One of the big stories to come out of the Roundhouse yesterday actually involves Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. State Auditor Brian Colon announced that he was moving ahead with a special audit of the Governor's discretionary fund, after local reporting discovered more than $13,000 in groceries, liquor purchases and dry cleaning over a six-month period in 2020. A group of Republican lawmakers also requested the audit in a letter to Auditor Colon. The Governor's office has said the purchases were appropriate but may have been excessive at times.
In the House, we saw movement on HB 111 which would offer new protections to tenants in the middle of an emergency like the ongoing pandemic.
NMPBS has done a lot of reporting on evictions and the housing crunch in recent months. You can find all of that on the New Mexico in Focus website.
Senate Bill 2 also passed a full House vote yesterday. Tis proposal would forgive liquor license renewal fees for a year, to give struggling businesses a boost during the ongoing COVID-19 struggles. It is now headed to the Governor's desk for a signature.
In this episode, we also talk about Senate Bill 168 which would raise the gas tax by five cents a gallon to fund much needed road repairs. We mentioned a great article that explains more in depth why those repairs are so needed. We encourage you to read that reporting by Daniel Chacon at the Santa Fe New Mexican.
It's Friday which means a new episode of New Mexico in Focus on NMPBS. The Line opinion panel will be delving into several legislative issue, including predatory lending reform and cannabis legalization. And, we also have interviews with Dr. Anthony Fauci and Senator Martin Heinrich. Tune in tonight at 7pm.
Speaking of cannabis legalization, Saturday will be a big day for advocates on both sides of that issue. The Senate Tax, Business and Transportation Committee will be working to build consensus on a singular effort to legalize. Right now there are at least three competing bills still alive, and the clock is speeding up. Tune back in for more on that meeting in a future episode.
Let us know what bills or issues you are following and we will do our best to keep you up to date on all of that as the session heads into the final days of the 2021 session.
Your New Mexico Government is a collaboration between KUNM, New Mexico PBS and the Santa Fe Reporter. Funding for our coverage comes from the New Mexico Local News Fund, the Kellogg Foundation and KUNM listeners like you, with support for public media provided by the Thornburg Foundation.