Days remaining in session: 29
Chile verse would become state’s official poem: A measure (HB674) introduced by Elias Barela, D-Belen, would name an official state poem.
The poem, “We Love it Real Hot” by Alberto Onaldo Martinez, reads in part:
Ah, Chimayo chile is so delicious to eat!
That cure-all food is a special treat,
So fiery good, it makes us sweat,
A runny nose is more proof yet.
A hot bite and you’re chile afflicted,
Another bite and you’re chile addicted!
#Caramba! it’s hot, turistas say,
They beg for more when out our way.
The bill is pending in the House Education Committee.
Historic preservation: A bill that clarifies how state government will interact with historic preservation rules heads to the Senate following Thursday’s approval in the House.
The measure, an amendment to the Historic District and Landmark Act, is a substitute for an original version introduced by Speaker Ben Lujan, D-Nambe, (HB360). It passed 65-0.
The bill arose from a dispute between the city of Santa Fe and the state over construction of a parking garage near the Roundhouse. It lays out a plan for the state to consult with the city’s review board and interested citizen groups on plans to build, demolish or alter structures within historic areas.
City officials have claimed jurisdiction over preservation issues, but the legislation attempts to avoid further dispute on that point, supporters have said.
An earlier version of the bill said the state would comply with city rules on preservation within “reasonable budgetary constraints,” but that language was stripped from the adopted version. The new version also contains more promises about what the state will do before and during the design process for projects.
The Old Santa Fe Association had opposed an early version, but association president Marilyn Bane said the group is pleased with the revisions.
Identify yourself: A measure (HB535) introduced in the House would require lobbyists to wear name tags. The tags would have the lobbyists’ name and the names of the company or entity they are representing.
The bill would increase the lobbyist registration fee from $25 to $35 to pay for the tags.
According to an analysis of the bill, the Secretary of State’s Office said it could be problematic for lobbyists with several clients to fit all the companies on their tag.
Freshman Rep. Eleanor Chavez, D-Albuquerque, is sponsoring the bill.
Bill creates oversight of stimulus funds: A measure (HB578) would require the Legislative Finance Committee to oversee the spending of federal funds that aren’t subject to other appropriation. The measure is aimed at having oversight by the LFC of the roughly $1.6 billion in federal stimulus package money slated to come to New Mexico.
House Minority Whip Keith Gardner, D-Roswell, is carrying the bill, which is pending in the House Taxation and Revenue Committee.
Looking Ahead: The Senate Rules Committee is scheduled to hear more ethics bills this morning. Among the bills are measures to prevent legislators from working as lobbyists until they have been out of office more than a year; requiring state contractors to disclose contributions to candidates; and limit campaign contributions. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. in Room 321, but several confirmations of appointees to state boards and commissions are scheduled to be heard before the bills.
Quotes of the day: “New Mexico has a proud history of not disenfranchising our dead at election time.” — Former Dona Ana County Clerk Joe Martinez, a Democrat who supported HB591, which would have required voters to show picture identification before voting. The House Voters and Elections Committee voted to table, and thus effectively kill, the bill, which was sponsored by Rep. Dianne Hamilton, R-Silver City.
“Any time you get your hands under the hood of the election code, it deserves a vigorous debate.” — Rep. Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces, on a bill that passed the House allowing qualified minors to be appointed to precinct boards