Republicans in the state House of Representatives are blasting a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow legislators to receive a salary. House Joint Resolution 5 would ask voters to create a commission that would set pay for statewide elected officials and lawmakers, who currently receive a daily stipend but no annual salary. Related: Bill seeks voter OK to pay legislators a salary
In a statement, House GOP leaders signaled they would not support the measure in the face of proposals by Democrats to raise taxes. “House Republicans are standing against the Democrat plan to raise taxes on all New Mexicans including needy families to possibly help pay for salaries for Legislators,” a statement from caucus leaders said. The statement pointed to proposals in House Bill 6 that would raise the tax on gasoline by 10 cents a gallon and raise personal income tax rates.
Recently completed recounts in three state legislative races didn’t result in any changes to the election night winners. In the closest race, Republican state Rep. David Adkins kept his Bernalillo County seat by defeating Democrat Ronnie Martinez by just nine votes. This is the closest legislative race since 2012, when Las Cruces Republican Terry McMillan defeated Joanne Ferrary by eight votes. Ferrary lost again to McMillan in 2014 before defeating him in this November’s election. The other House race close enough for an automatic recount saw Democrat Daymon Ely defeating Republican incumbent Paul Pacheco by 105 votes.
Gov. Susana Martinez took out her major target in Tuesday’s election, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez. But that single victory came at a cost. Republicans lost the state House after two years in control, while Democrats strengthened their margin in the state Senate. The Democrats will control the House by at least a 37-33 margin, with an outside shot at a 39-31 split. Two races are going to recounts.
In a disastrous night for Democrats nationwide that saw Republican Donald Trump win the presidency, the state party actually did well, retaking the House of Representatives and expanding the party’s majority in the state Senate. The scope of the advantage in both chambers isn’t yet known, as there could be up to four automatic recounts, two in each chamber. Democrats also won back the Secretary of State seat when Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver easily defeated Republican Nora Espinoza. “What a difference two years makes,” Toulouse Oliver told a crowd of supporters Tuesday night, referring to her 2014 loss to Republican Dianna Duran. Duran resigned last year hours before pleading guilty to counts of misusing campaign funds, for which she spent 30 days in jail.
In a campaign season dominated by Donald Trump’s comments on groping women and several allegations against him of doing so, media attention on traditionally hot-button electoral issues like abortion access has been relegated to the side. But that doesn’t mean advocates aren’t using the issue of abortion to influence elections this year. On the local level, two political action committees on opposing sides of abortion rights are injecting thousands of dollars to influence down-ballot races. Planned Parenthood Votes New Mexico, for example, raised $10,000 to target four hotly contested state legislative races that could help decide which party controls the state House of Representatives and state Senate. The Right to Life Committee of New Mexico PAC, on the other hand, has spent more than $4,500 in the primaries and general election to encourage its base, which opposes abortion rights, to vote in a year that’s expected to be an uphill climb for Republicans.
Today is the day that candidates for state House and Senate file to say that they are, indeed, running. As candidates file their intention to run for public office, we decided to take a look forward a few months to what districts the two parties will be focusing on come November and the general elections. The top of the ticket matters. Two years ago, Republicans took the state House of Representatives for the first time in a half-century. That same election saw Gov. Susana Martinez, a Republican, trounce Democratic opponent Gary King by more than 14 points statewide.
Last week, a Republican lawmaker made headlines for siding with Democrats in killing an abortion bill. But in an apparent about-face Thursday morning, that same lawmaker attempted to revive and pass the same controversial bill. “Having voted in the affirmative with the majority, I want to remove [House Bill 275] from the table and make it the next order of business,” Rep. Andy Nuñez said in the House Health Committee. Nuñez was referring to the “Require Medical Care for All Infants” measure that would legally define when infants are “born alive” and mandate emergency medical intervention for them. Nuñez’ motion failed 5-5 in the committee, which is evenly split between Republicans and Democrats.
After Senate passage last week, a proposed constitutional amendment that would change the bail process in New Mexico cleared its first House committee Monday afternoon. The bill would allow general election voters this fall to weigh in on allowing a judge to deny bail to defendants deemed dangerous to society. Under the amendment, defendants who don’t present a danger to society could not be held if the only thing keeping them in jail was a lack of money
The House Judiciary Committee passed the bill 7-2, with Reps. Zach Cook, R-Ruidoso, and David Adkins, R-Albuquerque, casting to only dissenting votes. The bill has support from criminal defense attorney organizations, public defender offices, civil liberty groups and city and county organizations.
One Republican helped five Democrats kill a bill that would have legally defined when an infant is “born alive” and mandated medical intervention for those infants. Rep. Andy Nuñez, R-Hatch, joined all Democrats in the House Health Committee to table the “Require Medical Care for All Infants” bill Saturday morning after a short debate. The debate followed more than two hours of public testimony on the bill earlier in the week. Follow-up Story: GOP Rep won’t say why he voted against abortion bill
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Rod Montoya, R-Farmington, said his measure was meant protect infants who still show signs of life after abortions. “What we’re talking about is the life of a child who is born alive after an abortion procedure,” Montoya told the committee.
Testimony got heated during the hearing of a bill that would legally define when an infant is “born alive” and require emergency medical intervention if so. Public testimony over the bill, which is aimed at regulating late term abortion procedures, got so long that House Health Committee Chairman Terry McMillan, R-Las Cruces, delayed debate and a committee vote to another day. “I expect at least an hour of question and debate on this issue,” McMillan said. The bill defines “born alive” as an infant showing signs of life that include breathing, a heartbeat, a pulse in an umbilical cord or muscle movement. It applies to infants that show these signs after abortions, as well as births and cesarean sections.