March 3, 2016

Odds and Ends: Martinez off to campaign for Rubio

Andy Lyman

—Gov. Susana Martinez is hitting the presidential campaign trail. She will be campaigning with Marco Rubio in Jacksonville this Saturday, a day after going to Kansas.

Martinez, of course, endorsed Rubio on Thursday.

Kansas holds caucuses on Saturday, while Florida has primaries on March 15. Early voting begins Saturday, though hundreds of thousands have already cast ballots by mail in the Sunshine State.

—Martinez signed some more legislation on Thursday before jetting off to Kansas.

While in Hobbs, she signed “Racheal’s Law,” which would allow courts to grant permanent restraining orders against those convicted of certain crimes.

“As a career prosecutor, I’ve seen firsthand the tragic impact that sexual assault has on our families. And through trying tough cases like physical and sexual abuse against children, I learned that providing justice to victims and working to prevent these horrible crimes are some of our most important duties,” Martinez said in a statement. “This legislation is an important step forward in supporting the victims of these heinous crimes. I’m proud to sign this bill, and I thank Rachael [sic] for having the courage to stand up and speak up.”

After that, Martinez headed to Clovis and the Southwest Cheese Factory to sign legislation that would make it more difficult for neighbors to sue farms for nuisance violations. She also signed legislation that would help with the issue of patients from New Mexico suing doctors in other states using New Mexico law; this is designed to aid those who live closer to medical care in other states (particularly Texas) so they do not get denied treatment.

—Democrats continue to put the pressure on Senate Republicans, who now have a majority of the chamber, to hold hearings on a potential replacement for Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court.

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall was among the Democrats in a press conference on Thursday to call for it.

“Providing our advice and consent and voting on the president’s nominee to the United States Supreme Court is possibly the most important job of the United States Senate,” Udall said. “Since I was elected, I have been pushing to fix the broken Senate rules to make the Senate work for the American people again.

“The situation we have now is unprecedented, but it’s not just the Supreme Court. What we are seeing over and over is obstruction across the board — 17 judges and three ambassadors, even the top official at the Treasury Department whose job is to go after the finances of terrorists,” he continued. “We are on track for the lowest number of confirmations in three decades. These are public servants. They serve the people of this country in the executive branch, on our courts. They should be judged on their merits. Instead they are blocked for political points. That’s not governing. That’s the failure to do one’s job.”

—A relatively newly appointed judge in Northern New Mexico was censured earlier this week for how he handled subpoenas when he was a District Attorney.

From the New Mexican:

The disciplinary cases against 8th Judicial District Attorney Donald Gallegos of Taos and former prosecutor Emilio Chavez stem from 94 subpoenas Chavez issued in 2012 and 2013 without the approval of a judge or grand jury to gather information in criminal investigations before charges were filed.

Gov. Susana Martinez last summer appointed Chavez as an 8th Judicial District Court judge, based in Raton, even after lawyers for the New Mexico Supreme Court’s Disciplinary Board filed disciplinary charges against him and Gallegos in October 2014, alleging they had violated several rules of professional conduct.