Monday, February 22, 2010

Green Chile Chatter is on leave

This blog will be on leave through early May. See you all as it gets closer to the primary election!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

It's cold, but is it freezing?

Doesn't look like it, if we're talking about the state's hiring freeze.

Turns out state government keeps hiring more people these days. Check out the story I wrote with an updated list of who has gotten exceptions to the freeze.

Monday, February 8, 2010

House approves interim committee webcasting

In the not so surprising news category, the House today signed off on a measure that would broadcast interim committee meetings on the Internet.

That's not to belittle the move, of course, because it's good news. The webcasts provide access to the Legislature to so many more people who can watch from where ever they are -- and that's a major step toward transparency.

"Today the House took the next step in providing full transparency of the legislative committee process," said Rep. Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces. "Interim committees play an important role in the legislative process and take place all over the state. Webcasting technology is needed to expand the participation of both legislators and interested citizens."

Because interim committees have House and Senate members, the measure now goes there for consideration. Expect it to be approved. In the meantime, more and more committee rooms are getting wired for webcasting. 

Click here for an updated list of meetings you can listen to or watch from afar.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Exempt employees still an issue

Even with the layoff last month of 59 exempt employees, the issue is still present in this year's session. I did a story on the topic today here.

Since it was published, the Department of Finance and Administration has said there are only 364 exempts under Gov. Bill Richardson's control, not the 450 there previously were.

Other employee cost issues also are big this session, as the state grapples with a budget crunch, and the Legislature tries to exert itself more over a lame-duck governor. Keep an eye out in the coming days for a story I'm doing on a measure related to the state's hiring freeze.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Republican Chandler to jump into AG race

I was wondering when the race for attorney general this year might start to heat up. So far, no Democrats have announced against incumbent Gary King. And, as of today, no Republicans had either.

It turns out 9th Judicial District Attorney Matt Chandler this afternoon in Albuquerque will take the plunge. The Republican is expected to announce his candidacy on the steps of the Metro Court. The significance of the court backdrop is huge, of course, given the Metro Court scandal of recent years.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Good government bills popular this session

Most every session there are a couple of bills that aim to boost transparency in state government. (There are also usually a few that try to do the opposite.)

But this session, there's a longer list than usual of measures that would open government further by collecting and putting more public information online.

Many are simple moves, such as installing more cameras for webcasting meetings from the Capitol, or putting House roll call votes online. Others are a little more complex, such as the proposed sunshine portal, which would put updated budget and investment information on the Web. All are worth a look by lawmakers and the public.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Youngberg memorial service set for Tuesday

The memorial service for former Rep. Eric Youngberg is set for Tuesday at 2 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church at 215 Locust Street NE in Albuquerque. Friends and family are invited to the Albuquerque Country Club after the service.

The family is requesting that memorial contributions be made to the Explora Children's Museum or the Albuquerque Academy.

Youngberg, a Corrales Republican, died unexpectedly last week.