Good news! The anti-gun measure being considered by the Albuquerque City Council tonight failed at 5 to 4, specifically Resolution 20-68 which would have called the legislature to push firearm preemption reconsideration to the ballot. The vote tally is included below:
Lan Sena: yes
Isaac Benton: yes
Klarissa Peña: no
Brook Bassan: no
Cynthia Borrego: no
Pat Davis: yes
Diane Gibson: yes
Trudy Jones: no
Don Harris: no
A no vote indicates opposition to the anti-gun measure. Thank you so much for your hard work in encouraging our City Council to protect our constitutional right to keep and bear arms!
Are New Mexico schools reopening? Are they in-person, “hybrid,” or completely virtual? And, more importantly, what standards are to be used by policymakers? The Lujan Grisham Administration has made a hash out of this and that only reinforces my personal view that home-schooling was the only option that made sense for MY family. Unfortunately, not all families can easily do that and, with an ever-changing landscape of school reopening New Mexico’s already “inadequate” public education system is truly going to leave the vast majority of students behind.
A similar situation arose in the Moriarty/Edgewood School District. On Friday September 4th the district received the final OK from the PED that they could reopen K – 5 on September 8th. On Sunday September 6th the MESD Superintendent was contacted by the PED and told that the filters in the HVAC systems in the schools in the district were subpar and they would not be allowed to open.
UPDATE: We understand from sources at Hope Christian School in Albuquerque (a private, religious school that has worked VERY hard to open) that the Gov.’s office/PED have been aggressively working to find ways they may be violating the Gov.’s orders and prevent the school from staying open 5 days a week).
Ben Ray Lujan doesn’t want to debate Mark Ronchetti in the race for US Senate. But, he DID take time over the Labor Day Weekend to attack Mark Ronchetti for saying, as he did during an RGF-sponsored “Liberty on Quarantine” event back in May, that he supported “Right to Work.”See for yourself in the Tweet below:
Labor Day should be a time to reflect on how to improve working conditions and keep workers safe.
Interestingly, while the Gallup polling company releases a poll on labor issues every Labor Day they stopped asking questions about support for Right to Work back in 2014 when overwhelming majorities of Americans (regardless of political party) expressed support for such laws which simply allow people to choose whether they want to support a union by paying dues or fees.
Thanks to the Janus v. AFSCMESupreme Court decision of 2018 all government employees in America now operate under such laws, but in New Mexico, private sector workers still may be required to join a union. Ben Ray Lujan is on the losing side on this issue, but he knows the unions are major financial supporters and have lots of manpower to help in political campaigns.
Paul and Wally discuss Paul’s recent trip to Ohio, flying for the first time since COVID, and the relative openness of Ohio and New Mexico. Then Paul and Wally discuss various issues in education including the different treatment of public and private schools in New Mexico and the seemingly different treatment of conservative areas of the State.
In this space we at the Rio Grande Foundation don’t usually provide details of vacations to other states, but with the COVID 19 lockdown still in place in New Mexico and state-level responses varying so widely, Paul offers some details regarding his trip to Ohio to visit friends and family (his mom’s side is mostly in NM and his dad’s is in Cincinnati) over the Labor Day weekend. Ohio has somewhat fewer deaths as a percentage of the population relative to New Mexico.
For starters, this was the first time Paul has flown since January, pre-COVID. Paul flies Southwest Airlines whenever possible and, while there were numerous changes made by the airline (with flights canceled and moved around) the airline did a great job. Middle aisle seats were left empty but the flights were pretty full besides. Masks were required on the planes and in the airports which wasn’t always comfortable, but if you had a snack or water you could remove them. (bring a water bottle) Airports including Paul’s layover airport (Chicago Midway) was relatively quiet with many shops and dining options closed.
Once on the ground in Ohio there were real differences between New Mexico and Ohio. According to Wallethub Ohio is “only” the 23rd most open and New Mexico “only” the 34th most open, but there are numerous major differences:
Amusement parks (like King’s Island) and “fun” centers like Dave & Buster’s to use one example are open. Similar facilities remain closed in NM.
Students in most school districts in Ohio are allowed to go to school in-person 5 days a week. Those who don’t want to go in person can do virtual learning.
Bars were open with live music although they closed at 10:30pm. We even shot pool.
Few people wore masks walking around on the street, but in stores and restaurants (until seated) they did.
Ken Costello is an Adjunct Scholar at the Rio Grande Foundation and an expert on utilities and their regulation. Paul and Ken discuss the constitutional amendment on the November ballot in New Mexico which would shift the PRC to an office appointed by the Gov. instead of one that is elected. Also, membership on the PRC would shrink from 5 to 3 members.
Ken and Paul also discuss the Energy Transition Act and the push for 100% renewable electricity.
Several measures are being discussed for final passage at Albuquerque City Council at their next meeting which (because of the Labor Day Holiday) is being held on September 9.
The potential measures are as follows:
1) The City Council would request the State Legislature place an amendment to the New Mexico Constitution on the ballot that would repeal a 1986 voter-passed amendment that restricted local government efforts to restrict gun rights.
3) The third ordinance would create mandatory storage laws for firearms kept in homes and vehicles. It is hard to see exactly how the City would enforce such laws without some kind of illegal search, but the entire ordinance is ill-conceived.
The Albuquerque Journalrecently editorialized in favor of “bringing balance” to New Mexico’s emergency powers laws. More importantly, there is at least some bipartisan support for reforming the laws that have so empowered Gov. Lujan Grisham since the COVID 19 crisis began in March.
According to the editorial Democrat Damon Ely (who we have certainly crossed swords with in the past on guns and Right to Work) and Republican Greg Nibert.
Awhile back we wrote in this space of what should be bipartisan concern about one person making and enforcing the rules under this law (regardless of party). Discussions are in their formative stages, but some kind of time limit with a vote of the Legislature on whether to continue the emergency or not would seem like a starting place for reform.
Of course, any legislation will have to achieve enough bipartisan support (after the election) to override a likely veto. That effort likely depends heavily on what happens this November.
According to the Centers for Disease Control only 6% of COVID 19 cases have no comorbidities. Paul and Wally unpack this data point and what it means/doesn’t mean.
Under Gov. Lujan Grisham’s latest orders churches can now have congregations of up to 40%. Indoor dining and breweries will reopen at 25%. In her press conference the Gov. also comes after Española when she drove through and apparently didn’t see masks. The Mayor responds effectively and directly.
According to the Santa Fe New MexicanGov. Lujan Grisham has asked State agencies to make across-the-board cuts of 5%. The interesting thing about these cuts is that they are in advance of FY 2022 which doesn’t begin until July 1 of 2021 or 10 months from now.
The article further notes that, “New Mexico is now heading into the 2021 legislative session with a possible $990 million deficit for fiscal year 2022” although subsequent economic data has indicated that the budget situation won’t be so dire, but a lot can happen between now and July, 2021.