New Mexico News Plus
Trump vows national monuments review; NM delegation divided – Albuquerque Journal
The status of two national monuments in New Mexico and dozens more nationwide is suddenly in question today after President Donald Trump said that his administration would conduct a comprehensive review.
The president’s order for a review applies to monuments created after 1996 that are over 100,000 acres, and would include the Rio Grande del Norte and Organ Mountains Desert Peaks national monuments in New Mexico, as well as the newly created Bears Ears National Monument in Southeastern Utah. Both the Rio Grande del Norte and Organ Mountains monuments were set aside for protection by former President Barack Obama. -- 4/26/2017
U.S. President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to allow national monument designations to be rescinded or reduce the size of sites as the administration pushes to open up more federal land to drilling, mining and other development.
Legal challenges are expected because no president has ever rescinded a monument designation.
In announcing the order on Wednesday Republican Trump said Obama's use of the 1906 Antiquities Act to create monuments was an "egregious abuse of federal power" that allowed the federal government to "lock up" millions of acres of land and water. -- 4/26/2017
- Materials from the 59th Congress Relating to the 1906 American Antiquities Act, from the Library of Congress, American Memory Project, Evolution of the Conservation Movement
- National Monuments and the Antiquities Act, Congressional Research Service Report R41330
State’s revenue situation improves -- Albuquerque Journal
A new revenue tracking report shows New Mexico is on pace to take in $55 million more in revenue than projected for the budget year that ends in June, some rare good news for a state that’s faced two consecutive years of spending cuts. -- 4/25/2017
Court lifts injunction on Mexican wolf releases in NM -- Albuquerque Journal
The federal government is again free to release endangered Mexican gray wolves into the wild in New Mexico, after a U.S. appeals court Tuesday vacated a lower court’s injunction sought by the state.
It was not immediately clear in the wake of the ruling whether the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would go ahead with wolf releases, or how New Mexico’s Department of Game and Fish will react to the ruling. The state has the option to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. -- 4/25/2017
The New Mexico Legislature has sued Republican Gov. Susana Martinez over her budget vetoes that would effectively eliminate the legislative branch by cutting off its funding amid an escalating clash over how to resolve the state's financial crisis.
The Democrat-led Legislature on Friday petitioned the New Mexico Supreme Court by filing an Emergency Petition for Writ of Mandamus to block vetoes that would defund the legislative branch and all state institutions of higher education in the coming fiscal year. -- April 21, 2017
Oil and Gas Leasing on State Trust Lands Remains Strong – April Lease Sale Earns $4 Million -- State Land Office News Release
– As public school districts across the state consider plans to drop athletic, art, and music programs due to massive budget cuts, State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn says his office is making every effort to boost revenue earnings to help cover depleted operating budgets.
The April 18th oil and gas lease sale generated $3.985 million from 35 tracts covering 8,992 acres in Eddy, Chaves and Lea Counties. -- 4/19/2017
Shipping resumes to WIPP -- Santa Fe New Mexican
The nation’s only underground nuclear repository has received its first shipment of waste, more than three years after shipping was halted in response to a radiation release that contaminated part of the facility and sidetracked the federal government’s multibillion-dollar cleanup program.
The U.S. Energy Department said Monday that the shipment from a federal facility in Idaho marked a milestone for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant and the government sites where tons of waste left over from decades of nuclear weapons research and development have been stacking up. -- 4/11/2017
Forest managers plan prescribed burn in watershed -- Santa Fe New Mexican
The Santa Fe National Forest scheduled a 340-acre burn for Tuesday in the Santa Fe Municipal Watershed.
Crews plan to ignite the burn about three miles east of the city between the Nichols and McClure reservoirs and it should be completed by 4 p.m. Tuesday, the agency said in a news release.
Winds are expected to push the smoke north of Santa Fe toward Chimayó, Truchas, Peñasco and Dixon on Tuesday afternoon. Light smoke may be seen in Española and as far as Taos on Tuesday evening, but the smoke is expected to clear by midnight. -- 4/10/2017
New Mexico to issue new chile license plates – Las Cruces Sun News
New Mexicans will still have the option to get license plates recognizing their affinity for red and green chile. It just won’t be done through legislation. Gov. Susana Martinez vetoed a bill Friday that would have allowed chile license plates to be issued for an extra fee that would have gone to support the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum. – 4/10/2017
Myriad bills fall victim to governor's veto– Las Cruces Sun News
House Bill 174 was killed Friday by pocket veto, meaning the governor did not take action on the bill before the signing deadline of noon Friday. The legislation would have greatly increased voter turnout, Doña Ana County Clerk Scott Krahling said. – 4/10/2017
Cost-cutting strategies– Las Cruces Sun News
SB354 by Steinborn and Rep. Joanne Ferrary, D-Las Cruces, would have created a new interagency purchasing council to create cost-cutting strategies for all state agencies that purchase pharmaceutical drugs. Dr. Martin Hickey, CEO of New Mexico Health Connections, estimated that the bill could have saved the state as much as $100 million a year. It was pocket vetoed without an explanation. – 4/10/2017
Protections to Medicaid providers– Las Cruces Sun News
SB 217 would have given due-process protections to Medicaid providers. It comes following action by the governor in 2013 to freeze funding for all mental health providers in the state.
“New Mexico’s families and providers of services to vulnerable children and adults in need of critical mental health and substance abuse treatment are deeply disappointed today in the governor’s veto of this important bill,” Papen said. “All this legislation sought to do was ensure transparency and independent analysis in these situations when it is needed. What has happened during the last four years in behavioral health in New Mexico must never occur again.” – 4/10/2017
Domestic violence and firearms– Las Cruces Sun News
SB259 would have required those under restraint by a domestic violence order of the court to turn over their firearms to a third party. Martinez said in her veto message that the bill isn’t needed. “Our judges already have the power to prohibit individuals that are subject to a civil restraining order from possessing a firearm — whenever they feel that it is warranted — and I would encourage them to exercise this power whenever the facts and circumstances before them require it,” she said. – 4/10/2017
Prohibiting solitary confinement– Las Cruces Sun News
HB 175 would have prohibited the use of solitary confinement in cases where the inmate is under the age of 18, a pregnant female or suffering from mental illness. In her veto message, Martinez argued that the bill “oversimplifies and misconstrues isolated confinement in such a way as to eliminate flexibility and endanger the lives of inmates and staff alike.” The veto will mean more lawsuits against county detention centers. “New Mexican taxpayers will continue to pay millions of dollars in settlements for over-utilizing an outdated and inhumane jail management tool," he said. – 4/10/2017
Care for heart patients– Las Cruces Sun News
SB 80 would have required the Department of Health to coordinate with local medical providers to develop a plan for certain heart patients. “It’s beyond reason that the governor would choose to reject a bill that her own Department of Health testified in support of and passed the Legislature without a single vote against it,” sponsor Howie Morales, D-Silver City said. In her veto message, Martinez notes that the agencies can do so now voluntarily. – 4/10/2017
Expanded hours at border crossing– Las Cruces Sun News
HB91 sponsored by Rep. Bill McCamley, D-Las Cruces would have expanded hours at the Santa Teresa Port of Entry. – 4/10/2017
School testing– Las Cruces Sun News
HB 185, sponsored by Reps. Nathan Small and Ferrary, both D-Las Cruces, among others would have limited the amount of time that could have been spent on school testing. – 4/10/2017
Contributions to political candidates– Las Cruces Sun News
SB 96 would have required greater disclosure by political groups that contribute to candidates. Sen. Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe, accused Martinez of siding with the Koch Brothers, but Martinez said the language in the bill was so broad that charities may have been required to give the names and addresses of contributors. – 4/10/2017
New Mexico reins in payday loans– Las Cruces Sun News
New Mexico is reining in high-interest loans from the storefront lending industry under HB480 signed by Gov. Susana Martinez. Signed on Thursday, the legislation effectively eliminates payday loans by definition and caps interest rates at 175 percent. Small loans that have terms less than 120 days are banned.
A proposal to raise New Mexico’s statewide minimum wage with HB442 to $9.25 an hour from $7.50 has been vetoed. Gov. Martinez said in a veto message Thursday that small business in rural areas cannot sustain the proposed increase and criticized the Legislature for proposing tax increases at the same time.
A SB227 to spur the installation of solar panels on New Mexico state buildings has been vetoed. Gov. Martinez said in a veto message Thursday the legislation would have required additional agency staff without providing the necessary financial resources. The bill from Democratic Rep. Jeff Steinborn of Las Cruces would have directed the New Mexico General Services Department to pursue contracts with solar providers that save the state money on electricity costs over time with no up-front public investment. The General Services Department oversees 750 state buildings.
Gov. Martinez has vetoed SB393 that would have expanded financial disclosure requirements for lobbyists. Martinez on Thursday rejected new requirements that lobbyists report expenses under $100 that are spent on lawmakers and other public officials.
Gov. Martinez says she vetoed HB175 designed to curb the use of solitary confinement in jails and prisons because it could have endangered the lives of inmates and guards. Martinez on Thursday vetoed a bill that would have banned the placement of pregnant women and juveniles in solitary confinement. The bill also would have limited the use of solitary confinement on inmates suffering from mental illness. - -4/7/2017