February 4, 2016

Legislative RoundupLas Cruces Sun News

Hemp Bills:

Legislators in both parties were excited last year about a bill they overwhelmingly approved to authorize research of industrial hemp. They said it eventually would invigorate farms and commercial businesses. But Gov. Susana Martinez vetoed the hemp bill of 2015, and she has not authorized similar measures for consideration in this year's short legislative session.

Rep. Bealquin "Bill" Gomez, D-La Mesa sponsoring HB 148, and Sen. Cisco McSorley, D-Albuquerque sponsoring SB 3, say they are frustrated that the hemp bills they filed this year are going nowhere. – 2/4/2016

Voter ID:

            Rep. Nora Espinoza, R-Roswell, is running for secretary of state, and now she is co-sponsoring a bill to require most people to have photo identification to vote in person. Exceptions would exist for members of tribes and pueblos. Espinoza and Rep. Cathrynn Brown, R-Carlsbad, introduced HB 312 legislation Tuesday. – 2/4/2016

Teacher pay:

The Senate Education Committee gave a do-pass to an amended bill sponsored by Sen. Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque, that would provide a one-time $2,000 starting salary for teachers and principals. Senate Bill 14 initially was intended to phase in salary increases over several years, but Stewart told the committee she changed that plan due to the economic realities facing New Mexico. "Everybody in the state is going to have to tighten their belts and this [amendment] reflects that austerity," Stewart told the committee. – 2/4/2016

Substitute:

Senate Bill 114 sponsored by Sen. Ron Griggs, R-Alamogordo, that would create adjunct teaching licenses so experts can teach part-time in grades 7-12 passed the Senate Education Committee by a 5-4 vote. Griggs says his bill would alleviate teacher shortages while giving students the benefit of learning from business and industry experts. – 2/4/2016