Farmers, legislators hope legalized hemp could breathe new life into economy

When Mikki Anaya worked as the executive director of the Santa Fe Farmers Market Institute, a nonprofit that advocates for farmers and ranchers, she became acutely aware of what she characterized as a troubling trend in New Mexico. “A lot of families no longer farmed or ranched land that had been in our families for many generations,” Anaya said. “It deeply saddened me to see that transition happening.” Anaya started to study the dynamics of the change and concluded that economics were a root factor. “A lot of it is that people are just leaving our rural communities because there’s no economic opportunity there,” she said.

Udall, Heinrich calling for investigations in wake of Flynn resignation

Both U.S. Senators from New Mexico are calling for investigations into Donald Trump’s administration—for two separate scandals, both involving national security. U.S. Sen. Tom Udall signed onto a letter with ten other Democratic U.S. senators asking for an investigation into communications between Michael Flynn, the retired lieutenant general who was recently Trump’s national security advisor, and those with ties to Russian government officials. The letter sent to Attorney General Jeff Sessions said an investigation is needed “to determine what General Flynn did, who knew about it, and when.”

Udall also previously called for an investigation into the influence of the Russian government on the election. U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, who is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, called for an investigation into the handling of classified information. “We’ve seen a pattern of carelessness and lack of accountability from this administration that puts our national security and America’s standing in the world at risk,” Heinrich said.

Udall reads Coretta Scott King letter, after Senate blocked Warren from doing so (Updated)

Hours after Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren was reprimanded for challenging the integrity of a fellow Senator by reading a letter from Coretta Scott King, the widow of Martin Luther King, Jr., New Mexico U.S. Sen. Tom Udall read the letter on the Senate floor without question. Later on Wednesday, new Mexico’s other U.S. Senator read part of the Coretta Scott King letter and criticized the Senate for their actions on Warren. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i715XvBCkio&feature=youtu.be

Tuesday night, Warren tried to read the letter before her senate colleagues. King’s letter  criticized Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions when he unsuccessfully sought a judgeship in the 1980s. In the letter, Coretta Scott King said she opposed his confirmation to a federal judgeship.

New Mexico Senate once again endorses hemp research

The New Mexico Senate, by a lopsided bipartisan majority, passed a bill Tuesday that would make it legal to cultivate hemp so researchers can study possible industrial uses. The legislation goes now to the House of Representatives, where other industrial hemp bills also are being considered. Senate Bill 6, sponsored by Sen. Cisco McSorley, D-Albuquerque, which cleared the Senate 37-2, is identical to a McSorley hemp bill that passed the Legislature two years ago with strong bipartisan support but was vetoed by Gov. Susana Martinez. The governor, in her veto message, claimed it could be confusing for law enforcement because the fibrous plant is basically the same plant as marijuana but with a much lower level of the intoxicant THC. McSorley on Tuesday repeated his insistence that “Industrial hemp research begins the process of bringing needed manufacturing and agricultural jobs to our state.”

Poll shows approval ratings for Heinrich, Udall

Both of New Mexico’s U.S. Senators are relatively popular, though a large amount of the state voters don’t have an opinion about them either way, according to a poll by online polling firm Morning Consult.

The poll, which looked at the approval rating of all 100 U.S. Senators, showed New Mexico Senators Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall, both Democrats, in the middle of the pack when it came to popularity. Morning Consult’s poll found 54 percent of New Mexican voters approve of the way Tom Udall is doing his job, compared 27 percent who disapprove. For Heinrich, 46 percent approve while 29 percent disapprove. The rest said they didn’t know or had no opinion about either senator. The numbers are slightly down for both from April, where Udall had a 57 percent approval rating (and 23 percent who disapproved), while Heinrich had a 49 percent approval rating (to 24 percent who disapproved).

NM Senators to Senate: Do your job on SCOTUS nominee

The U.S. Senators from New Mexico say it’s time for the Senate to do its job now that the president nominated a candidate to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court. The two, both Democrats, issued press statements Wednesday morning, shortly after President Barack Obama named Merrick Garland as his choice to fill the vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia last month. “I believe the President has done his job,” Sen. Tom Udall said in a conference call at noon on Wednesday. “Now the Senate needs to do ours.” “We have a job to do here in the Senate.

Udall, now in minority, says he still wants filibuster reform

Since joining the Senate in 2009, Sen. Tom Udall has been one of the main critics of the excessive use of the filibuster in the chamber. At the time, Udall was a member of the majority party and Senate Republicans frequently used the filibuster to stop legislation they disagreed with. Now, however, the shoe is on the other foot and Udall is in the minority. And that Democratic minority now uses the filibuster to stop legislation they disagree with. Bloomberg recently wrote about the change and said that filibuster opponents had “gone quiet” since moving into the minority.