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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 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

 

January 24, 2017

Trump boosts Keystone XL, Dakota pipelines -- Santa Fe New Mexican/Associated Press

President Donald Trump moved swiftly Tuesday to advance the controversial Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines, signing executive actions to aggressively overhaul America's energy policy and deal a sharp blow to Barack Obama's legacy on climate change. -- 1/24/2017

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

January 12, 2017

LFC budget proposal sets up clash with governor -- Santa Fe New Mexican

Legislative leaders propose a $6.05 billion budget for 2017-18 that would trim the spending of state agencies by an average of 0.4 percent and count on lawmakers to either raise taxes or find additional cuts to balance New Mexico’s books when they gather Tuesday in Santa Fe for a 60-day session.

The chairman of the New Mexico Legislature’s budget-writing committee said Wednesday that, unlike the governor, he will not push to close the state’s current deficit by requiring public employees pay a greater share of their salaries into their pension accounts nor drain about $125 million in cash reserves from local school districts. -- 1/12/2017