Piñon Post

NM school board trainer on hot mic: ‘Parental rights end’ in public school

A new undercover audio recording released by Freedom Families United, a group that specializes in exposing educators and systems pushing “woke” policies, appears to show a New Mexico School Boards Association trainer, Andrew Sanchez, teaching school board members anti-parent policies.

“We’re going to start basic, really basic, power of the board. You… shall have the following power: to develop educational policy for the school district,” Sanchez says. 

“So guess what? You are potential targets with regards to any understandings of parental rights and/or subjects of curriculum.”

He told the school board members in training, “Remember, your most powerful governing tool is the power of the pocketbook. The school district doesn’t do anything unless you’re going to fund it, right? These are very fine points of why you’re so valuable and so important with regards to public education.” 

“Parental rights are developed by the common law. The idea of the common law was that only parents had the ability to tell… to say what was important for their child. Religious freedom: What basically the argument that has been happening now is people are arguing that the religious beliefs trump and allow them to discriminate against others.” 

He continued in the leaked audio, “In other words, now they are saying that the constitutional rights have precedence over each other. So you’re going to see a lot more everything based on that religious freedom-type argument.” 

“There are reasons why when you send your kid to school, you’ve given up some of that constitutional right. So, they can make decisions with regards to their [kids] without limitations on the custody and care… but when you send them to school, and by requiring school attendance, you don’t have that fundamental right anymore. In other words, the fundamental right of parents with regards to education is you get to pick the school [the child] goes to. You do not have the fundamental right to tell the school district how to teach your child. Your choice is if you don’t like it, you can go to a private school that was more aligned with your political or your religious beliefs” (emphasis added).  

Sanchez said, “So, this all boils down to parental rights being: They have the right to pick the system they want their kid to enter, but once they enter it, they cannot tell a public school how to teach their child or what to teach your child. You have the fundamental right, but once you’ve entered the public school system, the public school system prevails. Again, parental rights end when you send your kids to public school” (emphasis added).

He also went on to bash free states like Florida, erroneously claiming that the state “doesn’t even teach the Civil War anymore,” which is false. 

He said, “What you teach this generation that will soon be voting — the kids that are graduating next year turn 18 and vote in ‘24 — are instrumental to the future of us as a democracy and as society goes forward,” leaving out that the United States is a constitutional republic, not a democracy.” 

The Piñon Post contacted the New Mexico School Boards Association for comment but has not received a response as of publication. If the Association does respond, its comments will be updated in this article.

Watch the full video here:

Watch a snippet of the longer video here:

New ABQ abortion facility has ‘starting goal’ of killing 75 babies weekly

On Thursday, “Whole Woman’s Health,” an abortion facility formerly located in Texas, opened a new location in Albuquerque. It is located at 718 Lomas Boulevard Northwest.

The abortion company, which has been active for around 20 years, had abortion mills in Austin, McAllen, Fort Worth, and McKinney, Texas, before the state passed life-affirming laws protecting the rights of children in the womb from abortions.

Axios noted that the new Albuquerque abortion center “will serve New Mexico residents, plus folks from other states, like Texas and Oklahoma,” touting its abortion tourism in the Land of Enchantment. The facility has disclosed that 21 patients from Texas and three from Louisiana have already booked appointments at the Duke City abortion mill to kill their children over opening weekend.

The facility will perform first and second-trimester abortions up to 18 weeks of the child’s gestational age. It plans on expanding those services to late-term abortions “up to 24 weeks in the near future.” Also offered at Whole Woman’s Health are abortion pills at up to 11 weeks while setting a “starting goal” of killing up to 75 babies per week.

Axios reported, “Whole Woman’s Health chose Albuquerque because it’s in a ‘safe state’ and is easy to fly into,” meaning abortion is legal up to the moment of birth in New Mexico with absolutely no safety requirements for mothers, babies, or medical professionals.

The abortion company’s president and CEO, Amy Hagstrom Miller, said, “she chose a city over a small border town so patients and staff could be in a more populated area where they could blend in.”

The news comes after late-term abortionist Curtis Boyd, who is responsible for more infant deaths than any other abortionist in American history, has stopped offering abortions later in pregnancy in his Albuquerque center, Southwestern Women’s Options, which also previously had a location in Dallas, Texas before shuttering. 

Photo rendering of the proposed Holtec consolidated interim storage facility courtesy of Holtec International.

Law trying to ban Holtec project faces imminent court challenge

During the 2023 Legislative Session, Democrats rammed through the extreme S.B. 53 despite bipartisan opposition. 

Sens. Moe Maestas (D-Bernalillo) and Jerry Ortiz y Pino (D-Bernalillo), as well as Reps. Ambrose Castellano (D-Ribera), Christine Chandler (D-Los Alamos), Meredith Dixon (D-Bernalillo), Patricia Lundstrom (D-Gallup), and Joseph Sanchez (D-Alcalde), joined all Republicans in opposition to the unconstitutional bill.

The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Jeff Steinborn (D-Doña Ana) and Rep. Matthew McQueen (D-Santa Fe), aims to preempt the company Holtec International from being able to safely store used nuclear fuel rods in a temporary facility in Eddy and Lea Counties. Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham quickly signed it.

These safe fuel rods, housed in secure casks, would be transported by rail to the facility on train shipments specifically for storage. The project would account for over 350 new jobs. 

The casks are immune to hurricanes, floods, tornados, earthquakes, and even the impact of a plane crash. There would be no adverse effect on wildlife nor on groundwater, no radiological consequences in the event of a fire, and an inconspicuous design. 

The project, which already has gotten a positive environmental impact statement from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), is set to be approved within the next few weeks following the statement’s positive recommendation.

Despite the safe and secure record of nuclear production and storage from Holtec International, Democrats weaponized anti-nuclear propaganda during the committee process and on the House and Senate floors to claim the safe facility would turn New Mexico into a dumping ground — despite the facility not being permanent. The spent fuel would be stored at the Holtec site “until the Federal Government provides a repository for permanent storage or other permanent disposition as required by law,” according to Holtec. 

New Mexico is ideal for such a facility due to its “typography, arid climate, [the] sparse population at the site’s location, and proximity to transportation infrastructure,” Holtec wrote.

Now, Holtec is signaling a legal challenge against the unconstitutional. Holtec spokesman Patrick O’Brien wrote, “Passing a bill that is pre-empted by federal law and will be adjudicated accordingly in the courts is a counterproductive action that inhibits the state’s growth in the area of clean energy,” adding, “The project is safe, secure and does not impact the environment negatively and does not interfere with oil and gas production.”

Even former Attorney General Hector Balderas, a Democrat, wrote that the state has no jurisdiction to ban nuclear fuel storage in New Mexico.

He wrote in 2018, referencing case law, “Taken together, both Bullcreek and Nielson clearly establish two principles: first, that the NRC has the statutory authority to license and regulate consolidated interim nuclear waste storage facilities, and secondly, that the comprehensiveness of that federal regulatory scheme preempts virtually any state involvement.” 

Balderas further wrote in the opinion, “While there are a large number of factors that are considered by the NRC in evaluating a license application, state approval is not among them.” 

Even the Joe Biden administration has recognized the need for nuclear fuel, writing that it “made a commitment to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from the energy industry by 2035. Nuclear energy is a part of that solution.” 

Despite all sides coming together in support of nuclear energy being a viable solution to our nation’s energy needs, Democrats continue to harp on decades-old fear tactics to keep investment, namely the multi-billion-dollar Holtec project, from investing in New Mexico’s future. However, the court challenge to the unconstitutional law is imminent.

Photo rendering of the proposed Holtec consolidated interim storage facility courtesy of Holtec International.

Haaland cancels Native American village’s Trump-era land agreement

Joe Biden’s U.S. Interior Department Secretary Deb Haaland, a former Democrat congresswoman from New Mexico, canceled the Alaskan ​​Agdaagux Tribe of King Cove’s 2019 land agreement between the tribe and the Interior Department.

“The land exchange would have allowed a road through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge that lies between the Bering Sea and the Gulf of Alaska,” reported Native News Online (NNO).

Haaland’s office claimed the 2019 land agreement, signed by President Donald Trump’s former Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, “contained several procedural flaws and was not consistent with Departmental policy” in defense of the cancellation of the tribe’s land deal.

“Tuesday’s announcement kills plans for a road to King Cove, Alaska, where almost 1,000 residents live, without access by a road. Currently, residents must travel by air or boat to get to more populated areas of Alaska,” NNO further reported. 

Haaland said following the announcement, “The debate around approving the construction of a road to connect the people of King Cove to life-saving resources has created a false choice, seeded over many years, between valuing conservation and wildlife or upholding our commitments to Indigenous communities. I reject that binary choice. I am a lifelong conservationist, and I believe deeply in the need to protect our lands and waters and honor our obligations to Tribal Nations. Respecting Tribal sovereignty means ensuring that we are listening – really listening – to Tribal communities.”

Suzanne Downing of Must Read Alaska wrote after the announcement: 

When Haaland was pressured to approve the ConocoPhillips Willow Project, a modest oil field in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, she did so against her will.

Haaland choked up while speaking with a room of Alaska Natives from the radical side of the spectrum who oppose the drilling permit, as she explained her agency had “difficult choices to make,” according to those present at the meeting.

​​Now, however, Haaland is in a dark mood. She lost face among Nuiqsut village leaders when she was forced to announce the Willow record of decision, and she was out for blood. She took her revenge on the people of King Cove, about half of which are Alaska Natives, by unilaterally taking back the land the department had already traded.

Haaland’s actions are inconsistent with her stated support for the Natives of Alaska. She denied a life-saving road for the purpose of face saving, virtue signaling and score settling in a corner of the world that the Biden Administration continues to treat as a colony.

Haaland has once again gone against tribal interests to instead side with radical left-wing “climate change” activists who would rather see these nations fail than give the Agdaagux Tribe autonomy.

Dem lawmakers ram through bad bills ahead of Saturday adjournment

On Friday, New Mexico legislative Democrats rammed through many extreme bills during the last full day of the 2023 Legislative Session.

Some of these bills included: 

S.B. 53: Trying to preempt Holtec from building a nuclear storage facility in southeastern New Mexico. Democrats, including sponsor Rep. Matthew McQueen (D-Santa Fe, Sandoval), erroneously claimed the company would make the state the “dumping ground” of spent nuclear fuel but failed to talk about how safe the facility is or the vast economic opportunities its location in the Land of Enchantment would be. It passed on a mostly party-line 35-28 vote. It was quickly signed by Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

S.B. 13: The chamber endorsed the radical bill that would censor pro-life speech and ban extradition of criminal abortionists who break the law in other states passed the House despite bipartisan opposition and a lengthy three-hour debate. It passed 38-30, with six Democrats joining all Republicans in opposition. 

S.B. 468: The bill declaring a state holiday for the radical far-left labor activist Dolores Huerta passed the House by a vote of 50-10.

S.B. 426: The bill creates a new civil rights division in the Attorney General’s Office that will cost New Mexicans millions over the next three-year period. Its creation was because of the state’s Civil Rights Act which attacks local government and police departments by opening the door to floodgates of frivolous lawsuits.

All anti-gun bills other than H.B. 9, which would mandate the locking up of firearms, appear to be dead as both houses of the legislature speed ahead toward a 12:00 noon adjournment on Saturday.

One key item of legislation, H.B. 547, a tax package that could raise taxes by over $114 million annually, is still up in the air due to the House and Senate not agreeing on the bill’s provisions. It could pass on Saturday if both chambers agree with changes made in a conference committee.  

There have been rumors Gov. Lujan Grisham is thinking about a special session, but news of such a move would likely only be known following the end of the current session.

Many Dem anti-gun bills facing likely death as legislature wraps up

As of Thursday, the New Mexico House and Senate have passed one anti-gun bill that has been sent to Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham for a signature — H.B. 9 felonizing New Mexicans who do not lock up their guns.

However, other anti-gun bills are waiting in the legislature waiting for either the House or Senate to take action.

S.B. 44, sponsored by Sen. Peter Wirth (D-Santa Fe), bans citizens from carrying a firearm within 100 feet of a polling place during an election, including absentee ballot drop boxes. There are no exceptions for concealed carry or for having a firearm in one’s car within 100 feet of that polling location. The bill has passed through the Senate but still awaits action by the House to approve it.

S.B. 428 by Sen. Joseph Cervantes (D-Doña Ana), which targets firearm retailers and manufacturers, is an “attempt to circumvent the Federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act through New Mexico’s Unfair Practices Act. The bill would try [to] make it easier to sue a firearm manufacturer or retailer in New Mexico,” according to the New Mexico Shooting Sports Association. The bill would still need to advance from House Judiciary Committee and then be passed by the full House, which is unlikely. 

H.B. 100 and 101 by Rep. Andrea Romero (D-Santa Fe) have yet to advance to the full House. H.B. 101, which is to mandate a 14-day waiting period before firearm purchases, has not been scheduled for a floor vote. 

H.B. 100, which would make most New Mexico gun owners felons by labeling their firearms over 10-round capacities “assault weapons,” has not been scheduled for House Judiciary Committee. Due to the late date, it is likely dead since it has not even passed through one house. 

A similar bill in the Senate, S.B. 427 By Cervantes and Romero, has yet to pass through the full Senate.

S.B. 116 by Sen. Carrie Hamblen (D-Doña Ana) would mandate a person must be 21 to purchase a firearm. The bill is still stuck in the Senate Judiciary Committee and is likely dead since it has not even passed through the full Senate chamber yet.

On Saturday, March 18, 2023, at 12:00 noon, the 2023 Legislative Session will end, where the final results will show if Democrats can successfully ram through any other anti-gun bill before the clock runs out. 

Dems block attempt to hear bill fixing medical malpractice catastrophe

On Saturday, New Mexico state Rep. Bill Rehm (R-Bernalillo) made a motion on the House floor to remove H.B. 88, which has been languishing in the House Health and Human Services Committee and add it for consideration by the full House.

H.B. 88 amends the Medical Malpractice Act to replace the unreasonable $4 million claim cap with only a $750,000 cap to keep healthcare providers in the state. 

Dozens of physicians and other medical professionals were in the House gallery waiting for the Legislature to take action on the critical bill that would retain doctors in the state.

Democrats objected to Rep. Rehm’s motion, claiming “the motion is proper,” as Rep. Andrea Romero (D-Santa Fe) stated, but it was not in congruence with the history of the chamber. 

Speaker Javier Martinez (D-Bernalillo) ruled that Rehm’s motion was out-of-order. The motion to uphold his order passed on a vote of 40-26. Another motion by Rep. Rehm to withdraw the bill from the Health and Human Services Committee to the House Judiciary Committee also failed, with a 39-27 vote.

“It is no secret that doctors are leaving our state, we are in crisis, and it is being ignored by Democrats,” said State Rep. Bill Rehm (R-Albuquerque). “So many New Mexicans will be disappointed to learn their healthcare has again been threatened in favor of a political agenda.” 

“If not now, then when? When will the Legislature take the time to properly address this doctor crisis?” said Ranking Republican on the House Health and Human Services Committee, Jenifer Jones (Deming). “Using the committee process as an excuse is just that, New Mexicans need healthcare and not excuses.”

“We have stood adamantly against the regressive medical malpractice changes that created this unnecessary crisis that is forcing New Mexicans to lose their doctors,” said State Rep. Jim Townsend (R-Artesia). “New Mexicans should not be forced to endure extended wait times or travel clear across the state or sometimes across state borders to get healthcare. This is a crisis, and it is disappointing that Democrats are refusing to right the wrong they created.”

The doctors walked out of the chamber after the move to take action on the important issue failed.

Bill to erode election security one hurdle away from becoming law

On Wednesday, the New Mexico Senate voted 27-14 to pass H.B. 4, an extreme rewrite of many portions of the state’s election code. 

Provisions in the bill would erode election security by letting felons vote, mandating a permanent absentee voter list, mandatory ballot drop boxes, and mandating voters be automatically registered at the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD), where they would have to opt out by mail.

There were many concerns in committees and during floor discussions about the bill infringing on religious freedoms because some religions do not permit voting. Forcibly registering people to vote would be a violation.

According to the bill’s fiscal impact report, the Taxation and Revenue Department reports that “implementation of this bill will have a high impact on its IT Division. The estimated time to develop, test, and implement the changes is approximately 2,704 hours or 17 months and approximately $717,700 ($567,800 contractual resources including gross receipts tax and staff workload costs of $149,900). The bill will require MVD to partner with [the Secretary of State’s office] to make changes to the interface between the two agencies.”

According to the New Mexico Sun, “The New Mexico Business Coalition (NMBC) strongly opposes HB 4. NMBC President Carla Sonntag published a letter arguing that the legislation would endanger both voting rights and voting system integrity in many ways, including automatically registering voters without their consent, increasing the likelihood of non-U.S. citizens being registered to vote and giving full voting rights to felons prior to completion of parole/probation.”

Following the Senate vote, Republican Senate Leader Brian Baca said in a statement, “I am incredibly disappointed in the Secretary of State and Democratic legislators who put progressive special interests above the people of New Mexico with the passage of this legislation,” adding, “The only beneficiaries of this legislation are felons and those seeking to compromise the integrity of our elections.”

While the bill was in the House, Republicans attempted to amend it with a provision to require photo identification to vote, which all died. In the Senate, Republicans attempted to add amendments, including one to create an opt-in system for the MVD registrations. Those attempts failed also.

Since the Senate amended the bill in that chamber, it will now have to go back to the House for concurrence. If that happens, it will go to Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s desk, where she is all but guaranteed to sign it. New Mexicans can contact their state representatives to ask them to oppose the bill.

Santa Fe judge releases alleged pedophile pre-trial

On March 3, 2023, a former teacher at Holy Cross Catholic School in Santa Cruz, Calvin Robinson, 41 of Española, was released on an ankle monitor after his February 14, 2023, arrest on sex crimes charges.

Robinson was held on one count of criminal sexual penetration in the second degree, three counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor in the second degree, two counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor in the third degree (all felonies), and one count of enticement of a child, which is a misdemeanor.

The suspected pedophile was released pre-trial by Santa Fe District Judge T. Glenn Ellington of Division VII, a Democrat, on March 2, 2023, according to court records. Robinson was placed on the pretrial services electronic monitoring program.

“[Robinson] has demonstrated by his conduct with [the girl] that he has a single-minded determination when he has selected a young victim, strongly suggesting that any child within [his] orbit is in danger,” Assistant District Attorney Shelby Bradley wrote in the Feb. 17 motion requesting a hearing aimed at keeping Robinson jailed, the Rio Grande Sun reported.

KOB 4 News reported that Robinson was accused of “allegedly abusing a 13-year-old student” at the school. According to an archive of the Holy Cross school’s website, Robinson taught fifth grade.

The outlet further reported, “The victim, who attended the elementary school from Aug. 2021 until May 2022, came forward in January to report the crimes. The sexual abuse claims were corroborated by other students at the school, prosecutors said.”

“[T]he victim was seated next to Robinson’s desk when the teacher unzipped her pants and placed his hands inside, records allege. The child tried to push Robinson’s hands away several times, police said. When she wouldn’t unzip her pants, Robinson unzipped them, police said.” Multiple assaults allegedly happened on the young girl, including repeated touching and kissing.

It is unclear when the alleged pedophile’s court date will be, but without New Mexico’s bail system, it appears this led to the release of the accused sex criminal.

Dems advance bill to give governor, other politicians a $60K pay raise

On Monday, the New Mexico Senate Finance Committee voted 8-3 to pass S.B. 442, which would give the governor and other statewide elected officials a hefty $59,714 pay raise.

In addition to Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, all other statewide officials, including Lt. Gov. Howie Morales, Attorney General Raúl Torrez, Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, State Auditor Joseph Maestas, Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard, and Treasurer Laura Montoya would get the raise.

According to the bill’s fiscal impact report, “Current law requires salaries from elected officials be paid from the general fund, except for the commissioner of public lands, who is paid from the state lands maintenance fund.”

During the committee’s consideration of the bill, Sen. Bill Sharer said, “Those are huge numbers; I never got an increase like that,” adding, “I’m concerned by these, what appear to be, colossal pay raises.”

Toulouse Oliver was happy to admit she wants a pay raise, claiming she would “welcome” the salary bump.

She said, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican, “We have lives and families to support just like everybody else.”

“This isn’t so much about making money — none of us went into government to get rich or to make money…. I just need to be able to pay my bills and deal with inflation, the cost of living that’s really high right now. I’m a single mom, so for me, it’s much needed and very welcome and appreciated.”

Currently, the governor makes $110,000, while the auditor, treasurer, and secretary of state all make $85,000. The attorney general makes $95,000, and the land commissioner makes $90,000 annually. 

The bill now goes to the Senate Finance Committee for consideration. 

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