Bolo ties gain acceptance under proposal

The New Mexican

Days remaining in session: 52

Bolo me over: New Mexico’s official state neckwear may finally find acceptance in the House of Representatives.

Under current rules, House members can’t wear a bolo tie during legislative proceedings in the House chambers. They must wear regular ties. However, that would change under a proposal approved Tuesday by the Rules and Order of Business Committee.

House Resolution 1, sponsored by Rep. James Roger Madalena, D-Jemez Pueblo, would permit the wearing of bolo ties in the House.

“I think they look very Southwestern,” Madalena said.

House Majority Leader W. Ken Martinez, D-Grants, said a regular tie looks more formal.

The measure heads to the House floor for consideration. The House and Senate have separate rules governing their chambers.

The Senate allows its members to wear bolos on the Senate floor during legislative sessions.

A 2007 law designated the bolo as New Mexico’s official tie.

Cracking down on car thieves: Before you decide on taking a vehicle that doesn’t belong to you for a joy ride, consider this: A bill moving through the Legislature would increase criminal penalties for auto theft.

The Senate Public Affairs Committee on Tuesday voted unanimously to give a do-pass recommendation to Senate Bill 26, sponsored by Sen. Mary Jane Garcia, D-Dona Ana.

Currently the penalty for stealing a $30,000 vehicle is less than the penalty for committing a $2,500 larceny. But under SB 26, stealing a vehicle valued between $500 and $2,500 would carry a fourth-degree felony; a vehicle valued from $2,500 to $20,000 would carry a third-degree felony and a vehicle valued at more than $20,000 would carry a second-degree felony.

The bill goes on to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Hear the session online: Amid the brouhaha over webcasting, KUNM, 89.9 FM on Tuesday began live streaming of audio on its Web site from the Senate and House floor sessions throughout this session.

To listen, log on to www.kunm.org.

Looking Ahead:

• The first hearing for the Domestic Partner Rights & Responsibilities Act (SB 12) is scheduled today at a joint hearing of the Senate’s Public Affairs and Judiciary committees in the Senate chambers.

Also set for hearing is the Contractual Households ACT, (SB 144) which sponsor Sen. Bill Sharer, R-Farmington, says would ensure rights without leading to same-sex marriage in New Mexico.

Sharer said his bill doesn’t require an intimate relationship to join into a household contract. He said it also would put the state in a better position to avoid a legal battle surrounding same-sex marriage in the courts because the legislation has no references to marriage and intimacy.

The meeting is scheduled after today’s Senate floor session. The estimated start time is about 2:30 p.m. but could be later if the floor session runs late.

• Lt. Gov. Diane Denish today will unveil a series of bills aimed at protecting homeowners from predatory lending. Denish has a four-bill package that she says will address payday loans and mortgages, among other things. Denish has said she would push this session to defend victims of predatory loans and is working with Attorney General Gary King.

Quote of the day:

“That’s 8 a.m., not 8:30 or 9.”

• Rep. Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque, reminding the members of her Health and Government Affairs Committee what time it really starts this morning.