It’s not just long lunches at posh restaurants, glittering cocktail receptions, nifty little favors from fawning lobbyists.
No, sir, when our duly elected representatives and senators gather in Santa Fe for their annual talkathon, it’s crunch time.
Evidence? More than 1,000 bills have been introduced for consideration of both chambers. One thousand bills. Thirty days. You do the math.
You read only about the big stuff, so here’s a sampling of legislation that might not make your front page.
Gloria Vaughn had to stay up nights just writing this one. Rep. Vaughn, who lives in Alamogordo, must be having some trouble getting to Cloudcroft. She introduced what I would call the Slow Poke Bill, “An Act requiring drivers to turn off the highway in certain circumstances.”
The text: On a highway that has one lane for traveling in each direction and where passing is prohibited by law or is unsafe because of traffic traveling in the opposite direction or another condition, the driver of a vehicle that is traveling at a rate of speed that is less than the speed for the highway or portion of the highway and behind which five or more vehicles are formed in a line shall turn off the highway at the nearest place where the driver may turn off the highway in a safe manner.
Here’s how I would have written it: If you are driving your big, fat, lumbering RV and you look in the mirror and see a bunch of cars, pull over or we are going to fine your butt.
Those folks are up there to fight for their own. Catch this bill by Jim Trujillo of Santa Fe. He wants to give the city of Santa Fe $50,000 to conduct a survey on developing the woodworking and furniture industry. Wait a minute here. Why can’t the woodworking industry conduct its own survey? And what does the city of Santa Fe know about furniture?
Rep. Trujillo also wants 35,000 bucks to fund for Santa Fe County a teen court, a wonderful program designed to have a lot more little lawyers running around. This may or may not be good for society.
Teen court is much like the newspaper industry’s summer high school workshops, which are designed to have a lot more little journalists running around. Many would argue this may or may not be good for society. But the newspaper industry doesn’t ask the state to pay for its program, and we think that if Santa Fe wants a teen court, then it should pay for it. So, there.
Mary Jane Garcia, a senator from Las Cruces, wants to give New Mexico State University $150,000 to hire a viticulturist and $150,000 to hire a climatologist. The fact NMSU has gone this long without a viticulturist and a climatologist tells you all you need to know.
Also in the Senate is a bill requiring antifreeze makers to add a bittering agent so people won’t drink it, which tells you all you need to know about society.
I find all of this just fascinating, which tells you all you need to know about me.
Ned Cantwell is a retired newspaperman living in Ruidoso. His column is not tax-supported. Contact him at: