Congress limited in helping military

By Tom Philpott: PNT columnist For the last eight years, lawmakers have loaded annual defense authorization bills with new pay and benefit initiatives to support troops and their families and to show the nation’s appreciation. This year’s defense bills — both the version passed by the House, and the Senate bill to be debated on […]

Lawmakers discuss legislative session

Campaign reform, keeping capital outlay money in their districts and clamping the lid down on taxes are just some of the many accomplishments local lawmakers cite during the grueling 60-day marathon otherwise known as the 2009 New Mexico Legislature. The legislative session isn’t exactly history yet — Gov. Bill Richardson is promising a special session […]

Law reducing paperwork approved

The New Mexican Days remaining in session: 21 Penalizing paperwork: The House has approved a measure (HB367) that would reduce the amount of paperwork that state agencies can send to lawmakers. It puts some teeth into a current law that puts a five-page limit on what agencies can send to lawmakers, with a few exceptions.

Audio webcasts popular among lawmakers in poll

By Kate Nash: The New Mexican Audio webcasts from the House floor could begin as soon as today, a move that appears popular with lawmakers who responded to an informal survey by The New Mexican. Twenty of the 21 legislators who took part in the poll said they support webcasting from the floor and committee […]

Richardson: Act despite budget crisis

By Kate Nash: The New Mexican If you mostly listened for the new projects and programs that Gov. Bill Richardson pitched to lawmakers in his State of the State speech Tuesday, you could have missed the part about the state’s money crisis. Richardson wants to build a “green grid” to harness solar and wind power. […]

Several issues iffy in Santa Fe

By Kate Nash: The Santa Fe New Mexican As if the state’s budget crunch wasn’t enough, lawmakers in the session starting Tuesday will tackle issues from the death penalty to gay marriage. Here’s a look at some key issues and their chances of surviving the next 60 days. Ethics reform It’s a hot topic — […]

State legislature approves capital outlay package

Staff and wire reports The Legislature adjourned Thursday after approving a $348 million capital improvement package to replace one vetoed by the governor, but a special session loomed large as lawmakers headed home. Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson blasted lawmakers for what he described as “the least productive session since I have been governor.” “The results […]

Legislature adjourns

The Associated Press SANTA FE — The Legislature adjourned Thursday after approving a $348 million capital improvement package to replace one vetoed by Gov. Bill Richardson, but the threat of a special session loomed large as lawmakers headed home. The Democratic-controlled Legislature left the governor empty-handed on many of his proposals: universal health care; domestic […]

Legislature approves capital improvement bill

The Associated Press SANTA FE — The Legislature moved toward adjournment Thursday by approving a $348 million capital improvement package to replace one vetoed by Gov. Bill Richardson, but the threat of a special session loomed large as lawmakers looked homeward. Richardson was empty-handed on his top legislative priority with time running out on the […]

Session likely to be extended

Staff and Wire Reports SANTA FE — Gov. Bill Richardson says lawmakers did great work in the legislative session that ended Saturday — just not enough of it. The governor said while it was the most productive session in state history, “we still have business to finish.” He said he will call the Legislature back […]

Legislature hits midway point

By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor With the 60-day session of the 2007 New Mexico Legislature just past the midway point, local legislators say the pot’s just beginning to boil at the Roundhouse. “Right now we’re in the middle of a lot of things,” Sen. Stuart Ingle, R-Portales, said. “This is where it really gets […]

Republicans seek investigation into ‘temporary’ hires

Staff and Wire Reports SANTA FE — Republican lawmakers have asked the state attorney general’s office to investigate the Richardson administration’s practice of hiring temporary exempt employees. A March 18 letter from Sen. Kent Cravens, R-Albuquerque, signed by two dozen other GOP lawmakers, said Gov. Bill Richardson’s practices have resulted in “numerous unauthorized hirings.” Lawmakers […]

Legislature learning how to say ‘no’ to Richardson

By Barry Massey The Associated Press SANTA FE — Leading up to this year’s legislative session, Gov. Bill Richardson proclaimed 2006 the “year of the child” for his policy proposals. The “year of the Legislature” might be a better description of the just-ended session, however. More than any time during Richardson’s administration, lawmakers — particularly […]

Lawmakers fail to give governor some key items

By Deborah Baker The Associated Press SANTA FE — Lawmakers wrapped up 30 days of work Thursday without delivering on several of Gov. Bill Richardson’s key priorities. He called the session “disappointing” and said he would decide next week whether to call them back for a special session. Among the casualties: a minimum wage increase, […]

Budget wins final legislative approval, heads to governor

By Barry Massey SANTA FE — Gov. Bill Richardson is withholding judgment on a nearly $5.1 billion budget measure that won final approval in the Legislature. Richardson, who had sharply criticized earlier budget proposals by lawmakers, declined to say whether he will accept or reject the spending measure that was approved Tuesday. The Legislature is […]

Lawmakers rush to complete work by noon

By Deborah Baker and Barry Massey SANTA FE — Lawmakers neared the finishing line of their 30-day session with many of Gov. Bill Richardson’s legislative proposals unresolved. The Legislature adjourns at noon on Thursday and the closing hours of the session resembled a high-wire act as the House and Senate rushed to complete work on […]

Chandler asks legislature for help starting senior safety program

By Tony Parra Ninth Judicial District Attorney Matt Chandler is asking lawmakers for $50,000 he hopes will help spotlight and improve safety for senior citizens in Roosevelt County. “There are many laws to punish those who abuse the elderly that are reactive,” Chandler said. “We want this to be proactive and an innovative approach to […]

Effort under way to open conference committes to public

The Associated Press SANTA FE — An effort is under way to open up what goes on behind closed doors in legislative conference committees. “Other public bodies have done this, and they’re still able to get things done,” said Sen. Dede Feldman, D-Albuquerque, sponsor of a measure to make conference committees meetings public. Conference committees, […]

Administration details spaceport plans, some skeptical

By Deborah Baker SANTA FE — The Richardson administration on Wednesday urged lawmakers to support a state-built spaceport in southern New Mexico as skeptics questioned the risk of investing in what one called a “chancy venture.” The state could be “the birthplace of the second space age” if it built the proposed $225 million facility […]

President, Congress likely to accept BRAC list

By Liz Sidoti: The Associated Press WASHINGTON — The military base closings that the Pentagon and a commission have recommended are likely to be approved by President Bush and Congress, leaving communities around the country with little hope that targeted facilities will be spared. Bush is now focused on the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast rather than […]