New Mexico Legislature Ends Session at Noon Thursday the Scramble of Political Theater


The scramble of political theater is on to pass legislation before the sun sets on this legislative session in New Mexico at noon today.

The main legislation lawmakers debated and finalized is the state’s budget. They compiled a $10.22 billion budget that puts millions towards key initiatives like workforce training, higher education, childcare assistance, law enforcement recruitment, and a wide range of other programs around the state. In addition, lawmakers passed a large tax package that would change income taxes and offer a range of tax credits to businesses and individuals.

The only measure related to the governor's agenda to deter violence that was of any significance and to pass so far was House Bill 129 made it to the governor’s desk.  That’s the proposal to create a seven-day waiting period, often referred to as a “cooling-off” period, for gun purchases.

New Mexico legislators also passed Senate Bill 17 and Senate Bill 15 the two initiatives to boost healthcare in the state. Senate Bill 17 is positioned to help leverage federal funds to keep rural hospitals properly funded. Senate Bill 15 gives more oversight for hospital ownership acquisitions and business transactions.

One contentious bill the New Mexico legislature passed after significant debate was a bill allowing the state to set clean fuel standards. The hope is to help cut down on carbon emissions from transportation and driving in the state and enhance the renewables industry.

Lawmakers passed a handful of other bills as well, such as a bill to match federal funding in order to complete infrastructure projects, a bill to change high school graduation requirements, and a bill to increase salaries for New Mexico Supreme Court justices.

The session is in the final throws of action and out we were there with our onsite reporter Alamogordo Town News and KALH Radio intern, Mica Maynard providing updates on the bills that were most relevant and most likely to pass.  Ms. Maynard will be in Santa Fe for another week doing wrap up and then she will hit the campaign trail tailing those candidates that present the most interest to New Mexico voters.  Ms. Maynard will be posting a commentary on her first session in Santa Fe, her thoughts on the "characters" that engage in the "political theatre of Santa Fe" in the next few days. Stay tuned... 

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