February 24, 2017

NM panel backs special chile pepper license plateLas Cruces Sun News

With red and green chile saturating nearly every facet of life in New Mexico, a legislative panel on Thursday put its support behind a measure that calls for the creation of a special license plate adorned with the hot peppers. The House Transportation and Public Works Committee gave a favorable recommendation for HB 393 sponsored by Republican Rep. Cathrynn Brown of Carlsbad. -- 2/24/2017


Bill to consolidate early ed programs stalls - Las Cruces Sun News

While legislators debate how to fund early childhood education programs, some think more efficiency and better services can be achieved by consolidating early childhood programs. Senate Bill 106 would create a cabinet-level Early Childhood Services Department with oversight of existing programs like home visiting and pre-kindergarten that are currently scattered through various state agencies. -- 2/24/2017


Bill could reduce JMA's funding - Las Cruces Sun News

A bill currently awaiting a hearing with the Senate Finance Committee could reduce program funding for some charter schools if passed, including Carlsbad's Jefferson Montessori Academy. According to the SB 30 Legislative Education Study Committee Bill Analysis, SB 30 would make changes to the New Mexico Public Education Department's public school funding formula. The changes would result in a reduction in the number of program units each charter school and school district receive. The reduction would take place over a five-year period. -- 2/24/2017


New Mexico lawmakers seek new powers for oil regulators - Las Cruces Sun News

New Mexico would restore one agency's authority to impose administrative penalties against oil and natural gas well operators in connection with petroleum and wastewater spills, under Senate Bill 307 endorsed by a Senate panel on Thursday. -- 2/24/2017


Lawmakers tackle payday lendingLas Cruces Sun News

For the past several years efforts have been made at the State Legislature to cap interest rates imposed by New Mexico’s small-loan industry, alternately called storefront lenders or payday lenders. The lenders make loans of $2,500 or less, with often extremely high interest rates and short pay-back periods. And typically their customers are low-income New Mexicans who need quick cash to help pay bills. “It would help my constituency because they would no longer have those predatory lenders,” Lundstrom said of House Bill 347. “We’d be eliminating a lot of those predatory lenders.” -- 2/24/2017


NM Democrats block booze ban for DWI convicts - Las Cruces Sun News

A Democratic-control House committee blocked a proposal Thursday that would have banned alcohol for New Mexico’s repeat drunken drivers and created one of the most restrictive DWI laws in the country. By a 3-2 vote along party lines, The House Consumer and Public Affairs tabled HB 271 that would have mandated a lifetime alcohol ban for those convicted of a third drunken driving conviction. -- 2/24/2017