Chesapeake to Sell Lease Holdings to Boost Gas Liquids

From -Chesapeake Energy Corp. is preparing to sell up to $12 billion of its oil and gas fields and other assets in New Mexico and Texas. But while the company is significantly reducing its dry-gas production, it plans to boost gas liquid and oil output in New Mexico and elsewhere. The Oklahoma company, which is the second-largest U.S. natural gas producer, announced Feb. 13 it would consider the sale of all its Permian Basin assets, where it owns 1.5 million net acres of lease holdings, if it received a compelling offer. The leasehold sales, along with the divestment of other assets and sale of $1.3 billion in senior notes, could generate up to $12 billion in capital to improve cash flow and help finance gas-liquid and oil production, according to the company.  More News New Mexico

Eisenhower's "Secret Meetings" With Aliens

President Eisenhower
From dailymail - Former American President Dwight D. Eisenhower had three secret meetings with aliens, a former US government consultant has claimed. The 34th President of the United States met the extra terrestrials at a remote air base in New Mexico in 1954, according to lecturer and author Timothy Good.  Eisenhower and other FBI officials are said to have organised the showdown with the space creatures by sending out 'telepathic messages'  More News New Mexico

Molina Healthcare Appoints Former N.M. Governor Garrey Carruthers to Board of Directors

 Garrey Carruthers
From -Molina Healthcare, Inc. today announced that Garrey E. Carruthers, a former Governor of New Mexico, has been elected to serve as a director by the Company's Board of Directors. Dr. Carruthers will fill an existing vacancy in Class I of the Board. "Governor Carruthers' extensive experience in health care, in government, and in business gives him a unique perspective and insight into our company," said J. Mario Molina, M.D., president and chief executive officer of Molina Healthcare, Inc. "During this exciting time of growth and change in our industry, he will be a true asset for the Company and a great addition to our Board."   More News New Mexico

Donor Pulls $1M Donation For New Field

From -One of the largest donors in the effort to renovate the University of New Mexico’s baseball field has pulled his money out of the project after being “dragged through the mud.”  Johnny Cope had hoped to sit in the newly renovated field, named after him, and enjoy a Lobo baseball game but Governor Martinez’s pressure to keep his name off the field has prompted Cope to withdraw his donations from the project.  More News New Mexico

“Social promotion” bill sponsor thwarted on House floor

From Capitol Report New Mexico - Speaker of the House Ben Luján played some hardball politics on Tuesday night (Feb. 14) and Mary Helen Garcia got brushed back. At the end of the House floor session at a little after 8 p.m., Rep. Garcia (D-Las Cruces) took the microphone from her seat and asked to be recognized. The reason? Her bill — one of the so-called “social promotion” bills that Gov. Susana Martinez approves of — had not been heard on the House floor and with the 30-day session winding down, Rep. Garcia wanted it debated in the hopes that it can pass the House. But as Garcia asked to be recognized, Majority Floor Leader W. Ken Martinez (D-Grants) leaped to his feet and grabbed his own microphone and called for the House to be recessed for the night. Garcia still called to be recognized but Speaker Luján (D-Nambé) ignored her, recognized Martinez and closed down the House for the night. Read more

N.M. Officials Eye Up Gay Marriage License

From -New Mexico officials say they are preparing for gay couples across the state who may try to obtain marriage licenses on Valentine's Day. Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver says her office has been notified by advocates of gay marriage that demonstrations are planned for Valentine's Day wedding ceremonies. The office said officials are expecting that some gay couples will try to get marriage licenses to protest the state's law prohibiting gay marriage. Oliver says the office has been advised that New Mexico law prohibits county clerks from issuing such licenses.  More News New Mexico

N.M. Mom and Third Grader Stop Runaway Bus

From -An alert New Mexico mother sprang into action Monday morning when she watched a school bus roll past her waiting children and was told by one of her kids, “something’s not right with our bus driver,” reported. Rhonda Carlsen, the parent whose children attend Seven Bar Elementary School in Albuquerque, ran with the bus packed with frightened kids and pounded on its door, trying to get the attention of a third-grader toward the front of the bus. The bus driver appeared to be having some kind of seizure, the station reported. She instructed the student to pull on a lever near the driver’s seat, the station reported. The student successfully opened the door and she ran into the bus and hit the brakes and turned off the ignition, the station reported.  More News New Mexico

Governor Signs New Hay Transportation Legislation

From -Gov. Susana Martinez has signed legislation that clears the way for oversized loads of hay to be transported on state roads. The legislation signed into law Tuesday was aimed at easing the strain that drought has placed on both ranchers and their livestock over the past year. Martinez says agriculture is the backbone of New Mexico 's economy and farmers and ranchers need the right tools to keep their operations going. Range conditions around New Mexico have been dismal because of a lack of moisture, and hay has become a hot commodity as a result.  More News New Mexico

KOAT: APS Redistricting Plans Overturned

From -  ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The New Mexico Senate overturned the controversial Albuquerque Public School District's redistricting map, giving hope to those wanting a new west side district.  The Senate Rules Committee said under state law, it had the right to approve redistricting plans for large metropolitan districts like APS.  But later that day, APS School Board President Paula Maes said the Senate had no right to do that, saying the district could continue with the new map because buried in the constitution was another law stating the legislation has no authority to vote on school redistricting.  "What it basically means is that our map that we approved two weeks ago stands as is," said Maes.  This means the west side will continue to have to full school board districts and a third made up of more than 50 percent of west side residents. Read more


N.M. Senate Approves Income Tax Change

From -The Senate has approved a proposal to lower New Mexico's corporate income tax rate but change the tax treatment of large corporations with income from operations nationwide.
The measure passed the Senate on a 28-13 vote on Monday and was sent to the House. Sen. Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe, says the legislation will help stop "big box retailers" from avoiding taxes by shifting part of their income to out-of-state subsidiaries. The proposal will require certain corporations to combine the income from their nationwide operations in determining how much is subject to taxation in New Mexico.  Opponents say the change will increase taxes on large chain retailers and could cause them to reduce their New Mexico operations.  The bill lowers the corporate tax rate to 7.5 percent from 7.6 percent.

Skandera confirmation, once again, unlikely

From the Santa Fe New - by Robert Nott - It appears that for a second year, Hanna Skandera won't win confirmation as the state's Public Education Department secretary.  There is no law prohibiting the former Florida deputy commissioner of education from continuing to serve as Gov. Susana Martinez's choice to oversee New Mexico school systems.  However, it's unlikely that the Senate Rules Committee will schedule a confirmation hearing for Skandera before midday Thursday, when time runs out on the 2012 legislative session.  The "why" of it all is being left somewhat vague by those in control of the confirmation process, but they express concerns with how Skandera has meshed with various segments of the state's educational community as she tries to steer the new Republican administration's reform efforts.  Skandera is the only one of the governor's appointees not to receive a confirmation hearing this session.  Asked Tuesday morning whether she had heard anything regarding a possible confirmation hearing, Skandera said simply, "I'm focusing on the [education] bills." She said she plans to remain in her position: "I came to New Mexico to do a job, and I plan to do that job." Read more

Commentary: Don’t poison the Sunshine Portal

From NM - by Heath Haussamen - The New Mexico Sunshine Portal should be a venue for making already-public information more accessible. Nothing more, nothing less. That narrow mission is what led at its genesis to bipartisan support, and keeping the mission narrowly focused is necessary for the Sunshine Portal to survive in these hyper-partisan times. All the amendments to the Sunshine Portal being discussed in this session don’t address that issue. If there’s one fix lawmakers and the governor need to implement, clarifying that narrow mission is it. Currently, the Legislature can decide to add information to the portal. So can the governor, because the law that created the portal allows it. So Gov. Susana Martinez added all employees’ names to the Sunshine Portal earlier this year without first asking the Legislature. The problem? There are some legislators who don’t like having the names of “rank-and-file” employees’ names online for the public to easily find. House Majority Leader Ken Martinez said as much during a committee hearing the other day, calling it voyeurism and an attack on public employees to want to see the names. With that as the backdrop, the House Judiciary Committee on Monday killed a proposed amendment to the Sunshine Portal I’ve already opposed that would have required disclosure of the names, salaries and titles of all employees of businesses that contract with the state. Read more


Susana Will Take Redistricting Reversal To The US Supreme Court

Capitol Report New Mexico - Capitol Report New Mexico has learned that attorneys for Gov. Susana Martinez will appeal the recent decision by the New Mexico Supreme Court to reverse a redistricting judge’s decision concerning the state’s House of Representatives all the way to the US Supreme Court.
“We believe there are serious federal concerns,” Jessica Hernandez, general counsel for the Republican governor told Capitol Report New Mexico in an interview on Tuesday (Feb. 14), adding that the New Mexico Supreme Court’s reversal “raises important and unique questions the [US] Supreme Court will want to weigh in on.”
It’s unclear when the appeal to the highest court in the land will occur but Hernandez said “It’s just a matter of doing the research and getting the necessary paperwork done.” Read the full story here: News New Mexico


Disability: For Those Who Can't Milk Unemployment?

BI - I’m Sick Of Being Unemployed - A couple of strange and rather disquieting reports circulated among the Friends of Fermentation yesterday. The topic was unemployment or, more specifically, where do those people go who have stopped looking for work. Their absence is credited with distorting the unemployment rate and making it lower than most expect or believe.
The reports I allude to, contended that many went on disability. In fact, they projected that nearly 25% of those not actively seeking a job had applied for, and been accepted, by disability - mostly Social Security.
One of the reports came from a site called (a perfectly logical place for the Friends of Fermentation to be browsing). The Sober report quoted extensively from a report by JPMorgan. I was unable to locate the original JPM report but we’ll assume that Sober quoted from it correctly. Anyway, here’s a bit from SoberLook: Read full story here: News New Mexico

State Will Spend $5.6 Billion in Fiscal 2014

Santa Fe--The New Mexico State Senate passed the state’s proposed budget known as House Bill 2 with a vote of 34-6 last night. The budget that spends $5.6 billion in general fund dollars to run state government in fiscal year 2014. Of the $254 million in "anticipated" new revenue for fiscal year 2014, about $215 million will be spent. The remaining $36.6 million will be made available for tax relief or for other uses.
The Senate amended the House budget bill by including additional dollars for drug court, for soil and water conservation and for additional judgeships.


Senate Democrats Still Refuse to Repeal Driver's Licenses to Illegals Policy in New Mexico

New Mexico crime rings operating in the illegal business of marketing the ease of obtaining a state driver’s license fraudulently, breathed a sigh of relief last night.
Instead of simply repealing a law on the books that allows licenses to be issued to people in the state illegally, a driver's license “compromise” bill passed the Democrat controlled Senate last night by a vote of 27-15.
John Arthur Smith of Deming was the only Democratic Senator to join Republicans in rejecting the complex alternative to a more simple approach that would simply repeal the practice of issuing driver’s licenses to people in the state illegally.
The so-called compromise bill includes somewhat tougher requirements for foreign nationals than what was proposed last year when Democrats also blocked repeal of the old law. This year’s non-repeal version of the dubious bill requires license renewal every year, fingerprints and increased penalties for those who knowingly provide false paperwork for foreign nationals.
In the end, the bill creates more administrative procedures for bureaucrats at the Department of Motor Vehicle offices which should slow service and create longer lines. However, the bill still leaves plenty of room for crime rings to game the system, which is what they were hoping for. The bill will be sent to the New Mexico House of Representatives that has already simply voted to repeal the old law. Governor Martinez called the process in the Senate a "sham" and suggested a veto would be forthcoming.