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Jan. 20 First News: New Mexico House Leaders Determined To Push Immigrant-License Issue This Session

Jan 20, 2016

With the New Mexico Legislature in session, the Republican-majority House is pushing to revise a state law that allows immigrants suspected of being in the country illegally to obtain New Mexico driver's licenses. Under the proposal, those immigrants could get driver's permit cards and residents would get REAL ID compliant driver's licenses. New Mexico House Majority Leader Nate Gentry says the GOP will strongly push for a revision to the state's immigrant driver's license law. Gentry said Tuesday that House Republicans hope to come to an agreement with the Democratic-controlled Senate to make New Mexico compliant under the federal REAL ID Act. Marcela Diaz, executive director of the Santa Fe-based immigrant advocacy group Somos Un Pueblo Unido, says the House proposal is "unacceptable." She said driver's permit cards opens up immigrants to discrimination. Senate Democrats remain at odds with the governor's proposal. 

Senate Democrats are criticizing criminal justice reforms advocated by New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez in her State of the State address on Tuesday. Democratic Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez described on Tuesday the governor's public safety agenda as pro-incarceration and lacking in funding for rehabilitation and substance-abuse treatment.

Sanchez indicated current DWI laws are sufficient but needed better enforcement. He said the state's violent crime problem is focused in Albuquerque, where dissatisfaction with the police force runs high. Democratic Senate leaders also say they will oppose the governor's call for right-to-work legislation and to hold back third-graders who do not read at their grade level.

There will be an effort during this year’s New Mexico Legislative Session to enact reforms on lobbying by the numerous special interests that spend lots of money and time here in Santa Fe working to convince New Mexico lawmakers to enact policies to their pleasing. Las Cruces Representative Jeff Steinborn tells me he believes New Mexicans deserve to know about the money that’s being put into the system to both create and fight policy… and be able to understand all of the mechanisms that are influencing state government.

            AM-Feature-LobbyistReform Runs 2:29  Q: follow the process.”

A newly-released poll from Common Cause New Mexico shows broad support among registered voters for more public disclosure of political funding sources.

Aerial operations for the annual Mexican gray wolf population survey have begun in Arizona and New Mexico. The reintroduction project is a multi-agency cooperative effort between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Arizona Game and Fish Department, U.S. Forest Service, White Mountain Apache Tribe and others. The aerial operation started Tuesday and is scheduled to run until Feb. 3, weather permitting. Survey flights will occur on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation, the Apache and Gila national forests in eastern Arizona and western New Mexico and possibly on some areas outside the forests. Biologists also will try to capture some of the wild-born wolves that haven't been fitted with a radio telemetry collar, those having a collar that needs a battery replacement or any wolf appearing to be sick or injured.

Santa Fe Weather: Partly sunny today with scattered rain and snow showers before 11am, then a slight chance of snow showers, today’s high, 42. Tonight: Partly cloudy with a ten-percent chance for snow showers, the overnight low, 21. Tomorrow: Sunny with the high 37.