By Senator Jeff Steinborn
Last April, Governor Susana Martinez vetoed legislation that could have saved New Mexico millions of dollars a year in prescription drug costs for state agencies and its employees and retirees. Senate Bill 354, which passed the Legislature with strong bi-partisan support, would have required all New Mexico state agencies who purchase pharmaceutical drugs, to work together to aggressively seek a better deal on drug prices.
Citizens pay a huge cost for high drug prices. In fiscal year 2016 New Mexico state government spent over $670 million on prescription drugs, a staggering 54% increase in just two years. Senate Bill 354 would have leveraged the purchasing power of all of our state agencies who purchase prescription drug benefits including the Departments of Health, Human Services, Corrections, Medicaid, General Services Department, UNM, and other agencies, to aggressively pursue lower drug prices. Even though the legislation passed the Senate unanimously and the House with broad bi-partisan support, it was vetoed by Governor Martinez without explanation.
by Senator Pete Campos
As crime rates rise, one may surmise that criminals control our largest city. The last few elections have shown that the people of New Mexico are weary of anticipating their turn to be a victim. They are ready for criminal justice reform. Earlier this month, Albuquerque indicated by a wide margin in the mayoral race that the city is ready to embrace change and proven practices. Last November, voters statewide decided to amend the Constitution of New Mexico's section on bail to protect the indigent and detain dangerous criminals.
The Department of Public Safety reports that violent crime rates in New Mexico rose by nearly twice the national rate increase in 2016, vaulting us to the second-most-dangerous state. The Office of the Second Judicial District Attorney reports that, despite internal reform, the office struggles to persevere under increasing crime and court mandates. State and local agencies make notable efforts but continue to fall short of significant impacts. One approach that is certain to effect change is to increase street police presence; however, as an inevitable result, this further stresses the courts and district attorneys. Be mindful that, much like working on cars or computers, when upgrading one piece of the system, the other parts also need upgrades to operate properly.
SANTA FE, NM – In a completely unexpected and last-minute announcement, the New Mexico Environment Department announced on Tuesday that it was withdrawing its proposed definition of "discharge permit amendment" and related proposed changes from its petition with the Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC) seeking changes to ground and surface water quality regulations.
Amigos Bravos, and Gila Resources Information Project (GRIP), represented by the New Mexico Environmental Law Center, opposed NMED's discharge amendment language and had submitted technical testimony in opposition to it.
Nov. 13, 2017
According to the 2012 Census of Agriculture, the average age of a New Mexico producer is 60.5 years, which is the second highest age, only behind Arizona. These producers, and for that matter, the entire state of New Mexico, will undergo a transition in the near future which will shape our destiny for years to come. The next generation of agriculturists, with their energy, dreams and drive, will soon be in a position to take on the challenge of feeding their communities, the state and the world.
Or will they?
Congress is currently debating tax policy. Among the discussion is the estate tax. Proposals to raise the estate tax exemption or delete it all together will have a profound impact on the next generation of agriculturists. Farming and ranching enterprises are asset rich and cash poor. These enterprises operate as a unit, one part relying on the other. They are valued as a whole, and splitting them up may cause the entire business to fail, which is a position that many in agriculture face when dealing with estate tax situations.
To the Editor:
WNMU the highest cost of attendance in the state:
You wouldn’t think that a small liberal arts school like WNMU would have the highest cost of attendance of any state school. But the Legislative Finance Committee has issued a report “Program Evaluation: Higher Education Cost Drivers and Cost savings” Oct. 24, 2017 that says it is.
Silver City, NM (November 7, 2017) — In response to public outcry about a proposal that could put the Gila Wilderness and surrounding communities at risk, Holloman Air Force Base (HAFB) has agreed to host a public meeting on Nov. 14th at 6:00 pm at the Grant County Administration Building regarding their “Special Use Airspace Optimization Project.” While the public is invited to attend the meeting, public comments will not be allowed to be submitted either verbally or in writing. A public rally is planned at 5:00 pm at the Grant County Administration Building to show strong public concern over this proposal and process. This public rally will include local elected officials, business owners, sportsmen organizations, outfitters, veterans and conservation groups.
The 6:00 pm meeting in the Grant County Commission Chambers will focus on recently announced plans to conduct 10,000 fly-overs annually above the Gila National Forest, including the Gila and Aldo Leopold Wilderness Areas. Trainings will include low altitude overflights, at 500 feet above the national forest and 2,000 feet above wilderness. The proposal would drop 30,000 magnesium flares and toxic “defensive chaff” each year.
By New Mexico State Senator Howie Morales (D-28-Catron, Grant & Socorro)
Nov. 6, 2017
Residents of southwest New Mexico are just now finding out that big changes to their quality of life are being planned by the United States Air Force. Thousands of new training flights by supersonic F-16 fighter jets may soon be on the way over Silver City and other populated parts of Grant and Catron Counties, and also the pristine Gila and the Aldo Leopold Wilderness areas, if Holloman Air Force Base has its way on a proposed major expansion of its training airspace. The problem is, residents have had no say in the decision, nor did they even receive any prior notice of these far-reaching changes, even though federal law requires it.
To the Editor:
Compensation of WNMU President over half a million dollars
As part of his new employment contract the Regents paid President Shepard for all of his accumulated annual leave, 800 hours at $129.80 per hour a total of $103,842.16 paid on October 12, 2017.
For those of you who don't have a clue what GDPR is, I didn't either until a few days ago. It stands for General Data Protection Regulation, and it unifies data privacy requirements across all members of the Eurozone.
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The Grant County Beat endeavors to post to the Elections page, under News, at the least, notices of candidates for Grant County races. Some candidates for statewide races have also sent their notices.
The Beat continues to bring you new columnists.Recent additions include the Christian Corner, for those who are already Christians or are exploring the beliefs.
The second is a business-centered column—Your Business Connection by the New Mexico Business Coalition. The group works to make policy in the state of New Mexico better for all businesses, large and small.
The Beat has a column for you gardeners out there. The Grant County Extension Service will bring you monthly columns on gardening issues. The first one posted is on Winterizing your houseplants and patio plants.
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