LOS LUNAS, NM—Today Rep. Kelly Fajardo (R-Los Lunas) asked New Mexico legislative leaders Brian Egolf and Mary Kay Papen to schedule a presentation from legislative agency directors on their experiences enforcing the Legislature's current "No Harassment" policy at a meeting of the Legislative Council later this week. The Legislative Council will meet on Friday, December 15, 2017, at 1:30 P.M. in Room 307 of the State Capitol.
Fajardo noted that the Legislative Council will discuss the formation of a working group to review the current policy and recommend changes. Fajardo requested that the directors of the Legislative Counsel Service and the Legislative Education Study Committee, Raúl Burciaga and Rachel Gudgel, respectively, present to the Legislative Council and the working group on how they have applied the policy to respond to harassment complaints.
Billy G. Garrett, Doña Ana County Commissioner and Democratic candidate for New Mexico Lieutenant Governor, released the following statement today regarding Senator Michael Padilla's decision to withdraw from the race for Lieutenant Governor:
"I am hopeful that the decision by Senator Padilla to discontinue his campaign will send a clear message that harassment and sexual assault are not acceptable behavior under any circumstances. Abuse should not be tolerated especially where one person is in a position of greater power over another," Garrett said. "This applies not only to women as potential victims but also to people of color, the LGBTQ community, workers, and the poor. New Mexico prides itself in being a state where people of many different cultures can live in harmony. This is only possible if we truly respect one another and vigorously address harassment of any kind."
LOS LUNAS, NM—Today Rep. Kelly Fajardo (R-Los Lunas) sent a letter to the directors of the Legislative Counsel Service (LCS) and Legislative Education Study Committee (LESC) calling on them to disclose how their agencies handled three sexual harassment complaints brought to their attention since 2013, including one involving a sitting legislator.
Fajardo sent the letter after she was made aware of the existence of the complaints following her letter to New Mexico legislative leaders on November 24, 2017. The complaints include a detailed allegation of sexual harassment against a sitting legislator that had been emailed to LCS director Raúl Burciaga and LESC Director Rachel Gudgel in June 2016 by former LESC Deputy Director Ian Kleats.
SANTA FE, NM—Today House Republican leadership tapped Rep. Jim Townsend (R-Artesia) as chair of the newly-formed Policy Development Working Group for the House Republican Caucus. The group will provide a forum to develop legislative proposals, offer policy recommendations, and set long-term strategic goals.
“New Mexicans want fresh ideas to solve the problems facing our state, and Jim Townsend is the right person for this job,” said House Republican Floor Leader Nate Gentry (R-Albuquerque). “New Mexico continues to fall behind under the current Democrat legislative leadership. Instead of throwing more money at failed policies that are clearly not working, we need to set a new direction for our state. Rep. Townsend will help us find the right course to create a better New Mexico.”
SANTA FE, NM—Today Rep. Sarah Maestas Barnes (R-Albuquerque) sent a letter to New Mexico House and Senate Leaders urging them to include the topics of physical and verbal harassment in their announced mandatory training and "No Harassment" policy revisions. Maestas Barnes made her request after describing incidents of physical and verbal intimidation she experienced during previous legislative sessions.
"I share my story now because I believe it raises important issues about how matters of harassment are handled in Legislature," Maestas Barnes wrote. "Since you have announced that you plan to review the Legislature's No Harassment policy and require sexual harassment training for all legislators, I ask that you make every effort to ensure both the policy and the training are as comprehensive as possible."
ALBUQUERQUE, NM—Today, House Republican Representatives Gentry, Adkins, Maestas Barnes, Smith, Hall and Rehm sent a letter to the Legislative Finance Committee (LFC) urging them to increase funding for the 2nd Judicial District Attorney's office and state law enforcement agencies.
In his testimony before the LFC in September 2017, 2nd Judicial District Attorney Raul Torrez informed the committee that though nearly 48% of that state's violent crimes and 70% of auto thefts occur in the 2nd Judicial District, his office receives only 27% of the funds allotted to New Mexico's prosecutors. The Republican lawmakers stated that the 2nd Judicial District's workload has far outpaced its resources, and they requested that the LFC provide an additional $6.5 million to the office.
ALBUQUERQUE – Desperate to change the subject after she was roasted for discriminating against a Hispanic conservative and refusing to allow a Republican colleague into the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Michelle Lujan Grisham made the blatantly opportunistic and hypocritical decision to call on Michael Padilla to exit the Lieutenant Governor’s race over decade-old harassment cases.