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April 21, 2016

New Mexico to sue to block release of wolves -- Albuquerque Journal

New Mexico officials notified the federal government Wednesday they will sue to block the planned release of more Mexican gray wolves without the state’s OK.

The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish called the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s release plan “unpermitted and illegal” and said it will go to court unless the federal agency backs down.

The state department last year denied the federal agency’s application to release wolves into the wild. But the Fish and Wildlife Service recently announced it planned to release a pack of wolves this year and also could place some captive-born pups into wild packs, in a bid to improve genetic diversity. -- 4/21/2016

April 20, 2016

NM: Social media to broadcast lenient DUI sentencesLas Cruces Sun News

Social media feeds will soon tell you if drunken driving offenders are let off too easy, New Mexico officials say. The state will pay staffers from Mothers Against Drunk Driving to monitor court hearings by judges who are routinely lenient in drunken driving cases, Republican Gov. Susana Martinez announced Tuesday. The group will send details about sentences to state officials, who will identify repeat offenders and the judges in tweets. - - 4/20/2016

April 18, 2016

BLM acquires ancient pueblo site south of Santa Fe -- Albuquerque Journal

The federal Bureau of Land Management is purchasing the 365-acre site of an ancient pueblo in the Galisteo Basin south of Santa Fe.

The BLM will use $1.5 million from Land and Water Conservation Fund to buy the Burnt Corn Pueblo site, located east of the village of Galisteo and near the well-known Petroglyph Hill, a mesa topped with thousands of pieces of rock art that is owned by Santa Fe County.

“With this purchase, the entire Burnt Corn Pueblo will be protected for future generations,” said a news release from the members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation. U.S. Sen. Tom Udall said the purchase will open up new land for visitors interested in the Galisteo Basin’s numerous Native American and Spanish ruins, but no details on plans for public access were available Friday. -- 4/15/2018

March 1, 2016

Martinez signs spending bill for next budget year -- Albuquerque Journal

Gov. Susana Martinez signed off Monday on a $6.2 billion spending plan for the coming budget year that relies on one-time fixes, such as diverting money from government accounts and drawing down the state’s cash reserves, to avoid steep budget cuts.

But even with the budgetary tourniquets, overall New Mexico state spending is set to decrease next year for the first time in five years as plummeting oil and natural gas prices take their toll on the state’s economy. -- 2/29/206

February 29, 2016

Some legislative goals achieved despite budget shortfallLas Cruces Sun News

Workers Compensation:

 Senate Bill 214, sponsored by Senator Jacob Candelaria, an Albuquerque Democrat, provides for a percentage reduction in indemnity benefits when a worker’s intoxication contributes to his or her work­ related injury. After five years of efforts, Senate Bill 214 passed this year with overwhelming bipartisan support in both the Senate (38­1) and the House (66­1). This aligns 
New Mexico with 40 other states that have similar statutes and helps assure safe workplace environments. - - 2/29/16

Agriculture:

Senate Bill 72 amends the law to protect established farm operations from nuisance claims. A claim may not be brought by a person if there is a purchase, lease, or rental of property near an existing agricultural operation or facility unless the farm substantially changes its operation. ​The Senate and House worked in bipartisan fashion to pass this bill, sponsored by Senator Stuart Ingle, a Portales Republican, through both chambers. The legislation updates the New Mexico Right to Farm Act to provide protection to modern food production and agricultural operations to ensure the availability of a safe, abundant, and cost ­effective food supply. - - 2/29/16

REAL ID​:

On Jan. 10, the federal government deemed New Mexico to be out of compliance with the Federal REAL ID Act. This meant that the thousands of small businesses and jobs that depend on reliable access to federal facilities were potentially put at risk. The Senate, House and the Governor’s Office worked together diligently to ensure that legislation was passed this year that would bring New Mexico into compliance with the REAL ID Act. House Bill 99, co­sponsored by Paul Pacheco, an Albuquerque Republican, and Andy Nunez a Republican from ­Hatch, passed both chambers with overwhelming bipartisan support. - - 2/29/16

February 24, 2016

Reports: Lobbyists spent about $237,000 during sessionLas Cruces Sun News

Lobbyists and their employers spent $236,828 on gifts, wining and dining for elected officials, their guests and staff during the 2016 legislative session. We'll know more about how entertained lawmakers were during the 30-day session when lobbyists and employers make their full reports on May 1. If Gov. Susana Martinez signs House Bill 105, lobbyists will have to file reports again in October. Right now lobbyists file full reports only in January and May. - - 2/24/16

 

Monumental? La Bajada Mesa could be next for national monument status -- Santa Fe Reporter

With only 11 months left to go in President Barack Obama’s presidency, a host of preservationists and at least a pair of Santa Fe County Commissioners are hoping La Bajada Mesa, with its beautiful vistas and vast open space, will become a national monument—joining other greats in the state like the Aztec Ruins outside of Aztec, the Cliff Dwellings near Silver City, and Bandelier, just outside Los Alamos.

Since the days of Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican president who created the Antiquities Act, the designation of national monuments have all but petrified the legacies of more than a few presidents. Not to be undone or considered any sort of exception, Obama has already signed off on more than a dozen, with three just last week in California’s desert area, and he’s closing in on Bill Clinton’s record-setting 19.

Since the days of Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican president who created the Antiquities Act, the designation of national monuments have all but petrified the legacies of more than a few presidents. Not to be undone or considered any sort of exception, Obama has already signed off on more than a dozen, with three just last week in California’s desert area, and he’s closing in on Bill Clinton’s record-setting 19. - See more at: http://www.sfreporter.com/santafe/article-11594-monumental.html#sthash.Qyb3zQbY.dpuf
Since the days of Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican president who created the Antiquities Act, the designation of national monuments have all but petrified the legacies of more than a few presidents. Not to be undone or considered any sort of exception, Obama has already signed off on more than a dozen, with three just last week in California’s desert area, and he’s closing in on Bill Clinton’s record-setting 19. - See more at: http://www.sfreporter.com/santafe/article-11594-monumental.html#sthash.UciudQCt.dpuf
Since the days of Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican president who created the Antiquities Act, the designation of national monuments have all but petrified the legacies of more than a few presidents. Not to be undone or considered any sort of exception, Obama has already signed off on more than a dozen, with three just last week in California’s desert area, and he’s closing in on Bill Clinton’s record-setting 19. - See more at: http://www.sfreporter.com/santafe/article-11594-monumental.html#sthash.UciudQCt.dpuf

-- 2/17/2016

February 19, 2016

Legislative Roundup: 2/19Las Cruces Sun News

Airline subsidy:

A bill that would allow cities and counties to use lodgers' tax revenue to guarantee commercial airlines a minimum amount of revenue is headed to the desk of Gov. Susana Martinez for her consideration. The Roswell delegation pushed House Bill 192 because that city hopes to add a flight by American Eagle, a regional carrier of American Airlines. Sen. Cliff Pirtle, R-Roswell, said the guarantee will be a means of increasing tourism. - - 2/19/16

Overdose reversals:

A change in state law that would allow better distribution for an overdose reversal drug known as Narcan passed the Legislature late Wednesday night. HB 277 was sponsored by both Republican Rep. Terry H. McMillan, a Las Cruces physician, and Sen. Richard C. Martinez, a Democrat from Española who is a retired magistrate judge. - - 2/19/16

Rapid workforce:

Sen. Ted Barela, R Estancia, passed his first bill through the Legislature in the final hours with House approval of SB 92, a new initiative to speed job training for industries with hard-to-recruit workers. The measure has support from the governor, who mentioned the effort in her State of the State speech. Barela was appointed by the governor to fill the Senate seat vacated by Sen. Phil Griego, a Democrat who resigned amid an ethics controversy. - - 2/19/16

Closing fees:

An effort by Rep. Monica Youngblood, R- Albuquerque, to put a $150 cap on the fee that a homeowners' association in HB 129 can charge for documents required in a property closing passed the House, but died before getting a final vote on the Senate floor. Youngblood, a real-estate agent, said many private management companies have been charging $500 or more for the information, which is required under a state law passed in 2010. - - 2/19/16