Here’s a look at today’s headlines:
Grant County’s only movie theater is experiencing growing support by the local community and region with donations and regular event bookings. Chuck Johnson, a Silver City based State Farm Insurance agent, recently visited the newly renovated historic Light Hall Auditorium and subsequently donated to the University Foundation as a sign of support for the use of Light Hall as the only movie theater in the community. Renovations to Light Hall Auditorium, erected in 1927, were completed in October 2014. The space is used each weekend as a movie theater, and is also used during the week as a lecture hall and special events space.
In legislative action:
The House of Representatives passed a bipartisan tax package that will help level the playing field for small businesses while at the same time help attract companies from out of state to relocate to New Mexico. Some of the bills in the tax packages include a single-sales factor provision that simplifies the tax structure and aims to attract businesses to relocate their headquarters to New Mexico; a reduction in gross-receipts taxes for military manufacturing jobs; and increasing the Angel Investment Credit to help provide seed money for start-up companies.
The Senate Education Committee voted today to block legislation that would improve the teacher evaluation system by reducing the impact of standardized testing. HB 144, a compromise piece of legislation sponsored by Rep. Jim Smith, was the result of bringing teachers, principals and superintendents to the table. It passed the House floor in a bipartisan 42-26 vote. The legislation would have reduced the weight of student achievement on a teacher evaluation from 50 percent to 40 percent. Teacher observation would also increase from 25 percent to 40 percent — a measure widely supported by educators across New Mexico.
A bill that would keep New Mexico on daylight saving time passed the Senate on Tuesday. Supporters of the bill say it’s good for farmers, workers and families, giving them more time to be outdoors in the evening. Opponents say it would have children going to school when it’s still pitch black outside. The bill now heads to the House. If passed there, it will head to the governor’s desk. The federal government would have to sign off on the bill before New Mexico stops switching time.
A bill with bipartisan support requiring health insurance companies to help the state purchase vaccines for privately insured children in New Mexico has cleared the Legislature. The legislation would require insurance companies to reimburse the Health Department for vaccines purchased for privately insured children. Companies would be required to report the children they cover to calculate their share of total costs.