Week of March 10, 2013
Dear Charles E.,
Best wishes to you this Sunday from the Republican Party of New Mexico.
This week, our Republican lawmakers have continued the uphill battle of trying to positively reform New Mexico despite Democrat majorities in both chambers.Senate Democrats voted to pass Senate Bill 276, which reinstates straight ticket voting in New Mexico. The bill passed along a straight party vote, with Republicans opposing the measure. There is no doubt that this is a political game, and that eliminating straight ticket voting allows voters to look at each candidate individually and make more informed choices. The bill will now go to the House, and we should all let our Representatives know that this is a bad bill.
Additionally the Senate Rules Committee has continued to delay a vote on confirming Public Education Department Secretary-designate Hanna Skandera. After over seven hours of testimony at the beginning of March and three hours more on Saturday, they have failed to move forward. We can all agree that Secretary-designate Skandera has made positive changes to our troubled education system and deserves confirmation. Call those on the Senate Rules Committee and let them know that it is past time to put aside political ploys and confirm Skandera.
This week, the House saw its share of partisanship as well. On Wednesday, following a Call of the House, Republican Representative Nate Gentry attempted to bring House Bill 606—the driver’s license compromise bill—to the House floor. While a few Democrats helped to vote the bill out of House Labor and Human Resources Committee and House Judiciary Committee, the vote to bring it out of House Appropriations and Finance Committee failed.
On Saturday, Democrats in Appropriations voted against the bill, tabling it once more. This is an issue of public safety and an issue for which many New Mexicans have expressed their concerns. Each year, our efforts to repeal the law that allows illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses fail because of Democrat opposition. But, it is beyond time for the State Legislature to deal with this issue so that we can move on and focus on other areas of reform.
On a positive note, the House voted unanimously to pass House Bill 36, introduced by Representative Dianne Miller Hamilton. The bill sets up a pilot program using virtual reality therapy to help treat veterans who are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This is a great way to help our veterans and show our gratitude for all that they have done to serve our great nation, and we are thankful to Representative Hamilton for bringing forward this legislation.
We are now 6 days away from the end of the session, and we—like many of you—are excited to see what the next 6 days hold. We hope that both sides—and both chambers—can come together to pass legitimate reform for New Mexico families.