Here’s a look at today’s headlines:
The New Mexico Association of Counties (NMAC) elected a new Vice President at its Board of Directors meeting in Santa Fe at the NMAC 2016 Legislative Conference on Tuesday, January 19, 2016. Taos County Commissioner Gabriel Romero was elected as the new Vice President. He fills the vacancy left by Hidalgo County Treasurer Tyler Massey who was elected the President Elect at the October 16, 2015 NMAC Board meeting. Commissioner Romero assumes his new responsibility immediately fulfilling the partial term until the NMAC Annual Conference in June.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) gave the official word this week: 2015 was the Earth’s warmest year by the widest margin on record—and temperatures in December 2015 were the highest for any month on record.
In legislative action: State Senator Pat Woods from New Mexico’s northeast side has introduced a bill that would fund a hydrogeologic study in his part of the state. Woods says the study is important for knowledge regarding quantities of the vital resource for both home and agricultural uses. The presence or absence of groundwater contaminants would also be determined. The bill has the sponsorship of the State Senate’s Water and Natural Resources Committee.
Governor Susana Martinez has put on her legislative agenda a bill to stem the exodus of military retirees from New Mexico. Alamogordo State Senator Bill Burt, who represents District 33, has introduced a bill aimed at keeping military retirees in New Mexico. Burt says New Mexico’s recently discovered that hundreds, possibly more than a thousand people retire out of the military in the state each year. The problem is 95-percent of them leave New Mexico.
Proposed legislation cracking down on child pornography cleared its first hurdle at the Roundhouse Thursday. House Bill 65 passed the House Judiciary Committee on an 8-2 vote. The bill closes the child pornography loophole that prevents offenders who possessed multiple images of child porn from being charged with more than one count.
A bill that could fix New Mexico’s REAL ID problem is moving forward in the state Legislature. New Mexico driver’s licenses aren’t currently compliant with federal law because the state issues licenses to undocumented immigrants. The bill would require citizens to apply for new driver’s licenses, while undocumented immigrants would get driving privilege cards.
Senator Howie C. Morales (D-Silver City) has targeted the Land of Enchantment’s smokers. His SB 77 raises the per-pack price of cigarettes by a full dollar. The revenue would be dedicated, to “early childhood education.” At $1.66, New Mexico’s current cigarette-tax rate is already above the national average, and higher than those imposed by our neighbors in Texas, Oklahoma, and Colorado.