Democracy Protection Pledge

With the start of early voting today, here is our initial list of candidates who have committed to “restrict emergencies” to a fixed period of time, clearly define “emergency” in statute, and requiring majorities in both houses of the state legislature to approve extensions of any ’emergency’ declaration.”

Text of the pledge is below the list. Candidates who have NOT signed the pledge but wish to can email us at: info@riograndefoundation.org

Rebecca L Dow, Governor
Travis Steven Sanchez, Lieutenant Governor
Ant Thornton, Lieutenant Governor

Mark Duncan, State Representative District 2
Jerri D Rowe, State Representative District 6
Adrian Anthony Trujillo, Sr, State Representative District 11
Kimberly Ann Kaehr-MacMillan, State Representative District 15
Ellis C Mcmath, State Representative District 17
Scott Troy Cannon, State Representative District 18
Kathleen M Jackson, State Representative District 19
Robert A Salazar, State Representative District 20
Stefani Lord, State Representative District 22
Alan T Martinez, State Representative District 23
Khalid Emshadi, State Representative District 24
Robert S Godshall, State Representative District 27
Gregory G Cunningham, State Representative District 29
William R Rehm, State Representative District 31
Jenifer Marie Jones, State Representative District 32
Richelle A Peugh-Swafford, State Representative District 35
Melba T Aguilar, State Representative District 38
Jay Groseclose, State Representative District 46
Rachel A Black, State Representative District 51
John Block, State Representative District 51
Ricky L Little, State Representative District 53
Greg Nibert, State Representative District 59
Larry R Scott, State Representative District 62
Andrew G Kennedy, State Representative District 66
Jimmy G Mason, State Representative District 66

The candidates listed above have signed the following pledge: “I pledge to protect democracy. Thus, I commit to balancing power in future emergency declarations. This includes: restricting “emergencies” to a fixed period of time, clearly defining “emergency” in statute, and requiring majorities in both houses of the state legislature to approve extensions of any “emergency” declaration.”

If you are a candidate for the Legislature or Gov. who would like to sign this pledge please email us: info@riograndefoundation.org

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At behest of Gov. Lujan Grisham, unelected New Mexico board adopts California’s “Clean Car Standard”

Last week New Mexico’s unelected Environmental Improvement Board chose to join the list of states that have adopted California’s so-called “Clean Car Rules” Interestingly, because California sets the rules, these rules could be changed whenver California regulators decide to, and they may be poised to do just that.

California’s (and New Mexico’s)  standards will require roughly 7% of new cars sold to be zero emission in 2025. In the 3rd quarter of 2021 zero emission vehicles amounted to just 2.29% of new vehicle sales in New Mexico. So, those sales will need to just more than triple from Q3 of 2021 to 2025.

That means that dealers will either cross-subsidize ZEV’s by raising prices on other vehicles or they will look to the State to subsidize sales of the “chosen” vehicles.

Aside from this proposal not coming through the democratically-elected Legislature, California calls the shots when it comes to changes to the “standard” which will also impact New Mexico. CA Gov. Gavin Newsom has issued an  executive order ordering the end the sale of gas-powered cars in California by 2035. California’s own unelected board is expected to hold a vote on final adoption of that in August.

If California enacts this rule, 35% of new cars, SUVs and small pickups sold in California (and thus New Mexico) must be zero-emission starting with 2026 models, then increasing yearly, reaching 51% of all new car sales in 2028, 68% in 2030 and 100% in 2035. Of those, 20% can be plug-in hybrids.

Not including New Mexico, here is a list of states that have chosen to follow California’s rule.

 

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Another delay for Virgin Galactic

After having stated that manned space tourism launches from Spaceport America would begin in Fall of 2022, Virgin Galactic has (yet again) announced the delay of its launch plans from the facility.

According to news reports, the plan is to now launch in the first quarter of 2023. The current excuse is “supply-chain bottlenecks and difficulty hiring engineers and skilled labor.”

While that is undoubtedly a challenge, the taxpayer-financed Spaceport facility will have been open for 11 years by this coming October without a single paid space tourism flight launching from the facility.

Notably, Virgin Galactic which is now a publicly-traded company on the stock market, is plummeting. According to the Journal, “On Friday morning, Virgin Galactic’s stock price dove 13%, from $7.46 per share on Thursday afternoon to $6.51. That’s down from a peak of $62.80 a share in February 2021.”

Charlie Brown, Lucy and the Football

make action GIFs like this at MakeaGif
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Loan ban built on false information

The laws passed in the 2022 legislative session will (mostly) take effect on July 1. Unfortunately, a new report indicates that legislation passed this session that will have profound impacts on New Mexicans starting in July was built on faulty or even outright false information.

A public records request from Illinois where a similar law is in effect highlights the situation. There are 45% fewer licenses held by Illinois’ installment lenders in the State after its 36% rate cap bill was signed into law on March 23, 2021. This does not include the more than 350 payday lender licenses that also expired.

This dramatic decline stands in stark contrast to assertions made by groups and activists suggesting that installment lenders were on the rise in Illinois. Initial analysis of credit bureau data by academics shows that the number of loans in Illinois to subprime borrowers decreased by 29,000 (or 36%) in the 3 months following the implementation of the rate cap law. Furthermore, the number of loans to deep subprime borrowers declined by 4,700 (or 57%).

This is exactly what asserted repeatedly during testimony and in the media during the 2022 legislative session by the Rio Grande Foundation. In Illinois when the rate cap took effect, credit options became more limited for those that need them the most. The same can be expected in New Mexico starting July 1 when HB 132 takes effect.

Opinion piece: High-interest loans have a purpose | Rio Grande Foundation

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Questions still loom for New Mexico electricity reliability

Gov. Lujan Grisham and the Public Regulation Commission seem to believe that by pushing the closure of San Juan Generating Station until after the end of this summer that they have “taken care of” New Mexico’s electricity reliability issues.

The reality could not be further from the truth. As the Albuquerque Journal and Rio Grande Foundation have BOTH pointed out, getting through this summer does not mean the blackout situation is “solved.” We likely need a natural gas plant based in the Four Corners or elsewhere, but that was rejected by the PRC. As noted, “PNM officials and others criticized the PRC for rejecting PNM’s proposal to build a 280-megawatt “peaking” natural gas plant – which can rapidly ramp up and down as needed – alongside new renewable generation when it ruled on San Juan replacement power in 2020.”

We have heard of no action undertaken by the Lujan Grisham Administration to create viable means of keeping the lights on in the summer of 2023 (when additional base load capacity in the form of Palo Verde will be lost).

UPDATE: In another case of the Rio Grande Foundation being ahead of the curve, this story ran on Thursday, May 12, 2022 detailing the challenges PNM is facing in obtaining solar panels to prepare for Summer of 2023. According to PNM, “Those delays mean that nearly half of the 950 megawatts of solar generation and battery storage that was scheduled to be fully online by early next year now won’t be available until after summer 2023.”

The Gov. is going to ignore the problem and hope voters don’t hold this against her in November, but there is no doubt that New Mexico’s electricity issues are a problem.

PNM warns of potential blackouts in New Mexico this summer | KOB 4

 

 

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Episode 399: Legislative Finance Committee Report on Albuquerque Public Schools and more

On this week’s conversation Paul and Wally discuss the Legislative Finance Committee’s new report on Albuquerque Public Schools. The report has important information for state and school districts across New Mexico.

Student loan forgiveness as Joe Biden has discussed doing would be highly regressive (AND bad policy).

Albuquerque is considering sanctioned homeless camps. Wally and Paul explain why this and other supposed “solutions” are problematic.

Natural gas prices are increasing. Unfortunately natural gas production in the US is declining. 

New poll places MLG among least popular Governors in the US, but still slightly above “water.”

Paul recently interviewed Congresswoman Yvette Herrell and also sat down with the top GOP candidates for Gov. this week on Tipping Point NM.

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An APS BRAC?

The Legislative Finance Committee’s new report on Albuquerque Public Schools has numerous points of value. One of the requests made in the recent report is that the District:

“Report to the LFC within a year on how it plans to adjust its facilities footprint to declining enrollment;”

May we recommend the District copy the federal “Base Realignment and Closure” model. According to Wikipedia, the BRAC process has been used to close more than 350 installations five BRAC rounds: 1988, 1991, 1993, 1995, and 2005. These five BRAC rounds constitute a combined savings of $12 billion annually. We would argue that BRAC is the single most important money-saving tool the federal government has come up with to date (that’s a low bar for a government that is $28 trillion in debt to be sure…)

The basic concept is that Congress appoints a commission with no political stake in the game and gives them a set of guidelines such as how much money to save and then the commission provides a list of facilities to close based on the mission of the military and overall need. That list goes to an up or down vote of Congress.

APS needs to address its “footprint” according to the report which notes that “Since FY12, APS square footage grew by 21 percent while
enrollment fell by 17 percent.” Also, the report cites a backlog of needed repairs at schools, a problem that could be alleviated by eliminating older, poorly maintained facilities. Those could be turned into in-demand charter schools or sold off for development (and to be put back on the tax rolls).

APS sends its hybrid back-to-school plan to PED for approval | KOB 4

 

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Bob Clark podcast episode

Rio Grande Foundation president Paul Gessing regularly appears on the Bob Clark Show on KKOB radio (every other Friday). His most recent appearance was Friday, April 29.

The episode elicited “outrage” from City Councilor Pat Davis (below):

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