Legislature 2015

Arianna Sena

Scanned copies of all state contracts should be available on the Sunshine Portal, say two lawmakers who are proposing an update to the state transparency website.

Posting original documents would give New Mexicans a bigger window into state contracts, something that’s important to business owners, says one of the bill’s sponsors, Sen. Sander Rue, R-Albuquerque.

kaje_yomama via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Lobbyists and organizations have reported spending more than $231,000 trying to influence lawmakers in the first half of the 60-day session.

Much of that money went toward wining and dining legislators. And that only includes expenditures of $500 or more that are required to be reported to the Secretary of State within 48 hours.

New Mexico Department of Agriculture

Legislation that would allow universities in New Mexico to cultivate industrial hemp for research purposes passed through committee Monday night. The bill could reach the Senate floor for a vote later this week.

The federal government made the distinction between hemp and marijuana official last year. Hemp contains virtually none of the mind-altering compound THC and is a highly versatile material.

frankieleon via Flickr / Creative Commons License

KUNM Call In Show 2/26 8a: 

Public education knows no boundaries. Students are affluent and they're poor. They come from rural and urban communities. Some speak English and some are just learning. This week we'll look at how students are affected differently by public education reforms.

We'd like to hear from you!

Email callinshow@kunm.org, post your comments below or call in live during the show.

Guests:

pixabay.com via CC

The use of solitary confinement on mentally ill inmates sparked expensive lawsuits in New Mexico in the last couple of years. Doña Ana County paid Stephen Slevin millions of dollars in 2013 after he spent almost two years in solitary confinement. A bill making its way through this legislative session could outlaw such lengthy stays in isolation. 

Gwyneth Doland

New Mexico is one of only a handful of states that don’t restrict late-term abortions. But that could change if a bill moving through the state Legislature is successful.

GoodNCrazy via flickr

The Senate Public Affairs Committee rejected legislation this week to hold back third-graders who do not perform well on a standardized reading test. The bill to end so-called social promotion failed on a party line vote.

Sen. Mimi Stewart, a Democrat from Albuquerque who opposed the bill, said thousands of third-graders would have been held back every year, regardless of their progress in subjects other than reading.

josemanuelerre / Creative Commons

Female inmates are the fastest-growing prison population in the state. New moms and pregnant women who are heading to jail could be affected by legislation proposed this session. 

Sen. Lisa Torraco’s bill would do two things: One, it would allow new moms to pump their breast milk while they’re in jail or prison, so it can be given to their babies. 

MyTudut via Flickr / Creative Commons License

KUNM Call In Show 2/19 8a: 

When the New Mexico legislature convenes in Santa Fe, lobbyists flock to the Roundhouse to pitch their clients' issues and legislation. Often those pitches involve free food, drinks and other gifts.

We'll look at the industries that spend the most money to convince lawmakers to support their ideas. We'll also ask how lobbyists affect which bills are passed and which measures stall.

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

Guests: 

Waferboard via Flickr / Creative Commons License

The New Mexico Legislature’s social calendar this year is packed with breakfasts, dinners, receptions and more.

The wining and dining of state lawmakers by individual lobbyists and organizations that have legislation before decision makers is an annual tradition in Santa Fe.

John Hartman via Flickr

New Mexico state representatives voted Thursday to repeal a state law that allows people to get New Mexico driver’s licenses even if they’re in the country illegally.  Some observers see this as a political battle in which winning the war isn’t as important as fighting the battle.

Pointing to several examples of fraud, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez asked state lawmakers again this year to stop allowing immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally to get driver’s licenses here.

Gwyneth Doland

They don’t have big expense accounts or cozy relationships with powerful lawmakers. They don’t even know where the bathroom is. They’re citizen lobbyists, and they got some training at the Roundhouse in Santa Fe Wednesday.

Members of 20 conservation groups converged on the state capitol and a few dozen of them attended a training session held by the Sierra Club.

They were teachers, writers and retired engineers, passionate about ending coyote-killing contests, cleaning up uranium mines and preventing the diversion of the Gila River.

Rita Daniels

National Rife Association members joined Quakers and a slew of other people at a committee hearing at the Roundhouse in Santa Fe this weekend to comment on a bill that would have required universal background checks at gun shows in New Mexico. The bill was defeated on a party line vote, but the issue is likely to stick around.

Thomas Hawk via Flickr

Skeptical lawmakers rejected a proposal Monday that would have given the public more information about lobbying at the state Legislature.

The bill (HB 155) would have required lobbyists to divulge their salaries, file reports of their estimated and actual lobbying expenses, and list the issues—but not the exact bills—they are working on.

akahawkeyefan via flickr

Lawmakers will hear public comment this weekend on a proposal to require background checks  at gun shows. 

Shopkeepers in New Mexico are required to run background checks on anyone who tries to buy a gun - convicted felons or people deemed mentally unstable are turned away.

ChrisGoldNY via Flickr

Despite the vocal support of a group of religious leaders, a legislative panel decided on a party-line vote Wednesday to set aside two proposals (HB 24 and HB36) that would have limited interest rates on short-term loans.

StockMonkeys.com via Flickr

KUNM Call In Show 2/5 8a: 

New Mexico's economy is heavily reliant on government jobs, tourism and oil and gas revenues. It's stagnant now and many forecasts predict more of the same. What are lawmakers in Santa Fe proposing to stimulate business activity and job growth?  Are any NM communities demonstrating economic success, and what can we learn from them?  

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

Guests:

Daquella manera via Flickr

The average person who takes out a short-term loan borrows about $650 and pays about 340 percent interest.  But rates on payday, title and installment loans would be capped at 36 percent if reformers get their way during the 2015 legislative session.

There were 657 small loan companies in New Mexico in 2013, many charging more than 175 percent, according to a report from the state Regulation and Licensing Department.  

Tax Credits via Flickr

Creating jobs is one of lawmakers’ top priorities this legislative session and dozens of proposals have already been introduced. Many of them will require the state to spend some money, either by giving up tax revenue or by investing directly.

House Minority Leader Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe, said Wednesday that he wants to create a Small Business Development Fund that would partner with community banks to lend money to in-state firms.

ANNAfoxlover via Wikimedia Commons / public domain

KUNM Call In Show 1/29 8a: 

This year's legislative session is underway in Santa Fe. What will Republican leadership of the state House mean? Will long simmering issues like driver's licenses for foreign nationals, right-to-work and abortion restrictions find some traction this year?

We'd like to hear from you! Email callinshow@kunm.org, post your comments online, or call in live during the show, Thursday morning at 8 here on KUNM. 

Guests:

New Mexico’s 60-day legislative session kicked off this week. KUNM’s Gwyneth Doland checked in with New Mexico In Depth’s Sandra Fish on what she’s seen so far.

Doland for KUNM: So Fish, what did you think of your first week at the capitol?

Fish: Well, Gwyneth, I was focused on the House where Republicans took over for the first time in 60 years. And to my knowledge no one around the Roundhouse had anything to compare that to.

Youth Voices At The New Mexico State Legislature

Jan 22, 2015
Generation Justice

Sun. 1/25 7p: Generation Justice visited the Roundhouse this past week and spoke with youth from Deming, Peñasco, Española, Albuquerque, Isleta, and Truth or Consequences about the issues that are important to them during this year's legislative session. We’ll also bring you the speeches of this year’s State of the Children and Youth Address and much more!

James Willamor via Flickr

Steak dinners at fancy restaurants, breakfast burritos brought to committee meetings, lift tickets at ski resorts. Every year lobbyists spend big bucks on entertaining, many with the hope that they will get some time to talk with lawmakers about the issues they’re working on.

It’s been five years since the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case, which lifted restrictions on expenditures and gave rise to groups known as Super Political Action Committees that have pumped millions of dollars of special interest money into the political system.

Ed Williams-KUNM

Lawmakers are set to consider a proposal that would give homeless people protection under the state hate crimes act. Under the proposal anyone convicted of violent crimes against a homeless person—for example someone who lacks a regular place to sleep or is living in a homeless shelter—would be subject to a longer jail sentence.

Dystopos

Governor Susana Martinez has made education central to her agenda for this year’s legislative session.

Martinez said Tuesday in her State of the State address that she wants to increase teachers’ starting salaries by $2,000 a year and provide each teacher with a debit card pre-loaded with $100 to cover the cost of their classroom supplies.

Governor Susana Martinez outlined specifics for how New Mexico can better combat child abuse and neglect during her State of the State address today

2015 Legislative Guides

Jan 20, 2015
puroticorico via Flickr

New Mexico In Depth, a KUNM media partner, published a Legislative Guide for this year's 60-day legislative session. From Trip Jennings, Executive Director of NMID:

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