Scandals, suspicions spark legislation

By Steve Terrell: The New Mexican State Land Commissioner Pat Lyons said Wednesday morning that he’s backing legislation that would rein in the governor’s control over the state Investment Council, which manages New Mexico’s multi-billion-dollar permanent funds. Later in the day, a trio of Democratic lawmakers from the Las Cruces area announced that they’re introducing […]

Authorization for Ute Water Project passes Senate

Freedom New Mexico The Ute Water Project is halfway to Barack Obama’s desk. By a 73-21 vote, Senate Bill 22 passed Thursday afternoon, and similar legislation will head to the House of Representatives. The bill is expected to be in the House for a week or two before it lands on the desk of the […]

Local police playing catch-up on new reporting

By Sharna Johnson, Freedom New Mexico The New Mexico Department of Public Safety began reporting crime data collected from state law enforcement agencies on its Web site this month. Spurred by state legislation requiring the department of public safety to serve as a statewide clearing house for crime reporting, the first data report was made […]

House committee considers Ute water legislation

By Gabriel Monte, Freedom New Mexico Rep. Tom Udall said while he remains positive Congress will pass a bill authorizing the Ute Water Project, he has concerns the president might veto it. The bill would authorize federal funding for a $476 million water project proposing to bring water from Ute Lake reservoir to communities in […]

Congressional delegation introduces Ute pipeline legislation

Freedom New Mexico Staff WASHINGTON — New Mexico’s Congressional delegation introduced legislation Thursday in both chambers of Congress to help meet eastern New Mexico’s future water needs by authorizing the federal government to build a pipeline that will carry water to several communities in Curry and Roosevelt counties. “I am very pleased that the bill […]

Legislators aim to tackle wage exceptions

Staff and Wire Reports Lawmakers are moving quickly to help cities and counties avoid millions of dollars in overtime pay for police, firefighters and some other workers. The Senate approved a bill on Wednesday to fix a problem that occurred last year when the state enacted a higher minimum wage. The bill now goes to […]

Authority discusses legislation timing

By Kevin Wilson: Freedom Newspapers MELROSE — The Eastern New Mexico Rural Water Authority would like to become a governmental authority during the 2008 New Mexico Legislature — 30-day session or not. During the water authority’s regular monthly meeting Wednesday at Melrose High School, members discussed the challenges in becoming a government authority. The water […]

Cannon funding legislation introduced

Freedom Newspapers Sens. Pete Domenici, R.-N.M., and Jeff Bingaman, D.-N.M., Monday introduced legislation to promote funding for two military construction projects at Cannon Air Force Base, according to a press release. The legislation to authorize $9.2 million for work at Cannon was offered in advance of FY2008 defense authorization and appropriations bills to highlight the […]

Senate OKs key piece of spaceport plan

By Deborah Baker SANTA FE — A key element of Gov. Bill Richardson’s plan for a spaceport in southern New Mexico won overwhelming support from the Senate on Saturday. By a vote of 36-2, lawmakers approved a measure that authorizes cities and counties to increase gross receipts taxes — with voter approval — to finace […]

Medical marijuana on session agenda

The Associated Press SANTA FE — Gov. Bill Richardson said Wednesday he will put medical marijuana legislation on the agenda of the 30-day session. The governor had been hesitant to do so, saying the agenda for the short session was already packed and the bill was controversial. But on Wednesday he said, “This issue is […]

Feds aim to combat meth production

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By Kevin Wilson: PNT Managing Editor Federal legislation is in the works that could tightly regulate the sale of ingredients used in the production of methamphetamines. However, similar measures on the state, county and city level could be in place well before a national law takes hold. U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., cosponsored on Wednesday […]

Legislation work mind-boggling

By David Irvin While state legislators battle over the many thousands of bills scheduled to be introduced in the 47th Legislature, those with an active interest in the outcome of the discussions are often left in the dark. The number of bills passing through both houses each day is mind-boggling, officials say. And those peering […]

Officials support voluntary drug testing

By David Arkin Most elected officials in eastern New Mexico say they want to learn more, but they support proposed legislation that calls for voluntary drug testing for all elected officials in the state. Sen. Steve Komadina, R-Corrales, introduced the legislation on Wednesday and said results from the voluntary drug tests would be sent to […]

Alcohol ban could follow DWI conviction

By David Arkin: CNJ Correspondent There’s sweeping support statewide — and especially in eastern New Mexico — for legislation that would implement the harshest penalty yet for DWI offenders. This week, Gov. Bill Richardson threw his support behind a plan that wouldn’t allow DWI offenders to buy alcohol for five years. An offender’s driver’s license […]

Letter calls Roberts ‘out of touch’

By David Arkin: PNT Correspondent A letter written by a Roswell lawmaker says veteran House member Earlene Roberts’ vote supporting ignition interlock systems during the 2004 session shows she’s “out of touch with southeastern New Mexico.” Sen. Rod Adair, R-Roswell, wrote the letter, which was sent to thousands of voters in the area. Roberts, R-Lovington, […]

Ute Water Project going to Senate floor

Federal authorization legislation for the Ute Water Project will be submitted to the U.S. Senate in June, a spokeswoman for Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., said Thursday. Officials have said authorization legislation is required before the project can be eligible for federal funds. Jude McCartin, Bingaman’s Washington press representative, said authorization legislation will not appropriate funding […]

County lobbyists discuss Legislature

Tony Parra County lobbyists kept the Roosevelt County Commission up to speed on bills in the New Mexico Legislature and the results on Tuesday. Roosevelt County lobbyist Mike Miller presented the commission with an update on the priorities for the county in the 2004 state legislation. Miller said the legislation ended on Feb. 19, but […]

Bill aimed at helping prevent base closings

David Arkin Those worried that New Mexico’s military bases could be shut down or realigned in the coming years can sleep a little easier now. The state’s top boss has signed a bill that he and his backers say will help prevent bases from being closed. On Friday, Gov. Bill Richardson signed a bill that […]

Officials seek funding from Legislature

David Arkin Sen. Clint Harden, R-Clovis, said he expected a huge funding bill that included numerous capital outlay requests to be voted on sometime during the next few days. Harden, who headed for Clovis on Thursday to attend to family matters, said he submitted his priorities for capital outlay before he left. There’s expected to […]

Legislators crack down on meth

David Arkin Methamphetamine has become such a problem in New Mexico that lawmakers may consider a bill focused on fighting the war against the highly addictive drug. Local law enforcement officials are applauding the bill, which will make an appearance soon before the House Judiciary Committee. The bill would allow prosecutors to charge people with […]