Legislative Update Jan. 30, 2019
Roosevelt County Chamber's
Jan. 30, 2019
Goober diplomacy alive and well
The Chamber's officers and staff just returned from the annual trip to Santa Fe where we liberally plied lawmakers, lobbyists and anyone else wandering the halls of the Roundhouse with our wonderful Portales Valencia peanuts. We're happy to report we're still famous for our peanuts and Sen. Stuart Ingle.
While goodwill goobers are our main effort at lobbying, we also head to Santa Fe every year to thank our area legislators for their efforts with our Portales/Clovis Legislative Appreciation Dinner. We had a good turnout at the Hotel Santa Fe and heard from each of them.
Rep. Phelps Anderson of Roswell said he is pleased to be back in the House of Representatives. He said he had served back when his children were young and decided to get out of state politics to spend more time with his family. Now that his children have families of their own he's looking forward to serving again. It also doesn't hurt that he has grandchildren in Santa Fe.
Rep. Jack Chatfield said he has a lot to learn but he's pleased with his committee appointments on Education and Finance. He says he is passionate about making a difference for our schools in Santa Fe.
Freshman Rep. Martin Zamora of Clovis made one of the biggest impressions of the night when he called former Rep. George Dodge to the podium. He thanked Dodge for the race he ran in which Zamora narrowly defeated him. He said he had called Dodge several times with questions and Dodge had been very helpful. He said he had come to appreciate how well Eastern New Mexico worked to put politics aside to make a difference for citizens. For his part, Dodge said he was proud to have served and he was there to announce his candidacy for House District 71 in 2020. There is not a District 71 but Dodge said he was working on that.
Sen. Stuart Ingle of Portales said heading into the session optimistic despite the shift away from his Republican party. He said he was hopeful meaningful changes would occur for schools. He also said he is urging restraint where the budget is concerned, pointing out that the windfall from oil and gas this year could be gone next year.
Tax overhaul slowed in House
HB 6 with multiple measures, including a 10-cent a gallon addition to the gasoline tax and collection of gross receipts from online businesses has hit a snag. Cities, including the City of Albuquerque have begun expressing doubts about portions of the bill that would end hold-harmless payments earlier than anticipated. Hold-harmless went into effect when the state quit taxing groceries several years ago. The bill was tabled by the House Taxation & Revenue Committee pending further study and input from the Governor and the Senate.
Bill seeks to stop local right-to-work bans
HB 85 seeks to bar New Mexico counties and municipalities from enacting and enforcing local right-to-work ordinances. It seeks to reserve that right for the state only. Roosevelt County passed a right-to-work ordinance last fall and is among 10 counties who have done so. Attorney General Hector Balderas has said he believes such ordinances would be struck down by the Supreme Court if challenged. Such a challenge is currently underway in Sandoval County. Right-to-work has long been proposed as an economic development measure but has never passed in New Mexico.
Firearm background check bill headed to Senate Floor
A bill that would require background checks for nearly all firearm sales squeaked through the Senate Judicial Committee Wednesday by a 5-4 vote and was headed to a floor vote. If passed as is it would require individuals to obtain a background check from a federally licensed firearms dealer before selling a gun to another individual. This bill and other gun control initiatives has received lots of attention from Roosevelt County citizens.