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How A Reform Bill Loses Its Teeth In 60 Days

Mar 25, 2015
Flood via Flickr / Creative Commons License

For 60 days, New Mexico’s lawmakers debated in legislative committees and in hallways of the Roundhouse whether or not to reveal to the public how lobbyists go about influencing legislators.

The answer came back “not” last week.

Waferboard via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Lobbyists and their employers reported spending nearly $300,000 during the 60-day session that ended Saturday – and that’s just the spending that totaled more than $500 at a time.

State law requires lobbyists to report any spending of $500 or more within 48-hours. All told, lobbyists and employers reported spending $295,300 during the session. This session, that included spending on meals, receptions, teddy bears and more.

More lobbyists will report individual expenditures under $500 at a time in reports to be filed May 1.

Jim Clark / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service / public domain

Partisan Fighting Also Killed New Mexico 'Kendra's Law' - The Associated Press

Lost in the partisan bickering of the New Mexico Legislature's final moments was a measure aimed at helping some residents with severe mental illness.

Since lawmakers failed to pass the bill, New Mexico remains one of only a handful of states without a "Kendra's Law."

It would have allowed judges in some counties to order patients to take medication and undergo treatment if they are deemed a danger to themselves and their community.

Arianna Sena

Psychiatric Meds In School—PASSED

Mike Tungate via Flickr / Creative Commons License

The Bernalillo County Commission will hear testimony this week about a controversial proposal to build a huge planned community west of Albuquerque.

If approved, Santolina developers would turn about 14,000 acres of sprawling sand dunes into a mini-city complete with industrial parks and schools.

wcn227 via Flickr

The Obama administration announced broad new federal regulations of hydraulic fracturing last week. The rules will only apply to drilling on public land — which in New Mexico accounts for around half of all oil and gas operations.

The new regulations announced by the Interior Department allow for federal inspections of drill sites and require public disclosure of fracking chemicals, among other things.   

Randy Montoya

Report: Feds To Exceed Costs For Cleaning Up Nuke Waste – The Associated Press

A government watchdog says work to clean up radioactive waste at one of the federal government's premier nuclear laboratories is costing more than expected.

The Government Accountability Office says by the end of the last fiscal year, the National Nuclear Security Administration spent about $931 million to remove contaminated equipment and soil from Los Alamos National Laboratory.

That's $202 million more than the agency's 2006 estimate.

Arianna Sena

KUNM's Floyd Vasquez chatted with Gwyneth Doland about bills from the state legislature that passed this session as part of our People, Power and Democracy reporting project. Our partners are New Mexico In Depth, New Mexico PBS and the UNM Communication and Journalism Department. 

KUNM: The session ended at noon on Saturday. Now that it’s all over, tell us what happened?

Arianna Sena

KUNM's Chris Boros chatted with Gwyneth Doland about bills that did not pass at the state legislature this session. It's part of our People, Power and Democracy reporting project. Our partners are New Mexico In Depth, New Mexico PBS and the UNM Communication and Journalism Department. 

KUNM: We heard from you this morning about some of the bills that passed and are awaiting the governor's signature. But that was only a couple hundred bills. And there are many, many more that did not make it.

Jena g. . Einar E. Kvaran aka 98.20.23.52 23:59, 1 June 2009, via Wikimedia Commons

KUNM Call In Show Thu. 3/26 8a: 

The 2015 legislative session has ended, characterized, in part, by partisanship, rancor and a lack of collaboration and cooperation. 

Where are the big, bold ideas and actions that will address pressing issues in New Mexico? Who is taking action and advancing ideas that will benefit all New Mexicans, including low-income people, people of color and other disenfranchised communities? 

We'll look back at some legislation that passed this session, some that did not, and we'll look forward to hearing from you!

Guests:

Curtis Gregory Perry via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Albuquerque Police: 1 Dead, Others Hurt In Park ShootingThe Associated Press

Albuquerque police say one person is dead and others are injured following a shooting at a skate park.

A police statement early Monday says the shooting at Los Altos Park was reported shortly before 10 p.m. Sunday.

Officer Fred Duran says there are "multiple subjects injured and one subject deceased from the shooting."

Information was still sketchy with Duran saying that many details haven't been determined, including the identities of the victims.

Highlights Of New Mexico Legislative Session 2015

Mar 21, 2015
Arianna Sena

A look at proposals that passed and failed during the 60-day session of the Legislature, which ended Saturday.

ALCOHOL-DRUGS

— Passed: Bill to allow restaurants and delivery companies to deliver beer and wine to residences and hotels; prohibit the sale of electronic cigarettes and nicotine liquid containers to minors; allow farmers in the state to grow industrial hemp for research only.

— Failed: A bill to legalize the selling and cultivating of marijuana stalled in a House committee.

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ANIMAL PROTECTION

Arianna Sena

Lost in the drama of Saturday was the death of legislation that would have exposed so-called "dark money” groups to more public scrutiny.

The cause of death?

Late-session disagreements and wariness in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

starreyez024 via Flickr / Creative Commons License

The New Mexico state Legislature this week passed a $6.23 billion budget (HB 2) that increasing funding for education, job training and other programs. It also includes a tenfold increase in the Local Economic Development Act fund, one of the rare proposals this session that were supported by Democrats as well as Gov. Susana Martinez.

401(K) 2012 via flickr

NM Legislature Rips Through Bills; Wrangling Capital OutlayThe Associated Press 

State lawmakers continue putting finishing touches on dozens of bills as the 52nd New Mexico Legislature's first session heads for the history books.

Among bills lawmakers sent to Gov. Susana Martinez for consideration Friday was a massive $6.2 billion budget. It includes pay raises for new teachers and state police. It also boosts spending for education, the state's child welfare agency, public safety, tourism and economic development.

plantronicsgermany via compfight

T-Mobile’s corporate policies violated the rights of their employees, including those who work in New Mexico, according to a court ruling this week.

There are 550 people working at a T-Mobile call center in Albuquerque.

Several of them complained to the National Labor Relations Board saying they were prohibited from talking to each other about how much they get paid and other things.

Padre Denny via Flickr

Long-time Democratic State Senator Phil Griego resigned while facing an ethics investigation. At issue is a real estate deal that Griego brokered for friends of his who own a hotel in downtown Santa Fe.

www.sitesantafe.org

In 20 years now of exhibitions, SITE Santa Fe has helped launch the careers of hundreds of emerging artists from around the world.  Recently, the contemporary art center in the Santa Fe Railyard has started taking under its wing young artists close to home.  Joanne Lefrak, SITE's Director of Education and Outreach, describes the SITE Scholar program, designed to help students from colleges and universities in northern New Mexico transition into th

New Mexico Legislature Heads Into Final StretchThe Associated Press

New Mexico lawmakers are scrambling to wrap up work on dozens of bills before noon Saturday, and some significant initiatives are still hanging in the balance.

A $6.2 billion budget bill is still sparking last-minute bickering among Republicans and Democrats.

And the fate of hundreds of millions of dollars in capital outlay projects is still undetermined, as is a bill aimed at boosting state lottery sales.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Advocates have tried since 2011 to pass a bill that would create a new breed of mid-level dental care providers in New Mexico. It passed the state’s House of Representatives on Monday for the first time ever on a bipartisan vote. If the Senate gives it a thumb’s up before the session ends on Saturday at noon, it could mean a big change for dentistry. 

JZim534 via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Javier Martínez was familiar with home-visiting services when his son Camilo was born in January.

Martínez’s 2-year-old daughter Marisela participated in a program, which teaches parenting skills and provides other support for pregnant mothers and new parents and guardians. Such programs improve kids’ performance in school and beyond. And, as New Mexico In Depth and the Las Cruces Sun-News reported in December, home visiting is one way to help reduce fatal child abuse.

Sierra Club

    

The Public Regulation Commission is continuing to seek input on PNM’s energy replacement plan. More than 200 people showed up to a meeting in Albuquerque Wednesday night.

Commissioner Valerie Espinoza took a moment during public testimony to say she had received almost 100 written comments opposing PNM’s plan from her constituents in Taos and Las Vegas.

Wikimedia Commons

KUNM Call In Show 3/19 8a:

Lawmaker activity increases to a near-frenzy in the last days of a session. This year's 60-day legislative session wraps up on Saturday and on the show this week we'll look at what proposals still have a chance of making it to the governor's desk. 

We'd like to hear from you! Email callinshow@kunm.org, post your comments online or call in live during the show!

Guests: 

Prayitno via Flickr

Budget, Gambling Compact Pending In New Mexico House - The Associated Press

The fate of a proposed $6.2 billion spending plan that would fund public schools and other government services during the next fiscal year is still unsettled as the New Mexico Legislature approaches adjournment.

Also pending is approval of hundreds of millions of dollars in capital outlay projects and a gambling compact that would clear the way for a handful of American Indian tribes to keep their casinos open.

The 60-day session wraps up Saturday.

Brian DePalo via flickr

New Mexico is on track for some much needed drought relief according to the National Weather Service spring forecast.

Andrew Church is an NWS meteorologist and said a combination of warm coastal waters and a shift in trade winds from last week’s tropical cyclones will deliver higher than average precipitation across the state.

“It’s a wet scenario for us, something we haven’t seen in at least four years so,” Church explained. “If you were thinking about investing in rain barrels, this would be a good year to do it!”

Thomas Quine via Flickr

  

The city of Albuquerque will award over $2 million in contracts to five local nonprofits to fund mental health, homelessness and hunger programs. 

Half a million dollars of the city’s funding will pay for housing programs run by Health Care For the Homeless and the Supportive Housing Coalition. Anita Córdova is with Healthcare for the Homeless.

Wikimedia Commons / U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Inevitably, when talking about oil and gas development, the word fracking comes up in conversation.

In the coming weeks, KUNM will be airing more feature stories on oil development in northwestern New Mexico. And I'll be posting here about some of the more technical issues I explore, such as fracking, or hydraulic fracturing. 

Ed Williams-KUNM

Albuquerque To Award $2M In Contracts To Combat HomelessnessThe Associated Press

The city of Albuquerque will award more than $2 million to six nonprofit organizations to help address homelessness and mental health issues.

Mayor Richard Berry announced the funding Tuesday. He says this shows Albuquerque has a heart for the most vulnerable and that it backs up its concern with substantial resources.

Wild Earth Guardians

The Public Regulation Commission held weeks of public hearings earlier this year on PNM’s plan to shut down two coal-fired units at the San Juan Generating Station. But this week people in Albuquerque will have one more chance to weigh in.

PRC Chair Karen Montoya said she received requests from her Albuquerque constituents who want their opinions taken into consideration.

“Things could possibly change a lot,” Montoya said. “Depending on what they [at PNM] bring on, it will effect a change in the mix.”

Jena g. . Einar E. Kvaran aka 98.20.23.52 23:59, 1 June 2009, via Wikimedia Commons

NM Senate Approves A $6.2 Billion Budget Bill - The Associated Press

The New Mexico Senate has approved a $6.2 billion spending proposal for the next fiscal year.

Senators Monday night took up a budget bill largely unchanged from what the House approved last month.

The spending plan includes pay raises for new teachers and state police officers. Most department budgets remain flat, but education, the state's child welfare agency and tourism department get more money.

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