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NM ‘Grassroots Convention’ happening Saturday in Ruidoso

In New Mexico, a wave of regulatory measures and executive orders has ignited controversy among local business owners and residents. Various industries, from real estate to food and beverage, and notably the trucking sector, report being hamstrung by regulations they describe as overly stringent and out of touch with on-the-ground realities. The sentiment echoes a broader national discourse, encapsulated by the hashtag #LetUsWork, which emerged as businesses were forced to shutter in compliance with mandates, leaving many to fend for the livelihoods of their employees.

Instances of punitive measures for defiance of such mandates have surfaced across New Mexico. Notably, a pawn shop in Cibola County was slapped with a $50,000 fine for remaining open, and the Mayor of Grants faced penalties for organizing an Independence Day Parade. More drastic measures were reported in Gallup, where barricades were erected, compelling locals to have essentials like water and food delivered to checkpoints. In another case, Legacy Church incurred fines for keeping its doors open, and residents were discouraged from hosting birthday parties, spurred by a controversial hotline initiative.

In response to what they view as an overreach of government authority, 1Name 1Banner, a non-partisan group led by Ben R. Luna of LEXIT, the Latino Exit from the Democrat Party, has stepped in to amplify the voices of those affected. Although Luna clarifies his non-affiliation with the Democratic Party, his efforts have led many away from it, citing forthcoming documentaries that highlight the struggles of local communities, including an Isleta Pueblo alfalfa farmer grappling with infrastructure decay.

The group’s efforts pivot toward raising awareness about what they perceive as the governor’s imposition of “radical communistic policies.” They argue that the governor’s mandates, including those on electric vehicles (EVs) and attempts to suspend constitutional rights like the 2nd Amendment, represent a significant overstep. To counteract these policies, 1Name 1Banner has produced Call-to-Action (CTA) videos and documentaries, including interviews with industry representatives like Johnny Johnson of the New Mexico Trucking Association, who provides a practical perspective on the EV mandate.

These initiatives culminated in the New Mexico Grassroots Convention, aimed at galvanizing local communities against the tide of mandates and policies they find objectionable. The convention promises to be a hub for information exchange, with contributions from various sectors and industry representatives, underscoring a collective resolve to navigate the legislative landscape of 2024 and beyond.

On Saturday, January 27, 1Name 1Banner will hold the New Mexico Grassroots Convention in Ruidoso at the Ruidoso Convention Center, and tickets can be found here. Johnny Johnson will be speaking on a panel with Paul Gessing, James Lindsay, and others about this forced policy and their agenda.

Three anti-gun bills advance in NM House, anti-business bill stalls in Senate

In the New Mexico Senate Thursday, a radical bill to establish a paid family and medical leave program faced a delay as Republican members of the Senate Tax, Business, and Transportation Committee did not attend the meeting, depriving the committee of its quorum. Despite their absence, Democratic members, forming a subcommittee, decided to proceed with discussions on Senate Bill 3, claiming to vote on the matter the following week, irrespective of the Republican members’ attendance — which would go against the rules if no quorum is present again. The chairman, Democrat Sen. Benny Shendo, was absent from the meeting.

The bill’s proponent, Senate President Pro Tem Mimi Stewart, accused Republicans of not wanting to collaborate with them.

In another legislative development, the New Mexico House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee passed three anti-gun bills, but not without thorough debate from Reps. Stefani Lord (R-Sandia Park) and John Block (R-Alamogordo). 

Earlier in the day, far-left anti-gun Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, alongside other supporters, argued that these measures are essential steps toward addressing the pervasive issue of “gun violence,” citing a “negative gun culture,” while laughably claiming banning guns was a “constitutional responsibility,” despite previously saying her oath and the Constitution were not absolute while signing a previous unconstitutional executive order to illegally snatch guns.

The bills that passed include:

H.B. 137 banning all semi-auto and all “high capacity” firearms and forcing those who do own them to register with the government.

H.B. 127 taking guns away from law-abiding 18-20 year-olds.

H.B. 129 mandating a 14-day waiting period for all firearms purchases.

Opponents of the bills, including representatives from the New Mexico Firearms Industry Association and the National Rifle Association, argued that such legislation infringes on constitutional rights and fails to target the root causes of gun violence, primarily illegal gun access. The debate underscored the deep divide between those advocating for stricter regulations as a means to prevent violence and those defending gun ownership rights as enshrined in the Constitution and reaffirmed in the recent U.S. Supreme Court case New York Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen.

The three anti-gun bills now head to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration. 

Job-killing, anti-business bill passes first NM House commitee

The recent advancement of New Mexico’s state-run paid family and medical leave bill through a committee has sparked a contentious debate, reflecting a divide along party lines. Despite its passage in the House Health and Human Services Committee, the bill, which has been repeatedly introduced since 2019, continues to encounter significant resistance. Critics argue that the bill is detrimental to small businesses, overly broad, and easy to exploit.

The proposed program, overseen by the Department of Workforce Solutions, requires a substantial initial investment of $36 million. It aims to be self-sustained through contributions from qualifying employers and employees. The initiative offers up to 12 weeks of paid leave under various circumstances, such as parental leave, serious medical conditions, or caring for relatives or close nonrelatives. 

The 2024 iteration of the bill introduces several amendments, including extending benefits to relatives of military members and capping employee contributions, which would only further burden the businesses.

However, voices of opposition, many from small businesses and healthcare providers, express concerns about the bill’s potential financial burden. Patsy Romero, president and CEO of Santa Maria El Mirador, highlights the challenges faced by Medicaid-dependent organizations, underscoring the difficulty in absorbing additional costs.

Chandler acknowledged the need to review Medicaid reimbursement rates but insisted that this should not hinder the bill’s progress.

Employers also raise practical issues, such as difficulties in hiring temporary staff during employees’ leave periods. Amy Dixon, from the Desert States Physical Therapy Network, points out the recruitment challenges in specific sectors.

Critics also questioned the bill’s broad definition of eligible beneficiaries, fearing it could lead to misuse. In contrast, co-sponsor Rep. Linda Serrato defends the inclusive language, emphasizing its relevance to supposed “diverse” family structures and the requirement for medical verification.

As the bill moves to the House Commerce and Economic Development Committee, where it previously stalled.

Dems stifle debate, ram two far-left anti-gun bills through committee

During a recent committee hearing in the New Mexico House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee, legislators engaged in heated debates over two anti-gun bills focusing on snatching citizens’ and gun manufacturers/sellers’ rights.

House Bill 27, one of the bills in question, seeks to modify the state’s Extreme Risk Firearm Protection Order by including any healthcare professionals among those who can request law enforcement to file a petition for the order — further infringing on New Mexicans’ rights.

In contrast, House Bill 114, also known as the Firearm Industry Accountability Act, proposes civil penalties for gun manufacturers for actions like false advertising and failing to secure firearms in their shops. This bill would allow the state Department of Justice, district attorneys, and private citizens to file civil actions against firearms dealers who violate the law, with civil penalties of up to $5,000 for each violation.

The committee chair, Democrat Rep. Joanne J. Ferrary of Las Cruces, stifled debate on the bill. Ferrary’s attempt to call a vote was met with resistance from Republican Rep. John Block of Alamogordo, leading to a terse exchange where Block accused Ferrary of being “out of order,” to which she attempted to gavel him down. He responded by citing the rules she violated by stifling the debate, reiterating, “OK, but you’re out of order.”

Block and Rep. Stefani Lord (R-Sandia Park), the lone Republicans on the committee, continued to challenge the bills during the hearings, particularly questioning the enforceability of HB 114, asking how one could prove a gun dealer “knowingly” lost a gun or had it stolen. 

Both bills ultimately moved forward on a party-line vote, with the four Democrats supporting and the two Republicans opposing. These bills are part of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s 21-measure public safety initiative, with eight specific gun safety initiatives she wants lawmakers to approve.

Despite these advancements, several gun-rights advocates argued against the bills, expressing valid arguments that the measures would infringe upon their right to own guns and leave law-abiding citizens vulnerable. 

The debates and committee decisions on HB 27 and HB 114 indicate a deep divide on gun control measures, with Democrats ramming bills through despite Republican opposition and concerns over stifling debate. Both anti-gun bills now head to the House Judiciary Committee.

Lujan Grisham walloped in court again over unconstitutional gun grabs

The United States District Court for the District of New Mexico’s Judge Kea W. Griggs denied an emergency motion filed by defendants, including far-left, gun-grabbing New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, to stay a preliminary injunction. This injunction had previously halted a public health order issued by the New Mexico Department of Health, which temporarily banned firearms in public parks in Bernalillo County and Albuquerque.

The court’s decision is a significant setback for Gov. Lujan Grisham’s administration, which had sought to implement these firearm restrictions as part of a broader public health emergency declaration due to gun violence. Critics argue that this move by the governor and her administration is an overreach of executive power, questioning the effectiveness and legality of such firearm restrictions.

The court’s order underscores a failure on the part of the governor’s team to provide sufficient historical evidence justifying the firearms ban in public parks. The ruling cites the Supreme Court’s decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Ass’n, Inc. v. Bruen, which establishes a standard for evaluating Second Amendment cases based on historical tradition. The court found that the defendants, including the governor’s office, did not meet the burden of showing a historical tradition of banning firearms in public parks.

The Court wrote that the “[d]efendants’ arguments are contradictory. They cite … three shootings [that] occurred in Albuquerque parks before the public health order’s ban on firearms in Albuquerque parks, as proof that a ban is necessary. However, those shootings occurred during what Defendants allege was a separate firearm ban imposed by the City of Albuquerque.”

It further added that the defendants “assert or imply that by referencing the months of September and October in his declaration, Plaintiff was asserting he only attends parks in September and October, and no other time. The Court disagrees.”

This decision raises serious questions about the governor’s approach to public safety and constitutional rights. The insistence on pursuing a public health order that restricts Second Amendment rights without adequate historical justification reveals a grievous disconnect with legal precedents and historical standards.

The rejection of the governor’s motion also reflects on the broader issue of balancing public safety with constitutional rights. While the intention to address gun violence is commendable, the method of implementing such policies must align with constitutional standards and historical precedence. 

Furthermore, the ruling also vacated the temporary stay of the preliminary injunction pending briefing on this motion, thereby allowing the earlier court decision to enjoin the firearms ban in public parks to stand. This outcome is a clear indication that executive actions, particularly those impacting constitutional rights, must be carefully scrutinized and justified within the established legal framework.

Legislative update: Anti-gun, eco-left, union bills to be heard in committees

Starting Monday, radical leftist bills are being heard in legislative committees, including proposals to take Second Amendment rights away from law-abiding citizens, “diversity, equity, and inclusion” bills, and more.

On Saturday, the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee voted 7-4 along party lines to pass a “clean fuels standard” (H.B. 41) that will raise gas prices by 50 cents or more per gallon. 

On Monday at 8:30 a.m., the House Health and Human Services Committee (HHHSC) will consider H.B. 35 from Rep. Pamelya Herndon (D-Albuquerque) to create an “office of diversity, equity, and inclusion” at the University of New Mexico, which would cost the taxpayers $1.2 million annually.

The Zoom details for the HCPAC meeting are below:

On Tuesday at 1:30 p.m., the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee (HCPAC) will consider H.B. 27 by Rep. Joy Garratt (D-Albuquerque) to expand the state’s “red flag” law, to further encroach on New Mexicans’ constitutional rights.

HCPAC will also hear Tuesday H.B. 114 by Rep. Christine Chandler (D-Los Alamos) to target the firearm industry by opening manufacturers, FFLs, and even payment processors up to swaths of frivolous lawsuits to attempt to stop their commerce in the state. 

The Zoom details for the HCPAC meeting are below:

On Tuesday at 1:30 p.m., the House Labor, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee (LVMAC) will consider H.B. 119, a union bill by Rep. Dayan Hochman-Vigil (D-Albuquerque), that aims to inject the state between collective bargaining agreements and implement more mandates upon the rail industry. 

The Zoom details for the LVMAC meeting are below:

On Tuesday at 9:00 a.m., the Senate Conservation Committee will consider a bill, S.B. 2, from Sen. Bill Tallman (D-Albuquerque) to further harm the oil and gas industry by increasing the royalty rates for oil and gas tracts of land through the New Mexico State Land Office.

DeSantis drops out of 2024 presidential race, makes an endorsement

In a significant turn of events in the Republican presidential race, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced his withdrawal from the contest, throwing his support behind 45th President Donald Trump. This decision, made public in a video statement on Sunday, came just before the New Hampshire primary.

Governor DeSantis, acknowledging his second-place finish in the Iowa caucuses, where he led former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley but trailed significantly behind Trump, expressed in the video that continued campaigning seemed futile without a clear route to victory. “If there was anything I could do to produce a favorable outcome — more campaign stops, more interviews — I would do it,” DeSantis stated. “But I can’t ask our supporters to volunteer their time and donate their resources if we don’t have a clear path to victory. Accordingly, I am today suspending my campaign.”

Following this announcement, DeSantis formally endorsed Donald Trump. He cited a belief that many Republican voters are inclined to give Trump another term, despite their differences, particularly regarding the coronavirus pandemic and Dr. Anthony Fauci. DeSantis emphasized, “Trump is superior to the current incumbent, Joe Biden. That is clear.” He also criticized Nikki Haley, suggesting she represents an outdated version of the Republican Party that he contends places American interests last.

This move by DeSantis has been met with approval from prominent Republicans, including Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, who had previously urged both DeSantis and Haley to concede, allowing the party to unite behind Trump. Blackburn, speaking on Breitbart News Saturday on SiriusXM 125 the Patriot Channel, praised DeSantis’s decision as a step towards party unity.

With DeSantis exiting the race, Nikki Haley remains the only serious contender against Trump. The upcoming New Hampshire GOP primary is seen as critical for Haley, who must secure a win to sustain her campaign. Her decision to skip the Nevada caucuses only adds to the significance of the New Hampshire results. Governor Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, a key supporter of Haley, has been managing expectations by suggesting that even a second-place finish in the state would be a positive outcome for her. However, with DeSantis’s departure and Trump’s expected strong showing, Haley’s chances of halting Trump’s momentum appear increasingly slim.

Stansbury flips out about spent nuclear fuel during congressional hearing

During Thursday’s hearing focused on energy policy, a heated exchange occurred between Democrat Congresswoman Melanie Stansbury of New Mexico and GOP Congressman Pat Fallon of Texas.

The dispute arose when Rep. Stansbury opposed a proposed spent nuclear fuel rod storage facility in New Mexico. The hearing, conducted by the Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Energy Policy, and Regulatory Affairs, saw Stansbury continuing her speech beyond her allotted time, leading to a sharp exchange with Rep. Fallon.

Holtec International, the company behind the multi-billion-dollar economy-boosting facility, has publicly stated that the project will represent a high standard of safety in both structure and environmental impact. However, anti-nuke radicals, including Stansbury, argue that the federal government’s push for the facility contradicts the Biden administration’s pledge to include local communities in decisions regarding the siting of nuclear waste storage sites.

In a tense moment during the hearing, as Stansbury’s time ran out, she highlighted the opposition of local communities to the nuclear waste facility, referencing the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) May 2023 decision to grant a permit for the temporary storage of nuclear waste in Lea County, New Mexico. Fallon, attempting to intervene and remind her of the expired time, was met with Stansbury’s insistence on finishing her point.

Fallon’s repeated assertions that Stansbury’s time had ended and that she was out of order were countered by her claim that the NRC’s decision itself was out of order. The exchange culminated with Fallon stating, “You didn’t remove one bit of nuclear waste by being out of order here.”

The proposed facility, if completed, is intended to store spent nuclear fuel from across the U.S. for 40 years, as per the NRC’s permit. While this plan could benefit the American nuclear power sector, it faces opposition from fringe eco-leftists. This development occurs despite the federal government’s commitment to involving local communities in such decisions.

The issue of nuclear waste management remains a significant financial burden for taxpayers, with billions spent due to the absence of a long-term storage strategy. Currently, spent nuclear fuel is temporarily housed in over 70 locations nationwide, awaiting a permanent solution.

Alec Baldwin charged again in fatal ‘Rust’ shooting case

Actor Alec Baldwin faces a renewed charge of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the tragic incident on the set of the movie “Rust,” where cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed. This marks the second time Baldwin has been charged in this case.

The charge stems from an incident in October 2021, during the filming of the Western “Rust” around Santa Fe, New Mexico, where Hutchins was fatally struck by a live round fired from a prop gun. The indictment states, “The above named defendant did cause the death of Halyna Hutchins by an act committed with the total disregard of indifference for the safety of others.”

Baldwin has consistently rejected the allegations, asserting that he did not pull the trigger of the gun that led to Hutchins’ death. The film’s director, Joel Souza, was also wounded in the incident.

Originally, Baldwin faced the same charge in January 2022, brought by the Santa Fe district attorney. He pleaded not guilty, and the initial charges were dismissed in April of that year after it was concluded that further examination of the weapon was required. However, the district attorney had indicated the possibility of refiling the charges.

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the armorer responsible for the weapons on the “Rust” set, has also been charged with involuntary manslaughter. Gutierrez-Reed has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.

If convicted, Baldwin could be sentenced to up to 18 months in prison.

KOAT 7 News smacks MLG with fact-check of ‘State of the State’ speech

Far-left Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s recent State of the State address covered her radical 2024 legislative priorities, including snatching guns from law-abiding citizens and dunking more money into the state’s failing education system. While the governor highlighted several achievements of New Mexico, KOAT 7’s “Target 7” smacked her with a fact-check.

One of the key assertions made by Governor Grisham was about the state’s financial growth. She claimed, “We rank among the top states for financial growth and stability and have grown our permanent fund more than 200 percent.” However, “Target 7 has determined that this statement is mostly false.”

According to U.S. News and World Report’s Best State Ranking, New Mexico is placed 44th in terms of economy, considering factors such as the business environment, labor market, and economic growth. This contradicts the governor’s implication of being among the top states.

UNM economist Reilly White shed further light on this, stating that although New Mexico has made significant advances, it still falls short in several areas. The governor’s office attributed her statement on financial growth to a US Department of Labor report indicating high wage growth in the state last summer.

Regarding New Mexico’s permanent fund, the fund did increase from $23.2 billion in 2018 to $42.9 billion in 2023, marking an 84% rise, not the 200% claimed by the Governor. 

Another claim by Governor Grisham was the improvement in reading scores among students. She said, “Over the last year alone, we saw a 4% statewide increase in reading scores for kids in grades 3 to 8. and an unprecedented 5% increase in reading scores for Native American students.” Target 7 found this statement to be mostly true. New Mexico Public Education Department’s report confirmed a 4% increase in reading proficiency, rising from 34% to 38%. However, the increase for Native American students was 3%, not 5%. The changing testing metrics also likely led to increased numbers. 

Governor Grisham also addressed the issue of child fatalities due to guns, stating, “Right now, the leading cause of death for our children is guns.” But Target 7 wrote, “A little less than a year ago, the New Mexico Department of Health released its child fatality report. It says unintentional injury was the leading cause of death among New Mexico children, accounting for more than 36% of all deaths. The report defines unintentional deaths as motor vehicle crashes; drowning deaths; unintentional overdose or poisoning and fire-related deaths. That would also include unintentional gun deaths – but it doesn’t state how many were caused by firearms. Suicide was the second leading cause.” 

While the governor’s address highlighted her far-left legislative priorities, KOAT 7’s fact-check shows the governor’s issue with the truth. 

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