On Monday, the New Mexico Senate Judiciary Committee tabled 6-3 an extreme anti-gun bill, S.B. 171, by Sen. William Soules (D-Doña Ana).
According to the bill’s fiscal impact report, it would have prohibited “the manufacture, sale, barter, trade, gift, transfer or acquisition of… Assault pistols; Automatic firearms; Rifles with barrel lengths less than 16 inches; Shotguns with barrel lengths less than 18 inches; Mufflers, silencers, or devices for deadening or muffling the sound of discharged firearms; Any type of ammunition or any projectile component thereof coated with Teflon or any other similar coating designed primarily to enhance its capabilities to penetrate metal or pierce protective armor; and Any type of ammunition or any projectile component thereof designed or intended to explode or segment upon impact with its target.”
The panel’s chairman Sen. Joseph Cervantes (D-Doña Ana), joined all Republicans and Sens. Bill O’Neill and Daniel Ivey-Soto (D-Albuquerque) in tabling the bill.
After the bill was defeated, Senate Republican Leader Sen. Greg Baca wrote in a press release, “Like most of the gun bills being considered this Session, Senate Bill 171 needlessly targets law-abiding citizens and threatens them with a felony for exercising their Second Amendment right.”
The committee’s overwhelming rejection of the extreme ant-gun bill could be a sign that another extreme attack on the Second Amendment, H.B. 101 by Rep. Andrea Romero (D-Santa Fe), could die. The bill would make most New Mexican gun owners felons by banning nearly all firearms over ten rounds.
H.B. 101 previously passed the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee on a party-line vote and awaits a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee. If it survives that committee, it would then need to pass the entire House and the Senate, where it is likely to die in Senate Judiciary Committee.
Also on Monday, the House Government, Elections, and Indian Affairs Committee advanced a bill along party lines to ban firearms within 100 feet of polling places. This would include ballot drop boxes and ban concealed carry at the polls.
James Mountain, a former San Ildefonso governor who is Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s pick to lead the New Mexico Indian Affairs Department, was previously indicted on charges of rape, kidnapping, and aggravated battery back in 2007.
According to KUNM, “in 2010, the charges were dropped because the prosecution had insufficient evidence to proceed to trial, and court records were then sealed.”
Mountain threw the victim down on the bed and got on top of her, the report says. The victim said she told Mountain “no,” and he should stop when he began to touch her breasts under her shirt and “get aggressive,” according to the report. Mountain took off her jeans and underwear and raped her, the report says.
“When (the victim) began to scream for (her cousin) to help her, James covered her face with a white pillow he had grabbed from the head of the bed,” the report says. “(The victim) told James she could not breathe and explained she thought she was going to lose consciousness.”
When Mountain finished, the victim ran out the bedroom door, which had been locked, and woke up her cousin, the report states. She told the cousin what had happened and the cousin called 911, according to the report.
TheAssociated Pressreported, “On Friday, as calls for Mountain’s recusal from state leaders and activists continued to surface, a spokesperson for New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said the governor was ‘aware’ of the allegations against Mountain but does not intend to withdraw her nomination.”
Democrat state Sen. Antoinette Sedillo-Lopez said that Mountain should be “fully vetted” before being confirmed by the state Senate for the role.
“I’m very troubled by the idea of having someone with his kind of record in that position that oversees the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Relatives Task Force,” she said.
State Sen. Shannon Pinto (D-Tohatchi) said, “I’ve been fighting this, will fight it ‘til the end,” adding, “There’s not any compromise for me in it to support it in any manner. It’s just not something that can happen right now. This is not the time. This is not the place. This is not the position that can be compromised, as far as the figurehead representing Native American people within our state.”
It is unclear if Mountain will make it through the Senate confirmation process amid the rape allegations that still loom large over his confirmation.
The New Mexico Senate Finance Committee narrowly passed S.B. 11 by Sen. Mimi Stewart (D-Bernalillo), which would create “ a 12-week Paid Family Medical Leave (PFML) benefit for nearly all workers in the state,” according to the bill’s fiscal impact report.
“The bill would require employee contributions of 0.5 percent and employer contributions of 0.4 percent of wages into the newly established PFML fund.” However, businesses with five employees or fewer would be exempt.
Sen. George Muñoz (D-Gallup) joined the four Republicans on the panel to reject the bill, although it squeaked by on a 6-5 vote.
According to the Albuquerque Journal, Sen. William Sharer (R-Farmington) said, “We want to be compassionate. We just don’t want to have our hands tied about how compassionate we have to be.”
Terri Cole, the president and CEO of the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce, said during testimony, “If you pass this bill, New Mexico will become more corporate and less unique.”
The Journal noted, “Specifically, the bill analysis projected the fund could face a $516 million deficit by the 2028 budget year — a figure that could cause the state Workforce Solutions Department to order an increase in the premium amount that businesses and employees would have to pay into the fund.”
Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has not yet endorsed the bill, although it is likely she would if it came to her desk.
Leftists have been ramming extreme bills through this session, including proposals to force public bodies to facilitate abortions and transgender surgeries (H.B. 7), new gun bans (H.B. 9), bills to weaken New Mexico elections (H.B. 4), and eco-left bills (H.B. 95), which have already passed the House.
S.B. 11 now heads to the Senate floor for a full vote, and if it is successful, it will need to pass the House in the fewer than four weeks left in the 2023 Legislative Session.
On Friday, Tucker Carlson, host of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight, pondered what a “helpful” balloon is after Kamala Harris recently said in an interview that the Chinese spy balloon was “not helpful.”
“Surely and certainly, that balloon was not helpful, which is why we shot it down,” Harris said in an interview with NBC News.
Carlson said in his monologue, “A new policy has been announced by Kamala Harris, and that is that all ‘non-helpful’ balloons will be shot down.”
“Now, unfortunately, hot air balloon season is starting soon in Albuquerque and around the country. Are they going to be shot down? Are they helpful balloons or non-helpful balloons ‘in terms of’ shooting them down?”
He added, “Balloonists across America need some clarification on that.”
Although tongue in cheek, Carlson’s point notes how apparently clueless the Joe Biden administration is in handling the Chinese spy balloon, which crossed over the entire country and likely took aerial photographs of key United States military installments before being shot down in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of South Carolina.
This week, multiple unidentified flying objects have also been shot down by the Department of Defense, and others have been shot down over the country of Canada.
On Friday, the state House of Representatives passed H.B. 95, which would codify the “Renewable Energy Office” to fulfill the Energy Transition Act (New Mexico’s Green New Deal) into the state Land Office.
Currently, the Renewable Energy Office is a function of the Land Office under Democrat state Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard, but the bill would make this office permanent for all future land commissioners.
During the debate, the sponsor, state Rep. Tara Lujan (D-Santa Fe), admitted that despite wind energy making up around 30 percent of the state’s energy generation, the industry only brought in an annual $10 million in revenue to the Land Office, while oil and gas produced over $2 billion.
According to the bill’s fiscal impact report, “The office currently has 39 active long-term
renewable energy leases (27 wind and 12 solar) and 33 lease applications under review.”
It is unclear if there is an exhaustive list of what is included in “renewables,” but the sponsor noted how nuclear energy and extractive industries, such as oil, gas, and coal, were not within the office’s definition of renewable.
“The Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department contends in-state renewable energy is key to meeting the goals of the Energy Transition Act, enacted in 2019,” the fiscal impact report further states.
The bill passed the House. It now moves over to the state Senate for consideration on whether or not the state will codify the Renewable Energy Office.
On Friday, a pro-life bill, H.B. 258, will be heard in the House Health and Human Services Committee at 8:30 a.m. The bill, sponsored by state Rep. John Block (R-Alamogordo), is dubbed the “New Mexico Heartbeat Act” to protect children in the womb from the moment a fetal heartbeat is detected.
The bill reads, “A health care provider who knowingly performs an abortion and thereby kills a human fetus without determining, according to standard medical practice, whether the fetus has a detectable heartbeat; without informing the pregnant woman of the results of that determination; or after determining, according to standard medical practice, that the fetus has a heartbeat is guilty of a third degree felony resulting in the death of a human fetus.”
Block’s legislation also reaffirms that the woman would not be liable, but rather the doctor performing the illicit procedure. It reads, “Nothing in this section shall be construed to
allow the prosecution of a woman who receives an abortion.”
Contact the members of the committee to urge their support. Their contact information can be found here:
Chair: Elizabeth “Liz” Thomson (D). District 24 (Bernalillo). Room 314B, 986-4425. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
On Wednesday, so-called “faith leaders” gathered in a committee room at the state Capitol in Santa Fe to promote killing children through abortions. At the press conference, the individuals showcased a letter organized by the “New Mexico Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.”
The letter proclaimed that the signers “feel called to declare our support for a woman’s ability to access abortion and other reproductive healthcare services as a basic issue of health and safety for women and their families.”
“Our religious principles are grounded in a love and acceptance of all people, and we believe deeply that means ending the shame and stigma associated with abortion and increasing access for all women to a full range of reproductive healthcare options.”
“These women are our neighbors, our co-workers, our friends, and our peers. As people of faith and as New Mexicans, we believe in loving our neighbors and treating one another as we would like to be treated—with dignity and respect,” and therefore, they back aborting children.
At the press conference, the speakers, which included the heads of groups like “Catholics for Choice,” claimed there was a “false narrative” that faith leaders were against abortion.
Robert Tso, pastor of Victory Life Church in Shiprock, and Republican Party of New Mexico Executive Committee member responded to the pro-abortion so-called “faith leaders.”
“More than ever, faith leaders need to speak up for life and confront progressive politics that seek to compromise God’s word. We should lead young women to the grace and love of Jesus Christ, not the abortion clinic,” he wrote in a statement.
“Our Christian faith does not stand for the murder of innocent life and as faith leaders, we must ‘let our yes be yes, and our no be no’ without compromise on this matter (Matthew 5:37). Scripture says, ‘Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you,’ affirming every unborn life has value and purpose (Jeremiah 1:5). Let us continue to pray for the end of abortion and for a state that honors the sanctity of life.”
The Republican Party of New Mexico wrote in addition, “The Republican Party of New Mexico strongly opposes anti-life bills like HB 7 and other legislation pushed by progressive Democrats that will solidify New Mexico as the nation’s abortion capital.”
On Monday, the New Mexico House Commerce and Economic Development Committee voted 6-4 to table H.B. 28, a bill by Rep. Miguel Garcia (D-Albuquerque) to increase the minimum wage by tying it to the Consumer Price Index, an inflation calculator.
Two Democrats joined all the Republicans on the panel in tabling the bill.
The move likely spells doom for another bill by Rep.Christine Chandler (D-Los Alamos), H.B. 25, which would dive up the minimum wage to $15.50 by January 1, 2025.
Garcia described his bill as “dead.”
Following the meeting, Chandler told the Santa Fe New Mexican, “I still think we need to increase the minimum wage and apply the [consumer price index],” claiming she feels “pretty good” about her bill’s chances of passage.
Chandler’s bill reads, “On January 1, 2026 and on January 1 of each successive year, the minimum wage rate provided by Paragraph (4) of Subsection A and Paragraph (5) of Subsection C of this section shall be adjusted by multiplying the minimum wage as of January 1, 2025 by a fraction, the numerator of which is the consumer price index ending in September of the previous year and the denominator of which is the consumer price index ending September 2024; provided that the minimum wage rate shall not be adjusted downward as a result of a decrease in the consumer price index. By November 1, 2025 and by November 1 of each successive year, the workforce solutions department shall post on its website and otherwise notify employers of the minimum wage for the next year.”
Rep. Linda Serrato (D-Santa Fe) said, “Minimum wage shouldn’t be determined by a legislative body.”
Now, as the committee moves to consider Chandler’s bill, hesitancy by a majority of the panel’s members could mean it will meet a similar fate.
On Sunday, the Alamogordo Public School Board voted unanimously to put Superintendent Kenneth Moore on paid administrative leave amid a lawsuit filed by the Flickinger Performing Arts Center’s executive director Lorrie Black and a video released showing Moore demeaning community members. The move came after the board members met for an executive session that day.
Black wrote in a February 9, 2023 press release, “The Flickinger Center for Performing Arts has entered into a lawsuit against Alamogordo Public School Board and Superintendent Kenneth Moore. The Flickinger Center’s mission states ‘…. reaching our local student population with live music, dance and theater.’ For many years, the Flickinger Center has provided free use of the facility to public schools, private schools, and home school students for band, choir, orchestra concerts, theatrical performances, and awards programs. Six to ten times per year, the Flickinger Center pays additional fees to their Premier Series performers to provide free school educational outreach programs for all area public and private schools.”
“The Flickinger Center was extremely disappointed to learn that the Alamogordo Public School Board allowed Superintendent Moore to make the decision that the Flickinger Center was no longer an approved facility for the students and teachers at Alamogordo Public Schools to use. The Flickinger Center looks forward to a quick resolution to this conflict and get the students at Alamogordo Public Schools back into the theater.”
In an undercover video posted via YouTube by Casey and Myke Petersen, Moore was seen at a conference telling attendees he and his administration are stealthily sneaking in Critical Race Theory through the curriculum.
Moore said in the video, “I mentioned guerrilla warfare. We have to do it subtly to work. We can’t even say ‘equity,’ you know?” He also said, “We’re sneaking [Critical Race Theory] in. It’s guerrilla warfare.”
He must “be careful that we don’t let the ‘e’ word slip (equity) out of our mouths, lest we get shot or something like that” he said.
In other comments made by Moore in the video, he demeaned Alamogordo residents, saying, “If you’ve ever heard of Alamogordo — Otero County — and I’m not knocking the place, but been there four years, and if ever there was a time and a place for discussions about race and equity to take place, it’s in this little town called Alamogordo, New Mexico, where many people would rather not have this discussion, would rather bury their heads in the sand when it comes to race…. If you look up ‘Otero County news’ on Google, where you’ll see headlines from a couple [of] days ago here, you’ll see how we’re trying out fascism as a type of government. I am embarrassed by the county government and the things that are going on.”
He later said, “They have also co-opted religion with this. They believe they are doing God’s work by doing this…. Alamogordo has been a place where these people go to.” He said, “This has become a place that’s only attractive to Trumpers.”
When asked how he, a progressive, became superintendent, he answered, “I have four board members that are on the fence, and they support me because I’m a safe white guy, really.”
“We got less triggering CRT training for our teachers. It was more on implicit bias and things like that that they could take a bite out of without — without much of the backlash…. Never talk CRT. They don’t know what it is, but if those three letters are there, it blows back in our face[s]. So, we’ve done a lot of the implicit bias, the microaggression stuff… SEL (social and emotional learning).”
“If I could force ‘em all, one by one, into something like this (CRT), we might get ten percent of them to open their eyes,” Moore said.
Following the release of the video, state Rep. John Block of Alamogordo wrote in a statement, “I am extraordinarily proud to represent my home of Alamogordo in the Roundhouse. I am equally disgusted by comments made in a recent undercover video showing our public school superintendent demeaning the good people who live in our community as racists and fascists. This angers me to see such disrespect for our great community, and I will continue to work with our local officials to continue promoting our Otero County values while ensuring children in the Alamogordo Public Schools are not indoctrinated with racist Critical Race Theory extremism.”
District Three Alamogordo City Commissioner Karl Melton wrote, “Public education is an institution that requires mutual trust to operate. Parents should never be worried what is being taught behind their back.”
The Flickinger Center and Black’s 34-page lawsuit against APS and Moore was filed in the Twelfth Judicial District Court. The full complaint can be found here.
Board Member Angie Cadwallader made the motion for Moore to be put on leave, although it is not immediately clear what the specific reason was for his administrative status change. Deputy Superintendent Pam Renteria has been named acting superintendent while Moore remains on leave. That motion was made unanimously by the Alamogordo Public School Board. The public meeting lasted around only five minutes for the board to conduct its business.
On Saturday in the House Government, Elections, and Indian Affairs Committee, a bipartisan group of representatives tabled H.B. 217 by Reps. Christine Trujillo (D-Bernalillo) and Christina Ortez (D-Taos). The bill would have allowed 16 and 17-year-olds to vote.
The bill also notes that 17-year-olds would be allowed to vote in state primaries if they are 18 by the time the primary election is over. “For the purposes of a political primary, 17-year-olds may also currently vote if they will turn 18 on or before the general election immediately succeeding that primary election,” reads the fiscal impact report (FIR) for the bill, which implies that even in federal elections the minor could vote.
The FIR further notes that this move could likely increase Democrat voter turnout, according to Tufts University.
It reads, “[I]t should be noted Tufts University’s Tisch College of Civic Life find that 63 percent of voters aged 18 to 29 nationally voted for democratic candidates in the House of Representative elections, so it is possible that allowing 16-year-olds to vote as provided for in HB217 could result in a disproportionate increase in turnout for democratic candidates. However, it is unclear whether this is because 16-year-old Democrats are more likely to turn out to vote or that 16-year-olds are more likely to be Democratic-leaning. Further, data does not indicate whether the turnout from youth voters (ages 18 to 29) effectively changed the results of prior elections.”
Rep. John Block (R-Alamogordo) noted a scientific study by Tak Wing Chan, Ph.D., and Matthew Clayton, D.Phil., which read, “research in neuroscience suggests that the brain, specifically the prefrontal cortex, is still undergoing major reconstruction and development during the teenage years.” He said he was going to be “following the science” and reject the bill.
The bill ultimately died on a tie 4-4 vote, with Reps. Block, Bill Rehm (R-Albuquerque), D. Wonda Johnson (D-Rehoboth), and Martin Zamora (R-Santa Rosa) all voting against the bill.
Similar bills in the past have shared similar fates, with science proving that 16 and 17-year-olds would not be appropriate qualified electors.