January 27th First News: Senate Rules Committee Faces Backlog of Confirmations (Listen)
The Senate Rules Committee holds its first meeting of the year at the Roundhouse today, and it faces a backlog of confirmations of appointees selected by Governor Martinez on its agenda this legislative session. The Albuquerque Journal reports 133 of Martinez's appointees for various state agencies and commissions haven't received confirmation hearings by the Rules panel. Committee Chair, Senator Linda Lopez, who's also running for the Democratic Gubernatorial nomination, says the panel will not rush to confirm anyone, including Public Education Secretary Hanna Skandera and two State Fair commissioners.
Governor Susana Martinez is pushing to get new educational materials for New Mexico's public schools, announcing in Bernalillo Saturday a proposal to add another nine-million dollars to her budget for updated textbooks and other instructional materials for next year. This year's budget sets aside about 30 million for new books. But Albuquerque Representative Mimi Stewart, who sits on the House Education Committee, tells KOB-TV that Martinez should have requested the funding last year. Stewart says the state rotates which subjects to buy books for annually. She says next year's rotation doesn't include subjects such as history and science.
State Senator Benny Shendo says the actions that led to the transfer of state behavioral health contracts from New Mexico providers to Arizona firms were "unfortunate." The Jemez Pueblo Democrat and Chair of the legislative Behavioral Health Subcommittee says this is particularly so because of the vulnerability of the clientele being served. *****0127- Shendo-1 :23***** Shendo is hopeful that the current legislative session will produce clarity to the process followed by the New Mexico Human Services Department.
Santa Fe City Councilors are considering revising a provision of the plastic-bag ban set to take effect next month. The New Mexican reports that the City Attorney says requiring retailers to charge 10 cents for a paper bag could be an illegal tax. City Councilor Rebecca Wurzburger has proposed amending the ordinance and allowing stores 30 days to implement the ban. The proposed amendment needs to go before two city committees next month. The 10-cent fee was to go to retailers to offset the cost of paper bags.
Santa Fe Weather: Mostly sunny today, with a high near 38.Tonight: Partly cloudy, with a low around 22. Tomorrow: Mostly sunny, with a high near 37.