Piñon Post

Fury erupts after Meow Wolf bigots shut down sold-out Jewish artist’s show

In Santa Fe, New Mexico, hip-hop fans were disappointed as a much-anticipated Matisyahu concert at Meow Wolf was abruptly canceled just two hours before it began. The artist, known for his vocal support of Israel amidst Hamas’ attacks, found his show halted under circumstances that have sparked widespread conversation.

Local pro-Hamas groups claim their pressure influenced Meow Wolf’s decision to cancel the event. In response, Meow Wolf cited vague safety concerns due to insufficient staff to manage the sold-out event as the reason for the cancellation. Kati Murphy, Meow Wolf’s Vice President of Public Relations and Communications, emphasized the importance of prioritizing the safety of both employees and guests.

Matisyahu took to social media to express his dismay, stating, “My fans and I should have played a sold-out show at Meow Wolf in Santa Fe last night… Instead, the staff at these venues refused to come to work, forcing cancellations.” He criticized the venue in Santa Fe for misleading fans by attributing the cancellation to “security concerns” when the actual issue was staff unwillingness to work the show.

The artist lamented the missed opportunity for unity through music, stressing that actions dividing people only serve to escalate tensions. Matisyahu vowed to continue promoting peace and unity through his music, promising his fans in Santa Fe and Tucson that they would sing together again soon.

Matisyahu at Republik Music Festival 4, Honolulu, Hawaii, June 9, 2014. Peter Chiapperino via Wiki Commons.

Santa Fe’s Mayor, Alan Webber, weighed in on the controversy, differentiating between protesting government policies and obstructing a Jewish-American artist’s performance. He condemned all forms of bigotry and called for peace in the Middle East, emphasizing the need for the safe return of all hostages and an end to violence.

The Jewish Community Relations Coalition-New Mexico also voiced concern in a letter to Mayor Webber, highlighting the cultural and economic significance of the arts in New Mexico. They expressed worry that the cancellation might set a precedent that limits artistic expression based on an artist’s background or views, potentially harming Santa Fe’s reputation as a nurturing environment for diverse artistic talents.

“Let us be clear: Matisayu, an American artist, became a target only because of his identity as a Jew with an affinity toward Israel.  This kind of targeting cannot be normalized,” the group wrote.

Antisemitic workers at Meow Wold spewed blatantly bigoted comments, with one writing that the show was canceled because they “disagree with the Zionist political ideals that Matisyahu holds.” 

Sen. Martin Heinrich’s wife, Julie Heinrich, serves as the executive director of the Meow Wolf Foundation. So far, it is unclear if she was involved in the venue’s decision to cancel the artist’s performance. 

The story has since hit national headlines, with outlets such as TMZ, the New York Post, and NBC News reporting the story.

In dramatic vote, NM House narrowly kills extreme anti-business bill

The far-left Democrats’ Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (S.B. 3) finally died on the House floor. The legislation, which proposed to provide New Mexico workers with paid leave for critical life events, faced its decisive moment on the House floor with a 34-36 defeat.

The bill’s advocates claimed it was to address a gap in worker benefits by ensuring paid time off for New Mexico’s workforce, irrespective of their current employment benefits. The proposed measure was comprehensive, offering up to 12 weeks of paid leave for employees to bond with a new child or mourn the loss of a child. Additionally, it included provisions for up to nine weeks of leave for employees or their family members facing serious health conditions. 

The legislation also recognized the supposed need of individuals recovering from domestic violence, categorizing this under “safe leave” by having their employer cover it. 

To support this ambitious program, the bill outlined a funding mechanism that involved contributions from both employees and employers with more than five workers. Specifically, the funding model proposed a contribution of $5 from workers and $4 from employers for every $1,000 earned in wages. This approach aimed to create a state fund dedicated to compensating workers during their leave periods via the dollars of hard-working taxpayers. 

Despite the bill’s intentions claiming to support workers during pivotal moments in their lives, opposition emerged, highlighting concerns from the business community. Critics argued that the provision for 12 weeks of leave was extreme and would pose significant operational challenges for many businesses. Furthermore, they contended that the bill’s criteria for qualifying circumstances were excessively expansive, potentially complicating its implementation.

The defeat of Senate Bill 3 on the House floor marks a pivotal moment in the ongoing debate over worker benefits in New Mexico. Proponents of the bill viewed it as a crucial step toward supporting workers and their families during times of need, while opponents raised concerns about its feasibility, impact on businesses, and the sky-high costs of goods and services that would undoubtedly result from its enactment.

Domenici officially becomes GOP U.S. Senate nominee to challenge Heinrich

Nella Domenici has officially been declared the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate seat in New Mexico, as confirmed by the state’s Secretary of State. Domenici, entering the general election race, emphasizes her commitment to the concerns of New Mexico voters and pledges to engage with and secure the support of constituents statewide.

“Our campaign is centered on the priorities of all New Mexico voters,” Domenici stated. “I am eager to connect with, listen to, and gain the trust of New Mexicans from every corner of the state.”

Domenici’s campaign has gained significant traction, evidenced by the substantial number of ballot petition signatures gathered—a number surpassing that of incumbent far-left Democrat Senator Martin Heinrich and all other candidates in the race. This achievement showcases widespread support across all 33 counties in New Mexico.

“The overwhelming support from families across the state, who are rallying behind our mission, underscores our shared commitment to collaboration over the prevailing dysfunction and partisanship in Washington,” Domenici remarked.

Positioning herself as a proactive representative for New Mexico in the Senate, Domenici aims to champion the state’s interests, foster solutions, and cater to the diverse needs of its residents.

“New Mexico’s rich heritage, its natural resources, and strategic institutions like national labs and military bases are invaluable assets. It’s imperative that we come together to harness these strengths for the betterment of our state and country,” she added.

Domenici concluded with a call for unity and a positive outlook on the upcoming electoral challenge: “I am deeply invested in the future of our nation and am confident in our prospects for success in New Mexico. Together, we are stronger.”

First and likely only anti-gun bill of 2024 Session heads to MLG’s desk

An anti-gun bill creating a mandatory seven-day waiting period for firearm transactions in New Mexico is now awaiting the governor’s approval following its passage in the state legislature after extensive discussions on Monday evening.

The bill underwent some revisions from its original form before securing approval with a narrow 36-32 vote, where it faced opposition primarily from Republican legislators, although some Democrats voted against the anti-gun bill. This marks the second occasion the House has deliberated on the bill due to amendments introduced by the Senate earlier in the session.

Key modifications to the bill pertain to exemptions from the seven-day waiting period. The exemptions apply to individuals with a federal firearm license, holders of a concealed carry license, law enforcement officers engaging in firearm transactions among themselves, and family members transferring firearms to one another.

However, some lawmakers believe the bill should include additional exemptions. State Rep. Stefani Lord (R-Sandia Park) expressed particular concern over the lack of an exemption for survivors of domestic violence, stating, “But the biggest thing for me on top of everything else, Mr. Speaker and gentle lady, was the fact that they didn’t allow the exemption for survivors of domestic violence. I think if you come in and have a restraining order, you are scared for your life, you are not living with this person, you are afraid they are going to kill you, you don’t have the opportunity to bypass that.”

Further adjustments by the Senate stipulate that if the mandatory federal background check is not completed within 20 days, the firearm sale may proceed. The initial version of the bill required buyers who did not pass the background check within the waiting period to fund a subsequent check. Additionally, the bill now exempts firearm mufflers and silencers from the waiting period.

This bill is among several firearm-related measures proposed by the governor at the start of the legislative session. Other pending proposals on the House floor include the bill to attack firearms manufacturers and sellers, stringent updates to the red flag law, a prohibition on semi-automatic firearms, and an increase in the minimum age for purchasing firearms to 21, stripping 18-20-year-olds of their constitutional rights, and a bill to ban “high capacity” magazines on firearms. With these bills currently at the midpoint of the legislative process, it is unlikely any other anti-gun bills may pass.

Las Cruces police officer fatally stabbed in the line of duty

In a tragic incident on Sunday evening, a police officer in New Mexico lost his life after being stabbed by a suspect during an on-duty altercation. The officer, identified as Las Cruces Patrol Officer Jonah Hernandez, was responding to a trespassing call when he was attacked and sustained at least one stab wound. 

The Las Cruces Police Department confirmed the incident in a statement on social media, noting that the assault occurred shortly before 5 p.m.

In the wake of the stabbing, a bystander who witnessed the attack utilized Hernandez’s police radio to summon emergency assistance. 

Despite being rushed to MountainView Regional Medical Center in Las Cruces, Officer Hernandez succumbed to his injuries. Coverage by CBS affiliate KDBC-TV captured the urgent efforts of first responders to transport both Hernandez and the assailant to medical facilities.

The assailant, a 29-year-old male, was reportedly shot dead by the same witness who intervened during the attack. Police have withheld the suspect’s name until his family is notified.

Officer Hernandez, who hailed from El Paso, Texas, had been a dedicated member of the Las Cruces Police Department for two years. He leaves behind a wife and two young sons. The police department has announced plans to release further details about the incident later in the week.

Located approximately 223 miles south of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and 46 miles northwest of El Paso, Texas, Las Cruces is now mourning the loss of one of its officers. 

This incident comes at a time when national statistics from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund indicate a 39% decrease in the number of officers who died in the line of duty in 2023 compared to the previous year, with only one officer fatally stabbed among the 136 line-of-duty deaths reported last year.

ABQ Journal editorial chides ineffective lawmakers for ‘whining’ about no salaries

In a recent editorial by the Albuquerque Journal, the unique nature of New Mexico’s Legislature, which convenes annually in Santa Fe to conduct state business, was scrutinized for its lack of urgency and efficiency. The editorial highlighted that New Mexico hosts the only unsalaried Legislature in the United States, a fact that sets it apart from other states, many of which operate on a part-time basis but still compensate their legislators.

The editorial questioned the necessity of a full-time Legislature in an era where significant policymaking often occurs through executive agencies and boards, citing examples such as the Environmental Improvement Board’s electric vehicle sales mandates and the Construction Industries Division’s EV charging infrastructure requirements. “More and more, the real lawmaking takes place at the level of boards, commissions, and state agencies through rule-making,” the editorial stated, pointing out the diminishing role of the Legislature in direct lawmaking.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Legislature’s lack of involvement in the governor’s emergency public health orders was noted, with lawmakers largely acquiescing to the executive branch’s decisions. This led the editorial to question the value of compensating such an “acquiescent group of lawmakers” who seem to readily align with the governor’s agenda.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, lawmakers had absolutely no official input in the governor’s emergency public health orders. And they were largely OK with that. Yet they continue to whine about not getting a paycheck from taxpayers. Earning one would be a good start,” the editorial read.

The discussion around legislative salaries has been ongoing for nearly two decades in New Mexico, with House Joint Resolution 7 recently proposing a constitutional amendment to allow for legislative compensation. The resolution suggests creating a citizen commission to authorize payment of legislative salaries, which would require a referendum to amend the state Constitution that currently prohibits lawmaker compensation beyond per diem and mileage reimbursements.

Public opinion on legislative salaries, longer sessions, and increased staffing shows varying levels of support, but the editorial argued that the cost of even modest salaries for legislators could be significant for taxpayers. With legislative salaries in other states averaging around $19,000 for part-time lawmakers, the editorial suggested that New Mexico should consider similar modest compensation, if any, given its status as one of the smaller states in the nation.

The editorial concluded that while exploring legislative salaries is worthwhile, it should be approached with caution and clear limits to avoid excessive taxpayer expenditure. “Lawmaker salaries are still worth looking into, but with clear caps on how far we’re willing to go spending taxpayer money now and in the future,” the editorial stated, emphasizing the need for fiscal prudence in any decision regarding legislative compensation.

The fate of extreme Dem alcohol tax increases has been determined

In New Mexico, attempts to massively increase alcohol taxation have stalled once more, with legislators deciding against increasing the alcohol excise tax or altering the distribution of the revenue toward treatment and prevention programs. The House Taxation and Revenue Committee was the battleground for two key pieces of legislation, but neither managed to progress beyond this point.

Following extensive discussions spanning two sessions, the first extending over three hours on Wednesday and a subsequent hour-long debate, Democratic Representative Cynthia Borrego expressed her reservations. “Probably more questions in my mind than answers,” Borrego remarked, highlighting the need for further refinement of the proposed bills.

One of the bills in question, House Bill 179, which proposed an extreme increase in the alcohol excise tax, was ultimately rejected by Borrego along with nine other committee members. The initial suggestion to elevate the tax by 25 cents per serving had already been scaled back to 12 cents in an effort to gain support.

The fate of the other proposed legislation, House Bill 213, was left undecided as the committee abstained from voting. The bill’s sponsor, Democrat Representative Micaela Lara Cadena from Las Cruces, indicated a deliberate choice to forego immediate action on the bill after fielding questions from her colleagues. This particular bill aimed to adjust the tax application from the wholesale to the retail level, thereby affecting the tax rate based on the price of the alcoholic beverages.

Both legislative proposals shared a common goal: to increase funding for the treatment and prevention of alcohol use disorders in New Mexico, a state grappling with the highest rate of alcohol-related deaths. Committee chair, Representative Derrick Lente of Sandia Pueblo, acknowledged the urgency of addressing the state’s alcohol-related issues but emphasized the necessity of a more thorough preparatory process involving all relevant stakeholders.

In the wake of the committee’s decision, Representative Joanne Ferrary of Las Cruces, the proponent of HB 179, stood up to affirm the extensive preparatory work behind her bill, which had been in the pipeline for two years. Her interjection was met with an interruption from Lente.

This latest development continues New Mexico’s long-standing hesitancy on alcohol excise tax reform, with no adjustments made in over three decades despite persistent efforts.

Republicans file to unseat Heinrich, Democrat U.S. reps.

On Tuesday, GOP candidates in Santa Fe initiated their campaign journey for the upcoming June 4 primary, aiming to challenge the current Democrat U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich and to secure key congressional seats.

Nella Domenici, a businesswoman and the daughter of the late U.S. Senator Pete Domenici, formally submitted her candidacy petition to the New Mexico Secretary of State’s office, eyeing the Republican nomination to confront Heinrich, who is vying for his third term in office.

In her early campaign declarations, Domenici has voiced her concerns over issues like inflation, crime, border control, and the welfare of children, though she opted not to provide further comments on Tuesday.

Her likely opponent in the GOP race is former Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales, who has recently switched from the Democrat Party to pursue the Republican Senate nomination, also filing his candidacy on the same day.

Gonzales, who served as sheriff since 2014 in New Mexico’s largest county, collaborated with then-President Donald Trump in 2020 on law enforcement initiatives and ran for the Albuquerque mayor’s office in 2021, albeit unsuccessfully.

This election cycle, Democrats are on the defensive, striving to maintain their slim 51-49 Senate majority, with 23 seats up for grabs.

Heinrich previously secured his seat in 2018, winning approximately 54% of the vote in a contest against Republican Mick Rich and Libertarian Gary Johnson, a former Governor of New Mexico.

In the race for the congressional seat along the Mexico-U.S. border, Republicans are rallying behind a candidate to challenge U.S. Rep. Gabe Vasquez. Yvette Herrell, looking to win back the 2nd District seat she lost in 2022, had her campaign manager submit her candidacy paperwork on Tuesday, making the district a focal point in the national debate as Republicans aim to maintain their narrow House majority.

Despite a legal challenge from the Republican Party against a Democrat-drawn gerrymandered congressional map that redefined the 2nd District, the fully Democrat-controlled New Mexico Supreme Court upheld the map.

Currently, Democrats hold sway in New Mexico, controlling both Senate seats, all congressional districts, and dominating state-wide elected positions as well as the state legislature.

In the 3rd Congressional District, former state Rep. Sharon Clahchischilliage from Gadii’ahi has thrown her hat in the ring for the Republican nomination to face off against Democrat Teresa Leger Fernandez, who is seeking her third term. Clahchischilliage aims to tackle regulatory overreach and boost economic prospects, citing concerns over policies affecting gun control and the energy sector.

For the 1st Congressional District, two Republicans are vying for the chance to challenge incumbent Democrat Melanie Stansbury. Louie Sanchez, an Albuquerque business owner, emphasizes public safety, gun rights, and economic issues, while Steve Jones, a CPA from Ruidoso, pledges to address federal spending and the national deficit.

Heinrich steps in it again, responds to blowback from embarrassing ‘elk’ post

On Monday, far-left U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich responded to massive social media blowback from his now-deleted Sunday X post that identified a bighorn sheep in the background of a photo shared as an “elk” that he called a “beautiful and amazing animal.”

Later Sunday, Heinrich tried to play interference by sharing what he called “Frito pie with homemade elk adovada” — the same “beautiful” creature he claimed to “interact with.”

Heinrich blamed the painfully out-of-touch post on his staff, writing on Twitter, “Sometimes you send your team a bunch of photos at once and they get jumbled up.”

He added, “Both animals have made amazing recoveries in New Mexico thanks to the work of conservationists.” 

New Mexicans were quick to respond to the clearly manufactured story about his staff supposedly mixing up the pictures.

“Ah the good old blame the staff routine. Amazing leadership from the Senator from Maryland” wrote one X user.

Another opined, “So, um, you killed that elk that was extinct over a century ago thus erasing all the work of previous conservationists. I don’t really think it was your interns. Just own it.”

“It took you over 24 hours to come up with this lame excuse. The only thing needing recovery in NM are the people from all you corrupt politicians,” continued one other New Mexican.

Far-left Dem NM legislators advance bill to hike alcohol taxes by up to 651%

On Monday, legislators in Santa Fe, New Mexico, advanced House Bill 213, which aimed to modify the state’s approach to alcohol taxation. The proposed legislation intends to shift the taxation from being imposed on wholesale transactions to being applied at the retail level.

According to the Legislative Finance Committee, this adjustment might lead to an increase in the cost of alcoholic beverages and cocktails when bought in dining establishments while potentially reducing the prices of certain packaged liquors sold in retail outlets. The committee highlighted that alcohol taxes in New Mexico have remained unchanged for over two decades.

The bill also suggests an exemption from excise taxes for small-scale producers such as microbreweries, craft distilleries, and boutique wine producers, maintaining a tax framework that favors these small entities.

During a session of the House Health and Human Services Committee on February 5, discussions were held regarding the allocation of these funds. 

A major amendment was made to establish an “alcohol and substance use harms alleviation fund.” This fund is designed to allocate half of its resources to secure federal matching funds aimed at preventing alcohol and substance misuse, with the remaining funds directed toward supporting local counties and the Indian Affairs Department.

According to Errors of Enchantment by the Rio Grande Foundation, the bill would hike prices on beer and cider by 651 percent, wine by 376 percent, spirits by 353 percent, and fortified wine by 161 percent.

“We have previously discussed the fact that New Mexico’s taxes on alcohol are NOT low. In fact, our tax on wine is already 5th-highest in the nation,” wrote the outlet.

Despite the bill’s progression, not all feedback was positive. Representative Joanne J. Ferrary (D-Doña Ana), the bill’s sponsor, expressed concerns to the committee, arguing that the proposed tax rates on beer might be insufficient to curb underage and excessive drinking.

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