Days remaining in session: 46
Police on trains
A measure introduced by Sen. Linda Lopez, D-Albuquerque, would allow regional transit districts to employ law-enforcement officers. The bill (SB245) would also allow the districts to contract with agencies for protection and other security needs.
The bill could mean officers would ride the Rail Runner Express commuter trains between Albuquerque and Santa Fe.
Parking garage progress
Not many bills have been passed by lawmakers so far this session. But there’s progress of another kind being made just across the street on a $13 million new parking garage. The ground work has been done and concrete walls have risen for the garage, which when complete later this year will provide between 550 and 580 spaces.
The garage site is directly west of the Capitol.
Opening conference committees
Rep. Joe Cervantes, D-Las Cruces, proposes allowing the public and news media into one of the last closed-door meetings held at the Roundhouse, known as conference committees. The bill is a repeater, and has been introduced for more than ten years. Whether there is support for the idea this year remains to be seen, but proponents are hopeful.
The meetings take place when the House and Senate pass similar versions of the same legislation and must work to hammer out the differences.
The measure is HB393.
Live from the Roundhouse
The New Mexico Legislative Reports now has a site where you can listen to live audio of the House and Senate floor session. The private business, an online legislative news operation in Santa Fe that has provided audio webcasts for its paid subscribers for the last five years, set up the free webcasting at http://lawmakerslive.com
KUNM, FM 89.9, already webcasts audio on its website: http://www.kunm.org. You can find links to audio feeds at www.santafenewmexican.com.
A House subcommittee on Tuesday recommended to the House Rules Committee that the state begin its own audio webcasting from the House floor begin as soon as possible, and eventually from several committees. The proposed service in the House also would stream information on who is speaking on the floor or in the committee as well as what legislation is under consideration.
Meanwhile, in the Senate, Sen. Mark Boitano, R-Albuquerque, has introduced a measure (SB 401) that would allow video webcasting from the Senate floor. The Senate earlier had passed similar legislation, but the Committee on Committees nixed the webcasting for this session late last month and web cameras installed in the Senate were removed.
• Lt. Gov. Diane Denish this morning will announce her support for three bills that address “campaign ethics reform and transparency in the state contract process,” according to her office.
While ethics reform is a major issue this session, bills on the topic largely are stuck in committee and have made no progress. The session ends March 21.
In her campaign for election as governor in 2010, Denish has been releasing campaign finance reports more frequently than state law requires.
Quote of the day
“I would like to ask we have unanimous consent to pass this memorial since no one is really paying attention anyway, except my colleagues from Dona Ana County.”
— Rep. Joni Gutierrez, D-Mesilla, jokingly, on a measure proclaiming Monday as Las Cruces Day.
On our Web site: Follow legislative coverage at www.santafenewmexican.com.