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If you're really happy and thrilled about how the New Mexico Legislature is shoving radical legislation down our throats, then you should probably stop reading now!

If, however, you are truly concerned about what's happening in Santa Fe and some of the bills being pushed through without allowing substantial discussion from opposing positions, read on.

In my opinion, our rights are being taken away from us in a wholesale fashion.

A much needed step in the right direction – merit selection of Regents for New Mexico’sHigher Education Institutions.By Garrey Carruthers, Roberta Ramo, and Carlos Romero, Chairs of the Regents Screening Teams.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s transition team for higher education noted that a “regent shouldbe an individual with distinguished accomplishments, a positive view of the role of higher education, and a commitment to establishing positive relationships with stakeholders both insideand outside the higher education institution.” On top of that, the governor wanted to see criteriafor selection of regents and a process for evaluating applicants using these criteria that she couldembrace. We’re excited to share our ideas about the process that led to selections.

The quality of our drinking water wells is important to me.

I understand that the Copper Rule was challenged in two separate court cases and was upheld/affirmed as being protective of groundwater and in full compliance with the New Mexico Water Quality Act. I also understand that the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) conducted extensive hearings on the Copper Flat project Discharge Permit 1840 (DP 1840). I understand that DP 1840 was issued/approved late last year. I understand this is an important environmental control around conventional open pit copper mines.

Attacking the industry that helps support your community and our state isn’t just happening in New York.

Yesterday a bill that would impact our energy industry was heard in the Commerce Committee. It reminded me of the New York headlines where politicians celebrated the loss of 25,000 Amazon jobs with a base pay of 100k a year.

Oil and gas represents 1/3 of our state budget and over 80% of education funding. They employ over 100k people, almost all making over 100k. It is critical that we maintain a stable and reliable business climate in New Mexico.

cartoon copyScientists have discovered a deep space disturbance that's almost as perplexing as the U.S. presidential campaign process.

Something called a "Fast Radio Burst" (FRB) has been detected by astronomers in Canada. Which makes sense, since our own fast radio burst, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi (CA-D), lives in California. The mysterious radio noise is believed to have originated from a galaxy 1.5 billion light years away. Or, in earthly terms, about as long as Nancy has been in Congress.

A light year is the distance light travels in one year --- approximately 6 trillion miles.

Pay attention, New Mexico residents, your "representatives" may not be representing your will.

I have lived in New Mexico for almost 20 years. Most of the time, although I have not always agreed with decisions made by the New Mexico Legislature, I've realized that with the good usually comes bad.

But this year, in the 2010 legislative session, something has drastically changed.

Although the Legislature has been controlled and dominated by Democrats for most of the past 60 years, with only two years recently having a majority of Republicans in the House of Representatives, the state remains at the bottom of good lists and at the top of bad lists.

By Angela Garcia, owner of The Toy Box, Las Cruces, NM 

Creating universal PreK for all New Mexico children is on objective of the legislature this year. Many legislators and the governor ran on this issue and want to see it become reality. We support universal PreK, and we want everyone to know that. But we are also saying to the governor and legislators, please don’t close down all child care centers in the state as an unintended consequence.

Universal PreK is an amazing goal and we urge everyone to support that goal. The problem is that the legislature is thinking about putting all PreK programs in the state’s Public Education Department. That would have the effect of closing most child care centers in our state.

The reason is that Senator Soules’s bill, SB 298, would take all four-year-olds out of existing PreK programs in childcare centers. We can’t afford to lose so many students. This would be devastating to childcare centers around the state, potentially ending childcare as we know it.

Simply put, if they put all four-year-old PreK programs through PED, we all lose. If childcare centers lose 4-year-old PreK to PED, it will not be financially viable for childcare facilities to stay open. We will all, and I mean all, suffer extreme financial hardship leading to closure.

What does that mean? Well, it means that there will be no childcare centers for infants, toddlers and all age children who attend our facilities. Working parents will have to find other sources for childcare, because there will be no childcare centers left to service their children. It also means that there will not be “wrap-around services,” or services before and after school, for the four-year-olds and school age children.

In short, our children, and our working families, will be much worse off.

NMACI is asking for better employer protections in the bill that would legalize cannabis in NM

New Mexico Association of Commerce and Industry (NMACI) today announced that it cannot support the Cannabis Regulation Act (HB356) as it is written due to serious concerns over workplace safety. ACI will testify against the bill’s incomplete language at a House Health and Human Services Committee hearing on Saturday, Feb. 9, in Santa Fe.

The bill, HB356, which is sponsored by five representatives, would legalize cannabis as a recreational drug by eliminating the penalties associated with it. However, the current language does not allow employers to create a safe environment and it restricts their ability to enforce drug-free workplace policies.

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Until I can find another reporter, I'm having trouble keeping up, so I began a new series called News Briefs with the date they are posted. They are of interest to readers, but I don't have the time to interview and write stories about the person or issue, so I'm just telling you the bits of information, so you don't miss out.

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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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