When Santa Barbara lawyer-turned-activist Ady Barkan settled in to watch the second round of the Democratic presidential primary debates late last month, he had no idea his story would be part of the heated discussion. Barkan, 35, who has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, watched from his wheelchair as Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren described how he and his family had to raise money online to help pay for roughly $9,000 a month in health care costs not covered by his private health insurance. https://twitter.com/AdyBarkan/status/1156365277749305344
“The basic profit model of an insurance company is taking as much money as you can in premiums and pay out as little as possible in health care coverage,” Warren said. “That is not working for Americans.”
But for Barkan, the moment was not about him. “Elizabeth Warren’s point wasn’t just to mention my name, it was to call attention to the ways our broken health care system is hurting people across the country,” he said in an email interview.
A controversial congressional panel investigating abortion practices in New Mexico and the across the country is under scrutiny for its tactics and mission from some of its own members. In a report released this week titled “Setting the Record Straight: The Unjustifiable Attack on Women’s Health Care and Life-Saving Research,” Democratic members of the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives skewered the majority in the committee for using “McCarthy-era tactics” to conduct “an end-to-end attack on fetal tissue donation and women’s health care.”
The Select Panel, chaired by Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee, earlier this year sought subpoenas from Southwestern Women’s Options and the University of New Mexico and recommended the state Attorney General open a criminal investigation into the health clinic’s fetal tissue donation policy to the university. Related: Lawsuit alleges clinic donated fetal tissue without woman’s consent
Congressional Republicans formed the Select Panel after controversial, heavily edited videos of Planned Parenthood by anti-abortion activists went viral in 2015. Those videos led to unproven claims that abortion clinics across the country were selling fetal tissue for profit. The Select Panel is expected to release a final report on its investigation into fetal tissue donations before Congress adjourns later this month, according to Special Panel spokesman Mike Reynard.
Secretary of State Brad Winter cleared the Republican candidate seeking to fill his seat of six allegations filed against her in an ethics complaint last month. Those six allegations, filed by state Democratic Party Treasurer Robert Lara, accused candidate Nora Espinoza of multiple violations of the New Mexico Campaign Reporting Act. Lara, an attorney, previously told NM Political Report that he filed the ethics complaint as a private citizen and not on behalf of the Democratic Party. While Winter dismissed all of the allegations, his office did give guidance to Espinoza on addressing some issues. “Although we do not find any violations of the [Campaign Reporting] Act, the Espinoza campaign is cautioned to ensure that all campaign reports submitted in the future accurately reflect the name and purpose of all expenditures and in-kind contributions,” Winter wrote.
Update 5:30 pm: Heinrich spoke for roughly 20 minutes, mainly focusing on how as a gun owner himself, he can’t understand why the proposed reforms are controversial. “The fact that we’re arguing about this is unfathomable,” Heinrich said. “I can’t tell you how many times I have been through the background check process.” He also said he was proud of the many candlelight vigils that happened in New Mexico in response to the Orlando shootings. Heinrich asked Murphy whether his proposals include due process measures for people who feel wrongly listed on the federal Terrorist Watch List to contest their status.
Capping off a week of high profile presidential campaign visits in New Mexico, former President Bill Clinton rallied supporters of his wife in Southwest Albuquerque Wednesday afternoon. Speaking for just over 40 minutes, Clinton portrayed Hillary Clinton as an antidote to divisiveness in American and world politics. Related: Clinton makes surprise stop in Santa Fe restaurant
“We are living in a fascinating time that is full of both promise and peril,” Bill Clinton said. “Both progress and pain. And what you see all over the world today, all these arguments we’re having.
See Part One for Gary Johnson and two other prominent candidates. Darryl Perry of New Hampshire has a history in libertarian politics, at least on a local level, and has a hand in a handful of podcasts and online publications related to free market and limited government. What may separate Perry from other libertarian candidates is his non-traditional method of raising campaign funds. His campaign is only accepting donations in the form of “crypto-currencies” and precious metals. Perry’s campaign website lists all of the donations made, almost exclusively through Bitcoin, which totals an estimated $600 depending on the market price of silver and Bitcoin.
Following the 2016 legislative session, Gov. Susana Martinez touted passage of some tougher-on-crime laws, a new state budget and a bill to bring the state into compliance with the federal Real ID Act. In a short post-session press conference, she touted her five-year legislative battle of changing the state law that gives driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants as complete. But she also acknowledged the caveat. Related Story: Sanchez happy with what Senate accomplished
“While this bill allows limited permits for those who are here illegally, they must prove residency and identity and subject themselves to fingerprinting and background checks,” she said. Until this year, Martinez said she wouldn’t accept a two-tier system if it still allowed undocumented immigrants to still drive legally.
This feature was scheduled to not publish starting next Monday, but will be starting an its early Christmas break tomorrow; so this is the last Three things to look for of the year. NM Political Report, however, will continue to be publishing new stories throughout the holidays. Our month-by-month recap of stories will finish up early next week. Then we will start counting down the top ten stories of the year. If you want to add anything to future editions, shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.