John Block

Dems drop second anti-gun bill of the 2023 Legislative Session

On Wednesday, Democrats dropped their latest anti-gun bill they will introduce this upcoming 2023 Legislative Session.

Far-left state Rep. Pamelya Herndon (D-Bernalillo) is sponsoring a bill, H.B. 9, which will force New Mexicans to lock up their firearms in “a gun safe or a device that prevents a firearm from being discharged or from being used to expel a projectile by the action of an explosion or a device other than a gun safe that locks a firearm and is designed to prevent children and unauthorized users from firing a firearm, which device may be installed on a firearm, be incorporated into the design of the firearm or prevent access to the firearm.”

If the gun owner does not lock up any and all firearms and their gun somehow was used in an offense by a minor causing “great bodily harm” or death, the parent of that child could be made a felon if the victim of the crime is killed or permanently disabled. 

As noted by even some Democrats in the chamber during a July 2022 preview of the bill, it would be the first crime proposal to base a defendant’s sentence not on their own actions but that of someone else (a minor) who got ahold of a firearm. 

The bill does not, however, include provisions protecting the gun owner if the firearm was stolen, nor does it account for the de-facto tax it burdens the owner with being forced to find a new locking device to place it at all times. The bill is also blatantly unconstitutional.

Previous versions of this bill sponsored during the last two legislative sessions by state Sen. Antoinette Sedillo-Lopez (D-Bernalillo) have died.

The first anti-gun bill dropped by Democrats is one by state Rep. Patricia Roybal-Caballero (D-Bernalillo), H.B. 50, which bans all citizens who own firearm magazines greater than ten rounds and makes any offender a felon. 

The 2023 Legislative Session begins January 17, 2023. Read more about Herndon’s bill here.

MLG releases massive $9.4B budget proposal for upcoming legislature

On Tuesday, far-left Democrat New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham released her executive budget that she will demand the legislature pass in the upcoming 2023 Legislative Session starting next Tuesday, January 17, 2022.

The massive $9.4 billion budget would be a 10.58 percent increase from last fiscal year’s $8.5 billion budget. This proposed budget would include a four percent increase in salaries for state workers, a four percent increase for all school staff, along with a $750 rebate, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican

In the budget are sweeping social programs, including $107 million for housing and homelessness initiatives, $200 million infusion for health care programs, and $30 million for “free” school lunches in all schools.

Despite the massive spending on education and educator salaries, New Mexico’s schools rank below all other states and the District of Columbia. 

Weak-on-crime politics have led to a deadly past few years in New Mexico, especially in the state’s most populous city, Albuquerque, which shattered its homicide rate again in 2022, the second straight year in a row. 

Last year’s budget included $75 million in recurring funds for socialist “free” college for citizens and illegal aliens, millions for an anti-gun office of “gun violence prevention,” millions to carry out 2019’s Energy Transition Act (Green New Deal), among other waste that was spent on socialist-style handout programs in the state.

This year’s proposal would include a $4.1 million slush fund of sorts to the Environment Department to “develop and implement actions related to climate change,” along with $5.9 million for enviro-Marxist policies.

New Mexico remains the most federally dependent state in the nation. This executive budget would continue that record of heavy dependence on the government. 

After the budget was released, Power The Future’s Larry Behrens wrote, “Governor Lujan Grisham has proudly said we need to transition away from fossil fuels, but she sure can’t seem to transition away from spending the revenue,” adding, “Before taxpayers foot the bill for more of the Governor’s green pet projects, it’s past time for an examination on the Governor’s past initiatives to see if they’ve delivered on her over-hyped promises.”

Dem lawyers argue against ‘democracy’ to defend gerrymandered maps in court

On Monday, the New Mexico Supreme Court heard arguments on a lawsuit brought by the Republican Party of New Mexico and other plaintiffs regarding the Democrats’ extremely partisan gerrymandered congressional map that resulted in Republicans losing representation in the state’s Second Congressional District. The case is 

On the side of Democrat Gov. Lujan Grisham, Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, and others, attorney Sara N. Sanchez argued that the state Supreme Court had absolutely no right to rule on the case, claiming they had no legal authority even in “extreme” cases.

She said, “Given the fact that there are no binding standards, then yes, Even in the extreme case, that is not justiciable by the court unless until New Mexico adopts a constitutional amendment, legislaton, something that it provides that almost half of the other states have seen fit to do that provides a check on that process.”

Justice Briana H. Zamora said, “I’m concerned with barring forever, assuming there’s no statutory or constitutional amendments, claims of this nature, even in the most egregious cases because we obviously recognizing it’s political, I think the dissent in Rucho recognizes it’s political. But for the really egregious extreme cases to ever bar a claim is concerning to me,” referring to the U.S. Supreme Court case Rucho v. Common Cause

“If this court remands for further fact-finding, discovery, etc., we could engage in that all until the cows come home, but it’s not going to change the fact of what this map does and what the plaintiffs are complaining about,” claimed Sanchez.

She then requested, “I would urge the court to consider that it would be the type of decision that would call for a heightened pleading standard where what is being presented shocks the conscience, is of such an extreme nature,” adding, “I would request such a high bar if the court decides to go in that direction.” 

Justice Michael E. Vigil asked regarding diluting citizens’ votes, “Isn’t that the very antithesis of what a democracy is?” 

The Democrats’ other attorney, Holly Agajanian, representing Lujan Grisham, argued strangely against democracy. She said, “Just because something is considered anti-democratic doesn’t mean the court has to step in. And I know that doesn’t feel right based on what everything we think justice is. It feels funny for me to say that. But at the end of the day, the fact of the matter is that’s the case. Because in our system of government… These anti-democratic effects we see can only be remedied through the legislature.” 

Attorney for the plaintiffs, Daniel J. Gallegos, argued the maps drawn by the Democrat legislature are a “violation of the state’s equal protection clause,” citing the Legislature throwing out all the maps proposed by the Citizens Redistricting Committee and instead drawing their own hyper-partisan map.

Gallegos referred to other evidence, including soon-to-be former House Speaker Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe) and other lawmakers blatantly bragging about how this map would help Democrats and harm Republicans. These arguments, as well as the communities of interest “cracked” in parts, violates citizens’ rights via “vote dilution.”

Right before 3:00 p.m., the court adjourned, with Chief Justice C. Shannon Bacon saying the Court would need time to deliberate before coming back with a decision, citing no extreme time constraints. However, Bacon said, “We will get you the outcome as soon as practicable.”

Unidentified gunman at large after shooting up Dem politicians’ ABQ homes

In a strange turn of events in Albuquerque, multiple metro-area lawmakers and local officials’ homes and places of business were shot up in drive-by shootings. The shootings mysteriously didn’t hit a single person, which has raised questions.

The politicians who were apparently targeted included outgoing Bernalillo County Commissioner Debbie O’Malley, Commissioner Adriann Barboa, and two legislators. Sen. Linda Lopez and newly appointed Sen. Antonio “Moe” Maestas were apparently targeted, although gunshots were heard near Maestas’ office, not his home.

The Albuquerque Police Department (APD) is still investigating the cause of the shots, but APD Chief Harold Medina said, “The evidence will lead us. … The investigation hopefully will determine what’s related and what’s not related,” Medina said during a news conference Thursday afternoon. “But we want to assure everybody that we are taking this seriously,” according to the Albuquerque Journal.

The first shooting happened on December 4, 2022, at Barboa’s residence around 4:41 p.m., which is strange because it was still light outside when it happened. On December 11, someone fired at O’Malley’s home, while Lopez’s home was shot at around midnight on Tuesday. 

O’Malley said that her home is not easily accessible, and that is why she believes she was targeted. “Somebody wanted to hit this house,” she commented.

The Journal noted that on Thursday, “city ShotSpotter technology detected three shots fired in the vicinity of a Downtown building where Maestas has an office. Police said they found no damage to the building. Maestas did not respond to a Journal message Thursday afternoon seeking comment.”

One connection all the lawmakers have is that they all were involved in one way or another in the appointment of Maestas to the state Senate in November, while his former seat in the state House garnered controversy from many on the left regarding who should fill it. It ultimately led to educator Marsella Duarte holding the seat until the end of the year. Another person will have to be appointed to fill the vacancy for the new term beginning January 17, 2022.

Biden to finally visit southern border

On Thursday, Joe Biden agreed to finally visit the United States’ southern border with Mexico, saying in an address regarding immigration from the White House’s Roosevelt Room that he will visit El Paso, Texas, on Sunday.

According to CNBC, Biden’s plans to curb the immigration catastrophe include “extending a migrant parole process to allow entry and temporary work authorization for up to 30,000 people per month from Venezuela, Cuba, Haiti and Nicaragua. The policy, which was previously available only to Venezuelan nationals, has significantly reduced the number of people attempting to enter the U.S. unlawfully, the White House said.”

Biden said during the speech, “It’s not like people are sitting around a table somewhere in Central America saying ‘I got a great idea. Let’s sell everything we have. Let’s give it to a coyote…They’ll take us on a harrowing journey…then we’re gonna illegally cross the border.” 

Katie Pavlich of responded on Twitter, “Actually, this is exactly what is happening and Biden’s catch-and-release policies are enabling a multi-billion dollar cartel trafficking industry.”

Biden said during the presser, “Do not just show up at the border. Stay where you are and apply legally from there…. Starting today, if you don’t apply through the legal process, you will not be eligible for this new parole program.”

Here is more from the press conference:

Biden praised his “border czar,” Kamala Harris, for her response to the border crisis. She has not visited the border a single time while in his administration.

When visiting New Mexico and Arizona during the 2022 campaign to promote Democrat candidates such as open border-supporting New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, he refused to visit the border to see the humanitarian crisis exacerbated by his administration’s weak immigration policies. 

MLG’s new NMDOH pick has scant health background, backed lockdowns

Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham recently announced she would be nominating outgoing Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen, 59, as her new cabinet secretary for the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) after Dr. David Scrase of the Human Services Department remained as acting director.

Scrase’s tenure came after the departure of Secretary Tracie C. Collins, who was only confirmed by the state Senate in 2021. Since the beginning of her regime, Lujan Grisham has constantly had personnel and cabinet members flee or be forced out after short tenures.

Allen, an appointee of unpopular lame-duck Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, is being forced out of a job in Oregon as incoming Democrat Gov. Tina Kotek pledged to oust the controversial cabinet chief who was making a hefty $253,308 a year. Kotek’s win prompted his resignation, writing that he was “sad to be leaving this work behind.”

Now, Lujan Grisham has scooped him up to head her NMDOH, writing that Allen “shares my vision of a New Mexico that fosters better health outcomes for every resident of our beautiful state.” It is unclear what his salary will be in his new gig.

Allen claimed he was “proud” of his COVID-19 response in Oregon, despite abysmal pandemic policies that resulted in child suicides, increased deaths, and economic catastrophe. He also said he moved toward “health equity” to coerce people of color (Latino, Black, African American, and African Immigrants) into getting jabbed against the virus.

Despite this, in his resignation letter, he wrote to Brown regarding her lockdowns, “You have made hard choices that enabled us to save thousands of people in  Oregon and navigate the worst health crisis our nation has faced in more than a century. I  appreciate the integrity of your leadership and all the support you’ve given me and the staff at OHA.”

Similar to Lujan Grisham, Allen also shamed residents of his soon-to-be former state of Oregon for not abiding by the extreme COVID lockdown measures enacted by Brown, as evidenced below:

In actuality, Allen has no experience in public health before Brown’s appointment, with a background on a local Sherwood planning commission. His degree in economics from Oregon State University, with no public health focus. He also is not an osteopath or medical doctor. 

According to the Oregon Capital Chronicle, the Oregon Health Authority, under his leadership, “has failed to help people with mental health and addiction problems, critics say. They point out it has been slow to distribute more than $1 billion to create behavioral health programs and new facilities, as well as addiction treatment networks as part of the rollout of Measure 110, Oregon’s drug decriminalization measure that included a plan to step up treatment. In national studies, the state has repeatedly had the highest or close to the highest rate of people with mental health and addiction problems in national studies.”

According to the Chronicle, “Allen had a ‘serious’ fall on Jan. 23 and was hospitalized, according to a news release from the agency two days later. He was evaluated for heart issues and returned to his home in Sherwood within three days. The health authority said he did not have COVID-19.” 

Critics have suggested Allen’s fall could have been due to alcoholism, namely “binge drinking,” which resulted in a large dent left in his forehead. Others have criticized him due to his lack of apparent personal health fitness and wondered if he has the stamina for the job.

ABQ begins deadly 2023 with first homicide investigation launched

2022 appeared to be the deadliest year on record in Albuquerque, but 2023 may be looking to rival the previous year with a brand new homicide investigation started on New Year’s Day.

According to the Albuquerque Journal, “Officers responded to reports of a man lying in the street shortly before 5 a.m. in the 7800 block of Central NE, which is near Pennsylvania, said APD spokeswoman Rebecca Atkins in a statement.”

Atkins said, “When officers arrived, the male was deceased and the Homicide Unit was called out to further investigate.”

In 2022, Albuquerque broke its 114 homicide investigation record with 121 homicides in 2021. The city broke its highest homicide record in 2021, and it has only grown since. 

According to Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) data from 2021, New Mexico ranked as the state with the second-highest crime rate in the nation, with crimes affecting 2.19% of the population. 

In 2021, for every 100,000 New Mexicans, law enforcement reported 2,189 crimes against persons or affecting 2.92% of the population. The only state with worse overall crime was Arkansas, with 2,276 crimes per 100,000 people. 

Albuquerque is one of the ten deadliest cities in the United States, according to SafeWise

Rep. Herrell’s message to voters of NM’s Second District: ‘I’m not done yet’

On Friday, Congresswoman Yvette Herrell of New Mexico’s Second District released a statement for the citizens of the District. She narrowly lost reelection to Democrat Gabe Vasquez in the November 8 election after Democrats gerrymandered the congressional map to remove the only Republican-leaning district. Despite that, Herrell came within approximately 1,000 votes of Vasquez.

Herrell wrote in the note to constituents, “Thank you for the opportunity to represent you in the US House of Representatives these last two action-packed years.”

“I have endeavored to defend your values, stand up for veterans and first responders, secure our borders, and be a voice for the ranchers, farmers, energy producers, and small businesses who keep our communities running. During my time in Congress, I’ve had the privilege of meeting and working with countless great patriots in New Mexico, people who are willing to fight for freedom and prosperity.” 

She continued:

These courageous men and women remain strong in hard times and don’t care about what the media or the Washington Establishment says–as long as they’re on the side of truth and justice. 

These patriots are moms and dads, employees and business owners, police and military; some bring the great wisdom and experience of many years, and others have the youthful energy we need to carry the banner of liberty forward to the next generation.

All will play a part in saving our great nation.  

That is why, as I depart Washington and head home to the plains and mountains we know so well, I know the future is in good hands, no matter what challenges lie ahead.

Serving the hardworking families of New Mexico has been my greatest honor, and I’m not done yet. 

Herrell has already filed paperwork for a rematch in 2024, and she has also hinted at a big announcement early next year, which could be her formally jumping in the ring for a bid to return to Congress.

The most read Piñon Post stories of 2022

2022 has been yet another crazy year in New Mexico, with lots of news we have been blessed to cover. Through it all, the Piñon Post has worked overtime to provide New Mexicans with top-notch independent news and conservative opinion for an informed New Mexico. 

This year, we have built an even larger audience, broken important stories, and done even more to represent New Mexicans in our media coverage. Here are the most-read stories of 2022 from the Piñon Post: 

Ex-Spaceport America CFO files suit, claims $200M in fraud by Gov. Lujan Grisham

APD makes likely biggest drug bust in NM history

As NM burns, MLG flies to D.C. for lavish wedding officiated by Kamala Harris

Data analysis appears to show abnormalities in NM election results

Chris Edwards, felon and self-dubbed ‘progressive,’ attacks Otero conservatives

Otero County Commission unanimously approves 2020 election audit

NM House Speaker Egolf does the unthinkable before Election Day

In shocking move, NM House GOP elects all new leadership

New Mexico county makes pro-life history

PED adopts MLG’s racist CRT standards, demands schools follow or be ‘held accountable’

Petition to strip Alamogordo’s pro-life sanctuary resolution fails miserably

GOP successfully kills MLG’s pro-election fraud bill by running out the clock

All the biggest victories during the 2022 Legislative Session

Biden’s EPA holding January hearings pushing for more enviro-Marxist regs

On January 10th through the 12th, Joe Biden’s U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be holding hearings to implement new enviro-Marxist policies aimed at “reducing emissions of methane and other … air pollution from both new and existing oil and gas operations” by “adding proposed requirements for sources not previously covered.”

New Mexico “climate change” believers are already lining up to testify in support of the anti-energy proposal, with claims that more regulation on private oil and gas will help save the planet.

“Melissa Hornbein, senior attorney with the Western Environmental Law Center, said to Kiowa County Press that the anti-energy rules will be “a step in improving a draft rule issued by the EPA last year.” Hornbein noted how the rules will be “primarily targeted at reducing venting and flaring.”

Four Corners-area resident Don Schreiber claimed in the report that “the extraction industry shouldn’t be allowed to continue self-reporting on its methane waste – which he described as the ‘fox guarding the henhouse,’  because the true value of royalties owed to the state remain unknown.”

The 288-page “emissions guidelines” text of the rule includes the word “emissions” 730 times.

The proposal would “limit the use of flares for eliminating venting of associated gas from oil wells. The supplemental proposal would require owners or operators to route associated gas to a sales line, use the gas for fuel or another beneficial purpose, or reinject it into a well for enhanced oil recovery. While the November proposal also would have allowed owners and operators to route associated gas to a flare that reduces methane and VOC by 95 percent, the supplemental proposal would allow flaring of the gas only if the owner or operator submits a demonstration, certified by a professional engineer or other qualified individual, that a sales line is not available and other beneficial uses are not feasible for technical or safety reasons.”

A shorter briefing on the new proposed rules can be found here.

The EPA wrote, “EPA will hold a public hearing January 10, 11 and 12, 2023, to provide the public the opportunity to present comments and information on the Agency’s to reduce methane and other harmful pollutants from oil and natural gas operations.”

More information regarding public comment can be found here.

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