Legislative Roundup: 1/26

Days remaining in session: 51 Active shooter training: The full Senate and legislative staffers attended a closed-door active shooter training Thursday. “Training taking place — no entry,” stated signs on the doors to the Senate gallery. Before a reporter was asked to leave the media gallery overlooking the chamber, Paula Ulibarri, sergeant at arms for the Senate, […]

Legislative Roundup: 1/26

Days remaining in session: 51

Active shooter training: The full Senate and legislative staffers attended a closed-door active shooter training Thursday.

“Training taking place — no entry,” stated signs on the doors to the Senate gallery.

Before a reporter was asked to leave the media gallery overlooking the chamber, Paula Ulibarri, sergeant at arms for the Senate, told attendees she didn’t want them to be paranoid but prepared.

“I know you have other places you should be and want to be and have things to do,” she said. “But in this day and age, this is very important to every one of you.”

Ulibarri continued, “This can happen anywhere at any time, and I want you, if nothing else, when you go from this class, I want you to be aware of your surroundings.”

The training was conducted by two New Mexico State Police officers, one of whom told the group the FBI had changed the term from “active shooter” to “active killer.”

“That’s what the person who’s in the building [is] trying to do,” he said. “He’s trying to harm people. He’s trying to kill people.”

Organ donation discrimination: Sen. Craig Brandt, R-Rio Rancho, recruited University of New Mexico head football coach Danny Gonzales and Lt. Gov. Howie Morales on Thursday to build support for a bill he is sponsoring that would prohibit discrimination against transplant recipients based solely on their physical or mental disability.

“This has not been a problem so far in our state,” Brandt said during a news conference attended by Gonzales and Morales. “We’re just making sure it doesn’t become one.”

Brandt said he named Senate Bill 71 “Glory’s Law” after a young girl who has Down syndrome.

Chirsty Sellers, Glory’s mother, said she heard a story about a baby in another state who was denied a kidney transplant “solely based on that child having Down syndrome.”

“So immediately, I wanted to find out [where New Mexico stood on the issue], and right now, we don’t have any laws in place to protect people with disabilities should they need a transplant,” she said.

Gonzales said he has an 8-year-old daughter with Down syndrome and found out on Thanksgiving Day his 10-year-old daughter has Type 1 diabetes.

“That doesn’t define who they are; it’s part of who they are,” he said. “And for somebody to be denying something because somebody decides they’re not worthy — we’re all human beings, and to be a kind human being is not hard.”

Geothermal energy: A new bureau in the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department with several full-time employees would be devoted to exploring New Mexico’s geothermal capacity under a bill the Senate Conservation Committee endorsed Thursday.

Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino, D-Albuquerque, the primary sponsor of Senate Bill 8, said his legislation builds on a law that established the legal structure for geothermal development in the state.

“What we’re presenting today is really the next step in the development of New Mexico’s third great renewable energy source after solar and wind, which we know the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine,” Ortiz y Pino said.

“But the Earth is always hot,” he added. “If we’re able to tap the heat of the Earth itself, we can complement the other two renewable energy sources and provide New Mexico with 100 percent renewable energy all the time.”

The bill would appropriate $10 million to create a fund to study the costs and benefits of proposed geothermal resource development projects and $15 million to create a revolving loan fund for universities and others to finance projects.

“We need to look to Mother Earth to provide for the human race,” said a co-sponsor, Sen. Pat Woods, R-Broadview.

Feeling creative: New Mexico already has a state Film Office. So why not open an office that encompasses all the other arts and crafts?

Sen. Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces, and Reena Szczepanski, D-Santa Fe, filed House Bill 8 this week to create a new Creative Industries Division within the state Economic Development Department. At a news conference held Thursday, they said the division would promote creative industry-related tourism and support small creative businesses, nonprofits and entrepreneurs.

At least 50 percent of the division’s attention and support would be targeted toward rural communities, Szczepanski said.

Several artists spoke in favor of the initiative, with one saying it could unleash the state’s “untapped potential” for developing a creative industry.

The bill includes a $67 million appropriation, which would be recurring, to open, staff and run the division.

Quote of the day: “I’ll vote twice if you’ll let me.” — Rep. Martin Zamora, R-Clovis, after a legislative aide tallying up votes on a bill by the Agriculture, Acequias and Water Resource Committee called on Zamora, who had already cast a vote, a second time.

We're ad free

That means that we rely on support from readers like you. Help us keep reporting on the most important New Mexico Stories by donating today.

Related

Effort to challenge six laws enacted last year comes to an end

Effort to challenge six laws enacted last year comes to an end

Earlier this month, the New Mexico Supreme Court denied and dismissed the effort to challenge six laws enacted in 2023. The New Mexico Supreme…
Governor to call special session for public safety legislation this summer

Governor to call special session for public safety legislation this summer

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that she will call the Legislature into a special session this summer to address public safety legislation that did…
Emily’s List endorses seven candidates for Legislature

Emily’s List endorses seven candidates for Legislature

Emily’s List, a nonprofit that supports women candidates and reproductive rights, endorsed seven incumbents facing general election opponents in New Mexico legislative elections. All…
Two PFAS chemicals designated hazardous substances under Superfund law

Two PFAS chemicals designated hazardous substances under Superfund law

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a final rule Friday to designate two types of PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances. Those two chemicals are perfluorooctanoic…
BLM finalizes controversial public lands rule

BLM finalizes controversial public lands rule

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management finalized its controversial public lands rule on Thursday. This rule is controversial because it allows for conservation leasing…
Haaland signs order protecting sacred lands near Placitas

Haaland signs order protecting sacred lands near Placitas

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland signed an order on Thursday to withdraw more than 4,200 acres of land in Sandoval County near Placitas from mineral…
Amid new graduation requirements, what do high schoolers want to learn?

Amid new graduation requirements, what do high schoolers want to learn?

By Margaret O’Hara, The Santa Fe New Mexican The main things that bring Brayan Chavez to school every day: Seeing, talking to and engaging with…
Special ed teachers hope lawmakers OK pay raises, admin changes

Special ed teachers hope lawmakers OK pay raises, admin changes

By Margaret O’Hara, The Santa Fe New Mexican Brittany Behenna Griffith has a laundry list of adjectives to describe the ideal special education teacher:…
Lawmakers must find consensus on competing education spending plans

Lawmakers must find consensus on competing education spending plans

By Margaret O’Hara, The Santa Fe New Mexican A challenging task awaits New Mexico lawmakers in the next 30 days: Reconciling three very different…
Health workers fear it’s profits before protection as CDC revisits airborne transmission

Health workers fear it’s profits before protection as CDC revisits airborne transmission

Amy Maxmen, KFF Health News Four years after hospitals in New York City overflowed with covid-19 patients, emergency physician Sonya Stokes remains shaken by…
Lujan Grisham, Biden admin announce $10 million in federal funds for tribes, pueblos

Lujan Grisham, Biden admin announce $10 million in federal funds for tribes, pueblos

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Friday $10 million in funding from the federal American Rescue Plan Act was awarded to six tribal nations and…
Proposal to curb executive powers moves to House Judiciary

Proposal to curb executive powers moves to House Judiciary

The House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee discussed a potential constitutional amendment that seeks to limit the governor’s executive powers. The committee approved…
Abortion fund provider rebrands and holds open house

Abortion fund provider rebrands and holds open house

An abortion fund provider unveiled a rebrand and offered an open house in Las Cruces to celebrate the organization’s new name, mission and values. …
Stansbury introduces judicial ethics bill on U.S. Supreme Court steps

Stansbury introduces judicial ethics bill on U.S. Supreme Court steps

U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury announced a bill on Thursday that would, if enacted, establish judicial ethics to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Judicial Ethics…
Politics and abortion, how much will it matter?

Politics and abortion, how much will it matter?

At the national level, abortion is still a high-stakes issue with both major presidential candidates talking about it in their campaigns, but it may…
Abortion fund provider rebrands and holds open house

Abortion fund provider rebrands and holds open house

An abortion fund provider unveiled a rebrand and offered an open house in Las Cruces to celebrate the organization’s new name, mission and values. …
Politics and abortion, how much will it matter?

Politics and abortion, how much will it matter?

At the national level, abortion is still a high-stakes issue with both major presidential candidates talking about it in their campaigns, but it may…
How the AZ Supreme Court decision on abortion impacts New Mexico

How the AZ Supreme Court decision on abortion impacts New Mexico

The Arizona Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that an 1864 abortion ban is enforceable, throwing another state bordering New Mexico into the situation of…
Effort to challenge six laws enacted last year comes to an end

Effort to challenge six laws enacted last year comes to an end

Earlier this month, the New Mexico Supreme Court denied and dismissed the effort to challenge six laws enacted in 2023. The New Mexico Supreme…
Vasquez calls out Republicans for ‘inaction’ on border policy

Vasquez calls out Republicans for ‘inaction’ on border policy

U.S. Rep. Gabriel “Gabe” Vasquez, a Democrat who represents the state’s 2nd Congressional District along the U.S.-Mexico border, cosponsored a resolution on Monday calling…
Politics and abortion, how much will it matter?

Politics and abortion, how much will it matter?

At the national level, abortion is still a high-stakes issue with both major presidential candidates talking about it in their campaigns, but it may…
Two PFAS chemicals designated hazardous substances under Superfund law

Two PFAS chemicals designated hazardous substances under Superfund law

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a final rule Friday to designate two types of PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances. Those two chemicals are perfluorooctanoic…
New Mexico Voices for Children has new leadership

New Mexico Voices for Children has new leadership

New Mexico Voices for Children, an organization that focuses on tax policy and how it impacts children in poverty, has new leadership. Gabrielle Uballez…
Abortion fund provider rebrands and holds open house

Abortion fund provider rebrands and holds open house

An abortion fund provider unveiled a rebrand and offered an open house in Las Cruces to celebrate the organization’s new name, mission and values. …

GET INVOLVED

© 2023 New Mexico Political Report