Santa Fe’s Silly Billies

Milan Simonich recently lamented that despite the state’s fiscal woes, “many legislators still introduce unnecessary bills that waste time and staff resources.”

No kidding. Simonich cited SB 99, which “would make it a crime for a prison inmate to possess a cellphone,” despite the pesky fact that the “Corrections Department already prohibits prisoners from having cellphones.” Another bill would “make the green chile cheeseburger the official hamburger of New Mexico,” while HB 204, which “should be called the Sore Loser Initiative,” mandates that “candidates for president … provide copies of their last five federal income tax returns to qualify for the ballot in New Mexico.”

Errors of Enchantment has a few “silly billies” of our own. Near the top of the list is HB 252, which seeks a $125,000 appropriation “to educate the people of New Mexico about the missions of the nuclear-powered submarines USS New Mexico, SSN-779, and USS Santa Fe, SSN-763, and the effort to retire the USS Albuquerque, SSN-706.” The money’s also to be spent on recognizing “the state’s naval junior reserve officers training corps” and lobbying to “name a navy warship after Los Alamos county.” We’ve got nothing against the fine men and women of the U.S. Navy, but perhaps $125,000 would be better devoted to addressing the state’s dire fiscal condition.

Are New Mexico educators engaged in an orgy of shaming students who have deficits in their school-lunch accounts? Errors of Enchantment can’t find any evidence of such abuse, but that didn’t stop the drafting of SB 374, the “Hunger-Free Students’ Bill of Rights Act.” It directs schools not to “publicly identify or stigmatize a student who cannot pay for a meal or who owes a meal debt by, for example, requiring that a student wear a wristband or hand stamp.”

No, that’s not a joke.

The good news is that the deadline for submitting bills, memorials, joint memorials, resolutions, and joint resolutions has passed. So there’s no way for the list of time-wasters to grow any longer.