"I'm not going to fall on my sword over six words." — Rep. Bill Rehm, R-Albuquerque, during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on increased penalties for crimes committed with the use of a firearm.
Here's the latest from the Legislature:
Days remaining in session: 12
Help the animals: On Saturday, the Senate passed the Wildlife Trafficking Act, which aims to halt the trafficking of endangered species and animal parts through the state. Senate Bill 75, sponsored by Sen. Mimi Stewart and approved by a vote of 22-9, would create civil penalties for wildlife trafficking and help New Mexico quash the sale of endangered species and their parts.
“Right next door to us, El Paso is one of the top five ports of entry for wildlife trafficking in the nation,” Stewart said. “Much of that contraband is moved through New Mexico as it’s distributed, illicitly, around the country."
Agua es vida: The state Senate passed a bill that would authorize the New Mexico Finance Authority to make loans or grants for 34 water projects around the state.
They include a water storage, conveyance and delivery project in Mora County; a water conservation or treatment, recycling or reuse project in Bernalillo County; and water storage, conveyance and delivery projects in Santa Fe and Rio Arriba counties.
Energy boost: The House on Saturday passed a bill that would include electric transmission projects in the Industrial Revenue Bond Act.
The measure, approved on a vote of 48-21, included an amendment requiring firms to make payments to school districts, in lieu of taxes they would have received, that are equal to or greater than the amount of lost taxes.
HB 50, sponsored by Rep. Nathan Small, D-Las Cruces, aims to help increase infrastructure for renewable energy sources. It heads to the Senate.
Looking ahead: It's a big day for big bills Monday. The Senate Finance Committee plans to hear Senate Bill 72, which is supported by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and aims to erase the $6.6 billion unfunded liability in the Public Employees Retirement Association's pension system.
And the House Education Committee is scheduled to take up the bill that would create Lujan Grisham's proposed Opportunity Scholarship, the initiative that would provide free college tuition to all New Mexicans. There will be a number of other bills to watch as well, including legislation on domestic terrorism and sexual harassment cases on the agenda for the House Judiciary Committee.
Notably absent from the Senate committee agenda, at least as of Saturday, was the much-anticipated second hearing of a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana in New Mexico. The Senate Public Affairs Committee passed the legislation Jan. 28, but the bill hasn't been heard from since.
Quotes of the day: "There’s an inside scoop that I want to share with all of you. Disney is looking at doing a movie with Quentin Tarantino here in New Mexico and it’s going to be called 'Once Upon a Time in Santa Fe.’ Bill O’Neill is going to be working on the screenplay a little bit, and they’ve already cast John Arthur Smith as Brad Pitt and Peter Wirth as Leonardo DiCaprio. It’s looking very promising." — Sen. Joseph Cervantes after lamenting on the Senate floor that he didn't believe there were any films shot in New Mexico nominated for the Academy Awards this year.
"I'm not going to fall on my sword over six words." — Rep. Bill Rehm, R-Albuquerque, during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on increased penalties for crimes committed with the use of a firearm. The committee actually struck eight words from the provision: "regardless of whether the firearm is directly visible."
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