KRWG

Local Viewpoints

KRWG welcomes you to join our community discussion.  E-mail your comments to:  feedback @ nmsu.edu  Comments included here represent the views of the individual writers and do not necessarily represent the views of KRWG or New Mexico State University.

peter goodman

Commentary: “New Mexico is faced with, but has not faced up to, important water resource limitations.” That accurate statement comes from a group that, pursuant to House Memorial 1 (2017), has thought long and hard about our water situation. (Some of these folks have been thinking about New Mexico's water management for more than a quarter-century.)

They recommend three bills the Legislature should adopt this session. All are in committee.

Minimum Wage Fantasies In Las Cruces

Jan 19, 2019

Commentary: In the January 17 L.C. Sun News, there was a letter to the editor by Richard Reynaud questioning the impact of the minimum wage on Las Cruces businesses. It went to $10.10 on January 1.

Does he know that for a full-time worker that only amounts to about $21,000 a year? With the current cost of housing, medical bills, food, education and transportation who can afford to exist on that salary? That is below the poverty line. Don’t tell me that is generally what young people earn. Fewer than 10% are teenagers and more than half are prime age adults that must support a family.

Udall, Heinrich Introduce Bills To Reduce Cost Of Prescription Drugs

Jan 18, 2019
imagebase.net

Commentary: U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) introduced two pieces of legislation aimed at reducing the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs.

“Skyrocketing prescription drug prices have been squeezing families and seniors across New Mexico for far too long,” said Senator Udall. “New Mexicans shouldn’t have to choose between life-saving treatments and putting food on the table. We must act now to provide a meaningful solution so that our health care system is no longer at the mercy of corporate executives padding their bottom line. This legislation would rein in out-of-control drug prices by increasing competition and lowering costs so that families and seniors across New Mexico can get access to the safe and affordable medications they need to stay healthy and strong.”

 

New Mexico House Republicans Blast Tax Increase Proposals

Jan 18, 2019

Commentary: House Republicans are standing against the Democrat plan to raise taxes on all New Mexicans including needy families to possibly help pay for salaries for Legislators. As the 2019 Legislative Session is underway, Democrats are pushing two separate bills to raise taxes on working families and then change the constitution to pay themselves a salary.

Commentary: U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich introduced legislation to secure back pay for low-wage federal government contractors who continue to go without pay during the ongoing government shutdown, which is now the longest shutdown in American history. The Fair Compensation for Low-Wage Contractor Employees Act aims to help struggling employees of federal contractors impacted by the shutdown -- including janitorial, kitchen, and security services workers -- many of whom are paid hourly, have been furloughed, or forced to accept reduced work hours. Oftentimes, these contract workers do not receive back pay or recoup lost wages when the government reopens -- unless Congress steps in.

House Republicans Put New Mexicans First As 2019 Legislative Session Begins

Jan 17, 2019

Commentary: New Mexico’s House Republicans began the 2019 Legislative Session supporting sound fiscal priorities that put New Mexico first. Republican leaders expressed concern over the Democrat budget proposals during the first day of the 2019 Legislative Session on Tuesday. Budget proposals from both the Governor and the Legislative Finance Committee (LFC) call for a more than 10 percent increase in state spending. Such proposals will more than likely lead to future cuts to education and tax increases for New Mexicans.

New Mexico Legislation Would Provide Universal Health Coverage

Jan 17, 2019

Commentary: Senators Carlos Cisneros, Jerry Ortiz y Pino, and Bill Soules will introduce the Health Security Act in the State Senate today, Thursday, January 17, 2019.  The first phase of the Act will be a fiscal analysis to make certain that it is financially feasible. 

According to Cisneros, vice-chair of the Senate Finance Committee, “Passage of the Health Security Act this year will initially result in a prudent fiscal analysis of the details of the plan. No other steps will be taken until we are certain that the finances will work and that it will be revenue neutral.”

Rubel: Some Thoughts On The Rules Of Profanity

Jan 16, 2019


  From unpaid workers trying to make ends meet, to essential services that have been suspended, the sting of Trump’s Shutdown is being felt across the West. As the longest shutdown in history enters its 25th day, workers and local economies are suffering.

 

Changing the course on child well-being

Jan 15, 2019

Commentary:  When we plant a garden, we include all the ingredients we know will help it thrive: good soil, fertilizer, water, sunlight, and more. If we choose to starve our garden of the components for growth, we shouldn’t be surprised when the results are less than optimal.

Brian Egolf Re-Elected as Speaker of the House of Representatives

Jan 15, 2019

Commentary: Today, the honorable Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe) was re-elected as Speaker of the House of Representatives. After his swearing in, he made opening remarks about the House priorities for the 2019 Legislative Session.

Make New Mexico First Through Education

Jan 15, 2019

Commentary: The 2019 legislative session will be a session of great change, and the New Mexico education system is a top priority. Parents, guardians and teachers should be able to assure students that an education will lead to success in careers and in life, in general. The strength of our current society is that developed intellect, cultivated skills and earned credentials matter.

Improving New Mexico's educational system will keep our population healthy, attract more high- quality jobs and set New Mexico on the path of long-term success.

 

Report: NM Ranked 48th in Nation on Child Poverty

Jan 15, 2019
New Mexico Voices for Children

Commentary: There’s good news and bad news. First the good news: the rate of child poverty in New Mexico has decreased. The bad news: our state still ranks 48th in the nation for child poverty. That’s one of the conclusions found within the data in the 2018 New Mexico Kids Count Data Book, released today at a press conference. The annual report, produced by New Mexico Voices for Children, includes the most recent data on the status of child well-being at the state, county, tribal, and school district levels.

AMLO Bodes Well For The Border Region

Jan 14, 2019

Commentary: On January 6, I was invited to a speech by Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) in Juarez. AMLO was traveling through Mexico’s northern border region to promote the January 1 launching of his northern border zone program, which he calls his “border free zone.” Comprised of 43 border municipalities, the elements of this program include doubling the minimum wage in the region to the equivalent of $9 dollars per day, decreasing the cost of fuel to the same cost in the U.S. border region, and cutting the value-added tax from 16 percent to 8 percent.

Goodman: Much Work Ahead For New Mexico Legislators

Jan 13, 2019
peter goodman

 

  Commentary: What should we expect – or want – from the 2019 state legislative session?

 

It's an interesting year: there's more money than usual, and both our governor and legislative majorities are Democratic.

 

More money means we can do some things we need to; but more money could tempt us to make promises we might not be able to keep. Reason and restraint are essential. 

Senator Martin Heinrich (D) and Senator Tom Udall (D)

Commentary: As hundreds of thousands of federal workers miss their first paychecks today due to the Trump shutdown, the U.S. Senate passed a bill cosponsored by U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich that ensures that impacted federal and other government workers will receive their back pay. The Government Employee Fair Treatment Act of 2019S.24, would guarantee that affected employees — including those forced to work without pay and those locked out of their jobs during the shutdown — will get paid as soon federal agencies reopen. The bill also clarifies that employees who had previously scheduled approved leave occurring during the shutdown may take that leave without undue penalty. The House of Representatives also passed S. 24 today, sending it to the president for his signature.

facebook.com (donald trump)

Commentary: Let's get real. Trump does not care about the federal government. He only cares about his ego and his ego's brand. When will the mainstream media start reporting the real story about why Trump is willing to stop the federal government from doing its business?  Trump's intentional assault on federal agencies is a direct result of his promise on the campaign trail to "drain the swamp." 

The New Mexico Budget Surplus is Already Spoken For

Jan 12, 2019
Steve Pearce

Commentary: As state legislators prepare to return to Santa Fe for the new legislative session in mid-January, the main topic on their minds is how to utilize the $1.1 billion budget surplus projected for fiscal year 2020.  Special interest groups, state agencies, municipalities, counties, courts and anyone who interacts with state government have been hard at work putting together wish lists for how these surplus dollars should be spent.  Lawmakers can expect the Roundhouse to be filled with people seeking money for all sorts of projects and programs.    

 

Commentary: The Border Trade Alliance is raising strong concerns over recent legislation introduced by members of the Florida congressional delegation that seeks to curb the importation of Mexican produce in order to create a competitive advantage for Florida farmers.

The bill, called the Defending Domestic Produce Production Act, is designed to make it easier for Florida farmers to bring claims of unfair trade practices against Mexican producers.

Lujan Grisham campaign

Commentary: “The emphasis on education, student success and other support for our state’s children in Governor Lujan Grisham’s announcement of her Executive Budget Proposal for fiscal year 2020 is enormously appreciated by educators statewide,” says NEA-New Mexico President Betty Patterson.  “The budget proposal is a wonderful starting point for the budget debate ahead in the legislature.  We will continue to advocate for even larger steps forward to fully comply with the Yazzie/Martinez v. New Mexico ruling by Judge Singleton.”

Torres-Small Requests Her Pay Be Withheld Until Shutdown Ends

Jan 11, 2019
Rep. Xochitl Torres-Small (D-NM 2)

Commentary: With the government shutdown about to enter its fourth week, today is the first payday many federal workers will be forced to go without a paycheck. Representative Xochitl Torres Small (NM-02) acted to end the shutdown, help alleviate the its effects, and stand in solidarity with federal government employees.

Starting this morning, Rep. Torres Small submitted a letter to the Office of Payroll and Benefits requesting that her pay be withheld until the shutdown ended.  Following the letter’s submission, she went to the floor to vote to fund the Department of Interior and related agencies, which would reopen our national parks and other public lands that fuel New Mexico’s tourism economy. Then, she voted for S. 24, a bi-partisan bill overwhelmingly passed by the Senate, and then passed by the House this morning 411-7, which ensures that federal employees will receive back pay.

Commentary: New Mexico Wild is calling on members of the public to help document the federal government shutdown’s impact on the conditions on New Mexico’s public lands and wild places. Additionally, New Mexico Wild has launched a government shutdown website the public can use as a resource to stay up-to-date on how the shutdown is affecting New Mexico’s public lands.

Bipartisan Public Lands Package Re-introduced

Jan 10, 2019

Commentary: This week, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) reintroduced a public lands package that includes the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Conservation Act, the Cerros del Norte Conservation Act, reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and dozens of other bipartisan public lands bills. The package was thwarted by a single U.S. Senator from Utah last Congress, despite strong support from Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, and the majority of their colleagues. 

Court order supports call to transform New Mexico’s school system

Jan 10, 2019
Judge Sarah Singleton

Commentary: Judge Sarah Singleton’s most recent order in Yazzie/Martinez v. State of New Mexico makes clear that the court expects a major overhaul of the state’s public school system to bring it into compliance with the constitution and other state laws.

The extensive 600-page “findings of fact and conclusions of law” describes in great detail the need for a multicultural education framework, improved bilingual and English language learner programming, universal and quality full-day pre-kindergarten, sufficient access to extended learning opportunities like summer school and after school programming, social services, smaller class sizes, and increased teacher pay and support to recruit and retain high-quality educators.  

Udall, Heinrich Introduce Background Check Expansion Act To Reduce Gun Violence

Jan 9, 2019
Senator Martin Heinrich (D) and Senator Tom Udall (D)

Commentary: U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) introduced the Background Check Expansion Act to expand federal background checks to all gun sales. Under current federal law, unlicensed or private sellers are not required to conduct a background check prior to transferring a firearm. Research indicates that as many as a quarter of all gun sales in the United States may occur without a background check even though 97 percent of Americans support comprehensive background checks.

  Commentary: On Friday evening January 4, I and a middle school teacher friend of mine went to Centennial high school where State Senator Bill Soules talked about education issues they were going to address in the upcoming legislative session. Superintendent Greg Ewing was also at this session, along with about 50 teachers and parents.  Soules was glad that newly elected Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham would discontinue the use of the controversial PARCC standardized test. In general, teachers and parents at this meeting applauded this action by the Governor. Senator Soules said that an alternative testing approach had not been put forth yet but would be addressed when the legislative session begins.

Commentary: While Democrats work to find solutions to end the Trump Shutdown, Donald Trump continues to hold workers’ paychecks hostage to fund his unnecessary and ineffective wall that he promised Mexico would pay for. The ripple effect of the Trump Shutdown is also affecting small businesses across the country.

Commentary: Common Cause New Mexico today announced its priorities for the 2019 legislative session.  “We’re focusing on creating the strong, independent ethics commission that 75% of voters approved in a constitutional amendment last fall,” said Heather Ferguson, Common Cause executive director. Over the past few months, Common Cause participated in an interim working group on enabling legislation for the commission, which she expects will be introduced early in the session.

Las Cruces Rally To Address Gender Issues

Jan 9, 2019
2017 Las Cruces Women's March

Commentary: Gender inequality, laws and policies that govern an unequal living experience are among the topics Dulcinea Lara, associate professor of criminal justice at New Mexico State University, will address as the keynote speaker of the 2019 Las Cruces Womxn’s Rally.

This year’s rally is the third since 2017 when the gathering drew more than 1,500 people, the second largest at any event in Las Cruces history.  The event will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday, January 19 at the Albert Johnson Park, 501 N. Main St.

New Mexico True Talent Connects Learning with Earning

Jan 9, 2019

Commentary: Workforce development continues to be one of the single greatest needs of our community when we think about increasing economic prosperity for the future. To achieve this, as many of our people as possible need to become qualified and ready for middle-skilled, technical-skilled, and high skilled jobs that are here now, as well as those we seek to attract for the future.

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