By Daniel J. Chacón, The Santa Fe New Mexican
A good-natured debate took place Saturday on the Senate floor and on Twitter over a proposal to make the smell of roasting green chile the official aroma of New Mexico. Senate Bill 188, which is heading to the House after winning approval in the Senate, has captured national attention, including on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, whose host recently joked he thought New Mexico’s official aroma “was an abandoned RV that a bobcat is living in.” Before the bill passed the Senate 31-4, Sen. Cliff Pirtle, a Roswell Republican, introduced an amendment to replace the smell of roasting green chile with “dairy air.” Pirtle, a dairy farmer, called it one of his favorite smells. “Chaves County is the dairy capital of the Southwest, and I would definitely not miss the opportunity to really support my district and push something forward that I think is important to my constituents,” he said.
Gov. Susana Martinez vetoed a bill to create a speciality chile license plate—but chile lovers will still be able to get a license plate featuring chile without the extra cost of a specialty plate. The new black license plate says in yellow lettering “Chile capital of the world” and has yellow license plate numbers. It also features a green chile pepper in front of a red chile pepper. “With the creation of this license plate, we are sending a strong message that New Mexico is the only chile capital of the world,” Gov. Martinez said in announcing the new license plate. “Not only does chile play a significant role in our state’s culture – it is one of our state’s greatest treasures, and this license plate will let the world know.”
This came after Martinez vetoed legislation that would have created a specialty chile license plate whose funds would have went to educational programs with the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces.
Colorado continues trying to steal New Mexico’s thunder when it comes to chile, for some reason. This time, legislators in New Mexico’s neighbor to the north want to create a special license plate in Colorado for chile growers. The proposal cleared the Colorado House on a voice vote Tuesday. New Mexico’s effort cleared its first committee Wednesday morning. “The Pueblo chile is Colorado’s chile,” Colorado state Rep. Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo, said on the floor according to a press release.“Our local growers deserve recognition of their outstanding chiles.”
New Mexico state Rep. Cathrynn Brown’s proposal to have a green chile license plate cleared the Taxation and Revenue Committee on a unanimous vote Wednesday morning.