Spaceport or Space Ghost? Susana asks committee members to reconsider Spaceport liability bill

From Capitol Report New Mexico.com - Capitol Report New Mexico has learned that Gov. Susana Martinez sent a letter Thursday (Feb. 9th) to members of the two committees that tabled bills that would have protected Spaceport America from legal liability if any spaceflight passengers are injured and there is no “gross negligence” or ”willful/wanton disregard for safety.” Martinez wrote to the members of the House Business and Industry Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee that “simply put, this would make it extremely difficult for Spaceport America to achieve its mission of providing commercial space flights and boosting local economies in the southern part of the state.” The letter was signed by the Republican governor as well as three Democrats — Judiciary Committee Chair Sen. Richard Martinez of EspaƱola, Rep. Dona Irwin of Deming, and Sen. Mary Kay Papen of Las Cruces — and one Republican, Rep. James White of Albuquerque. The two committees blocked the liability exemption on Wednesday, despite appeals from Spaceport officials who told lawmakers the exemption was necessary because other states with interests in commercial space flight had instituted similar laws. “But where does it end,” asked Sen. Eric Griego (D-Albuquerque), “just because a company says they’re going to move to Nebraska or China we have to do the same?” Sen. Lisa Curtis (D-Albuquerque), who is a trial lawyer, argued that by rejecting the exemption, New Mexico could actually attract more people to Spaceport because the state would have stronger protections for passengers. Read more
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Senate’s contractor disclosure vote toys with absurdity

From NM Politics.net - By  - I’m a big fan of transparency, and I believe private contractors who do public work could use more sunshine. But the N.M. Senate toyed with absurdity on Monday by approving an amendment to the Sunshine Portal law that would require all state contractors to disclose the names, titles and salaries of all employees. One example of a company the legislation would affect is a business that runs a prison for the state. I absolutely believe the names and salaries of the company’s employees who work at that prison should be publicly disclosed. But on the other extreme is a company that does 99 percent of its work in the private sector and has one tiny contract with a state agency for a couple thousand dollars. I don’t believe such a company should have to give out that much proprietary information. Somewhere in between is a gray area in which a line should be drawn between what’s public and what’s not. I’m glad lawmakers including Eric Griego, D-Albuquerque, have brought this issue into the debate about government transparency. But the way they’ve done it – with an overly broad amendment to the Sunshine Portal – is simply not appropriate. Read more
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Eric Griego's "Amendment"

Eric Griego
NewsNM comment (Spence) Some things that happen are so amazing they sound made up. And this man wants New Mexicans to send him to Washington.
New Mexico Watchdog - Politics often makes strange bedfellows, yet who would have guessed that one of the Occupy movement’s friends in the Roundhouse would carry water for Occupy’s arch-enemy, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Or so it seems.
Sen. Eric Griego attached to a piece of pending transparency legislation an amendment that would require future administrations to include on the state’s new statutory Sunshine Portal “a directory of all employee positions of every person, corporation or entity with which the state contracts, identified by position title, salary and the name of the individual that holds the position.”
Good luck with that, Gov. Martinez. The legislature – if they keep this amendment – wants you assemble “a directory of all employee positions (including name, title and salary) of every person, corporation or entity with which the state contracts.”
The state contracts with thousands of companies, non-profit agencies and – don’t forget – other public agencies including the United States government. Near the top of the list are some large construction companies like Jaynes Corp., A. S. Horner and Mountain States Constructors. Read full story here: News New Mexico
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Martinez Beats Unions in Court

The labor unions took it on the chin in court over an appointment by Governor Susana Martinez. Roger Bartosiewicz was the governor's nominee to the Public Employee Labor Relations Board, but labor union activists sued.
State District Court Judge Nan Nash denied a request today from the state labor federation and several unions to remove Bartosiewicz from the board. Bartosiewicz was recommended by the Clovis Police Officers’ Association a labor organization, but not the labor organization the union activist's bosses preferred.

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Mayor Berry: NOT one of Duke City's Top Earners

Richard Berry
NM Business Weekly - The city of Albuquerque has released a list of the highest paid employees in city government for 2011. The highest paid employee is Edward A. Adams in the Municipal Development Department, who earned $144,773.20 last year. Robert Perry, chief administrative officer, is second at $143,355.29, followed by Albuquerque Police Chief Ray Schultz at $138,063.20. At the No. 4 slot is Albuquerque Fire Department Chief James Breen at $123,450.08. Laura Breen, director of the City Council, is No. 5, with an annual salary of $121,066.31. At No. 250 is Todd Hudson, an APD lieutenant, with a salary of $81,572.46. The list of the top 250 earners is online. Mayor Richard J. Berry has asked city leaders to make this information available as part of his efforts to make government more accountable, according to a news release. Read full story here: News New Mexico
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Sanchez Press Release

Statement by Lt. Gov. John Sanchez on his Campaign for U.S. Senate
Eight months ago, our campaign for the U.S. Senate began with one clear objective: to give New Mexicans the opportunity to send conservative leadership to Washington D.C. The timing on this race was not ideal nor did we choose it. But the need for a conservative leader from New Mexico is real.
John Sanchez
Throughout the course of this campaign, it has become clear to me, that in order to ensure that a Republican is elected to represent New Mexico in the U.S. Senate, the G.O.P must stand united. A bitter and divisive Republican Primary would only diminish our party’s genuine opportunity to bring real change in Washington. The reality is that the path forward to success in the campaign could cause a negative primary struggle that would leave the eventual nominee bruised, bloody and broke.
After much prayer, counsel with my family, and discussions with supporters, I have decided to end my campaign for the U.S. Senate, and continue to serve New Mexico as your Lt. Governor.
I want to express my sincere thanks to those New Mexicans who joined our campaign. I am forever grateful for the support we received from grassroots leaders, tea party patriots, business owners, GOP activists and everyday citizens. They offered their efforts and their dollars and it meant the world to me. This was not my time, but I will never forget their friendship.
I am redirecting myself today to helping our party advance the strongest slate of candidates to victory in November, from the Roundhouse to the White House.
I hope that you will join me in working with Governor Martinez, and all conservatives to complete the important work that we have begun in New Mexico.
May God Bless and Keep You, and may God Bless America and New Mexico.

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John Sanchez Makes it Official

John Sanchez
EXCLUSIVE BREAKING NEWS - New Mexico Lt. Governor John Sanchez will withdraw from the race for the GOP nomination for the United States Senate seat held by Jeff Bingaman at 11:00am today. This decision, which was widely expected by the press, paves the way for a two candidate primary contest between former U.S. Representative Heather Wilson and Las Cruces businessman Greg Sowards.
The Lt. Governor will appear on the statewide News New Mexico radio network to discuss his decision at 7:00am Friday morning.

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Bill on Repeal of Driver's License Law Passes House

Our listener and reader feedback on the House Bill # 103 vote was huge. Most people wanted to know how their representatives voted on the bill that will shut down crime rings operating in the state that are taking advantage of the most lax driver's license issuance rules in the nation.
Poll after poll has shown that New Mexicans are overwhelmingly opposed to the idea of issuing driver's licenses to foreign nationals who are here illegally. You can click here to see the final vote. No House Republican voted against repealing the existing law and several Democrats joined the majority. Below is a list of all house members who declined to support the repeal of the driver's license issuance law:
Miguel Garcia, Antonio Lujan, Tomas Garcia, Ben Lujan, Edward Sandoval, Richard Gonzales, Roger Madalena, Sheryl Stapleton, Moe Maestas, Mimi Stewart, Joanie Gutierrez, Richard Martinez, Gail Chasey, Ken Martinez, Mary Helen Garcia, Eleanor Chavez, Rick Miera, Jim Trujillo, Ernest Chavez, Bill O'Neill, Lucky Varela, Richard Vigil, Danice Picraux, and Brian Egolf.

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Obama Stiffs ONLY New Mexico on No Child Waiver

President Obama freed 10 different states from the absurd requirements of the No Child Left Behind law, enabling states to use better solutions to improve education. Oklahoma, Tennnessee, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and New Jersey were all set free.
Only New Mexico was denied its freedom. Some observers believe that the Obama administration is trying to assist partisan state Democrats who want to hamstring the increasing popularity of Governor Susana Martinez through stifling federal control. No explanation was given as to why New Mexico was singled out by Obama's education bureaucracy for denial.

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We Need 57 Independents in the Legislature

Thousands of people in New Mexico who voted to invest millions of taxpayer dollars for the economic development associated with Spaceport America just got suckered punched by Senate Democrats.
Jim Spence
Senate Bill #3 which was introduced by pro-business Democrat Mary Kay Papen and James White recognizes that all passengers who might choose to ride on future space flights departing from Spaceport America already know there are risks in space travel. The bill also recognizes that competing space flight states already have specific liability waivers in place to limit the ability of trial lawyers to exploit any accidents involving passengers. The bill is a simple straightforward common sense waiver that will pave the way for hundreds of millions of dollars in private investment by the likes of Virgin Galactic and others.
Mary Kay Papen
Not so fast. A few months ago partisan Democrat trial lawyer Lisa Curtis worked behind the scenes to snag a Senate seat via appointment. Somehow she managed to convince the Bernalillo and Sandoval County commissions to break precedent and appoint her to replace departing GOP Senator Kent Cravens. Curtis is a notoriously radical anti-business litigator. It did not take Curtis long to inflict damage on New Mexicans while protecting the income streams of her fellow litigators.
Along with five other anti-business Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Curtis voted to block Senate Bill #3. For decades the block tactic is a process that countless lawyers have employed to pad their pockets, while simultaneously poisoning the economy of New Mexico. Curtis is just the latest in a long line of anti-business types with a law degree to make sure barriers are always erected that first and foremost protect lawyer’s rights.
Unfortunately, now at risk for New Mexicans, is the loss of yet another string of innovative and futuristic high paying industries that we have already made a commitment to. Virgin Galactic and others may be forced, by Democrats, to fold it up and take their risk capital elsewhere.
Lisa Curtis
The problem isn't complicated. It is pretty simple. Democrats have controlled the New Mexico legislature for more than eighty years. And even when pro-business Democrats like Senator Mary Kay Papen sponsor good legislation that will promote prosperity, only to see their bills shot down by colleagues, they continue to caucus with the same lawmakers. And in the end we wind up with a majority that will continue to cede enormous powers to self-serving anti-business lawyers like Senate Majority leader Michael Sanchez and recently appointed Senator Lisa Curtis.
Andy Nunez
Sanchez and Curtis don’t care how much money Sierra, Dona Ana, and Otero County taxpayers have willingly invested in the success of Spaceport America. They will never pass legislation associated with high paying jobs and economic development if it affects their insatiable need to have first call on the extraction of state resources through their litigation franchises.
What New Mexicans need is fifty-six more people just like INDEPENDENT lawmaker Andy Nunez to serve in Santa Fe. If we had 57 independents (21 in the Senate and 36 in the House) we could replace the power of the anti-business elements controlling our legislature with truly non-partisan elected officials that serve the peoples interests first instead of serving the interests of lawyers.

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Senate Panel Kills Bill to Prevent Spaceport Lawsuits

From elpasotimes.com - Senate panel today killed a bill to prevent New Mexico space travelers from suing in most cases of negligence. The proposal failed in the Judiciary Committee on a 6-5 vote. Democrats said the bill went too far in eroding the rights of consumers. The measure would have prevented passengers or their families from suing manufacturers of parts and equipment used in space flights. Sen. Mary Kay Papen, D-Las Cruces, sponsored the bill on behalf of Spaceport America and businesses interested in New Mexico's space industry. Papen said the vote was a disappointment and a setback for the $209 million Spaceport in Sierra County. "I think it will have a slowdown" because of a lack of legal protection for suppliers, Papen said.   Sen. Lisa Curtis, D-Albuquerque, voted against special protections for the space industry. Curtis, a trial attorney, said the bill was flawed. A company's negligence could kill a six passengers on a space flight, but the business would have no liability under the bill, she said. Curtis said New Mexico's stand for consumer protection actually would attract more passengers. Other states - including Texas, Virginia and Florida - have approved laws to protect companies from lawsuits in cases of space travel.  More News New Mexico
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Bader-Ginsburg "Would Not Look to the Constitution"

Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Fox News - As Egyptian officials prepare to send to trial 19 American democracy and rights workers, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg visited Cairo last week where she suggested Egyptian revolutionaries not use the U.S. Constitution as a model in the post-Arab Spring.
"I would not look to the U.S. Constitution, if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012," Ginsburg said in an interview on Al Hayat television last Wednesday. "I might look at the constitution of South Africa. That was a deliberate attempt to have a fundamental instrument of government that embraced basic human rights, have an independent judiciary. It really is, I think, a great piece of work that was done."
As Egypt prepares to write a new constitution, Ginsburg, who was traveling during the court's break to speak with legislators and judges in Egypt as well as Tunisia, spoke to students at Cairo University, encouraging them to enjoy the opportunity to participate in the "exceptional transitional period to a real democratic state." Read the rest of this story and watch the video here: News New Mexico
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