The 2019 New Mexico legislative session will be coming to a close this Saturday.
Reporters of The Chase sat down with Sen. Stuart Ingle, R-NM, and Rep. Tom Udall, D-NM, to ask their thoughts on legislation presented in the 2019 session.
What legislation do you feel will impact Roosevelt County the most, whether in a positive or negative way and why?
Ingle: “It’s hard to tell. We haven’t passed the major budget bill. It passed out the House of Representatives. All those things have to do with salaries and appropriations for public schools and higher education. To what passes the Senate, that is one of the main bills that affects Roosevelt County.”
Udall: “The policies, issues we face today are vitally important, especially for the next generation: Addressing the student loan crisis, slowing the epidemic of gun violence, combatting climate change, securing voting rights and more.”
Why should students be concerned about what is happening in the legislative session?
Ingle: “Everyone that’s of age who can vote should be watching what the legislature is voting on, and they can give their opinions and take their position on various different matters.”
Udall: “I encourage students to provide that leadership, make your voices heard. Fight for a seat at the table where decisions are made, hold your representatives accountable, and tell lawmakers that we must tackle these pressing issues head on.”
House Bill 287
No Use of State Resources for Border Wall was introduced on Feb. 21. The bill states no real property owned or held by the state shall be used for a new barrier. It was passed by the Judiciary Committee on Feb 25 with a 6-5 vote.
How do you think House Bill 287 will affect New Mexico?
Ingle: “We are not going to use state resources for any border wall; that’s the federal government’s job not ours.”
Udall: “We need to protect New Mexico’s landowners, landscape, and way of life and stand up for our state’s proud border communities against out-of-touch attacks.”
Further updates from the Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce:
The frenzy is growing as the Saturday noon session's end looms. Much has been accomplished but several important items are still undecided. Those things still dangling in the balance are the minimum wage bill, tax reform, a measure to tap the permanent fund and recreational marijuana. At the same time capital outlay for the area is looking really good and a record $7 billion budget appears ready to pass.
Minimum wage bill at impasse
It looked like the dueling minimum wage bills were both in the ditch Wednesday after Grants Sen. Clemente Sanchez' bill was amended in House Committee to the point he vowed that it looked like there wouldn't be a minimum wage bill. Trump might call that the art of the deal to storm away mad in order to get more concessions but who knows. Tempers could continue to flair or a last-minute compromise could be made.
Recreational marijuana stalled
After narrowly passing the House last week a bill seeking to legalize recreational marijuana was languishing this week in the Senate. The proposal has the backing of a few Republicans but many Democrat Senators are cautious about putting the State in the marijuana retail business, which is what the bill in the Senate proposes.
Tax reform needs amendment
Several Senate Democrats are equally leery of the tax increases contained in the House tax package. They're likely to strip some of the measures out of the bill that would raise taxes by a record amount at the same time the state is experiencing the largest revenue windfalls ever.
Capital Outlay contains $4.6 million for Roosevelt County
Barring line item vetoes by the Governor, Roosevelt County entities would likely have one of their best funding years in a long time. Among the monies included are $2.55 million for ENMU with $750,000 in improvements for Greyhound Arena and $700,000 for campus-wide infrastructure among the largest items. The pot also includes $371,000 for City of Portales to do work on Kilgore Ave. and money for Roosevelt County to make improvements to the kitchen and laundry at the Detention Center and ADA upgrades to the fairgrounds. Motor grader upgrades and roads were the largest chunk for the County with $450,000 and $383,000 respectively. Roosevelt General Hospital would also receive $125,000 for emergency room expansion.