Group: Increasing alcohol tax will help ease state budget woes

There’s still no word on if or when Gov. Susana Martinez will call a special session to address the state’s money shortfall, but one nonprofit group wants lawmakers to consider a tax increase on alcohol sales as a way to increase state revenues. Peter DeBenedittis, director of the group Alcohol Taxes Save Lives & Money said he’s been speaking with lawmakers as he tries to increase taxes on alcohol sales in order to supplement public substance abuse treatment programs. While DeBenedittis said he has been working with lawmakers for a while, he wants to gain support from the general public now. “Were just trying to start the conversation publicly,” DeBenedittis said of the campaign. Key players in the legislature said in recent weeks there is a need to shore up the state budget before the next regular session in January. DeBenedittis said the state can save serious money by holding those who abuse alcohol accountable for treatment costs.

2016 session by the numbers

The 2016 Legislative session ended Thursday at noon. Here at NM Political Report, we recapped what Gov. Susana Martinez, House leaders and Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez had to say. But here are just a few numbers to remember the session by. 0 – Times the House Rules and Order of Business Committee met this year

1 – Constitutional amendments that will be on the ballot in November

1.5 – Approximate number of hours a “No Bloggers Allowed” sign was up at Senate Print Media Gallery. 30 – Days in the 2016 Legislative Session

49 – House bills that passed the Senate

52 – Senate bills that passed the House

64 – Senate bills the Senate passed this year

99 – House bills the House passed this year

101 – Total bills that were sent to the governor’s desk

105 – Memorials that passed the Senate

114 – Memorials that passed the House

155 – Features, Quick Reads, opinion pieces tagged “NM Legislature” NM Political Report published between Jan.

The test-based focus of the budget must be ended

Betty Patterson is the President of the National Education Association–New Mexico
Students are at the center of our existence at the National Education Association–New Mexico. Student success is best supported when every student has a high-quality professional education team there for them. House Bill 2 (HB2), the budget bill, as sent by the House to the Senate moves our state in the wrong direction. An amendment to HB2 moves our state in the right direction by proposing to remove $8.5 million to fund the destructive and failed “merit pay” program of the Public Education Department (PED). The amendment converts those funds so they will be spent by districts to pay for a 16 % increase school employees will otherwise pay themselves for health insurance next year.

Poll: Most in NM want Senate license compromise bill

A national research and polling group released data on Monday that, they say, shows that a majority of New Mexicans are in favor of a previous Senate bill that would allow the option of getting a standard driver’s license or one that is Real ID compliant. Somos un Pueblo Unido, an immigrant right’s group held a press conference to announce findings by polling group Latino Decisions. Somos un Pueblo Unido commissioned the poll. The group opposes bills that would bar those who are in the country illegally from getting driver’s licenses. Gabriel Sanchez, a University of New Mexico professor and Latino Decisions pollster said the group’s poll revealed that 56 percent of registered voters in New Mexico are in favor of giving New Mexicans the choice to have a Real ID license or not.