Lawmakers approve funding for new 9th District judge

Staff and wire reports The 9th Judicial District may soon have a new judge and the District Attorney’s office may add a prosecutor. Lawmakers gave final approval to a bill Wednesday that would allocate $2.2 million for seven new district judges throughout the state, according to The Associated Press. The new 9th Judicial District judge […]

Bulging budget passed

By Barry Massey: The Associated Press o Spokesman says governor undecided on signing $5.1 billion measure. SANTA FE — Gov. Bill Richardson is withholding judgment on a nearly $5.1 billion budget measure that won final approval in the Legislature on Tuesday. Richardson, who had sharply criticized earlier budget proposals by lawmakers, declined to say whether […]

State government should open meetings to public scrutiny

Freedom Newspapers Some of New Mexico’s state senators took a step toward sunshine Friday when they endorsed a bill to open the Legislature’s conference committee meetings to the public. The bill has support from many Democrats and Republicans as well as media organizations, including the New Mexico Press Association, and the state’s Foundation for Open […]

Lawmakers plan ’junior’ budget allowing members to earmark money

By Barry Massey: The Associated Press SANTA FE — With the state enjoying a revenue windfall, lawmakers are planning a possible $40 million “junior” budget bill that would allow each member to earmark several hundred thousand dollars for programs or projects of their choosing. The Senate is taking the lead in drafting the spending measure, […]

Effort under way to open conference committees

The Associated Press SANTA FE — An effort is under way to open up what goes on behind closed doors in legislative conference committees. “Other public bodies have done this, and they’re still able to get things done,” said Sen. Dede Feldman, D-Albuquerque, sponsor of a measure to make conference committees meetings public. Conference committees, […]

Some lawmakers skeptical spaceport plans

By Deboarh Baker: The Associated Press SANTA FE — The Richardson administration on Wednesday urged lawmakers to support a state-built spaceport in southern New Mexico as skeptics questioned the risk of investing in what one called a “chancy venture.” The state could be “the birthplace of the second space age” if it built the proposed […]

Committee approves bill providing $4 million for 30-day session

By Barry Massey: The Associated Press SANTA FE — The Legislature’s 30-day session could end up costing almost $142,000 a day. A House committee unanimously approved a bill Tuesday to allocate more than $4.2 million to pay for the legislative session and nearly $13.3 million for year-round operations of the Legislature. The measure, known as […]

Who are these folks? Residents unable to name local lawmakers

By Marlena Hartz: CNJ staff writer Those seeking fame and name recognition should stray from the realm of state politics. Here in eastern New Mexico, the men and women of the state Legislature are widely unknown, despite the approaching 30-day legislative session, which will send local lawmakers to Santa Fe, where they will dole out […]

Congress works through aid measures for Katrina victims

By Mary Dalrymple: The Associated Press WASHINGTON — Lawmakers on Thursday worked to help solve the practical problems facing those caught in Hurricane Katrina’s path who need quick access to cash, housing and medical care. The House and Senate passed nearly identical bills to let victims tap retirement accounts without penalty and help working poor […]

Melrose city pool scheduled to open

CNJ Staff The pool at Melrose’s city park is scheduled to open today — just in time for the end of the community’s first day of school. State environmental officials on Tuesday night approved the pool’s opening after nearly two years and more than $100,000 in repairs, City Council member Lance Pyle said. Pyle said […]

State reps going over released documents

The Associated Press Military aides for New Mexico’s U.S. senators and Rep. Tom Udall were analyzing information released Tuesday by the Pentagon to back up its recommendations to close military installations across the nation, including Cannon Air Force Base near Clovis. Glen Loveland, spokesman for Udall, D-N.M., said he didn’t expect comments on the documents […]

Pentagon agrees to release closing data

By Lolita C. Baldor: The Associated Press WASHINGTON — Under fire from Congress, the Defense Department has promised to give lawmakers access by next Tuesday to detailed material backing up its recommendations to shut down about 180 military installations across the country. Parts of the report are classified, so the Pentagon said lawmakers and staff […]

Few people want cockfighting in state

By Ned Cantwell New Mexico was a somber place indeed as her inhabitants focused their gaze on Santa Fe during the legislative session. Coffee klatch conversations were more tense, less jovial. The pace of life continued, but it was not without a nervous twitter in the air. Much was at stake as our state representatives […]

Grandstanding politicians focus on fickle matters

Freedom Newspapers Politicians, whether at the state or federal level, seldom pass up a chance to grandstand. So, just like their counterparts in Washington, D.C., made political hay by badgering baseball, Texas lawmakers seem intent on wasting time and effort on meaningless diversions outside the scope of their office instead of concentrating on the serious […]

Legislature not just for lawmakers

Mike Linn: CNJ News Editor Mike Miller knows how government works. He knows state lawmakers and he’s a “people person.” He likes to talk. In many ways the Portales resident is a prototype lobbyist, a profession that much like sports runs in seasons — in annual stints of 30 or 60 days. “Santa Fe is […]

Texas special session seen as waste of time

The Texas Legislature’s 150 state representatives and 31 state senators debated and bickered, but ended up adjourning May 17, two days before the scheduled end of the special session called by Gov. Rick Perry. They concluded their session without finding a new way to pay for the state’s public schools. All Texans have to show […]

Business group praises Clovis lawmakers

David Arkin’s Political Notebook: CNJ correspondent Two Clovis lawmakers got perfect marks this week from a statewide business group. The Association of Commerce and Industry released their annual report card of state representatives, senators and the governor this week. House and Senate members were scored for their votes on pro-business legislation and constitutional amendments in […]

Capital outlay bill positive for area

By David Arkin While funds were not approved for a major street project and a bill fell through that would have provided money for transporting parole violators, Clovis-area officials still believe the 30-day Legislative session that ended Thursday was a good one. “I think we came out looking very good,” said Sen. Clint Harden, R-Clovis. […]

Legislative session sparks ire at ending

By David Arkin Gov. Bill Richardson termed this the “year of the Legislature.” Many lawmakers left Santa Fe on Thursday using different words. “This session was mean, ugly, nasty and vicious,” said Rep. Anna Crook, R-Clovis. “We didn’t get off the floor until 5 a.m. on Thursday. Thank goodness this is over.” Many veteran lawmakers […]

Bill for Cannon reaches Senate

By David Arkin Several Eastern New Mexico lawmakers have said funding for Cannon Air Force Base is among their top priorities this Legislative session. The goal is almost accomplished. Money has been approved for a variety of projects at the base, including funds for a special commission. The fate of funding for an overpass leading […]