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February 3, 2017

Facing backlash, Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz withdraws bill to transfer federal land to the states -- Washington Post

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) withdrew legislation Thursday that would have transferred 3 million acres of land from federal to state ownership, citing objections from constituents who complained that the move would limit access to public hunting and fishing grounds.

The Disposal of Excess Federal Lands Act, which would have shifted federal holdings to state governments in Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Wyoming, prompted an outcry among hunters and anglers’ groups. Introduced three weeks after House Republicans enacted a rule change to make it easier to sell off federal land, the measure prompted two separate rallies in Santa Fe, N.M., and Helena, Mont., this week that drew hundreds of people opposed to the measure. -- 2/2/2017

 

Navajo Nation Seeks Special Recognition Status From UN -- KUNM/Associated Press

The Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission and a tribal delegate are advocating for the Navajo Nation to become an official member of the United Nations.

Navajo Council Delegate Nathaniel Brown said non-governmental organizations and civil societies enjoy the privilege of participating in the United Nations but indigenous nations are limited with regards to their participation. -- 2/3/2017

 

Rail Runner looks to add more weekend riders with expansion -- KOB/Associated Press

The New Mexico Rail Runner Express is considering changing its schedule in an effort to expand weekend ridership.

Key changes would include having both weekend days offer a mid-morning train from Albuquerque to Santa Fe and be on the same schedule. The last departing train from Santa Fe on the weekend would leave an hour earlier under the proposal, for which the Rail Runner is seeking public comment. -- 2/3/2017

February 2, 2017

NM bill would block border wall -- Albuquerque Journal

President Donald Trump’s plan to build a border wall could run into a roadblock in New Mexico, in the form of more than 22 miles of state-owned land and mineral rights within 600 feet of the border.

A group of Democratic state lawmakers filed legislation [HB 292] this week that would bar state land from being used, sold or transferred to facilitate the construction of the new border wall. If approved, the bill could set up a legal showdown between the state and the federal government. -- 2/2/2017

 

Dunn pitches border land swap to Trump -- Santa Fe New Mexican

State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn wrote a letter Wednesday to President Donald Trump proposing to swap state land near the U.S.-Mexico border for federal land in anticipation of Trump’s promised construction of a wall on the border. -- 2/2/2017

 

Gov. Martinez urges repeal of federal methane waste rule -- Santa Fe New Mexican

Gov. Susana Martinez is backing an effort by congressional Republicans to overturn a federal regulation meant to curb air and environmental pollution by limiting methane waste on public lands, saying the rule to reduce emissions of the gas threatens jobs and public funding of schools and roads. -- 2/2/2017

January 30, 2017

Four ethics bills clear first House committeeLas Cruces Sun News

Four bills aimed at improving governmental ethics cleared their first House committee Thursday. House Bill 10 would create a public accountability board to consider complaints against members of state and local government. House Joint Resolution 8 would ask voters in 2018 to approve a constitutional amendment. House Bill 73 would prohibit lawmakers and other former elected officials from serving as paid lobbyists for two years after they leave office. House Bill 93 would prohibit cabinet secretaries from receiving payment from sources outside state government. - - 1/30/2017

 

Lawmakers stick with concealed gun regulationsLas Cruces Sun News

A proposal that would allow people to carry a concealed handgun in New Mexico without a special license has stalled in its first legislative hearing. The SRJ5 proposal in New Mexico from Republican Sen. Steven Neville also has been filed as a constitutional amendment that would require approval by a majority of all lawmakers and a statewide vote. - - 1/20/2017

 

Oil, gas drilling rights near Chaco Canyon sold for $3M -- Santa Fe New Mexican

Despite protests from Native Americans, environmentalists and others, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management on Wednesday auctioned oil and gas drilling rights to 843 acres in the Chaco Canyon region of northwest New Mexico.

The rights sold for $3 million, according to the BLM. -- 1/26/2017

 

February 1, 2017

Senate committee approves brine well billsLas Cruces Sun News

Two State Senate bills aimed at preventing the collapse of the I&W Brine Well, and potentially billions of dollars in damages and casualties in Carlsbad, were passed by the New Mexico Senate Conservation Committee Tuesday. The bills appropriate $25 million for a remediation project, along with creating a government body intended to oversee and manage the repairs. - - 2/1/2017

 

Republicans move to sell off 3.3m acres of national land -- The Guardian

The new piece of legislation would direct the interior secretary to immediately sell off an area of public land the size of Connecticut. In a press release for House Bill 621, Chaffetz, a Tea Party Republican, claimed that the 3.3m acres of national land, maintained by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), served “no purpose for taxpayers”.

The 10 states affected are Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming. Residents can see how much acreage is earmarked for “disposal” in their counties by checking a PDF on Chaffetz’s website. 1/31/2017

 

January 25, 2017

Trump moves to build border wall, cut sanctuary city funds -- Santa Fe New Mexican

President Donald Trump moved aggressively to tighten the nation's immigration policies Wednesday, signing executive actions to jumpstart construction of a U.S.-Mexico border wall and block federal grants from immigrant-protecting "sanctuary cities."   1/25/2017

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Bills to reinstate NM’s solar tax credit move aheadLas Cruces Sun News

Bipartisan efforts are making headway in the New Mexico House and Senate to reinstate a tax credit that spurred nearly a quarter-billion dollars of investment in roof-top solar and related jobs in the nation's second sunniest state before expiring last year. A Senate panel on Tuesday endorsed a HB 61 that calls for renewing the credit for an additional eight years. - - 1/25/2017

 

Law Professor Outlines Historical Use Of Presidential Executive Orders -- All Things Considered (NPR)

President Trump signed five executive actions Tuesday morning. NPR's Robert Siegel talks with Cristina Rodriguez of Yale University about the historical use of executive orders and their limits. -- 1/24/2017