KUNM

Legislature 2015

Report: NM Ranks Low For Ethics, Accountability

Nov 9, 2015
Emilie Udell for the Center For Public Integrity

KUNM Call In Show Thu. 11/12 8a: 

It’s become habit in New Mexico to groan about incompetence and corruption in state government as though it’s something terrible—but out of our control. Ugh, these politicians. What can you do? 

clang boom steam via Flickr / Creative Commons License

A special session of New Mexico’s legislature was held Monday to revisit unfinished business from earlier this year, but agreements on proposed legislation were seemingly already made behind closed doors.

A report from NMpolitics.net says many citizens object to the closed-door dealings because little is known of the negotiations or bill’s details.

Lawmakers Holding Talks On Capital Outlay Bill

Apr 15, 2015
Images Money via CC

New Mexico legislative leaders say talks are underway to try to forge a compromise on a funding bill for building work and other projects across the state.

The regular session ended without agreement on a capital outlay bill amid partisan finger-pointing, but the Santa Fe New Mexican reports that leaders of the Democratic-led Senate and the Republican-controlled House hope to reach an agreement.

KUNM / Creative Commons

This week Governor Susana Martinez signed a pair of bills aimed at addressing New Mexico’s nurse shortage by making more financial aid available for educators. 

Registered nurses who will become medical instructors can now use the Nurse Educators Fund to get a higher degree.

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol via flickr

In March the New Mexico state Legislature unanimously passed a bill that would basically eliminate what critics call “policing for profit,” the ability of law enforcement agencies to seize cars, cash and other property police say were used in committing a crime. The practice originated in the 1980s as a tool to fight back against big drug dealers, but civil liberties groups on the right and left of the political spectrum say the lure of big money has now corrupted government agencies, who use the law to pad their coffers.

Guests:

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.

Lobbyists Report Spending Nearly $300,000 During Session

Mar 25, 2015
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.

Public Health In The 2015 Session

Mar 24, 2015
Arianna Sena

Psychiatric Meds In School—PASSED

Legislature 2015: What Bills Passed?

Mar 23, 2015
Arianna Sena/KUNM

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?

Legislature 2015: What Bills Didn't Pass?

Mar 23, 2015
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.

Legislature 2015: What's Next To Help New Mexico?

Mar 23, 2015
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:

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.

___

ANIMAL PROTECTION

“Dark Money” Bill Dies In Santa Fe

Mar 21, 2015
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.

Budget Beefs Up Closing Fund

Mar 21, 2015
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.

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.

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. 

Legislature 2015: Roundhouse Final Frenzy

Mar 19, 2015
ANNAfoxlover via Wikimedia Commons / public domain

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: 

Legislature May Require Public Comment

Mar 16, 2015
opensourceway via Flickr / Creative Commons License

You may not want to listen to your nutty neighbor badger the city council about chemtrails or aliens, First Amendment advocates say allowing public comments—even wacky comments—is essential. A bill moving through the state Legislature would make it the law.

Lottery Proposal: More Cash Prizes Would Yield More Scholarships

Mar 14, 2015
Brak Perkins via Flickr / Creative Commons License

The cost of tuition at New Mexico public universities is rising and more students are taking advantage of the lottery scholarship, which pays almost full tuition for qualifying students—but fewer people are buying the scratch-off tickets that fuel the scholarship fund.

That’s one of the factors contributing to a slow-building crisis in scholarship funding.

Bill Limiting Renewable Standards Heads To Senate

Mar 13, 2015
Scott via flickr

A bill passed in the House Thursday night that would ease renewable energy requirements for Public Service Company of New Mexico, El Paso Electric and Southwestern Public Service.

The bill passed by a slim margin, one vote to be exact.

J.N. Stuart via Flickr

    

 

Many counties and municipalities in New Mexico have passed restrictions on mining, oil and gas that go beyond state laws. These are things like: dictating how close wells can be to homes or imposing weight limits on trucks.

A controversial bill (HB 366) that would limit that local control, and give the state exclusive power over all matters relating to oil and gas, passed the House Tuesday.

Update From The Roundhouse

Mar 10, 2015
ANNAfoxlover via Wikimedia Commons / public domain

KUNM's Chris Boros chatted with Gwyneth Doland on recent news from the state legislature as part of our People, Power and Democrayc reporting project. Our partners are New Mexico In Depth and New Mexico PBS. 

KUNM:  Let’s start with the two bills that would restrict abortions. One would ban abortions later in pregnancy and another would require teens to notify their parents. The Catholic bishops are pushing this hard and so are groups that oppose abortions who tried for the ban in Albuquerque last year.

Senate To Vote On Lighter Marijuana Penalties

Mar 10, 2015
eggrole via Flickr

People caught with less than an ounce of marijuana would be issued a citation much like a speeding ticket under a proposal that is heading to the Senate floor for a vote.

Stripped-Down Lobbyist Disclosure Advances

Mar 9, 2015
/ Creative Commons

    

After stalling in committee last month, a bill requiring more transparency from lobbyists cruised through the state House Saturday after hitting only one last speed bump.

On Saturday, state Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard, D-Los Alamos, unsuccessfully tried to amend the bill on the floor and put some of those requirements back in.

But with just two weeks left in the session, supporters of more transparency for lobbyists say even a stripped-down bill is an important first step.

Governor Supports 500-Mile Hiking Trail

Mar 6, 2015
Wikimedia Commons

Gov. Susana Martinez pledged her support on Friday for a 500-mile-long hiking trail along the Rio Grande intended to showcase New Mexico’s beauty.

The Rio Grande Trail would start at the Colorado border and follow the meandering river as it cascades through New Mexico before hugging Texas.

www.enfield.gov.uk via CC

UPDATE Thursday 3/5 at 6 p.m.: KUNM Host Chris Boros and I just discussed the two abortion bills making their way to the House floor soon, including HB 391, which requires doctors to alert parents at least 48 hours before a minor gets an abortion, and HB 390, the

Changes Would Make It Harder For Whistleblowers

Mar 5, 2015
Arianna Sena

The state’s Whistleblower Protection Act went into effect in 2010 and since then the state has had to spend a lot more money dealing with lawsuits. A bill in the state legislature would address that by making it harder to make a whistleblower claim.

Under current law, public employees who face retaliation for exposing corruption can sue the state for double back pay. State Senator Joseph Cervantes sponsored the original measure.

ChrisGoldNY via Flickr

KUNM Call In Show 3/5 8a: 

Critics say short term loans trap New Mexicans in a cycle of poverty. Often borrowers end up paying more than the amount of the loan in interest. But lending industry supporters say people who take out storefront loans know exactly what they are getting into and that there aren't other easy ways to get small loans quickly.

State lawmakers in Santa Fe are considering changes to how the storefront loan industry is regulated. Should we let the free market work it out or do New Mexicans need protection from what some call predatory lending? 

Two Paths To An Ethics Commission

Mar 3, 2015
kmillard92 via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Most New Mexicans think their state government is full of bad apples. The problem is, it’s really hard to tell which ones are good for us—and which ones are rotten.

According to a poll released Monday, three-quarters of New Mexico business leaders say they want the state to have an independent ethics commission. Two proposals moving through the state legislature would do just that.

Democratic Representative Brian Egolf says unlike many of our neighbors, we don’t have an organized way of investigating officials accused of corruption.

Lawmakers Propose Roll Back On Renewable Energy

Feb 27, 2015
Ted of DGAR via comp fight

Legislation to drop the 20 percent renewable requirement for public electric utilities is making its way through committees at the Roundhouse. Current law requires that 20 percent of a public utility’s energy come from wind, solar or geothermal by the end of 2020.

The state’s largest utility, PNM, declined to comment on the House bill, saying only that they believe this is a decision for lawmakers.

Pages