January 26, 2018 – Many local governments and schools hire lobbyists to chase after money from the state government. Some good government groups, such as Think New Mexico, argue that more transparency and simplicity in the legislature would eliminate the need for lobbyists. Gene Grant and The Line opinion panelists debate the issue.
Mark Boitano, former NM state senator
Tom Garrity, The Garrity Group PR
Stephanie Maez, executive director of ProgressNow New Mexico
Sophie Martin, attorney
January 16, 2018 – Gov. Susana Martinez will give the final State of the State address of her second term on Tuesday, Jan. 16, at the start of the legislative session. She’ll likely be framing her legacy as someone who’s been tough on crime.
Gov. Martinez laid out her priorities in advance of the session and will likely highlight crime, education and the economy in her speech. She’s calling for:
A three-strikes law for violent offenders—three convictions would mean a life sentence
A fix for what she calls a “catch-and-release” system for criminals
The death penalty for people convicted of killing law enforcement officers or children
Stiffer penalties for drunk drivers, carjackers, child abusers and people who attack CYFD workers
Legal immunity for police officers facing excessive use of force allegations
Background checks for school workers
Limitations on administrative spending in public schools
Bonus pay for highly rated teachers, plus a 2 percent raise across the board
Early intervention for kids who can’t read
More funding for child protective services and child care assistance
An overhaul of New Mexico’s gross receipts tax code
A small pay raise (1 percent) for state employees
A $38 million boost in state spending on Medicaid
In many of the governor’s past State of the State addresses, she called for a business friendly environment and reduction in state spending. Last year, she touted new private sector jobs and diversifying the economy to reduce a reliance on oil and gas.
In 2017, she also focused on child abuse resulting in death, and pushed for the same “three-strikes” law she’s has proposed again this year. The same death penalty position appears in her previous speeches, including her very first one. It’s unlikely to go anywhere with Democrats controlling both the state House and Senate.
The year before that, in 2016, she emphasized strengthening “lax” laws and a “weak” justice system, again urging lawmakers find a way to end “turnstile thugs.”