Third-grade retention clears House

After hours of debate on the House floor, a bill that would hold back many third-graders who cannot read at grade level passed the House on a 38-30 vote, with one Democrat joining the Republicans in voting for the bill. The bill is now headed to the Senate. The bill has been a priority of Gov. Susana Martinez since she was first elected in 2010. The bill has passed the House before, on bipartisan votes, but has failed in the Senate and has become a more and more partisan issue as the years have passed. Rep. Monica Youngblood, R-Albuquerque, sponsored the legislation and said that allowing “social promotion” only served to hurt students.

Bill to legalize marijuana is tabled in first committee

A bill that allow the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes was quashed in a House committee Friday morning. All but one member of a House Committee voted to table the Cannabis Revenue and Freedom Act. Rep. Bill McCamley, D-Mesilla Park, presented his HB 160 to the House Agriculture, Water and Wildlife Committee. McCamley, who is also a committee member, was the only one from the group to cast a dissenting vote for tabling the bill. Under the proposed legislation, both marijuana and industrial hemp would be regulated and taxed by the state.

Right-to-work clears first hurdle after marathon committee meeting

House Committee members were part of a marathon committee meeting on Thursday that ultimately ended with an 8-5 vote  to pass a right-to-work bill. Rep. Dennis Roch, R-Logan, presented his HB 75 to the House Business and Employment Committee in a hearing that lasted nearly five hours. The bill would bar employers from requiring union membership from employees as a term of employment. Along with Roch were  Lt. Gov. John Sanchez and his expert witness Paul Gessing, the director of the free-market think tank, the Rio Grande Foundation. Sanchez told the committee he was there on behalf of Gov. Susana Martinez and insisted that right-to-work legislation is not an attempt to disband unions, but instead to help New Mexico workers.