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.

Heinrich makes most cringe post ever — gets hilariously mocked

On Sunday morning, New Mexico’s far-left U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, a resident of Maryland, made a cringe-inducing X post reading, “Just a little over a century ago, elk were extinct in New Mexico. Thanks to the work of previous generations of conservationists, I now have the privilege of interacting with this beautiful and amazing animal.” 

However, in the post, he shared an awkward picture of him giving a thumbs-up with a bighorn sheep in the background — not an elk. 

He later deleted the post, but not without people keeping receipts with their screenshots posted on the platform. 

People mercilessly commented on the embarrassingly out-of-touch tweet, with people writing things such as “It identifies as an elk?” and “…Heinrich tells New Mexicans that he is a ‘hunter.’ This photo proves his lies. That is NOT an elk. It is a bighorn sheep.”

Piñon Post editor and State Rep. John Block (R-Alamogordo) mocked Heinrich with a post of the legislator taking a similar selfie but with a pigeon in the background, calling it a “Lesser Mexican spotted jumping prairie chicken.” 

Later on his official U.S. Senate X account, Heinrich posted a photo of what he described as a “Frito pie with homemade elk adovada.” 

Naturally, commenters referenced his since deleted “elk” post.

One account wrote, “​​You’re SURE it’s elk?”

Others posted photos of bighorn sheep: 

“Crazy that you would double down on the elk content after the blunder this morning,” another posted

NM House passes eco-left bill that will significantly raise gas prices

The New Mexico House of Representatives voted Sunday to pass a “clean transportation fuel standard” that will increase gas prices by around 50 cents per gallon or more. The passage was narrowly secured with a vote tally of 36-33, reflecting a divided stance among the legislators, with Democrats joining all Republicans to reject it.

The bill in question, identified as a modified version of House Bill 41 by the House Judiciary Committee, seeks to lay the groundwork for a statewide initiative focused on diminishing the carbon intensity associated with transportation fuels. The ambitious targets set by this initiative aim for a reduction of at least 20% from the levels recorded in 2018 by the year 2030, escalating to a minimum of 30% by 2040.

Proponents of the bill, such as sponsor Rep. Kristina Ortez from Taos, argue that the establishment of such standards is crucial for attracting clean fuel businesses to New Mexico. Ortez highlighted the potential financial and environmental benefits at stake, emphasizing the risk of missing out on substantial federal investments and the opportunity to improve air quality.

The bill faced heavy criticism from Republicans, particularly concerning the potential impact on fuel prices. They voiced concerns that the implementation of clean fuel standards could lead to higher costs for consumers at the pump. GOP Rep. Jared Hembree from Roswell proposed an amendment aimed at enhancing transparency regarding compliance costs, which, however, did not pass.

States that have adopted similar standards, such as California, Oregon, and Washington, admit that they directly increase fuel prices in these states.

The discussion also delved into the specifics of how fuels with significant greenhouse gas emissions would be evaluated under the new standards, with assurances that they would indeed be assessed.

As the debate concluded after three hours, the bill now faces its next hurdle in the Senate, with a tight timeline to secure approval if it is to be enacted into law.

NM House narrowly passes one of governor’s extreme anti-gun bills

On Friday, the New Mexico House of Representatives narrowly approved unconstitutional anti-gun legislation that mandates a seven-day waiting period for all firearm sales in New Mexico, amid criticism from Republicans who view it as an unnecessary burden on responsible gun owners and ineffective in curbing criminal access to firearms. The passage of House Bill 129 by a vote of 37-33, with dissent from both some Democrats and Republicans, now sends the bill to the Senate for further deliberation.

State Rep. Andrea Romero (D-Santa Fe), the sponsor, claimed the bill would save lives. In contrast, Republican Representative Stefani Lord of Sandia Park, a staunch defender of gun rights, accused proponents of targeting law-abiding citizens instead of focusing on criminals.

The debate went on for three hours — the maximum allowed under the House rules. State Rep. Bill Rehm (R-Albuquerque) employed a procedural tactic known as a “call of the House” to ensure all members were present for the vote, adding urgency to the proceedings.

Originally, the bill proposed a 14-day waiting period, but an amendment introduced by State Rep. Art De La Cruz (D-Albuquerque), reducing it to seven days, narrowly passed by a single vote with Rep. Anthony Allison (D-Fruitland), who voted against the bill on final passage, not voting on the amendment. The bill now includes a provision for a misdemeanor charge for any sale that contravenes the waiting period, with exceptions for transactions between immediate family members, but not for domestic violence situations or for military, veterans, or police officers.

The bill aims to address loopholes in federal legislation by ensuring adequate time for background checks, a measure supported by the bill’s proponents as a means to prevent impulsive acts of violence. Critics, however, argue that it could disadvantage individuals in immediate need of protection, especially in the most rural areas of the state.

The proposal is part of a broader legislative effort from anti-gun Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, with proposals such as the waiting period bill, failing repeatedly throughout her two terms as governor so far. 

Vasquez’s shocking allegiance to extremist open borders groups revealed

GreenLatinos, a radical environmental and “social justice” organization, is currently calling on Joe Biden to reject stricter border security measures being considered in Congress. The move has sparked controversy, shedding light on the debate over immigration and border security policies within the Democrat Party.

At the forefront of this call is Gabe Vasquez, the founder of the Nuestra Tierra Conservation Project, an environmental advocacy group. Nuestra Tierra lists GreenLatinos as a community partner, emphasizing their collaboration to address issues. In September, Nuestra Tierra took to Instagram to highlight their partnership with GreenLatinos and the Office of New Mexico’s U.S. Rep. Gabe Vasquez.

Jessica Loya, the Policy Director at GreenLatinos, has also been linked to Vasquez through political contributions. Loya donated $350 in 2022 and $275 in 2023 to Gabe Vasquez for Congress, further solidifying the ties between the two entities.

However, Vasquez’s stance on border security has drawn significant attention. Before entering Congress, Vasquez characterized the border crisis as a “non-existent threat” and criticized previous border security efforts as “ill-informed” and “in bad taste.” 

He advocated for the elimination of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, alleging a lack of humanity in its operations. Since taking office, Vasquez has consistently voted against measures aimed at bolstering border security, including hiring more Border Patrol agents, deploying advanced technology to the southern border, ending catch-and-release policies, and streamlining the asylum process.

Vasquez’s position on border security remains ambiguous as Congress engages in negotiations over proposed border security legislation. While Vasquez is a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, which has publicly opposed Joe Biden’s efforts to tighten border security, he has yet to express his stance on the matter.

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) has criticized Vasquez’s affiliations and statements, branding him as a “radical open border activist.” NRCC spokeswoman Delanie Bomar emphasized the company one keeps, stating, “The saying ‘Show me your friends, and I’ll tell you who you are’ rings truer than ever with Gabe Vasquez.”

In response to Vasquez’s recent claim that Republicans are politicizing the border issue due to the upcoming elections, CNN anchor John Berman pushed back, highlighting the genuine concerns surrounding the border situation.

The debate over border security intensifies as immigration remains a critical issue, with 302,000 illegal immigrants crossing the southern border in December alone, an issue that directly affects Vasquez’s district. Vasquez’s stance on border security and his association with GreenLatinos is now under increased scrutiny as the nation grapples with this complex and contentious issue.

NM AG says Meta is ‘single largest marketplace for pedophiles’

The New Mexico Attorney General, Raúl Torrez, has initiated a lawsuit against the social media giant Meta, accusing it of facilitating child trafficking on its platforms. Torrez expressed his concern, stating, “Meta is the ‘largest marketplace for predators and pedophiles globally.’” 

This legal action coincides with congressional hearings where Meta’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, along with other executives, is being questioned about their platforms’ role in online child sexual exploitation.

Dima Solomin, Unsplash.

Torrez’s investigation into Meta has revealed alarming findings, suggesting a significant problem with child sexual exploitation on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. He mentioned, “There was an explosion of sexual interest from users attracted to the undercover accounts,” highlighting the severity of the issue. Internal documents from Meta have estimated that around 100,000 children face sexual harassment on Facebook and Instagram daily.

The lawsuit aims to hold Meta accountable for its alleged failure to prevent the use of its platforms for harmful activities against children. Torrez emphasized the need for Meta to prioritize user safety, especially for children, stating, “Fundamentally, we’re trying to get Meta to change how it does business and prioritize the safety of its users.”

Meta has defended its practices, asserting that it employs sophisticated technology and experts to combat child exploitation, reporting harmful content to relevant authorities and disabling accounts that violate its child safety policies.

This legal battle, still in its early stages, seeks to bring about significant changes in how Meta operates, with a focus on enhancing the safety and protection of its youngest users.

Committee OKs potential fix to kids sleeping in CYFD offices

New Mexico’s embattled Children, Youth, and Families Department (CYFD) is on the brink of finding a potential resolution to the issue of teenagers being forced to sleep in agency offices, a situation that’s drawn concern statewide. Despite the Department saying it is already looking into the matter, some legislators are still keen on proceeding with an investigation.

The plight of these young individuals, with no alternative but to spend nights in governmental buildings, has caught the attention of various stakeholders. During a Monday session of the House Government, Elections, and Indian Affairs Committee, expert witness Brooke Tafoya highlighted the urgency of the situation, stating, “Ultimately, we know that CYFD is in a state of crisis.”

The problem gained further attention following a report by News 13, revealing that youths under CYFD care have had to resort to staying in 19 different offices throughout New Mexico. The discussion on how to address this issue was a focal point at the committee meeting.

In response to the ongoing crisis, H.M. 10, sponsored by Reps. Tara Jaramillo (D-Socorro), Eleanor Chávez (D-Albuquerque), Meredith A. Dixon (D-Albuquerque), Harry Garcia (D-Grants), Gail Armstrong (R-Magdalena), among others in both chambers, proposes the establishment of a task force dedicated to investigating and devising solutions for the accommodation issues faced by these youths. 

The call for action is driven by a shortage of behavioral health services and an insufficient number of foster homes. Maralyn Beck of the New Mexico Child First Network expressed frustration with the delays in addressing these challenges, emphasizing that a struggling agency cannot rectify the situation on its own.

CYFD’s cabinet secretary-designate, Teresa Casados, however, has expressed reservations about the proposed task force, fearing it might just replicate existing efforts within her department to tackle these problems, “My only concern is that we’re duplicating the efforts that we need to address these issues,” she said during the hearing. However, there is no CYFD task force specifically meant to address the crisis.

Nonetheless, the New Mexico Child First Network believes more assistance is critical. Beck pointed out the need for a broader approach, including step-down services and an increase in traditional foster care options, “I will say that if the department thinks this is only about treatment foster care, then we have a bigger issue. We need step-down services, we need more regular foster parent homes.”

The memorial passed the committee unanimously, with Chairwoman D. Wonda Johnson (D-Gallup), Vice Chairwoman Natalie Figueroa (D-Albuquerque), co-sponsor Rep. John Block (R-Alamogordo), Rep Janelle Anyononu (D-Albuquerque), Majority Floor Leader Gail Chasey (D-Albuquerque), Rep. Bill Rehm (R-Albuquerque), and Rep. Martin Zamora (R-Santa Rosa) all supporting the measure. It now heads to the House floor for consideration.

Dems continue to gamble state funds on unreliable, expensive EVs

Traversing New Mexico’s remote landscapes could soon spawn electric vehicle (EV) charging stations emerging in the least expected rural areas. This initiative, sparked by the state Transportation Department in 2022, aims to cover the state with charging infrastructure, from bustling cities to the quietest corners, in anticipation of an EV mandate from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s attempt to ram EVs down New Mexicans’ throats. 

The endeavor seeks to mitigate one of the primary hesitations potential EV buyers have: the fear of running out of charge far from a power source, coupled with the undeniable fact that EVs generally command a significantly higher purchase price than their gasoline counterparts.

The state’s extreme plan, fueled by a mix of state and federal funds, targets the establishment of a comprehensive network of charging stations by 2026, aligning with a new state mandate pushing for an increase in EV deliveries to New Mexico. Jerry Valdez, a special projects manager with the state Transportation Department, emphasizes the necessity of developing this infrastructure to foster EV adoption, suggesting that “a big question is what comes first: the cars or the infrastructure” and highlighting the intent to “increase the market penetration of zero-emissions vehicles.”

Despite the good intentions, the rollout of charging stations, particularly in rural locales, has not been without its critics. The Advanced Clean Cars and Trucks rule, which mandates a significant uptick in EV sales, has been met with skepticism from car dealers concerned about the lack of charging facilities. This rule demands that by 2026, 43% of new cars and light-duty trucks delivered to the state be electric, escalating to 82% by 2032, with similar targets set for heavier-duty commercial vehicles.

The state’s response has been to invest heavily in charging infrastructure, with plans for 86 stations across 40 locations, leveraging $10 million from the American Rescue Plan. Yet, despite these efforts, the presence of charging stations in remote areas like Tierra Amarilla raises questions about their practicality and utilization, given their sparse populations and the current low adoption rate of EVs in the state.

Critics argue that the push for EVs and the associated infrastructure is a costly endeavor that may not yield the desired results. Larry Behrens from Power the Future voices a common sentiment, questioning the wisdom of investing taxpayer dollars in a technology that, according to him, lacks consumer demand in New Mexico. 

He points out that EVs constitute less than one percent of the state’s vehicle ownership, suggesting a lack of enthusiasm for the transition to electric mobility. Furthermore, a poll by his group indicates a majority opposition to the governor’s EV policies, casting doubt on the effectiveness of building charging stations as a means to stimulate EV adoption.

On the other hand, advocates for EVs argue that the demand for electric vehicles outstrips supply and that the state’s efforts are aimed at addressing this imbalance. They contend that the establishment of a reliable charging network is essential for encouraging more EV sales and facilitating the transition to cleaner transportation.

More eco-left legislation continues to permeate throughout the Roundhouse during the 2024 Legislative Session, which will raise gas prices for everyday New Mexicans and businesses, thereby killing New Mexico’s economy.

Two anti-gun bills to be heard in committee Monday

In the latest onslaught by Democrats against gun rights, a series of public hearings on proposed gun control legislation is set to take place, drawing attention from both proponents and opponents of the measures. The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to convene on Monday, January 29, at 1:30 p.m. in Room 309 to deliberate on four controversial bills that some critics are labeling as among the most stringent gun control initiatives in the United States.

The proposed legislation includes House Bill 27, introduced by Rep. Joy Garratt (D-Albuquerque), which seeks to broaden the scope of the existing Red Flag Law. This bill would permit law enforcement officials to request red flag orders without needing concrete information from informants about a person’s potential threat of causing imminent harm. It also proposes expanding the list of individuals who can report such concerns, mandates the immediate forfeiture of firearms upon the issuance of a red flag order, and allows for search warrants to confiscate guns from those subject to such orders.

Another proposal, House Bill 129 by Rep. Andrea Romero (D-Santa Fe), introduces a 14-business day waiting period for all firearm purchases, potentially establishing the longest waiting period for firearm acquisition in the nation.

State Rep. Stefani Lord (R-Sandia Park) and Rep. John Block (R-Alamogordo) have urged constituents and gun rights advocates to either attend the hearing in person or participate virtually to express their opposition to these bills. Additionally, House Bill 114 by Rep. Christine Chandler is anticipated to be considered by the full New Mexico House of Representatives soon. This bill would allow legal actions against firearms industry members for alleged violations of the proposed Firearms Industry Accountability Act, significantly increasing their liability for advertising and business practices.

As these legislative efforts gain momentum, they ignite a robust debate on gun control and Second Amendment rights within New Mexico, reflecting a broader national conversation on the balance between public safety and individual freedoms.

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Legislators bring back Convention of States resolution

In the New Mexico House of Representatives, House Joint Resolution 12 has been put forward by Reps. Randall Pettigrew (R-Lovington), John Block (R-Alamogordo), and Jimmy Mason (R-Artesia). This resolution aims to convene a states’ convention under Article V of the U.S. Constitution, a measure that seeks to address and potentially recalibrate the balance of federal authority.

The primary objectives outlined in the resolution include imposing fiscal restraints on federal spending, curbing the scope of federal power, and instituting term limits for Congress members and other federal officials. With the endorsement of this resolution, New Mexico is poised to join a growing list of states advocating for a constitutional convention, marking it as the 20th state in pursuit of the 34-state threshold required to initiate the process.

The convention, as envisaged, would serve as a platform for all states to deliberate on proposed amendments, which would then need the ratification of at least three-quarters, or 38, of the states to be adopted into the Constitution.

The resolution’s sponsors have voiced concerns over what they perceive as the federal government’s expansive reach and fiscal irresponsibility, which they argue adversely affects New Mexico’s families, businesses, and local governance. They emphasize the constitutional provision that allows states to convene under Article V to address issues that the federal legislature has neglected, particularly highlighting the necessity for federal budgetary discipline akin to New Mexico’s constitutional requirement for a balanced state budget.

Myles Culbertson, the State Director for the Convention of States in New Mexico, highlighted the urgency of the situation by pointing to the national debt, which has soared beyond $34 trillion, according to the U.S. Debt Clock. He warned of the dire economic implications for the American populace if the debt continues to grow unchecked, potentially reaching double the size of the nation’s Gross National Product by 2030. Culbertson stressed that the state legislatures possess a potent remedy to this burgeoning crisis, underscoring the need to act swiftly.

For more detailed information on the resolution and the broader movement it represents, interested parties are directed to the Convention of States website.

This legislative initiative marks a critical juncture in the ongoing debate over federalism and the distribution of power between state and federal governments, reflecting a concerted effort by state legislators to assert their constitutional prerogatives in shaping the nation’s governance framework.

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