Thursday, February 18, 2010
(Updated) As the Clock Ticks Down on NM Legislative Session ...
Update: The 30-day session is now done. As the noon deadline approached, the House discussed a measure about student athlete concussions while Sen. Rod Adair and a few other Republican blathered on inanely, killing time so a vote couldn't happen on Rep. Moe Maestas' bill on treatment rather than incarceration for nonviolent drug offenders. Moe's bill passed the House on Tuesday, by a vote 34-31. The word is the votes were there for passage in the Senate, which means there's definitely a chance for passage in the future. Clearly, Republican Senators here are just as stubbornly and transparently obstructionist as their counterparts in the U.S. Senate.
The AP is reporting that the Governor has called a special session that will start at Noon next Wednesday, February 24, and Governor Richardson said in his press conference that he wants the agenda to be a "broad" one.
After the Noon deadline today, the Senate continued with a presentation of the Milagro award to Sen. John Pinto (D-Tohatchi) -- the longest-serving member of the NM Senate -- for his service to the nation as a Navajo code talker and his many years of advocacy for the Dine nation. Sen. Tom Udall was on hand for the presentation, and the ceremony ended with Sen. Pinto singing a rousing version of this famous Potato Song, in the Navajo language this time.
With about a half hour left in the session it looks like the Senate Majority Floor Leader Michael Sanchez is hearing several inconsequential memorials rather than the ethics commission bill SB 43 or SR 1, his bill to expand webcasting in the NM Senate. It's sad to see a Democrat apparently holding back action on important ethics and transparency bills in a session that hasn't produced a state budget, passed a domestic partnership bill or managed to reach agreement on raising revenues to plug the budget hole. Earlier in the session, Sen. Sanchez pulled his bill when an amendment arose to allow webcasting of Senate committees.
I recall there were a number of complaints from the foes of domestic partnerships that a 30-day session focused on the budget was no place to deal with trying to provide basic civil rights to LGBT folks, but I guess the slew of often meaningless memorials and bills dealing with minor issues are perfectly acceptable. Even in the waning minutes of the session.