From the Roundhouse: “Calm” Before the StormJanuary 30th, 2014 at 5:06 pm by Alex Goldsmith under N.M. Politics
Note: Due to technical issues, this blog post was posted a day after it was written.
At around 11:30 this morning things were a little crazy in the hallway outside of the Senate chambers.
While I was trying to get an interview for a story, a diverse mob was ready to get inside.
The dancing group the Silver Stompers was getting set for their Roundhouse performance. Photographers were either sitting outside waiting or were already inside the chambers after they were given the go-ahead to take pictures on the Senate floor.
Meanwhile a group of veterans was being led in to be publicly recognized on the Senate floor.
Coming in and out of that same doorway were a parade of orange tie-wearing lawmakers (orange to honor patients with multiple sclerosis).
You also had the usual crowd of lobbyists on the prowl, handing out business cards to Senate attendants in hopes they’ll get a few seconds of time with select lawmakers. Joining them throughout the day were groups of hard hat-wearing immigrant rights activists trying to apply pressure on lawmakers on the ever-controversial driver’s license issue.
And of course, there was also media poking around, some with notepads others with tripods and microphones.
In and around all that chaos, a Senate staffer was searching frantically for something critical.
“Does anyone know where the Zuni Pueblo Band is?” she asked.
At some point she found them.
Why am I talking about this strange scene?
Hopefully it gives a sense of the pervasive chaos that occupies the Roundhouse on even these “slow” early days of the 2014 session.
Despite the fact that the Senate’s business was limited to confirmations, memorials and moving bills around, the scene outside the chambers shows how, well before the mad dash that is the last few hours of the session, things are still nuts in Santa Fe.
INTERESTING BILL OF THE DAY
This bipartisan effort from Sen. Tim Keller, D-Albuquerque, and Rep. Don Tripp, R-Socorro, is getting a big thumbs up from state farmers and health-conscious parents.
HB 81 sets aside $1.4 million and change to be spent by the public education department on providing New Mexico-grown fruits and vegetables for school meals.
Keller and Tripp also want to make sure that PED actually spends that cash. The bill contains a provision that any money not spent doesn’t go back to the general fund.