six months, a $500 fine, or both.

Senator Bill Sharer (R-Farmington) wants to change that.

Senator Sharer’s SB 94 would allow violations of state park rules to be treated like a  traffic ticket instead of like crime requiring jail time.  Offenders could have an  option  to pay the  “penalty assessment misdemeanor” or appear in court to contest the charge. A first violation would be $30, a second one would be $50 and a third or more would be $150.

“We are not diminishing the importance of lifejackets,” Senator Sharer said. “But it is important to not bog down our courts with these violations of park rules. People out on the water without their PFCs should have the option to pay the fine or go to court to contest it. They should  not be required to show up in court for not  wearing their lifejackets.”

Currently, the maximum sentence for not wearing a personal floatation device (PFC) is six months in jail and a $500 fine or both.  The petty misdemeanor also requires a person appear to court to face a judge.

Sb 94- Penalties for no boat floatation devices passed the Senate 37-0 and goes to the House.

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For Immediate Release  March 5, 2013  Contact:  505-986-4702

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

SB 41a/ec Background Checks for CYFD Emergency Placements

Senator Sander Rue

Passes Senate 36-2

Santa Fe — The New Mexico State Senate passed 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, with an emergency clause, passed the Senate 36 to 2 and now goes to the House. SB 41a 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.

Senator Rue has said:

“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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For Immediate Release  Monday, March 04, 2013  Contact: 505-986-4702

Monday evening committee action on following Republican Senate Bills:

SB0442 DWI INTERLOCKS FOR CERTAIN SENTENCES (Sen. Griggs) SJC DP 6-0 goes to Senate Floor

SB0279cs APPRAISAL MANAGEMENT COMPANIES (Sen. Rue) SJC DP 6-0 goes to SFloor

SB0278csa REAL ESTATE APPRAISERS, MANAGEMENT & TRAINING (Sen. Rue) DP 7-0 goes to Senate Floor

SB0312aa UNCLAIMED INSURANCE BENEFITS & POLICIES (Sen. Leavell) SJC DP 7-0 goes to Senate Floor

SB0361 SCHOOL ATHLETICS EQUITY ACT DELAYED REPEAL (Sen. Kernan) died in SJC on a DP failure 4-5 on party lines

—————

For Immediate Release  Monday, March 04, 2013  Contact: 986-4702

Despite ALL Republican Senators Vote Against Raising Minimum Wage Statewide to 4th Highest  in the Nation, SB 416a Passes Senate on Party-line vote

Soundbite available: http://youtu.be/JTXKeVXBPjI

On a party line vote, all 17 Republican Senators voted against raising the minimum wage statewide to $8.50 an hour, the fourth highest in the nation. SB 416a-Raise Minimum Wage passed 25 to 17 and goes to the House.

State Senator Bill Sharer (R-Farmington) said the free market should be allowed to work. He said the free market should determine wages. Senator Sharer said raising the minimum wage by 13% could have a negative impact on New Mexico small business and may lead to cutbacks in employment levels.  Currently, the state minimum wage is $7.50 an hour.

The bill was amended to apply to employers with 11 or more employees. Current law applies to employers with one or more employees.

—————

For Immediate Release Monday, March 04, 2013 Contact: 505-986-4702

Audio /Video at: http://youtu.be/xomdtcDpGX0

On to 3rd Committee: SB 368- Reboot NM Tax System in Senate Public Affairs Tuesday

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

Santa Fe — Out of Senate Conservation, Out of Senate Corporations, in Senate Public Affairs Tuesday.  Bill to wipe out hundreds of taxes in New Mexico and replace them with a simple and low 2% across-the- board consumption tax is scheduled for Senate Public Affairs Tuesday afternoon, March 5, 2013 in room 321.

Sponsor of SB 368: Senator Bill Sharer (R- Farmington). He said: “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. “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.

—————

For Immediate Release  Monday, March 04, 2013  Contact: 505-986-4702

Recent Committee action on following Republican Senate Bills:

SB548 THREATENING SCHOOL VIOLENCE ACT (Sen. Neville) SEC DP 8-1 Next to SJC

SB 496 SPECIAL LICENSE PLATE DECALS (Sharer) SCORC DP 7-1 on to SJC then SFC

SB 428LEA & ROOSEVELT WEATHER MODIFICATION (Sen. Ingle) SCONC DP 6-0 Next to SFC

SJM 46 REIMBURSEMENT OF HOME & COMMUNITY-BASED SVCS (Beffort) SFC DP to Sfloor

SB  557/a  RURAL JOB TAX CREDIT DEFINITIONS  (Leavell) SFC DP to Sfloor

SB  160a BIODIESEL DEFINITIONS (Ingle) SFC DP to Sfloor

 

 

 

 

NM Legislature Weekly Roundup: Week of Feb. 25 – Mar. 1, 2013

Posted on 03. Mar, 2013 by Stephan Helgesen in Politics

The following information was submitted by the New Mexico State Senate Republican Office and is presented in the order from the newest to the oldest…

Recent Committee action on following Republican Senate Bills:

· SB0396a AMERICAN-MADE VEHICLES IN PROCUREMENT CODE (Sen. Neville) SJC DP 6-1 goes to Senate Floor.

· SB0020 RAISE PROBATION COSTS FOR DEFENDANTS (Sen. Neville) SJC DP 8-0 goes to Senate Floor.

· SB0094cs PENALTIES FOR NO BOAT FLOATATION DEVICES (Sen. Sharer) SJC DP 8-1 goes to Senate Floor.

———-

Recent Committee action on following Republican Senate Bills:

SB0412aa UPDATE MODEL ACTS OF INSURANCE CODE  (Sen. Leavell) SJC DP w/o rec 5-3 goes to Senate Floor.

SB 321 UTILITY CHARGES FOR CERTAIN SCHOOLS (Sen. Payne) SCORC DP 6-0 Next to Senate Floor.

SB418 TEACHER LICENSURE CONTENT KNOWLEDGE (Sen. Kernan) SEC DP 9-0 Next to SJC.

SB464 SCHOOL DISTRICT FUNDING FLEXIBILITY (Sen. Kernan) SEC DP 8-0 Next to SFC.

———-

Senate Passes 37-2

Over $16 BILLION in State Funds to be Better Secured

After years of Pay- to- Play Scandals

SB 9aaa – State Investment Council Changes

Sponsor:  Senator Steven Neville

Soundbite at: http://youtu.be/rDNzTpg7bgk

Senate passed 37-2, goes to House

To end pay-to-play scandals

12 member board gives more oversight to Legislature

Members have 10 or more years finance experience

No felons, crimes of moral turpitude

State Investment Officer can still hire consultants

(Santa Fe) The Senate Passed SB 9aaa.  Over 16 billion dollars in state permanent funds,   yes billion with a “B, ” should become  better secured and better invested for future generations with the changes proposed by Senator Steve Neville. (R-Farmington.)  The years of “Pay-to- Play” Scandals for the State Investment Council are to end.

“The days of seeing “Pay to Play” headlines regarding the billions of dollars in State Investment Council  (SIC) need to end. With the improvements in my bill, the public can rest assured that these billions in our permanent funds will be in place to help generate funds for future generations,” Senator Neville said.  “These billions  cannot be tampered with, they cannot be inappropriately invested, they need better oversight. They should receive this with the changes we are proposing for the State Investment Council.”

SB 9 – State Investment Council Changes would  change the State Investment Council’s membership composition and appointment process. There would be more oversight by the legislature. The bill would add member eligibility requirements and clarify operating procedures.  It also allows the SIC to invest funds in the Small Business Investment Corporation.

MEMBERSHIP COMPOSITION Under Senator Neville’s Bill includes some current appointments, plus some new appointments. The changes in appointments include four from the legislature:

one public member appointed by the President pro tempore; must be confirmed by Senate

one public member appointed by the minority floor leader of Senate; must be confirmed by Senate

one public member appointed by the Speaker of the House; must be confirmed by Senate

one public member appointed by the minority floor leader of the House; must be confirmed by Senate

5-8 Increases from two members  to four members appointed by the Governor, but no more than two from same political party  and they  must be confirmed by Senate.

The following positions currently on the SIC would remain:

9- Governor or person appointed by the Governor; if appointed must be confirmed by Senate

10- State Treasurer or person appointed by the Treasurer; if appointed must be confirmed by Senate

11- Commissioner of Public Lands or person appointed by the Commissioner; if appointed must be confirmed  by Senate

12  Dept. of Finance and Administration (DFA) Secretary.

———-

Senate Passes: Public Schools to be Paid for Teaching

Part-time Home Schooled Students

SB 302aa Home Student Program Units

Senator Craig Brandt (R-Rio Rancho)

Soundbite Avail: http://youtu.be/SBDgv1lini4

· Senate Passes 29-10, goes to House

· Allows home schooled students to take one or more classes in all public schools

· Public schools cannot deny home schooled students to take part-time courses

· Ensures schools receive state funding for those part-time home school students

Santa Fe—The New Mexico State Senate passed a bill to allow home schooled students to take one or more classes in all  public schools in the state. And the bill  would ensure schools would be able to receive state funding for those part-time home schooled students. SB 302aa passed 29-10. It is  sponsored by Senator Craig Brandt (R-Rio Rancho) and goes to the House.

“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.”

———-

Correction of Bill Name:

· SB 544 BAIL BONDS FOR FULL AMOUNT OF BAIL (TORRACO) SCORC DP wo rec 9-0 on to SJC

Committees took action Wednesday PM on following Republican Senate Bills:

SB0396a AMERICAN-MADE VEHICLES IN PROCUREMENT CODE (Sen. Neville) SJC tabled 3-3

Committees took action Wednesday on the following Republican Senate Bills:

· SB0455aa TRAFFIC TICKET COUNTY JURISDICTION (Sen. Pirtle) SJC DP 9-0 goes to Senate Floor

· SB 518 TAX DISTRIBUTION & TRANSFER CORRECTIONS (INGLE) DP wo rec SCORC 8-0 on to SFC

· SB284a VALUATION OF RENEWABLE ENERGY EQUIPMENT (Leavell)S FC DP 7-0 to Sfloor

· SB340 $10 MILLION MINIMUM DESIGN & BUILD PROJECTS (Ingle) SFC DP 8-0 to Sfloor

· SB 341 BUILDING & REMODEL CONTRACT THRESHOLD AMOUNT (Ingle) SFC DP 9-0 to Sfloor

· SB572 RENOVATION & CONSTRUCTION OF STATE OFFICES (Ingle) SFC DP 8-0 to Sfloor

———-

Committees took action Wednesday on the following Republican Senate Bills:

· SB0455aa TRAFFIC TICKET COUNTY JURISDICTION (Sen. Pirtle) SJC DP 9-0 goes to Senate Floor

· SB 518 TAX DISTRIBUTION & TRANSFER CORRECTIONS (INGLE) DP wo rec SCORC 8-0 on to SFC

· SB 544 RAISE MINIMUM WAGE (TORRACO) SCORC DP wo rec 9-0 on to SJC

· SB284a VALUATION OF RENEWABLE ENERGY EQUIPMENT (Leavell)S FC DP 7-0 to Sfloor

· SB340 $10 MILLION MINIMUM DESIGN & BUILD PROJECTS (Ingle) SFC DP 8-0 to Sfloor

· SB 341 BUILDING & REMODEL CONTRACT THRESHOLD AMOUNT (Ingle) SFC DP 9-0 to Sfloor

· SB572 RENOVATION & CONSTRUCTION OF STATE OFFICES (Ingle) SFC DP 8-0 to Sfloor

———-

Letter to the Editor

Not a Prediction, a Guarantee: State Loses Greatly if SB 547 Ruins New Mexico’s Oil and Gas Industry

This will do it. SB 547 will ruin New Mexico’s oil and gas industry. It is more than a prediction, it is a guarantee.

SB 547 prohibits the oil and gas industry from being able to produce the tax revenue our state so heavily depends on. The industry provides upwards of 30% of the revenue our state relies on to fund schools, roads, public safety and healthcare.

SB 547 prohibits hydraulic fracturing in horizontally drilled wells. Currently, a vast majority of the oil and gas comes from hydraulic fracturing. If this technology is banned in horizontal wells by SB 547, the bill kills the economic future of New Mexico.  SB 547 will eliminate nearly all of the drilling in New Mexico and any future drilling. New production will not take place. Companies with high paying jobs will close down, companies with even higher paying won’t consider relocating here.  There will be reduced future production to tax to pay for schools, roads, public safety and healthcare.

The bill, sponsored by Senator William Soules of Las Cruces, is being presented by a Senator with little knowledge of the oil patch areas of New Mexico.  I appeal to those New Mexicans who understand that New Mexico cannot afford to lose these revenues.  Our state has barely begun a recovery from the recent hard times and we cannot afford to lose any revenues now or in the future.  Consider the number of private industry high-paying and middle income jobs that will be lost if this industry is shut down.  That takes personal income tax right out of the state’s coffers as well.

This bill is on the calendar for Senate Conservation.  If it passes, kiss goodbye the 30,000 high paying jobs directly attributed to oil and gas activity in the state. Kiss goodbye funding for schools, roads, public safety and healthcare in the state. Kiss goodbye our economic future.

Senator Lee S. Cotter

Room 416C State Capitol Building

Old Santa Fe Trail

Santa Fe, NM 87505

Tuesday, February 27, 2013

505-986-4377

———-

Senate Passed Bill to Require Assisted Living  Contract Refund Policy

Senate Bill 335/ec Assisted Living Facility Contract Refunds

Passed Senate 40-0

CORRECTION is underlined

Santa Fe- A bill that passed the Senate, House Committees and was placed on the House floor calendar when time ran out in the session last year, passed the New Mexico State Senate unanimously again this session. The Bill 335/ec  requires a refund policy for contracts with assisted living facilities when a resident dies, it passed the Senate 40-0.

Senate Minority Leader Stuart Ingle (R-Portales) sponsored the legislation that requires contracts to include a prorated refund policy effective when the resident has died and the personal effects have been removed from the assisted living facility.

Senator Ingle sponsored the legislation originally last year after being contacted by a family whose loved one died a day after the family had paid a full month’s assisted living rent and the facility  would not refund any of the rent, even after it had rented the room to another resident. “The family did not get one dime back,” Senator Ingle said on the Senate floor today.

Senator Ingle has said, “This situation really touched me.  I just cannot believe a business can behave this way. I talked to a number of assisted living facility directors who do have policies to refund the rent.  But for those who do not have such policies, we need a law to require this refund policy. I  just felt like something needed to be done.”

It now goes to the House for consideration. There is an emergency clause on the bill.

———-

Senate Passed Bill to Require Assisted Living  Contract Refund Policy

Senate Bill 335/ec Assisted Living Facility Contract Refunds

Passed Senate 40-0

Santa Fe- A bill that passed both chambers last year, but did not get through the process, passed the New Mexico State Senate unanimously again this session. The Bill 335/ec requires a refund policy for contracts with assisted living facilities when a resident dies, it passed the Senate 40-0.

Senate Minority Leader Stuart Ingle (R-Portales) sponsored the legislation that requires contracts to include a prorated refund policy effective when the resident has died and the personal effects have been removed from the assisted living facility.

Senator Ingle sponsored the legislation originally last year after being contacted by a family whose loved one died a day after the family had paid a full month’s assisted living rent and the facility  would not refund any of the rent, even after it had rented the room to another resident.

“The family did  not get one dime back,” Senator Ingle said on the Senate floor today.

Senator Ingle has said, “This situation really touched me.  I just cannot believe a business can behave this way. I talked to a number of assisted living facility directors who do have policies to refund the rent.  But for those who do not have such policies, we need a law to require this refund policy. I  just felt like something needed to be done.”

It now goes to the House for consideration. There is an emergency clause on the bill.

———-

Senate Education Passed Bill to Keep Students  on Track or Risk

Losing Driver’s License

Soundbite at:  http://youtu.be/XdVNYGgeEfk

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- Senate Education unanimously passed a bill (9-0) that encourages students  to stay in school by  possibly denying  driver’s licenses to students who plan to drop out. SB 393 now goes to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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.

———-

New Mexico State  Senate Republican Office

Killed in Senate Ed- Bill to Allow Districts to Decide if up to 3 Employees Can Have a Handgun at School

Soundbite avail: http://youtu.be/fGQDxHyBcnM

Committee Sub for SB 230 School Employee Concealed Handguns – Senator Sue Wilson Beffort

MAJOR Points:

1.      Immediate level of protection in our schools

2.      Allows up to three school employees to bring licensed conceal carry permitted guns on school grounds

3.      Requires addition annual  training to conceal carry permit

4.      Optional for all school districts, schools and school employees

5.      There is no additional money in budget bill to pay for armed school guards at all New Mexico public schools

Santa Fe- The New Mexico Senate Education committee killed a bill that would have allowed up to three school employees to carry a concealed handgun on school property, on a strictly volunteer basis. The bill was tabled indefinitely in Senate Finance on a vote of 6 to 3, meaning the committee will not reconsider the bill this session. The bill was sponsored by Senator Sue Wilson Beffort (R-Sandia Park.)

Part of  Senator Wilson Beffort’s testimony can be found on youtube at this address: http://youtu.be/fGQDxHyBcnM

Previous press release on the bill included this information:

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 up to three employees to carry a concealed gun. “We need to stop a tragedy before it happens,” Wilson Beffort said. “It is an option that school boards can decide if they want. If they want it, then a shooter is not going to know which who has a concealed carry.” 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 employees must be in possession of a valid concealed handgun license.Senator Sue Wilson Beffort’s comments on the day before its first committee hears the piece of legislation:  “I want to emphasize that this is strictly voluntary.  Nothing in the bill would force any school or school district to implement this law unless the school district and its community wished to do so.  The tragic school shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut have helped to focus on need for this type of consideration.

But Sandy Hook is only one in an ongoing litany of tragic mass school shootings including those in Colorado, Arkansas, Kentucky and Mississippi.  Consider this:  During a shooting spree at a high school in Pearl, Mississippi, several years ago, an assistant principal retrieved a gun from his car and physically immobilized the gunman for a full four and a half minutes until the police arrived.  This gunman had already fatally shot two students.  Who knows how many lives the assistant principal saved that day?

Legislatures and other local governing entities are considering similar measures as they grapple with how to protect their children and teachers throughout the country. Other remedies that have been discussed–such as armed guards, more mental health counselors, locked fencing and installation of protective glass in windows and doors–while they are worthy considerations none are currently in HB 2 as it stands.  While the metal health issue is also a significant piece in this tragic occurrence, that issue remains unsolved to date and is extremely complicated especially in terms of an ultimate comprehensive remedy–locking people up?  Or the accusations not fair to persons with mental illness. Privacy. Freedom to board an airplane, if any diagnosis that the country needs time and focus to accomplish something.”

———-

-On Senate Calendar today-

Over $16 BILLION in State Funds to be Better Secured

After years of Pay- to- Play Scandals

SB 9aa – State Investment Council Changes

Sponsor:  Senator Steven Neville

Soundbite at: http://youtu.be/rDNzTpg7bgk

12 member board gives more oversight to Legislature

Members have 10 or more years finance experience

No felons, crimes of moral turpitude

State Investment Officer can still hire consultants

(Santa Fe) Over 16 billion dollars in state permanent funds,   yes billion with a “B, ” should become  better secured and better invested for future generations with the changes proposed by Senator Steve Neville. (R-Farmington).  The years of “Pay-to- Play” Scandals for the State Investment Council are to end.

“The days of seeing “Pay to Play” headlines regarding the billions of dollars in State Investment Council  (SIC) need to end. With the improvements in my bill, the public can rest assured that these billions in our permanent funds will be in place to help generate funds for future generations,” Senator Neville said.  “These billions  cannot be tampered with, they cannot be inappropriately invested, they need better oversight. They should receive this with the changes we are proposing for the State Investment Council.”

SB 9 – State Investment Council Changes would  change the State Investment Council’s membership composition and appointment process. There would be more oversight by the legislature. The bill would add member eligibility requirements and clarify operating procedures.  It also allows the SIC to invest funds in the Small Business Investment Corporation.

MEMBERSHIP COMPOSITION Under Senator Neville’s Bill includes some current appointments, plus some new appointments. The changes in appointments include four from the legislature:

one public member appointed by the President pro tempore; must be confirmed by Senate

one public member appointed by the minority floor leader of Senate; must be confirmed by Senate

one public member appointed by the Speaker of the House; must be confirmed by Senate

one public member appointed by the minority floor leader of the House; must be confirmed by Senate

5-8 Increases from two members  to four members appointed by the Governor, but no more than two from same political party  and they  must be confirmed by Senate.

The following positions currently on the SIC would remain:

9- Governor or person appointed by the Governor; if appointed must be confirmed by Senate

10- State Treasurer or person appointed by the Treasurer; if appointed must be confirmed by Senate

11- Commissioner of Public Lands or person appointed by the Commissioner; if appointed must be confirmed  by Senate

12  Dept. of Finance and Administration (DFA) Secretary.

Senator Neville’s bill would deleted the following five members:

The requirement that one member must be chief financial officer of a state university

The requirement that four members must be appointed by the NM Legislative Council Service (LCS).

The bill provides for the SIC to elect its own Chair and Vice-Chair, both to serve two-year staggered terms with no more than two consecutive terms.

MEMBERSHIP QUALIFICATIONS

Establishes the following criteria for SIC members:

No less than ten years experience in the fields of investment management, investment accounting,  investment risk management or governance in public or private entities

U.S. citizenship and New Mexico residency.

No convictions for felony or misdemeanor crime(s) involving moral turpitude.

INVESTMENTS

State Investment Officer must have “10 years” training and investment experience

Allows the SIC to invest inactive funds for the Small Business Investment Council (SBIC), as it does for 17 other state agencies, according to the SIC analysis.  The bill also requires additional reporting from SBIC to SIC.

Clarifies the State Investment Officer’s authority to hire investment consultants and specifies that the staff of the SIC who have discretionary authority or control over SIC funds are fiduciaries.

ADMINISTRATION

Clarifies SIC administration related to per diem, State Investment Officer salary, and meeting frequency and notices, and the SIO’s role.

———-

New Long-term Insurance Program Would Allow

New Mexicans to Keep More of their Assets While Qualifying for Medicaid

SB 196 – Long Term Care Insurance Partnership Program

Sponsor:  Senator Lee S. Cotter

Encouraging  private long-term insurance program:

· Gives New Mexicans more choice

· Incentive allows estate to retain value of policy that could be passed to heirs

· Saves Medicaid program when people are on private insurance.

(Santa Fe)  The New Mexico State Senate passed 39-0 a bill sponsored by  State Senator Lee S. Cotter (R-Las Cruces) that gives New Mexicans more choice and an incentive to purchase long-term care insurance. Senator Cotter’s bill is SB 196- Long Term Care Insurance Partnership Program.

It allows New Mexicans to exempt from qualifying for Medicaid the amount of their  private insurance benefit if the private insurance benefit becomes  exhausted.  The value of the  private insurance benefit can remain in the person’s estate, does not have to be spent down to $2,000 in order for the person to qualify for Medicaid once their private insurance is exhausted.

“This does a number of things. Primarily, it gives New Mexicans a choice.   It allows people to leave their heirs part of their estate in the event they do have to eventually go on Medicaid without having to become destitute,” Senator Cotter said. “It also helps save the federal Medicaid program dollars because more New Mexicans will appreciate the incentive of purchasing their own private insurance and won’t be on the federal program, until their private insurance is gone.”

Senator Cotter said the long-term insurance incentive program has been passed by 42 other states. Senator Cotter reiterated, “The program allows New Mexicans to have a choice. It gives them an incentive to save assets and provides for their long term health care instead of forcing New Mexicans to reduce their assets to $2,000 before they can apply for Medicaid.”

He said it modifies Medicaid eligibility rules by requiring that, individuals’ assets counted when considering Medicaid eligibility, exclude the amount of qualified long-term care insurance. The lower the “counted assets” the higher the chance the person will qualify for Medicaid.

SB 196 requires that the Human Services Dept. (HSD) modify the state Medicaid Plan and create a long-term health insurance partnership program in consultation with the Superintendent of Insurance to give incentives for individuals to obtain long term care insurance.

———-

Action was taken on the following Republican Sponsored bills in the Senate today, Friday, February 22, 2013.  Passed Senate bills passed head to the House.

SB 185/aa/ec Frontier Communities Program- Sponsor- Senator Pat Woods (R-Broadview) Passed Senate. The bill amends the New Mexico Main Street Act [3-60B-1 and 4 NMSA 1978] to include a new category of community economic development support by the MainStreet Program called “Frontier Communities” to help rural communities under 5,000 in population with economic development initiatives.

SB 372- Barber & Cosmetologist Cease & Desist Orders- Sponsor- Senator Lisa Torraco (R-Albuquerque)  passed Senate 35-4 and now heads to the House.

SB 372 would grant authority to the Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists, rather than with the Attorney General’s Office, to issue cease and desist orders to violators of the Barbers and Cosmetologists Act (BCA) or the Body Art Safe Practices Act (BASPA) and to impose penalties for such violations.

SB 181a Professional Licensure Standards & Boards- Sponsor- Senator Sander Rue (R-Albuquerque) passed Senate 36-0)  SB 181/a  updates and clarifies the scope of practice and licensure definitions for a clinical fellow of speech and language pathology and hearing aid dispensers. It conforms New Mexico law to national standards.

SB 336/ec 2 Year Cycle For Some Election Contributions- Sponsor Senate Minority Leader Stuart Ingle- passed 40-0. The bill puts Senators on the same fund raising schedule as Representatives by changing contribution caps for certain elective offices. It amends the Campaign Reporting Act (CRA) to change the contribution limits from a specified cap per election cycle for each elective office to a cap every two years, no matter what the election cycle is.  It allows candidates to receive the maximum amount of campaign contributions during any Primary or General Election cycle instead of being restricted to the contribution limits during their own election cycle only, as current law requires.

———-

Editor – For more information, please contact:  The New Mexico State  Senate Republican Office at 505/986-4702

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

———-

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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