Legislature works on transparency, ethics measures

By Kate Nash: The Santa Fe New Mexican In the basement, the Senate in a late-night session was taking a major step to increase confidence in state government by voting to throw the doors open on some of the last closed meetings in the Capitol.

Senate agrees to open doors on committee meetings

By Kate Nash: The New Mexican After more than 10 years of trying to open conference committees, new members of the Senate may have made the difference. The Senate voted late Thursday night 33-8 to approve a measure to open the committee meetings, some of the last shuttered gatherings at the Roundhouse. House Bill 393 […]

Long day, night at Roundhouse

By Kate Nash: The New Mexican In any other year, three days out from the Legislature’s adjournment, the Roundhouse hallways by 9:30 a.m. can be frenetic with lawmakers and lobbyists pondering the fate of their bills. Instead, the halls are mostly quiet, and the coffee maker of the Society of Association Executives is just rumbling […]

March 19, 2009 Legislative tidbits

Days remaining in session: two Media literacy: Under a bill approved by both the House and Senate, public schools could offer media literacy as an elective class. The measure (HB342) calls for the electives to be offered to 6th through 12th graders starting in the 2010-2011 school year. Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas, D-Albuquerque, is carrying […]

Open conference question comes to state senate

By Kate Nash: The Santa Fe New Mexican To open conference committees to the public or not? That seems to be a key question before the state Senate this session, one that’s nearing a vote on the chamber’s floor. The Senate is considering two measures to allow the public and the media into conference committees, […]

March 13, 2009 legislative tidbits

Days remaining in session: 8 The living daylights: The Senate Public Affairs Committee voted 7-1 on Thursday in favor of a bill to abolish daylight saving time in New Mexico. In a news release, bill sponsor Sen. Mary Jane Garcia, D-Dona Ana, said “There are so many reasons for New Mexico to exempt itself from […]

Senator seeks end to Daylight Savings Time

By Steve Terrell: The New Mexican Have you been a little sleepy or slightly disoriented since the change to Daylight Savings Time this week? If so, a state Senate leader wants to help. Senate Majority Whip Mary Jane Garcia, D-Dona Ana, on Tuesday introduced a bill to get rid of Daylight Savings Time altogether. “Daylight […]

Bill seeks transparency on state spending

By Kate Nash: The New Mexican State expenditures would be displayed online and searchable under a measure the Senate approved Tuesday, one of a few moves that would increase transparency in the Roundhouse this year. Sen. Sander Rue, R-Albuquerque, who is carrying the measure (SB159), said it would make it easy for people to follow […]

Death penalty nears end

By Steve Terrell: The New Mexican The bill that would abolish the death penalty moved closer to becoming law Monday when the Senate Judiciary voted 6-5 to pass the bill to the Senate floor. Supporters of House Bill 285, sponsored by Rep. Gail Chasey, D-Albuquerque, considered the committee vote an important victory because in recent […]

Legislation proposes changes to train security, warning bells and fines

By Kate Nash: The New Mexican The New Mexico Rail Runner Express could have its own police patrol, would ring its bell for a shorter amount of time in Santa Fe and could tap into more funding under measures moving in the House and Senate this session. Another measure would increase by $90 the fine […]

March 5, 2009 Legislative tidbits

Days remaining in session: 16 Webcasting progress: The Senate Rules Committee on Wednesday approved SR3, which would allow webcasting from the Senate floor. The measure now goes to the Senate floor for debate. Meanwhile, another lawmaker is webcasting from House committee meetings. Rep. Dennis Kintigh, R-Roswell, is sending out video of meetings at www.nmgov.tv Fresh […]

Death penalty repeal heads to Judiciary panel

By Steve Terrell: The New Mexican The bill that would abolish capital punishment in New Mexico cleared another hurdle Tuesday when it got a do-pass recommendation on a 5-2 party-line vote in the Senate Public Affairs Committee. Senate Bill 285, sponsored by Rep. Gail Chasey, D-Albquerque, now goes to Senate Judiciary, which is considered the […]

Medical e-records bill clears Senate

By Kate Nash: The New Mexican After trying for three legislative sessions, Sen. Peter Wirth was able Tuesday to get a majority of state senators to agree to a measure allowing patients and doctors to use electronic medical records. Under the proposal, patients could opt to have their records made available electronically to doctors they […]

Bill protects ‘controversial science’ teaching

By Kate Nash: The New Mexican A measure pending in the Senate Education Committee would

March 3, 2009 Legislative tidbits

Days remaining in session: 18 Golden parachutes: The House Judiciary Committee will consider a measure (HB538) sponsored by Rep. Bill Rehm, R-Albuquerque, that would prohibit state agencies from giving extra money to employees who are terminated for cause or who resign. Under the bill, the state still could buy out an employment contract. During debate […]

Proposed algae plant to create 100 jobs

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer Portales will become home to an algae farm that produces biofuel and an estimated 100 new jobs for the region if the U.S. Senate passes a proposed budget bill. Nearly $1 million in funding for the project is included in the Fiscal Year 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Bill expected to […]

Proposed bill exempts seniors from jury duty

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer The saying age has its privileges may find new meaning in New Mexico law. A bill passed by the state Senate Tuesday gives senior citizens 70 and older an automatic pass on jury duty. Introduced by Sen. Stuart Ingle, SB 112 gives citizens 70 and older a choice to […]

Anti-cancer bills get new focus

By Kate Nash: The New Mexican Activists are renewing their push for bills that target cancer screening and treatment in the wake of the death of Patty Jennings, the director of the New Mexico Medical Insurance Pool. Jennings, wife of Senate President Pro Tem Tim Jennings, died this weekend after battling breast cancer. She was […]

Domestic partners bill revived

By Steve Terrell: The New Mexican A stalled bill that would establish domestic partnerships for unmarried couples in New Mexico got new life Monday when a senator who had opposed the idea decided to let the entire Senate consider it. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 6-5 Monday to pass Senate Bill 12, without recommendation, to […]

Senate panel approves domestic partnerships

By Barry Massey: The Associated Press SANTA FE, N.M. — A proposal allowing domestic partnerships cleared its first hurdle in the Legislature on Wednesday when it narrowly won approval in a Senate committee. The Public Affairs Committee endorsed the measure on a 5-to-4 vote and sent the proposal to another panel for consideration. The bill […]