Recapping the 2018 Legislative Session

Fred, Kristina, Othiamba, and Susan

THINK NEW MEXICO

Think New Mexico’s legislation to encourage school districts and charter schools to maximize the percentage of their budgets that they spend in the classroom was introduced by a terrific team of bipartisan sponsors, led by Representative Larry Larrañaga (R-Albuquerque), ranking Republican on the House Appropriations and Finance Committee, and Representative Bobby Gonzales (D-Taos), a retired school superintendent. House Bill 180 also aimed to make it easier to get more dollars to the classroom by reducing unnecessary administrative paperwork. (Read our guest editorial about the bill.)

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New Mexico Has Critical Public Health Issue

Sharon Kayne, Communications Director

NM VOICES FOR CHILDREN

A national report released last night by Child Trends using data from the National Survey of Children’s Health, shows New Mexico has some of the highest rates of children suffering from adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). ACEs are traumatic childhood events, and include suffering abuse and neglect, living with someone who has an untreated mental illness, the death of a parent, and living in extreme economic insecurity.

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Early Childhood Constitutional Amendment Passes NM House of Representatives

Jessa Cowdrey, Public Policy Advocate

CATHOLIC HEALTH INITIATIVES

St. Joseph’s Children congratulates the New Mexico House of Representatives for passing HJR1, the Early Childhood Constitutional Amendment.

Our State Representatives understand the deep plight of our children and they have taken bold action to make systemic change for the betterment of our state. Today, the State Representatives have shown a deep respect for the voters of New Mexico by passing this Constitutional Amendment.

Our State Representatives believe that this proposal to improve child well-being is worth a public debate. We now encourage the State Senate to pass HJR1 so it can indeed go to the voters. The status quo is unacceptable and we can enact change by updating the distribution formula of the Land Grant Permanent Fund to support the science behind brain development, that learning begins at birth.

Investing in our children is a responsible approach to ensure the success of children today and tomorrow.

Native Student Success Vital to New Mexico’s Future: We Must Do Better

By Representative Derrick Lente, (D-Sandia Pueblo)

Rep. Derrick Lente

Although New Mexico has the fourth largest Native American population in the country, services for Native students remain significantly low. Across the state, Native students continue to fall behind and lack the necessary resources to succeed.

Last year, the legislature passed my bill to ensure Native students have the support to succeed with bipartisan support, but Governor Martinez vetoed it.

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Legislation That Would Bring Back the Regressive Food Tax Back on the Table

Fred, Kristina, Othiamba and Susan

THINK NEW MEXICO

As you may have seen in the news (read the coverage in the Santa Fe New Mexican), Senator Cliff Pirtle has introduced Senate Bill 129, which would reimpose the food tax on all groceries other than meat, flour tortillas, and items eligible for WIC, the Women, Infants, and Children supplemental nutrition program.

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We Have to Broaden the Economic Recovery Beyond Wall Street

By U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich

UNITED STATES SENATE

Over the last year, President Trump has left New Mexicans deeply uncertain and worried about the direction our nation is headed. He held basic governance and global security hostage to his impulses and tweets, shamefully turned away refugees and immigrants and dismantled important protections for our natural resources and public health. He had the opportunity to change course and unite the country during his State of the Union address. But instead he doubled down on his divisive rhetoric and empty promises.

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U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital is Reckless and Deeply Irresponsible

Rabbi Alissa Wise
Deputy Director, JEWISH VOICE FOR PEACE

President Trump just declared that the U.S. recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and will move forward with plans to move the U.S. embassy there.

I have faith that one day, we’ll be strong enough to bend U.S. foreign policy toward justice— but this is really going to test it.

Because this is a reckless, deeply irresponsible decision: for Palestinians, Israelis, and all of us. And it’s on us to stand up.

Click here to tell your Congressperson: recognizing Jerusalem as the Israeli capital is wrong.

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After “Tax Reform” Time for “Welfare Reform”

By R.W.

Why do people who do not belong to the small wealthy elite, people who depend on Social Security or other supplements to their income, people who are dependent on government supported health care and people whose children are enrolled in public education vote for politicians who promise to blitz these very programs, why do they vote for a propagandized ideology and against their own interests.

This new tax bill sets the stage to further reshape American society by deepening inequality. While nearly 41 million Americans live below the poverty line, with nearly one in five children living in poverty, this legislature promises to stuff the coffers of corporations and the wealthiest Americans. Corporation profits are now peaking at near their highest levels in history. The richest 1 percent of Americans receive 20 percent of overall national income, double the level in 1980 and the highest level in nearly a century. Income for the top 1 percent has risen more than four times faster than for the middle-class, nearly tripling since 1980.

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Our Democracy Depends on Secure Elections

Sent and written by Martin Heinrich  (D-New Mexico) and Susan Collins (R-Maine)

Published by

Our democracy hinges on protecting Americans’ ability to fairly choose our own leaders, and this requires public confidence that the voting results announced on election night are legitimate and reflect the actual votes cast in each state.

As members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, we are helping to lead the Senate’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Each member of our committee remains committed to uncovering the full extent of Russia’s operations and ensuring that we create protections against similar actions from foreign actors going forward.

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Stick Structures; We Are Not Alone

By R.W.

Since there were so many searching, probing and perceptive entries on the Jemez Post Facebook page concerning the issue of Stick Structures in the National Forests, I feel compelled to clear the matter up.

Yes, there were some good comments, and yes, some were reaching the heart of the matter, which is not surprising, since the answer to the mystery is quite simple.

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If We’re Busting the Budget, Let’s Spend on Real Needs

By U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich

UNITED STATES SENATE

Republicans seem to believe we can afford massive amounts of additional deficit spending, because their tax plan busts the budget by $1.5 trillion over 10 years to provide more tax breaks for the wealthy and special interests. If Republicans insist on deficit spending, imagine if instead we invested in our people and communities.

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Giant Beautiful Massive Trickle Coming Your Way

By R.W.

President Trump and the Republicans promised tax reform that would benefit the middle class, not the massive tax giveaway for the likes of himself and the other ultra-wealthy in his administration that is now being put forward.   The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy tells us that the new House GOP tax plan will allow the disparity in income in the country to grow with the richest 5 percent of households receiving  61 percent of the tax cuts over the next decade.

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Watch Out For Danger of Burned Trees

Chris Judson

BANDELIER NATIONAL MONUMENT

Photo: NPS Photo
Dead, falling, and fallen trees in an area severely burned by the Las Conchas Fire in 2011
One day in October, a hiker in Bandelier National Monument’s backcountry stopped along Frijoles Creek to have lunch and cool her feet in the water.  She took off her backpack and put it just behind her on the creek bank.  A breeze came up, and she heard a sharp CRAACCK right overhead.  She looked up and then very quickly sprang to the other side of the creek, just as a burned Ponderosa pine fell right where she had been sitting, crushing her backpack but very narrowly missing her.  She came back shaken and scratched, but her swift realization of the situation and fast reaction kept her from serious injuries.Continue reading

Red Meat Anyone?

By R.W.

“I think I am actually humble. I think I’m much more humble than you would understand (but…)
my IQ is one of the highest — and you all know it! Please don’t feel so stupid or insecure; it’s not your fault.”

The most intelligent man on Earth is the President of the United States.  He is like a smart person. It is not true that he is, as his closest associates and team members report: a moron, a lunatic, not stable,  a sociopath, a delusional narcissist etc.

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Life and Death and All That Among Flickers of Faith and Hope

By R.W.

I realize that many people believe that God created man* in his present form, without alterations, the lovely creature that he is now, within the last 10,000 years. I also realize that to question this belief, as I did recently in the Jemez Post, and speak of it as if it were absurd, hurts and causes offence to many.

Creationists argue, as in an article in the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) that while the biblical account of creation is ridiculed by atheists, patronized by liberals and is often allegorized even by conservatives, it is however God’s own account of creation, corroborated by Jesus Christ (Mark 10:6-8, etc.), who was there.  Additional weight is given to this argument stating that God will someday hold us accountable for believing what He says, and that His description is reasonable and logical, fully in accord with all true science and history. The article affirms that there is peace and joy in believing God’s straightforward, rational, simple, satisfying, and truly scientific account of creation in Genesis.

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New Mexico’s Black Children Doing Well Compared to Black Kids across Nation

Sharon Kayne, Communications Director

NEW MEXICO VOICES FOR CHILDREN

30th Anniversary Logo

New Mexico’s children, in all racial and ethnic groups except African American, lag behind their demographic cohorts across the nation when it comes to meeting key milestones that will help them achieve their unique potential. That’s according to data in the 2017 Race for Results: Building a Path to Opportunity for All Children report, released today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The Race for Results report uses an index that measures children’s progress on key education, health, and economic milestones, and across racial and ethnic groups at the national and state levels. The report’s index uses a composite score of these milestones on a scale of one (lowest) to 1,000 (highest) to make comparisons. No state has all children in any racial group meeting all milestones. However, nationally Asian and white children tend to fare better as a whole, while Hispanic, Native American, and Black children are less likely to be meeting milestones.

New Mexico’s index scores for all groups, except one, were lower than the national average (see the accompanying fact sheet for scores). New Mexico’s scores for Black children —who scored the lowest at the national level—were higher than the state’s scores for both Native and Hispanic children. Only nine other states had higher scores for their Black children (six states had no data on black children). African-American children comprise just 2 percent of New Mexico’s child population.Continue reading

New Mexicans Speak Out Against Proposed Politicized Science Standards

350 NEW MEXICO RALLY FOR SCIENCE EDUCATION

Hundreds of New Mexicans spoke Monday in opposition to the New Mexico Public Education Department’s politicized edits to the Next Generation Science Standards, removing references to climate change and the age of the Earth for its proposed public-school science curriculum.

Speakers urged the state to adopt the unedited Next Generation framework, which was developed by the National Academy of Sciences, National Science Teachers Association, American Association for the Advancement of Science and Achieve. Every commenter at Monday’s hearing opposed the politicized edits. Below are excerpts from today’s Rally for Quality Science Education:

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No to legislation That Would Kill the Iran Nuclear Deal

Rabbi Joseph Berman
Government Affairs Manager

How many more paths to war can we go down? On Friday, Donald Trump shoved us closer to confrontation with Iran, and it’s up to all of us to force Congress to choose diplomacy instead.

Act now and tell Senator Martin Heinrich and Senator Tom Udall: No new sanctions on Iran, and don’t pass legislation to kill the Iran Nuclear Deal.

Everyone— from the the International Atomic Energy Association, to the U.S. Intelligence Community, to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson— agrees that sticking with the Iran Nuclear Deal is in everyone’s best interest.

But on Friday, in a speech full of misleading falsehoods, Trump announced he was “decertifying” the Iran Deal.

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Democracy and Lots of Money are At Stake for New Mexico in the Upcoming Census 

By Amber Wallin

KIDS COUNT Director at NEW MEXICO VOICES FOR CHILDREN 

 

Amber Wallin.

Pop quiz. Which of the following statements are true? 

  1. The census is constitutionally required in order to count every person in the U.S. 
  1. The census determines how much federal money—more than $6 billion—flows into New Mexico’s economy every year. 
  1. New Mexicans are more at risk of not being counted by the census than are people in most every other state. 
  1. The census is in jeopardy—and that puts New Mexicans in jeopardy. 

 If you said all of the above are true, you’d be correct. Unfortunately, that doesn’t guarantee you the prize of being counted and represented in the next big census if things continue the way they are going. 
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It’s A Good Time For Seeing Tarantulas

By Chris Judson

BANDELIER NATIONAL MONUMENT

Photo NPS.

Around here, in Bandelier National Monument and many other parts of New Mexico, everyone starts noticing tarantulas about this time of year.  Autumn is the time when males mature and start out on their quest to find a mate.  This exposes them to many dangers, from hawks and skunks, which want to eat them, to fast-moving cars, to people who just find them creepy and may think they should be squashed.

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Not For Distribution, but…

By R.W.

 Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

It took U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke nearly four months to declare which protected U.S. public lands to “unprotect”, and to open them to commercial activities. The act, protecting these lands, was signed into law in 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt, has, according to Secretary Zinke, allowed both Republican and Democratic presidents to “overreach”, as he put it, in designating these lands.

In the last 110 years, sixteen presidents, including eight Republicans and eight Democrats, have used the act to designate national monuments. But now, in a turning tide, sitting at opposite ends of New Mexico the Rio Grande del Norte near Taos and Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument near Las Cruces are up for review in the report Zinke sent to President Donald Trump.

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Graham-Cassidy TrumpCare Bill Disastrous for Indian Health Care

U.S. Senator Tom Udall

UNITED STATES SENATE

Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall, vice chair of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, released the following statement on the Graham-Cassidy TrumpCare bill’s effects on health care in Indian Country:

“Senate Republicans are trying to force through the Graham-Cassidy repeal bill — another version of TrumpCare that would be truly disastrous for American Indians and Alaska Natives. The bill’s massive cuts to the Medicaid program would devastate access to life-saving health care across Indian Country. The Graham-Cassidy TrumpCare legislation is an irresponsible and dangerous abdication of our federal government’s trust responsibilities to Tribes. If enacted, this bill would jeopardize the health and lives of Native Americans in Tribal and urban Indian communities everywhere.

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A Call to Residents of Sandoval County

Laura Robbins

SANDOVAL COUNTY OIL AND GAS ORDINANCE CITIZENS’ STUDY GROUP

This is a reminder about action to be taken by the Sandoval County Commission. The Commission is about to vote on an extremely permissive Oil and Gas Ordinance that could radically affect the quality of our lives as well as property values in a large part of Sandoval County.

Here’s how the Commission plans to make it easy for oil and gas companies to drill near your home or ranch or farm:

  • NO public notice
  • NO public hearing

Your wakeup call will occur when the company starts drilling next to your home.

Sounds unbelievable?

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Science Deniers and Creationists Propose New Science Curriculum for New Mexico Schools

By R.W.

The New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED) is proposing new science teaching standards that question climate change, deny evolution and promote the oil and gas industry. New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez and the state’s Education Secretary -designee Christopher Ruszkowski have followed the Trump administration’s lead and “politically sanitized”, as they will have it, the vocabulary and content of science teaching standards.

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A Friendly Robot Offers to Help Sue Equifax  

By R.W.

An estimated 143 million Americans, half of the U.S. population (this could be you and me), have had their names, addresses, social security numbers, some credit card numbers, driver license numbers and credit reports stolen in one of the biggest ever breaches of consumer data. This data breach threatens its victims with identity theft, giving away every single detail that someone could possibly need to steal  another person’s identity.

The case involves a company called Equifax, a credit reporting agency. There’s a very high chance that if you’ve ever had any sort of loan, credit card, or interaction with a collection agency, that you have dealt with them. The company waited six weeks to tell the world about the hack, that gave hackers a six-week jump on all of us.

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