1. No Abortion Legislation
No Abortion Legislation was introduced this session. The Governor simply did not have the votes. The rumor was abortion would be added to an existing bill. The Sanctity of Life and Unity Day was very well attended. A second very successful event was held on Valentine’s Day.
2. They Didn’t Want to Hear from Us
A bizarre scene
was played out in Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino’s Consumer and Public Affairs
Committee. The Red Flag Law and the
Marijuana bill were heard. The hearing
was held in the Senate Chambers. Senator
Ortiz y Pino insisted on a gun-free zone.
Everyone entering the Chamber had to be “wanded” for weapons. Once inside the Chamber committee members
were seated on the Chamber dais. The
public, seated in the balcony, yards away and above the Chamber. A microphone was placed at the farthest point
at the back of the balcony. The person
speaking could not be seen by most people seated in the balcony as the
microphone was behind the seating area.
A sign-up sheet had been placed at the Chamber entrance. No one was monitoring the sign-up. Public comment was limited to one half hour
for each side. A random number of
individuals signed up to speak, including a high school student with face-paint
who said her generation needed to be instructed on the use of marijuana.
The Marijuana Bill was heard late in the evening following seven other bills. People waited as much as seven hours to testify. With only a half-hour per side, citizens were able to state little more than that they were for or against the bill.
3. Procedures Were Not Followed
Standard procedure is to assign each bill to two relevant committees followed by a floor vote in each Chamber. President of the House Chamber, Brian Egolf D-Santa Fe, upon receiving the Marijuana bill, assigned the legislation to only one committee. Fortunately, Senator Joseph Cervantes, who is in favor of the legalization of marijuana, brutalized the bill for failing to meet legal standards and for requiring unionized workers in the industry.
4. Marijuana Is Not a Problem for Legislators – All They Want Is a Decent Bill
Millions of dollars are to be made if marijuana is to be legalized in New Mexico. Overnight we will go from chili to growing marijuana. Big tobacco and big alcohol are behind the push to legalize marijuana. The social costs far outweigh the financial gains. In Colorado, every dollar gained results in four and a half dollars spent mitigating the consequences. Despite evidence of a pending disaster, legislators are looking for a bill they can make into law. God help us when they do.
5. Despite Overwhelming Objection, the Red Flag Law Passed
The Extreme Risk Protection Order law requires police officers to assess any assertion that a person is a danger to themselves or others. A court-ordered confiscation of guns takes place immediately, followed by a year of retaining the personal property. Thirty of New Mexico’s thirty-three Sheriffs stand in opposition to the law and have stated they will not enforce Red Flag laws. The law is an obvious violation of the Second Amendment and other rights. The Legislature passed it anyway. Stay tuned for the litigation.
6. Filming and Photos Were Disallowed, Then Allowed
Governor Susana Martinez reportedly sent camera crews into Committee Chambers to produce embarrassing or awkward moments for campaign purposes. In response, Committee Chairs were given the authority to allow or disallow filming. A hapless young reporter brought a film crew into a session without permission. The disturbance caused a change in the rules. Now filming and photos are once again allowed.
7. Flush with Cash from Oil and Gas, Money Could Not be Found to Reduce Taxes
Instead, Big Government expansion was the only agenda item this session.
Bonus Observation: Following a rant by a Native American, Pastors are no longer invited to given an opening prayer. Instead, the Members themselves are praying the invocation.