Roundhouse 2020

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It is the session wrap up with executive producer Marisa Demarco. We talk a lot about the theme of transparency in government and some things that we would like to see changed in legislative structure. Be on the lookout for live events. Just because the session ended doesn't mean that our work in informing you has!

Arianna Sena / KUNM

The 2020 legislative session is over. Gene Grant, host of New Mexico In Focus, recaps the biggest moments and topics, like the red-flag law (which passed), recreational marijuana (which didn't), free college tuition (partially funded) and more.

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This podcast is part of the project: Your N.M. Government. Funding for our legislative coverage is provided, in part, by the Thornburg Foundation, the New Mexico Local News Fund and KUNM listeners. 

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With one  day left in the 54th legislative session, Gwyneth Doland  from New Mexico PBS joins me to talk about the bills that passed and the bills that will have to wait until next year.  This episode moves fast so make sure to listen!

For more great coverage of the legislative session, check out New Mexico PBS here

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Julia Goldberg from The Santa Fe Reporter joins the show to talk about benefit corporations and HB118. Benefit corporations are a new positive trend in the business world. We talk about how New Mexico can get on board with a movement that is seen by many as positive for the community. 

Take a look at Julia's article on benefit corporations here 

Matt Grubs from New Mexico PBS joins the program to talk about Senate Joint Resolution 7. What is SJ7? If it passes it would pave the way for New Mexico to have a professional legislature. Matt discusses where it stands at the Roundhouse and what that would mean for the state. We also discuss the budget, the opportunity scholarship, and the legal settlement transparency act. 

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Julie Ann Grimm from the Santa Fe Reporter joins me to wrap up the week. We discuss the sexual harassment non disclosure agreement bill, budget secrecy in the senate, the new education secretary and more.

Cristina Carreon from the Alamogordo Daily News joins me to talk about the Red Flag law and how it is viewed in rural parts of the state. She provides updates on amendments being proposed for the bill as well as the view from law enforcement officers.

To read the Red Flag bill with current amendments click here 

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Gwyneth Doland from New Mexico PBS joins me to break down PERA, The Public Employees Retirement Association of New Mexico. We talk about its current status, what the potential fixes are, and what lawmakers are doing about it. Gwyneth provides the realities of the situation and as always, great insight. 

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Nash Jones sits with me to discuss three important pieces of legislation: the Pregnancy Worker Accommodation Bill, the Tobacco Products Act and the Cannabis Regulation Act. Our conversation is a bit longer than we normally produce here at YNMG, but Nash has such great insight on the nuances of these bills, it makes for a great conversation.

Listen to Nash's coverage on KUNM

Pregnancy Worker Accommodation Bill 

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Matt Grubs from New Mexico PBS breaks down the decision by the house to table House Bills 29 and 77. The bills would provide a tax break to all New Mexican's who receive social security benefits. He explains what happens with those bills and talks about the future of the opportunity scholarship. 

To read an article on the House's decision to table the bills by The Albuquerque Journal's Dan McKay click here

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Leah Cantor from the Santa Fe Reporter joins the show to breakdown some of the energy bills that are circulating through the roundhouse. We talk specifically about the Community Solar Act, we also discuss some of the ongoing issues with the Public Regulation Commission. 

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Algernon D'Ammassa from the Las Cruces Sun News talks to me about the legislative issues that are resonating in the southern part of New Mexico. We talk about the hot button issues (recreational cannabis; the red flag law) but we also talk about the spaceport and its economic effects on the state.

NMPBS footage


We are halfway through the legislative session and thought it would be a great idea if Kevin McDonald, Executive Producer for New Mexico PBS stopped by the studio to break down what has happened thus far and what we can expect. This is a fun conversation!  Kevin has great insight and knowledge!

 

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Kaveh Mowahed comes into the studio to talk about lobbyists and ethics. The New Mexico Ethics Watch commission just released a report. (Check it out here.) It has a few recommendations to help add more transparency to our state government. Listen close as Kaveh and I talk about the latest developments. 

Matt Grubs from New Mexico PBS talks with me about some of the budget issues being addressed in this year's session. The Legal Settlement Transparency Bill (SB 64), fixes to PERA and what that will mean for the state's retirement fund, as well as the 2020 budget passing the House Appropriations committee are all on deck for our conversation.

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Hemp was legalized in last year’s legislative session and this year, a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana is moving through the Legislature. The new hemp farms in New Mexico could pose a risk to outdoor marijuana crops.

Hemp and marijuana are different strains of the same plant. However, Jill Browning, chairwoman of the New Mexico Hemp Association, says the two industries differ in how they grow, produce and manufacture their products. “There is one thing that overlaps, and that is pollenization," she said.

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A nonpartisan statewide think tank is warning the high rate of seniors living in poverty in New Mexico could grow without significant changes. Think New Mexico is supporting legislation to curtail what policy experts there call a crisis in retirement security that is quietly growing throughout the state. KUNM spoke with Executive Director Fred Nathan about reforms he says are necessary to protect the state’s seniors, now and in the future.

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Jeff Proctor from the Santa Fe Reporter joins me to give some historical context into criminal justice reform in New Mexico.  He also provides details on HB 263 and how that bill will affect those on probation and parole. 

New N.M. Ethics Panel Pursues Recurring Funds

Jan 30, 2020

State ethics commissions tasked with investigating lawmakers for bad behavior are in a tricky position when they have to ask those same lawmakers for funding year after year. New Mexico’s Ethics Commission is not yet fully staffed or fully funded for 2020 after receiving only $500,000 from legislators last session.

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Listen to this great conversation with Laura Paskus of New Mexico PBS, as we talk about the environmental issues that are affecting the state and the steps that lawmakers are taking to answer them. She's been covering the environment in the land of enchantment for over 15 years and is full of great insight. 

courtesy of GBCS

 

UPDATE 1/31 2p: Peña-Hanson says she is no longer supporting both bills and that Gordon Bernell Charter School will focus only on HB 152.

New Mexico lawmakers are considering setting aside $6 million dollars in the higher education budget for some charter schools that educate adults. Last year, legislators changed the K-12 funding formula so public schools can no longer get money for students who are over 21. 

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Gwyneth Doland of New Mexico PBS joins me to talk about the nuances and inner workings of the "Red Flag Bill" and what the proponents and opponents of the gun bill have to say about it. 

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Hanna Colton, public health and education reporter with KUNM, sits down with me in-studio to talk about a few of the education bills that are on deck at the Roundhouse. She also breaks down how you can find out more about the bills yourself.

I talk with Matt Grubs about the Wholesale Prescription Drug Act (SB1) to get a sense of its chances of passing and how it will affect New Mexicans. We talk about the "Red Flag" legislation and it's potential. We also chat about fiscal responsibility in government. 

 To read the SB1 bill click here

Your NM Gov: Ep. 5 With Julie Ann Grimm

Jan 24, 2020
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Julie Ann Grimm from the Santa Fe Reporter shares some insight on what happened in the House Appropriations Committee when the Administrative Office of the Courts submitted their unifed budget. She also talks about the status of New Mexico's judicial system and comments on where we have room to improve. 

Hannah Colton / KUNM

The 2020 census starts in a couple months, and organizers are reaching out to populations in New Mexico that historically were undercounted. A bill to spend $8 million on outreach efforts passed its first legislative hurdle on Thursday, Jan. 23. 

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A lot of eyes are on recreational mairjuana in New Mexico this legislative session. Last year, a bill that regulated Hemp—the non-psychoactive strain of the cannabis plant—was signed into law. Hemp can be used to make thousands of products, like clothes, paper, biofuel and CBD oil. Farmers and advocates spoke about the burgeoning industry at the Roundhouse Thursday, Jan. 23.

Kaveh Mowahed / KUNM

 

Lyla June Johnston is spending the first week of the legislative session in Santa Fe fasting to bring attention to climate crisis. The 30-year-old scholar, organizer and artist announced last month that she'll challenge New Mexico House Speaker Brain Egolf for his seat in the Democratic primary in June. KUNM caught up with Johnston outside the Roundhouse Thursday morning, where she's been praying and talking energy policy this week.

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New Mexico has a gun death rate higher than the national average, and two-thirds of those deaths are suicides. The Extreme Risk Firearm Protection Order Act being heard this legislative session is controversial. Opponents say this bill is a form of gun control and violates the U.S. Constitution, but its supporters say it's a necessary step in mental health care.

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Antonia Gonzales is the anchor and producer of National Native News and a correspondent for New Mexico PBS. We talk about some of the legislative issues that are important to the native community in New Mexico. She also speaks on the relationship between tribal leaders and state lawmakers, noting that while progress has been made, there is much more to be done.   

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