Angry crowd meets, Medicaid concerns

From - ALBUQUERQUE - Keep your hands off my Medicaid. That was the message to state officials with the New Mexico Human Services Department during a public meeting on the future of Medicaid Thursday in Albuquerque. "If you agree with me stand up and yell," one woman said at the meeting held at the University of New Mexico Center for Continuing Education building. Dozens and dozens at the meeting said they do not want cuts of any kind to Medicaid, a program that provides health care to those living in poverty. "With the implementation of national health care reform we are going to have between 130-170,000 people eligible for Medicaid in the state," said Humans Services Communications Director Matt Kennicott. Those changes are not until 2014, but Kennicott said in the end, it could cost an additional $300 million to $600 million in state payouts by 2019. Right now one in four people in the state are on Medicaid. Read more

Federal charges against 2 in NM voter project

From - ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - U.S. Attorney Kenneth Gonzales says a Texas-based political consultant and a former New Mexico lobbyist have been indicted for allegedly stealing federal election money by overbilling for services in a voter education project administered by former Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron. The grand jury indictments were announced Thursday against Armando Gutierrez of Corpus Christi, Texas and Joseph Kupfer of Rio Rancho. The three defendants and Vigil-Giron have pleaded not guilty to state charges brought in 2009 in connection with the voter education campaign. Gutierrez was hired by Vigil-Giron. He received more than $6 million in federal election money from 2004 to 2006, but the indictment alleges he defrauded the government by charging $2.5 million for work never performed. Read more

Mexico suspends police aid to Juárez

From the Las Cruces Sun-News - (AP) CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico - Mexico's federal government has suspended aid for a police-training program in the violence-wracked border city of Ciudad Juarez, saying authorities there haven't followed reporting rules and have trained few police. Mexico's National Public Safety System says it has suspended 57 million pesos ($4.85 million) in aid scheduled to be delivered this year, because the city has done little to actually train local police. It said Thursday that from 2008 to 2010 the city trained only about 6 percent of its police force, and none of its commanding officers. "It is unfortunate that the federal government is not showing solidarity with Ciudad Juarez in the serious problem of insecurity," city clerk Hector Arceluz Perez told a Thursday hearing. The announcement comes amid rising tensions between local and federal authorities, after federal police shot at a vehicle carrying Ciudad Juarez police chief Julian Leyzaola. Read more

A big win for Gary King

From Capitol Report New Mexico - One day after a rambunctious committee meeting hearing in the Roundhouse in which whistleblower Frank Foy and his attorney Victor Marshall once again called for the recusal of state attorney general Gary King from taking the lead in a lawsuit aimed at recovering millions of dollars in alleged “pay to play” schemes, a district court judge declared that Foy’s objections to King don’t have any standing. King is heading an amended lawsuit on behalf of the State Investment Council (SIC) and district court Judge Stephen Pfeffer announced that the SIC has sole responsibility to decide if there is a conflict of interest and that Foy, therefore, has no standing to request a recusal. Foy and Marshall have called for King to step aside because of what they say could be a conflict of interest on King’s part because the attorney general received $54,848 in campaign contributions from then-Gov. Bill Richardson’s campaign in 2006. A number of Richardson associates have been named in the amended SIC lawsuit in connection to “pay to play” schemes. Read more

Marita Noon: Increase Revenues = Better Economy Not Higher Taxes

Marita Noon
Commentary by Marita Noon, Executive Director of Energy Makes America Great - Admittedly, we, as a country, need to get past this debt-ceiling crisis and, consequently, it has consumed the news cycle. But, the proposed solutions focus mainly on two elements of the problem, while the rating agencies seem to be looking at the bigger picture. So, how’d we get here? The over-simplified answer is basically the same way any household account gets into trouble: too much spending and not enough income. Despite the bad numbers, the administration’s policies continue to discourage a true revenue increase while the President continues to support raising taxes. A variety of business and industrial groups are working together to point out the detrimental impact of the EPA’s proposed new ozone ruling, calling it, “one of the greatest threats to U.S. economic growth and job creation.” If implemented, the new rule will put most of the country, including nearly all of California, in a non-attainment status, which will require, as estimated by the EPA, $20-90 billion annually. Companies would be punished by having to obtain emission offsets (doing through regulation what—at the prodding of the people—Congress didn’t support in cap-and-trade proposals), install controls, and face expensive retrofits just to be allowed to continue current operations. Read more

Swickard: More of the same leadership gets more of the same results

Commentary - © 2011 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. - New Mexico Public education has struggled to improve over the years without experiencing success. Our educational leaders might be stupid because they continue to do what they have always done and they continue to get the results they have always gotten. Or is that the definition of insanity. Never mind.The new school accountability numbers are in and there was not any improvement for the eighth and final year of the “Education Governor” Bill Richardson. How could all of those years and all of that money go by in our state without any real improvement in education? Simple, each year New Mexico got more of the same educational leadership which resulted in the same results. Read column

Four of New Mexico's Delegation of Five Have Voted NO on Every Proposal This Year

John Boehner
John Boehner seemed to run out of options in the U.S. House of Representatives today. Desperately trying to send a third bill to the Senate this year from his chamber, a bill that would keep the government running, he was unable to garner the necessary votes. GOP members in the House seemed to finally draw the line short of what many say would have amounted to a sham spending reform bill.
Sadly, the U.S. Senate has already had THREE chances to keep the government running, not two. First, Senators had the Obama budget that was submitted this spring. That piece of legislation went down to a historic defeat. The final count was 97-0. Not a single Senator, Democrat or Republican voted for the Obama administration's budget.
Paul Ryan

Next came the Paul Ryan budget plan which contained true reform in ways that Washington has not seen in decades. Like President Obama's budget, the Ryan budget plan did not receive a single vote by a Democrat in the Senate though it did receive broad support by Republicans.
Next came yet another bill from the U.S. House of Representatives, this one widely referred to as the Cut, Cap, and Balance plan. Once again this was a piece of legislation that would have kept the government running and reigned in what everyone "says" they agree is out of control spending. The bill also contained a built in structure of discipline.....a balanced budget amendment. Again not a single Democrat in the U.S. Senate voted for the legislation.
Today's activity in Washington capped yet another week of the Democrat controlled Senate's intransigence.
Once again we saw all Democrats in the upper house come together. Unfortunately, they united behind the signing of a letter that was then sent to Speaker Boehner telling him that "IF" he were able to garner the votes that he later failed to secure today, it would not matter. Each and every Democrat in the Senate committed in writing to voting against the bill anyway.
Amazingly, all of America have watched Democrats in the Senate reject four separate proposals this year, including the unanimous repudiation of their own party leader's budget. At the end of the day predictably all Democrats in Washington D.C. blamed Republicans for not being willing to make a deal. Observers believe radical changes in the Senate will be needed in the way Washington functions if the U.S. is to draw on its inherent strengths as a nation. New Mexico Senators Tom Udall and Jeff Bingaman were right in the thick of the derilection of duty in the Senate. House members Ben Ray Lujan and Martin Heinrich have also yet to vote for or propose a plan to solve the nation's problems. Most of the people New Mexico has sent to Washington have been part of the problem instead of the solution. Only Congressman Steve Pearce has actually cast votes for two bills that would keep the government functioning. Every other elected official has voted NO on every proposal put before them.


Radical Environmentalists Have Many Lawyers and Many Friends on the New Mexico Supreme Court

Santa Fe New Mexican - The New Mexico Supreme Court on Wednesday cleared the way for environmental groups to intervene in an ongoing legal battle over whether the state should regulate greenhouse-gas emissions. Attorneys for the groups said the justices' unanimous decision will ensure that proponents of the regulations will have a seat at the table if courts have to determine the fate of the state's carbon emissions policies. "It's about fairness. The nugget of the whole argument in this case is you can't just have "one hand clapping," said Mariel Nanasi, executive director of New Energy Economy, the group that initially petitioned state regulators to adopt the regulations. Nanasi was referring to a comment that Chief Justice Charles Daniels made during arguments. Daniels had questioned the fairness of rule-making and legal adjudication when only certain parties were involved. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Martinez Runs Government Leaner

Susana Martinez
Santa Fe New Mexican - State-government hiring of exempt employees was brisk after newly elected state officials took office this year, but is slowing now that the new governor has been in office more than six months. Records from January through June show 180 exempt employees — who don't fall under the state personnel system's rules for hiring and firing — were put on the state payroll. In addition to Gov. Susana Martinez herself and her top appointees, these include exempt hires in agencies not under her control, such as the Secretary of State's Office and the Attorney General's Office. The number also includes people who were re-hired from previous government posts. When former Gov. Bill Richardson left office, he had about 300 exempt employees serving at his pleasure, not counting those who worked for other agencies. The scaling down of political appointees is part of Martinez's philosophy, said spokesman Scott Darnell. Martinez has pledged to reduce the number of exempts by at least 20 percent. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Oops Polar Bear Alarmist on Administrative Leave

Yahoo News - JUNEAU, Alaska  — A federal wildlife biologist whose observation that polar bears likely drowned in the Arctic helped galvanize the global warming movement during the last decade was placed on administrative leave while officials investigate scientific misconduct allegations. While it wasn't clear what the exact allegations are, a government watchdog group representing Anchorage-based scientist Charles Monnett said investigators have focused on his 2006 journal article about the bears that garnered worldwide attention. The group, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, filed a complaint on Monnett's behalf Thursday with the agency, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement. BOEMRE told Monnett on July 18 that he was being put on leave, pending an investigation into "integrity issues." The investigator has not yet told him of the specific charges or questions related to the scientific integrity of his work, said Jeff Ruch, the watchdog group's executive director. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Senators Udall and Bingaman Sign Letter Rejecting Latest Compromise Effort - Shutdown Looms

Tom Udall
Both of New Mexico's U.S. Senators, Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall signed a letter to House Speaker John Boehner yesterday threatening to vote against a compromise bill he was busy trying to get GOP support for in his own chamber.
Jeff Bingaman
To date this year, Udall and Bingaman have joined fellow Democrats in defeating President Obama's budget. The final tally was 97-0 against the Obama budget, meaning not a single Democrat in the U.S. Senate voted for the president's proposal. Next came Paul Ryan's budget, which would have made major structural changes to entitlement spending. Again, Udall and Bingaman both voted against the Ryan budget. Next came a proposal from the House to Cut, Cap, and Balance the budget over time. Udall and Bingaman voted against that plan too.
Martin Heinrich
Now New Mexico's senators are not waiting around to simply vote "NO" to the next compromise proposal that will keep the government running. Yesterday they decided to sign a letter and send it to the Speaker telling him that they will not vote for his compromise proposal. In the meantime, would-be senatorial candidate and house member Martin Heinrich from New Mexico, who has also voted against two budget reform proposals in the house is likely to make it three "NO" votes in a row today when the latest effort to end the impasse reaches the house floor.