From the Roundhouse: Out and AboutFebruary 20th, 2013 at 7:52 pm by Alex Goldsmith under N.M. Politics
Because of the gun buyback story in Santa Fe, I was away from the Roundhouse for much of the day.
Here are some highlights from Wednesday:
- The “Breaking Bad” bill passed the House unanimously. Rep. Moe Maestas’, D-Albuquerque, bill is effectively a compromise between Democrats who would like to see the film tax credit uncapped and Republicans who want a cap for budgeting certainty. The bill allows unspent film tax credits to roll over to the next year and increases the credit TV series can receive from 25 percent to 30 percent.
- A firefighter/legislator is pushing for better local fireworks restrictions and got her proposal past a House committee. Rep. Emily Kane’s, D-Albuquerque, bill would allow counties and cities to restrict or ban the use and sale of fireworks if the fire danger in a region is high. Similar attempts at this have failed in the past despite the administration’s support. This bill has a long way to go.
- The Senate passed a bill setting base requirements for Public Regulation Commission commissioner 32-8. Under the proposal, a PRC commissioner would have to either a) have three years experience as head of a government department dealing with utilities, transportation or construction, b) five years’ experience as a senior manager at a company that appears before the PRC, c) be a licensed attorney, CPA or professional engineer. A rival bill that cleared the House would require only 12 years of relevant educational or work experience.
- A texting-while-driving bill is waiting on the Senate floor for a vote. Under the bill, a first offense would cost the driver $25 and a second offense would cost $50.
- Tomorrow the House is set for two big debates, one in committee, one on the floor. In House Voters and Elections, the marriage equality constitutional amendment sponsored by Rep. Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe, gets heard. All eyes will be on committee chair Rep. Mary Helen Garcia, D-Las Cruces, who jumped ship Tuesday to strike down a minimum wage constitutional amendment. The House floor debate will focus on the budget. All eyes there will be on the three freshman Dems who voted against the bipartisan-packed budget in committee.
Congratulations to freshman Sen. Cliff Pirtle, R-Roswell, the 27-year-old who unseated veteran Tim Jennings in November.
SB 202 passed the Senate today 41-0 and it’s Pirtle’s first bill to pass the Senate.
Pirtle’s proposal would ease requirements for employees in several farm-related jobs to get a restricted commercial drivers’ license.
Employees of agriculture-chemical-related businesses, custom harvesters, farm retail outlets and suppliers and livestock feeders would not have to take the typically required skills and knowledge tests under the bill.
SB 202 now heads to the House.