Hemp R&D bill heads to Senate floor

A bill that would allow hemp to be grown for research and development purposes navigated its third committee and is now headed to the Senate floor. The legislation—sponsored by Sen. Cisco McSorley, D-Albuquerque—passed easily on Thursday afternoon. The lone vote against passage was the only vote against passage so far in the process. The legislation was made possible by a provision in the federal Farm Bill that allows hemp to be grown for research and development purposes. This is what helped the legislation pass so easily according to McSorley.

Senate confirms Skandera on close vote

The state Senate voted 22 to 19 on Monday afternoon to approve the nomination of Hanna Skandera to the position of Secretary of the Public Education Department. All Republican members of the chamber voted to confirm along with five Democrats. One Democrat did not vote. Skandera was perhaps the most controversial pick by Susana Martinez to serve in her cabinet. Her nomination passed the Senate Rules Committee earlier in the day then passed the full Senate later in the afternoon.

Senators question use of federal funds by CYFD

Senators on the Finance Committee questioned the new head of the Children, Youth and Families Department on funding issues, including some money they felt should have been spent on childcare issues. Sen. Howie Morales, D-Silver City, in particular questioned CYFD’s use of federal funding. “We cannot leave money on the table when it comes to something that is as important as our children,” Morales told secretary-designate Monique Jacobson. He asked Jacobson about what he said was up to $21 million had been reverted to the federal government. Of that, about $6 million was in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, also known as TANF, funding and another $16 million was in a childcare block grant.