Well we are now past our second week of the eleven week session. The Committees are set and the bills are starting to be rolled out. The Feed Bill was passed and signed so now the session is paid for. As we see on the internet and blogs there are all kinds of bills out there so I am going to try to narrow the focus some as it is impossible to watch every bill. If I don’t hit the bill you are interested please let me know and I will take a look at it for you. The first thing I am going to tell you about this week is the schedule of the House Committees.
Here it goes;
Agriculture & Water Resources: Monday &Friday – 8:30 a.m. (Room 310) Chair: Roger Madalena Make up: 5 Democrats, 5 Republicans
Appropriations & Finance: Monday through Friday – -1:30p.m. (Room 307) Chair: KiKi Saavedra Make Up: 10 Democrats, 8 Republicans
Business & Industry: Tuesday & Thursday – 1:30 p.m. (Room 309) Chair: Debbie Rodella Make up: 6 Democrats, 6 Republicans
Consumer & Public Affairs: Tuesday & Thursday – 1:30 p.m. (Room 315) Chair: Gail Chasey Make up: 3 Democrats, 2 Republicans
Education: Monday, Wednesday, Friday – 8:00a.m. (Room 317) Chair: Rick Miera Make up: 6 Democrats, 5 Republicans
Energy & Natural Resource: Tuesday& Thursday – 8:30 a.m. (Room 315 Chair: Brian Egolf
Make up: 6 Democrates, 6 Republicans
Health & Government Affairs: Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thurs -8:30 a.m. (Room 305) Chair: Mimi Stewart Make up: 4 Democrats, 4 Republicans
Judiciary: Monday, Wednesday, & Friday – 1:30p.m. (Room 309) Chair: Al Park Make up: 8 Democrats, 6 Republicans
Labor& Humane Resources: Tuesday & Thursday – 1:30 p.m. (Room 305) Chair: Migule Garcia Make up: 5 Democrats, 4 Republicans
Taxation & Revenue: Monday, Wednesday, & Friday – 1:30 p.m. (Room 317) Chair: Edward Sandoval Make up: 8 Democrats, 7 Republicans
Transportation & Public Works: Tuesday & Thursday – 8:30 a.m. (Room 315) Chair: Robert Gonzales Make up: 6 Democrats, 6 Republicans
Voters & Elections: Tuesday & Thursday – 8:30a.m. (Room 305) Chair: Mary Helen Garcia Make up: 6 Democrats, 6 Republicans
Printing & Supplies: at call of chair Chair: Lucky Varela Make up: 9 Democrats, 8 Republicans
Rules & Order of Business: at call of chair Chair: Nick Salazar Make up: 9 Democrats, 8 Republicans
Enrolling & Engrossing – A: at call of chair Chair: George Dodge Make up: 1Democrat, 6 Republicans
Enrolling & Engrossing -B: at call of chair Chair: Cathryn Brown (R) Make up: 6 Republicans
When you take a look at this list you will notice that the committees are pretty equally divided so we have a very good chance of getting some conservative bills out of committee this year and on to the floor for a vote.
Now for some Bills.
We have all kinds of bills being assigned to committees every day. At last count the House has 190 House Bills, 21 House Joint Memorials, 12 House Joint Resolutions, 8 House Memorials, and 1 House Resolution. This list is small compared to what it will look like at the end of the session. There are many bills that are still in the process of being written. These bills have not been assigned a number yet. I am going to list two of these bills here as we need to be watching for them.
1) Representative Jim Smith: He has a bill relating to Flood Control Districts. This is the bill that people in the Eastern Sandoval County Arroyo and Flood Control District have been waiting for.
2) Senator Sander Rue: He has a bill Relating to Transparency. His bill calls for certain Public Schools to place all their information on the Sunshine Portal.
Both these bills are very important. I will be watching for them to get their numbers and committee appointments and will let you know when that happens.
Here are some bills that have been “assigned to Commit” which means they will be coming up very shortly:
HB 43 Develop Diploma Stamps: This bill would require the Department of Education to come up with a program outlining what constitutes vocational programs and what is deemed as exceptional performance in them. Bottom line it will cost money. This is a no go at this time. Committee: HCPAC, HEC
HB21 Limit Certain School Grade Promotions: If students have not mastered reading by the end of third grade they would be retained and receive remediation. If they did not show academic competency by the end of seventh grade they would be retained again for remediation. There is more to this bill, it is a good bill and many states are all ready doing this and are achieving great success with improving reading scores and graduation rates. Committee: HCPAC, HEC
HB100 This is basically the same bill as HB21 except it states students may be retained twice and it states eighth grade. It is a good bill and I believe that HB21 and HB100 will be combined. We need to get behind these bills if we truly want to improve our education system in NM. Committee: HCPAC, HEC
HB70 calls for no funds to Teacher Education Programs that do not teach Scientific Reading Methods. This is a good bill if we want our education system to improve we must start with Teacher education. Committee: HCPAC, HEC
HJM11 Small School District Service Consolidation. Committee: HEC
HB33 New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange Act: This bill is an emergency bill and will require some type of appropriation. Committee: HCPAC, HHGAC This bill is associated with the health care law.
HB45 Eminent Domain Federal Property Condemnation (see the below story)
HB110Limited use of Eminent Domain (see below story)
HB 163 Voter Registrations on Nomination Petitions. Committee: HCPAC, HVEC
Hb185 Limit Secretary of State Rule Making. Committee: HHGAC, HVEC
HB176 Oil and Gas Act Enforcement. Committee: HENRC, HJC
HB177 Recovery Damages for injury to resources. Committee: HENRC, HJC
HB178 Denial of Air Quality Permits. Committee: HCPAC, HENRC
HJM24 Withdraw NM from Western Climate Intuitive. Committee: HCPAC/HENRC, HCPAC, this is one to watch and get involved in.
HJR2 Limit State Legislators Terms. Committee: HCPAC, HEVC
HJR NM Sovereignty & Federal Mandates. Committee: HJC, HVEC
HJR12 Recall of Certain Public Officers. Committee: HJC, HVEC
We need to be watching these Joint Resolutions and be there to support them if we want them to pass.
HB61 Net Income Definition for Income Taxes this bill tries to undo the damage from last year that says we must pay State Tax on our gross income and not on our net. Committee: HCPAC, HTRC
HB222 Reduce Unequal Treatment of Taxes and Credits this is a very dangerous bill we need to watch it. Committee: HBIC/HTRC-HBIC
I know there are many more Election and Voters Bills to come as soon as they are placed out I will make sure they get on the list. I hope to see some of you up at the legislature watching with us there. We don’t stand a chance of getting our bills passed or keeping the bad bills from being passed if we are not there to make our voice heard.
Below are the House Committee Abbreviations
HAFC Appropriations & Finance
HAGC Agriculture & Water Resources
HBIC Business & Industry
HCPAC Consumer & Public Affairs
HCW Committee of the Whole
HE&EC Enrolling & Engrossing
HENRC Energy & Natural Resources
HHGAC Health & Government Affairs
HLC Labor & Human Resources
HPREF House Pre-file
HPSC Printing & Supplies
HRC Rules & Order of Business
HTPWC Transportation & Public Works
HTRC Taxation & Revenue
HVEC Voters & Elections
A Tale of two Bills
In the Legislature this session two bills will be heard on the same subject, Eminent Domain. These two words can strike fear into the heart of every property owner as well it should. In recent years Eminent Domain has been used by a city or state to confiscate private property to give to a private developer so the city or state could reap the possible future tax benefits and revenues from the private development which far exceed the individual property owners’ property taxes. We also have another use of Eminent Domain going on, perpetrated by our senators and congressman. This use of Eminent Domain is gobbling up huge portions of the states in the name of preservation for future generations, sounds very innocuous doesn’t it? Let’s talk about these two bills.
HB110 AN ACT RELATING TO PROPERTY; AMENDING THE METROPOLITAN REDEVELOPMENT CODE TO ALLOW THE LIMITED USE OF EMINENT DOMAIN TO ACQUIRE VACANT PROPERTY TO CORRECT OBSOLETE OR IMPRACTICAL PLANNING AND PLATTING OF A SUBDIVISION; IMPOSING LIMITATIONS ON THE USE OF EMINENT DOMAIN FOR THE PURPOSES OF A REDEVELOPMENT PLAN.
First I want to tell you who is sponsoring this bill, who wrote this bill and pushed for it to go forward and who it will effect. The sponsor of the bill is Representative Roger Magdalena, the group who is pushing for this bill is the city of Rio Rancho they also assisted in writing this bill, and last but not least the people who will be affected right away if the bill is passed are the citizens of Rio Rancho. It seems strange that Representative Magdalena would be the sponsor of this bill since he does not live in Rio Rancho and his representative area does not cover Rio Rancho. He has no skin in this game so I guess it is safe for him to sponsor this bill.
It has to be noted that not one representative from the Rio Rancho area has signed on to this bill, but I can tell you that it has several other Democratic sponsors who don’t live in Rio Rancho or even Sandoval County for that matter. Odd they want to enforce Eminent Domain on an area they don’t even represent. Now for the City of Rio Rancho, they have a lobbyist you know and he is working hard up in Santa Fe to ensure this gets passed. He says this bill will only affect Rio Rancho he wrote it specifically just for Rio Rancho.
Well let me tell you it will not affect only Rio Rancho once it is passed it can and will have an effect on any city that meets the qualifications of the bill for the next thirty years. You see the bill has a sunset hence thirty years. So why does the City of Rio Rancho want this bill. What they say is the city back in the 60’s was divided up into half acre lots with no heed paid to the land mass it’s self. People from far away purchased these lots and have not developed them and have just held on to them. The city wants to attract developers and with all these weird lots and numerous owners has a difficult time cobbling large enough pieces of land together to do so, so hence this bill. The lobbyist also talked about drainage problems as a need to have this bill as well.
It has to be said Southern Sandoval County Arroyo and Flood control has Eminent Domain authority and does not need this bill to address flooding as do all of the Arroyo and Flood Control Authorities. The lobbyist all so says people do not have to worry about their home, if you have a shack that a bed can fit in your lot is safe. So why create and pass this bill? Bottom line, revenue development for the city, more homes (?), more infrastructure development, more money, and more people. The bill will allow the city to condemn large tracts of land from multiple owners and sell them to the highest bidding developer to make the most money for the city.
Is this bad? It depends on how you look at it. I don’t like eminent domain. If a developer wants to build let him deal with the owners of the land themselves we buy land to live on and for investment. This is a basic tenant of the Constitution, and we should not be able to legislate away parts of the Constitution. The city being able to take this land saying it is only worth “X”, then turning around and selling the land for profit to a developer, or forcing land owners to sell directly to a developer below their desired price, is wrong, period.
I don’t live in the city but I do understand their problem, managing growth is always difficult, but HB110 is not the way to do it. Property Rights are an emotional issue and a huge part of the American Dream!! This is why thousands of people have come to America. In recent years politicians have been eroding our right to own property a little at a time. If you don’t mind, and don’t stop the city or other governments gobbling up that “empty” land across the street now, it could be the back half of your land next. The bill will be coming up probably next week in HHGAC Health and Government Affairs Committee. I will get the word out as soon as I know what day this bill will be heard. This is one bill I think should have a “FULL COURT PRESS” to stop it!
Now for the next Eminent Domain bill, you will be surprised at this one. Below you will find the bill in its entirety.
AN ACT RELATING TO CONDEMNATION; ENACTING A NEW SECTION OF THE EMINENT DOMAIN CODE TO PROVIDE FOR CONDEMNATION OF FEDERAL PROPERTY. BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. A new section of the Eminent Domain Code is
enacted to read:
“[NEW MATERIAL] CONDEMNATION OF FEDERAL PROPERTY.–
A. Property that may be taken pursuant to the Eminent Domain Code includes property possessed by the federal government unless the property was acquired by the federal government with the consent of the state legislature and in accordance with Article I, Section 8, Clause 17 of the United States constitution.
B. The state shall be the plaintiff described in the eminent domain complaint in an action to condemn property. 183639.1
This bill says the Federal Government cannot take state land, or land in the State, unless the state legislature approves of it. I agree with this bill. The federal government has been gobbling up land from the states for far too long. In many states they own over a third of the state’s land mass. This cannot be allowed to continue. We need to get a handle on this, and this bill is one way to do it. The other way is to reign in our Senators and Congressman. Senator Bingaman and Udall love giving our land away to the Federal Government.
Who benefits from this you may ask. They say future generations. I say, “Those who own large tracks of land benefit from this; the more land they make off limits, the more the price of the available land goes up.” New Mexico has some of the high land prices because there are so few acres that can be developed and each time the senators give more land to the federal government the higher the cost of the available land goes. Yet Cities like Rio Rancho want to take land through eminent domain because they say it is worth nothing so is it worth something or not? I say land is always worth something. This bill is something we should get behind let’s tell the Senators and the Federal Government that the people of New Mexico should make a decision as to whether we want to give huge tracks to the Federal Government or not. After all it is our land. There is actually some Constitutional reasoning that the Federal Government has no business owning these lands.
The Reference to the US Constitution in the Bill:
Article I, Section 8, Clause 17: (Congress shall have the power…) To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not to exceed ten miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;…
So, this completes my Second Edition of the Round House Round-Up from Santa Fe. As I spend each day in the Capitol, I see more and more activity. We must be prudent in our efforts, because if we try to affect too many things we may dilute ourselves and not have enough concentrated force to affect larger issues. I humbly suggest that we continue to perfect coordination throughout the state, and devise some way to decide on bills that touch our core issues very directly. This is not to say that individuals cannot spend time on an issue they want, but we cannot send email blasts for people to act on Hundreds of bills.