That didn’t take long. The session’s just begun and we’re elbow-deep in lips and assholes. Here’s the news of the week from Santa Fe:
Gov. Bill Richardson reluctantly signed the feed bill, the first measure passed every year for legislative expenses. In Richardson’s news release, he said he was concerned that the funding was higher than recommended by the finance committee “and does not reflect the level of fiscal restraint we are implementing across state government.” But, he says, he slapped his signature on it anyway “as a gesture of good faith to the Legislature as we move forward to tackle the broader budget issues facing the state.”
No Loitering in the Lobby
Rep. Bill O’Neill (D-Albuquerque) brought a measure prohibiting legislators from acting as paid lobbyists for three years after the end of their terms. Is this part of comprehensive ethics reform so badly needed in Santa Fe or just more red tape?
Clarification: You Can’t Starve Animals to Death, Either
Rep. Patricia Lundstrom (D-Gallup) introduced a bill to amend animal cruelty regulations to include penalties for “intentionally or maliciously starving or dehydrating an animal to death.” It would be considered extreme cruelty and an offender could be found guilty of a fourth-degree felony.
Yes to Stem Cells. No to Cloning.
A bill allowing research on certain human embryonic stem cells but prohibiting human cloning is making its way through the Legislature. Sen. John Ryan (R-Albuquerque) has been refining and fighting for this measure since 2008.
The Roof Needs Fixing, Stat
Sen. Richard Martinez (D-Española) introduced an act asking the state to set aside $2 million for low-income residents that need emergency home repairs in 2010. The money could be used to: fix damage caused by natural disasters; patch or replace weak roofs; or install accessibility modifications for the disabled.
Days Off for Victims of Domestic Violence
Under a measure carried by Alibi columnist Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino (D-Albuquerque), victims of domestic abuse would have the right to take days off work to deal with legal issues or meet with advocates and police. The act outlines what proof can be given to an employer to verify the purpose of the leave.
That’s “Driving While High On Anything At All.” Rep. Bill Rehm (R-Albuquerque) wants to make DWI rules more specific when it comes to cocaine, meth, heroin and marijuana. His measure also clarifies that an ignition interlock system can only be installed when someone’s been convicted of driving after drinking alcohol.