Commissioners approved a county-level right-to-work ordinance even as detractors promised to sue. Early Friday morning, the Sandoval County Commission voted 3-1 to make the county the first to implement a right-to-work ordinance. Previous efforts at the statewide level repeatedly failed, while a citywide effort in Clovis decades ago was struck down by a federal court. “This is our time to lead the state,” ordinance sponsor Jay Block said in arguing for the ordinance.
Guessing what Gov. Susana Martinez might do next after she leaves the state’s top elected office at the end of 2018 has become something of a parlor game in New Mexico politics. Just a few years ago, observers occasionally mentioned the two-term Republican as a potential vice-presidential nominee in 2016. Too late for that but might she run for U.S. Senate? “Why would I want to be one of 100?” she said Thursday.
The New Mexico Senate, moving to meet a tight deadline, on Wednesday approved a new nurse licensing compact to avoid what one lawmaker described as a health care crisis. But several senators raised concerns as the bill sped through the Legislature that the compact might diminish nurses’ rights by ceding too much power to an out-of-state board about licensing in the profession. The measure would allow nurses licensed in certain other states to practice in New Mexico without getting a separate certificate. It cleared the Senate 39-0 and then received approval from a committee of the House of Representatives. That sets up a vote Thursday by the full, 70-member House of Representatives.
Gov. Susana Martinez signaled Tuesday she is not going quietly into her last year in office, opening a 30-day session of the Legislature with a State of the State address that touted issues she has pushed throughout her administration and steeling herself for one last showdown with Democratic lawmakers. The two-term Republican governor called for comprehensive tax reform but did not offer any specifics on what that might involve, urged tougher criminal sentences and raised many of the same education and economic policies she has regularly mentioned in her annual address. With the state’s finances improving, offering a reprieve from another round of budget cuts, many Democrats and Republicans alike had come to expect this monthlong session would not be marked by any particularly ambitious initiatives or changes in policy as Martinez prepares to leave office. Instead, many seemed ready to approve a balanced budget and take steps to try to stem the state’s rising crime rates. Indeed, the governor did not offer any big new ideas.
The follow is Gov. Susana Martinez’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, along with annotations from NM Political Report, New Mexico In Focus, NMPolitics.net and KUNM-FM. Andy Lyman from NM Political Report participated for NM Political Report.
The 2018 legislative session kicks off today at noon. Coverage from New Mexico PBS will begin then, with livestreaming of the festivities and Gov. Susana Martinez’s final State of the State address. You can watch it all below. We will also have live annotation of her remarks, with reporters from different news outlets throughout the state. That is also available below.