Thursday, April 28, 2011

Stimulus starting to dry up

It's no surprise, but it's still not good news: much of the federal stimulus money ends this year. While some state officials planned ahead, others are fretting and wondering what the impact will be on the local economy.

See my story in today's paper here.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Legal bills mounting in pay to play case

The case involving former state government officials and alleged pay to play schemes isn't getting any cheaper. I wrote about the issue in today's paper.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Gary Johnson for President

Yep, it's official. Our funky ex-governor is in the 2012 presidential race. Slate has an interesting article here.

Johnson made the announcement this morning in New Hampshire.

The move puts New Mexico in the political spotlight (a little bit, anyway) again during a presidential race, which should be interesting. Johnson is the first GOP candidate to announce he is running next year.

That could be because he's last in name recognition and needs to get out there as early as he can.

This from the LA Times:

According to a Gallup poll released this week, Johnson ranked last among 14 possible candidates in name recognition, hovering between 12% and 14%. Ranked highest was Sarah Palin, at 96% name recognition, though name recognition doesn’t always translate into popularity. Most polls place Palin in the first tier of four or five possible contenders and Johnson well back in the pack, though no one is running away with the nomination.

Whether the polls mean much -- and whether Johnson can quickly climb in name recognition remains to be seen. We know Johnson has come out of nowhere in the past. . .

Friday, April 15, 2011

New PRC e-mail retention policy in the works

...but it is confidential and attorney-client privileged until it is presented to the Public Regulation Commission next Tuesday.

By way of background, last summer I wrote about the fact that no one at the PRC was following an electronic public records policy of keeping e-mails to be archived.

The January 2009 policy calls for employees of the regulatory agency to sort their own e-mails and determine what is public, and then forward those public records to an address for retention.

That wasn't happening, and after I wrote about it, PRC officials said they would craft a new policy. A spokesman for the commission said the PRC's general counsel will talk to me about the policy, once it is presented to the commission.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Supreme Court sides with unions

The New Mexico Supreme Court has sided with union members who say Gov. Susana Martinez overstepped her bounds in firing three members of the Public Employee Labor Relations Board. My colleague Steve Terrell went to the hearing today.

I wrote more about the issue two weeks ago here.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

RIP Jeanette Wallace

The Associated Press has an obituary today on Rep. Jeanette Wallace here. The long-time Republican from Los Alamos died Friday, her family announced Saturday. She had been ill during the recent legislative session.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Martinez signs bill to end corporal punishment in NM schools

Gov. Susana Martinez today signed a bill that outlaws corporal punishment in our schools.

The state joins 30 others that do not allow punishment such as spanking in the classroom.

"The decision on whether or not to use corporal punishment on a child is one that is best left to a parent," Martinez said in a statement.

Martinez also signed other bills today. They are:

· HB 74, Science of Teaching Reading Requirement
· HB 81, No Land Grants as State Land
· HB 196, Uniform Child Witness Protective Measures Act
· HB 301 Create New Mexico Unit Fund
· HB 306, ESCAFACA District Authority and Elections
· HB 337, Fee and Term Limit on Payday Loans; Requiring Database
· HB 411, State Agency Submission of Timely Audits
· HB 413, Unauthorized Practice of Law
· HB 414, Commercial Motor Carrier Inspections
· HB 437, Veterans’ Property Tax Exemption
· HB 500, Excavation Notices and Utility Pipelines
· HB 652, Emergency Pilot Gas Relighting
· SB 105, Broker Licensure and Education Requirements
· SB 132, State Agency Uniform Credit Card Use Fee
· SB 141, No Education Department Auditor Approval
· SB 233, Plant Photosynthesis as Alternative Energy
· SB 278, Clarify State Treasurer Duties
· SB 282, Tax Liability Credit for Certain Physicians
· SB 295, Health Care Provider Dependency Task Force
· SB 445, Direct Wine Shipment Permits
· SB 520, Municipal Corporation Bond Deposits
· SB 546, Alcohol Microdistiller License
· SB 549, Renewable Energy Utility and Customer Costs
· SB 476, No College Credits Needed for State Police
· SB 617, Public Works Contractor Registration

Martinez vetoed these bills:

· HB 182, Penalties for Serving Alcohol to Minors
· SB 023, Corrine Wolf Children’s Law Center
· SB 025, Private Equity Investment Committee Duties

You can get updates on the bills Martinez has acted on on her web site.