Acting State Public Education Secretary Asked to Resign

Lopez Letter to Ruszkowski

Acting State Public Education Secretary Asked to Resign

For immediate release

Contact: Arnold Vigil, (505) 986-4882

 

SANTA FE — Senator Linda M. Lopez (District 11, Bernalillo) on Monday called upon state Public Education Secretary Christopher Ruszkowski to resign in wake of the negative aftermath of his comments about Manifest Destiny and its influence on state educational policy. Lopez said that Ruszcowski’s statements demonstrated a callous insensitivity about the doctrine’s negative historical impact on the previous and present generations of the people of New Mexico.

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Senator Linda M. Lopez

“Mr. Ruszkowski’s refusal to publicly apologize to the people of New Mexico and explain himself to members of the state Legislature demonstrates a serious disregard of the diverse cultural backgrounds of the New Mexico children that he leads and represents,” Senator Lopez said. “His Manifest Destiny comments were made just weeks after he was compelled by the public to backpedal on ill-advised changes to the state’s science standards, which also demonstrated a serious disconnect.”

Senator Lopez’s staff hand-delivered a letter to Ruszkowski’s Santa Fe office on Monday afternoon, urging the cabinet-secretary designate to resign. While addressing a charter schools conference in December, Ruszcowski told his audience: “This is a country built over the last 250 years on things like freedom, choice, competition, options, going west, Manifest Destiny — these are the fundamental principles of this country,” he was reported as saying by the Albuquerque Journal.

In October, the PED unveiled a move to change the state science standards, moving to omit references to research-based scientific concepts such as evolution, global warming and the Earth’s age. A chorus of scientists, science teachers, faith leaders, and educational administrators aggressively pushed back against the changes, which were selectively edited by Ruszcowski’s office from the Next Generation Science Standards that have recently been adopted by many other states.

“Considering the disaster of the last state education secretary that extremely demoralized those in the educational system and left us with a shortage of teachers, it’s becoming clear that the new cabinet secretary is continuing that pattern of controversy,” Senator Lopez said. “It just makes sense that we get somebody in there that understands our diverse state and can work and communicate with professional educators as well as the public.”

 

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State Senate Reappoints J. Paul Taylor to Museum Board of Regents

J Paul Taylor appointment

STATE SENATE REAPPOINTS J. PAUL TAYLOR TO MUSEUM BOARD OF REGENTS

For Immediate Release

The New Mexico State Senate on Thursday reappointed longtime and renowned legislator, educator, community leader, and arts patron John Paul Taylor to the Museum Board of Regents. Taylor, 97, of Mesilla, served in the New Mexico State House of Representatives from 1987 to 2005, and was named Legislator of the Year many times by various community-oriented organizations.

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Senator Mary Kay Papen

Cervantes, Joseph 2742

Senator Joseph Cervantes

“I am honored to sponsor Representative Taylor, a man who has contributed so much to the state of New Mexico, both professionally and personally,” said Senator Mary Kay Papen (Dist. 38, Doña Ana). “He is such a giant in Doña Ana County that sometimes I think it should be called J. Paul Taylor County.”

Taylor, a World War II Navy veteran from 1942-46, also made a colossal mark as a longtime educator in the Las Cruces area. His love for New Mexico history led him to donate his vintage Spanish hacienda on the historic Mesilla Plaza to the State of New Mexico, which will later be opened to the public as a museum.

Senator Joseph Cervantes (Dist. 31, Doña Ana) said on the Senate floor that his family has an annual Holiday tradition of going to the Mesilla Plaza with a special emphasis on visiting Representative Taylor’s home and marveling at its contents. “When his home opens to the public as a museum, it is going to be one of New Mexico’s greatest treasures,” Senator Cervantes said.

Taylor will serve on the state Museum Board of Regents through July 8, 2021.

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AG’s Opinion Says Sandoval ‘Right to Work’ Measure Illegal, Hurts Crime Deterrence

AG. Shendo – Sandoval County Right to Work Ordinance 1.18.18

Link above to AG’s opinion

NEW MEXICO SENATOR BENNY SHENDO

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Sen. Shendo at 505-986-4882

January 18, 2018

NM Senator Benny Shendo Says Sandoval County Commissioners Should Heed AG’s New Opinion That Proposed “Right to Work” Ordinance Would Be Illegal & Put Public Safety At Serious Risk

(Santa Fe, NM) –  New Mexico state Senator Benny Shendo (D-22-Bernalillo, McKinley, Rio Arriba, San Juan & Sandoval) today urged Sandoval County Commissioners to reject a proposed ordinance to institute “right to work” (RTW) at the county level, following the release of an Attorney General’s advisory opinion.  Hector Balderas, New Mexico Attorney General, wrote in a January 18th opinion that the proposed Sandoval County ordinance would likely be illegal, create confusion in local and state government procurement, and seriously harm local law enforcement’s crime-fighting capacity.  The Sandoval Commissioners intend to consider a ‘right to work” ordinance today.

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Senator Benny Shendo Jr.

“Anything that weakens local law enforcement’s ability to deter home burglary, auto theft, assault, drug-dealing and other crimes that put our community in danger should give serious pause to the county commissioners.  Also the Attorney General makes clear that any “right to work” measure passed in Sandoval County would be preempted by federal law, and would be found invalid in a challenge in court.  Even more concerning, local crime-fighting efforts would be overwhelmed by the ordinance’s requirements.  The Sheriff’s office and its staff would be forced to investigate any possible or alleged ‘right to work’ violations in area workplaces, squandering their limited resources in this way, instead of pursuing criminals in our community and protecting our families, schools and small businesses.  We must not mandate our law enforcement to take their eye off the ball,” said Senator Shendo.

Attorney General Balderas wrote in advisory opinion, released this morning and requested earlier by Senator Shendo, that:

“(W)e conclude that the proposed ordinance, if adopted, would involve the exercise of powers beyond the scope of those granted by the legislature to non-Home Rule entities… and would create serious concerns about the uniformity in the law… and if challenged in court, would likely be found invalid and unenforceable…”

Balderas also wrote that “the proposed RTW ordinance… could divert law enforcement and prosecutorial resources away from other important matters to the enforcement of (RTW) provisions” that are legally unenforceable.

“Governor Martinez said in her state of the state address just this week that ‘we must make New Mexico a safer place for families and the worst place in America to be a criminal’.  I urge Sandoval County’s commissioners to heed this admonition, and reject the right to work ordinance,” added Shendo.

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NM Senate passes Nurse Licensure Compact bill

NM Senate passes Nurse Licensure Compact bill

For Immediate Release: January 17, 2018

(Santa Fe, NM) Today the New Mexico Senate passed SB1, the Nurse Licensure Compact, on a bipartisan vote of 39-0. The bill now goes to the House for consideration.

By Thursday it is expected that both chambers will accept and sign the bill to send to the Governor’s office for her signature.

New Mexico has been a member of the existing compact since 2004, but the agreement that allows qualified nurses to practice in other compact states has been updated, requiring that states pass legislation to adopt the new, or “enhanced,” compact in order to maintain reciprocity status with those who have entered into the new agreement. In order for New Mexico nurses to be grandfathered in to the eNLC, the bill must be signed by the Governor by the end of this week.

The enactment of the compact will allow registered nurses and licensed practical/vocational nurses to have one multistate license, with the ability to practice in person or via telehealth in both their home state and other eNLC states.

Today is New Mexico Nurses Association Day at the Legislature. Over 400 nurses from throughout the state gathered in support of SB1.

STATEMENTS:

“Today was a victory for nurses around New Mexico, and I hope it shows them how much we value and appreciate everything they do. They represent the heartbeat of our healthcare system, and this system would not work without them.”

Senator Howie Morales, bill co-sponsor

 

“I would like to thank Senators Kernan, Ingle, and Morales for their efforts in getting this bill through the Senate so expeditiously. There’s work yet to be done but this was an important step forward for the nursing community we so value.”

Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth

 

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NM Legislature moving swiftly to adopt new Nurse Licensure Compact

NM Legislature moving swiftly to adopt new Nurse Licensure Compact

For Immediate Release

Contact: Chris Nordstrum (505) 986-4819 Chris.Nordstrum@nmlegis.gov

(Santa Fe, NM) Today leaders from both the House and Senate announced that the 2018 Legislature has begun the process to officially adopt the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC) before a critical deadline at week’s end.

Senate Bill 1 was introduced in the Senate as a first order of business on the first day of the session. It was then heard in and reported out of Committee’s Committee.

Tomorrow the bill will be heard and if passed will be reported out of Senate Judiciary Committee and placed on 3rd reading before being sent to the House for consideration.

By Thursday it is expected that both chambers will accept and sign the bill to send to the Governor’s office for her signature.

New Mexico has been a member of the existing compact since 2004, but the agreement that allows qualified nurses to practice in other compact states has been updated, requiring that states pass legislation to adopt the new, or “enhanced,” compact in order to maintain reciprocity status with those who have entered into the new agreement. In order for New Mexico nurses to be grandfathered in to the eNLC, a bill must be introduced, passed and signed by the Governor by the end of this week.

The enactment of the compact will allow registered nurses and licensed practical/vocational nurses to have one multistate license, with the ability to practice in person or via telehealth in both their home state and other eNLC states.

Tomorrow, January 17, is New Mexico Nurses Association Day at the Legislature. Nursing groups from around New Mexico, along with many of the legislators working to pass the Licensure Compact, will be speaking at 2pm in the State Capitol Rotunda to address the importance of this legislation to our healthcare system throughout the state.

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Senate Democratic Caucus Names Senator Mimi Stewart as Majority Whip

January 15, 2018

Contact: Chris Nordstrum

Office: 505/986.4819 Mobile: 415/601.1992 Chris.Nordstrum@nmlegis.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Senate Democratic Caucus Names Senator Mimi Stewart as Majority Whip

 

(Santa Fe, New Mexico) – Members of the New Mexico Senate Democratic Caucus met today to select the Senate Majority Whip.

The Senate Democrats chose Senator Mimi Stewart (D-17-Bernalillo) as their new Democratic Senate Majority Whip. Senator Stewart served as a Representative in the House from 1995-2014 and has served in the Senate since 2015.

“I appreciate the confidence my fellow Senators have placed in me,” said Sen. Stewart. “I stand ready to work with the Caucus and look forward to continuing the work we do for the families of New Mexico.”

Senator Stewart will start her tenure as Majority Whip effective immediately. The legislative session begins tomorrow, January 16th.

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Statement From the New Mexico Senate Democrats

 

For Immediate Release: December 16, 2017

Contact: Chris Nordstrum, chris.nordstrum@nmlegis.gov, 415-601-1992

 

Today the Senate Democratic Caucus gathered to plan for the upcoming 30 day legislative session. It was a regularly scheduled meeting to review budget priorities following the release of the latest revenue estimates, and discuss the legislative agenda.

The caucus also addressed the Whip position. A majority of members voted to vacate the position. The caucus will be meeting again sometime early in the new year to elect a replacement.

 

STATEMENTS:

 

Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth:

“Senator Padilla is a valued member of the New Mexico state Senate. We look forward to supporting his ongoing legislative efforts to create jobs and help New Mexico families.”

 

Senate President Pro Tem Mary Kay Papen:

“I appreciate everything Senator Padilla has accomplished. He is a strong and compassionate advocate for the people of New Mexico.”

 

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NET NEUTRALITY: Sen. Morales Announces Push for State Legislation to Keep Free and Fair Internet Access After FCC Strips Net Neutrality Protections

NEW MEXICO SENATOR HOWIE MORALES

Sen. Morales Announces Push for State Legislation to Keep Free and Fair Internet Access After FCC Strips Net Neutrality Protections

(Santa Fe, NM) – State Senator Howie Morales today announced that he will propose legislation establishing net neutrality for all of New Mexico in the January meeting of the legislature.  Morales’ call for state net neutrality comes following the Federal Communications Commission’s controversial action impacting the Internet on Thursday that repeals Net Neutrality protections nation-wide.

“Since the federal government is abandoning its important responsibility to ensure free and fair Internet, we must push for legislation at the state level immediately to put in place strong net neutrality requirements here in New Mexico. We have ample means to do it.  We can require that the powerful broadband providers like Verizon, Comcast and AT&T that operate here strictly practice net neutrality, and we can impose it in state contracts. Our state cable franchise agreements also can be used to establish net neutrality as a condition for accessing the public right-of-way for internet infrastructure.  States can protect free and open internet access, and I intend to do it in New Mexico,” said Senator Howie Morales of Silver City.

A majority of the Federal Communications Commissioners voted yesterday to allow private Internet provider corporations to divide the Internet into fast and slow lanes for the first time. This major policy reversal means the Internet as we have come to know it would cease to exist, and the ordinary consumer would lose out on access to ideas and information.

“I am very concerned that students, the elderly and low-income people in New Mexico will be hurt if Internet service providers raise their rates.  The FCC’s repeal of net neutrality makes that very likely.  Many people in New Mexico cannot afford to pay more for access to the Internet,” added Morales.

Morales cited the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC), among others groups, who strongly oppose the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality rules.  NHMC said that net neutrality consumer protections have helped Hispanics, people of color and residents of rural communities find economic and educational opportunities online, and provided a platform to organize for change without interference or censorship from for-profit corporate Internet providers.

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Senator Jacob Candelaria and Representative Debbie Rodella to co-sponsor bill aimed at improving wireless broadband networks

Senator Jacob Candelaria and Representative Debbie Rodella to co-sponsor bill aimed at improving wireless broadband networks

 

For Immediate Release: December 12, 2017

 

Contact: Chris Nordstrum, (505) 986-4819  chris.nordstrum@nmlegis.gov

 

(Santa Fe, NM) Senator Jacob Candelaria and Representative Debbie Rodella will introduce a bill at the upcoming legislative session aimed at improving New Mexico’s wireless broadband networks.  This legislation will encourage wireless carriers to invest in new technology to boost their existing networks.

 

Senator Candace Gould and Representative Jim Smith are cosponsoring the bill.

 

The Wireless Consumer Advanced Infrastructure Act would streamline and standardize rules regarding the deployment of small cells. Small cells are mini antennas that can be placed on existing structures such as traffic signals, buildings and street lights to boost mobile internet speeds in areas that need additional capacity. Small cells can help meet skyrocketing customer demand on wireless networks in a way that is unobtrusive and doesn’t require the building of new cell towers.

 

“Having access to fast, reliable wireless is increasingly important to all New Mexicans. Just this week, we saw the serious impact connectivity issues can have on a community with Santa Fe declaring a telecommunications emergency,” said Senator Jacob Candelaria. “With this bill, we are seeking to remove obstacles for wireless broadband investment and accelerate the deployment of new technology in communities across the state to give New Mexicans the service they want and need.”

 

New Mexico is one of the most wireless reliant states in the country with an estimated 51 percent of households identified as wireless-only. Over the past two years, data usage in the United States has increased 238 percent and is expected grow five times by 2022.

 

“This bill is important because not only will it help meet our current wireless needs, but it also paves the way for the next generation of wireless services in New Mexico,” said Representative Debbie Rodella, Chair of the House Business and Industry Committee. “Having strong wireless broadband networks is critical to growing our businesses and attracting new business and investment to the state.”

 

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NM Legislature Joint Statement on No Harassment Policy

NM Legislature Joint Statement on No Harassment Policy

Joint Statement from Senate President Pro Tempore Mary Kay Papen, Speaker of the House Brian Egolf, Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth, Senate Minority Leader Stuart Ingle, House Majority Leader Sheryl Williams Stapleton, and House Minority Leader Nate Gentry

For Immediate Release: November 29, 2017

Contact: Chris Nordstrum,  (505) 986-4819 Chris.Nordstrum@nmlegis.gov

(Santa Fe, NM) Today, leaders from both the House and Senate announced the following plan to address the issue of sexual harassment in the legislature:

Everyone who conducts business with or on behalf of the legislature should be able to do so in a safe and productive environment. Individuals who have experienced harassment of any kind must feel assured that they can come forward without fear of personal or political retribution. And, every case brought forward must be addressed swiftly and fairly, through a clearly outlined procedure and with enforceable consequences. Misconduct of any kind, but sexual harassment in particular, will not be tolerated.

This is not a partisan issue and responsibility falls on all of us to take thoughtful action at this time. Leaders from both chambers are committed to ensuring that our policies are comprehensive in scope and promise a safe environment for everyone working in and with the legislature. To accomplish this, we have formally requested that a select group of legislators work with the Legislative Council Service and outside counsel to review our existing “No Harassment Policy.” This group will present draft recommendations to the policy at the next Council meeting, after which public input, comments and recommendations will be taken through early January from anyone interested in providing input. Subsequently, a policy for formal adoption by the Council will be considered at the Council meeting in January.

The group will address issues such as

  • The applicability of the policy to include not just legislators but staff, contractors, lobbyists and outside vendors;
  • Seeing that updated and comprehensive training is readily available;
  • Ensuring that the processes in place for reporting and addressing incidents thoroughly protect the accuser from any form of retaliation;
  • Holding every member (and all those to whom the policy will apply) accountable to the highest standard and clearly outlining terms of enforcement.

Harassment of any kind has no place in the New Mexico Legislature. We must do everything we can to make the Roundhouse a safe, inclusive, and welcoming environment for all who seek to play a part in shaping this state’s future.

 

Leadership Statements:

“The issue of sexual harassment is real, and we in the New Mexico Senate take it seriously. That is why we have appointed and empowered – on a bipartisan basis – a working group to take a hard look at the problem of sexual harassment in all aspects of the work of our legislature, including legislators, staff, lobbyists and visitors.”

– Senate President Pro Tempore Mary Kay Papen

 

“My hope is that this effort doesn’t just result in a policy change, but in a cultural change at the Roundhouse. If we want our state to be safe and inclusive then we must make the halls of the Roundhouse safe and inclusive for all who work or visit there.”

– Speaker of the House Brian Egolf

 

“The working group is tasked with conducting research on needed policy changes to address sexual harassment in the Capitol. We intend to tackle this problem, and will take strong action.”

– Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth

 

“The New Mexico State Legislature examined and then updated its sexual harassment and workplace behavior policy in 2008. That policy, which has been in place and utilized for nearly ten years for the protection of staff and legislators, will be thoroughly reviewed and updated once again by the special, bipartisan working group which is accepting input from the public. I am confident the New Mexico State Legislature’s “No Harassment Policy” will be stronger than ever to protect all of those who work in or visit their state capitol.”

– Senate Minority Leader Stuart Ingle

 

“Harassment or sexual harassment of any kind in any environment is unacceptable. Therefore, a more comprehensive plan to address this issue will be implemented to represent all individuals associated with the legislature.”

– House Majority Leader Sheryl Williams Stapleton

 

“The legislature’s current sexual harassment policy is in need of a comprehensive overhaul. I look forward to working to ensure the victims have swift access to justice without fear of retaliation.”

– House Minority Leader Nate Gentry

 

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