Monday, February 09, 2015

A Hot Button Blog: Gun Control, Abortion And Right-To-Work All On The Agenda, Plus: More Debate over Flunking Third Graders 

Let's head to Santa Fe to start the new week where one of our wall-leaners is having a chuckle over the perennial gun-control debate:

What a difference one year makes! Last year, this bill passed the committee by one vote and drew eight GOP supporters on the floor when it passed the House. 

The bill in question:

A bill to require background checks on buyers at gun shows died a fast death Saturday night. Members of the Regulatory and Public Affairs Committee voted 4-3 to table the bill, meaning it won’t move forward. All the Republicans opposed the bill, and all the Democrats supported it.

That's not the only bill the GOP wants to make sure doesn't cause them trouble. They finally dropped the bill to ban late-term abortion. But the bill introduced by Rep. Yvette Herrell of Alamogorodo is much softer than the ban rejected last year by ABQ voters:

Under the proposed late-term abortion ban. . . a doctor who performs an abortion after 20 weeks and when the fetus is viable would be subject to a civil fine and a one-year suspension of his or her medical license. Allowable exemptions would include rape, incest or sexual abuse. The rejected Albuquerque ban differed in that it would have made an abortion performed 20 weeks or more after conception a misdemeanor crime, except in cases in which the mother’s life was at risk.

Will the R's have an actual roll call vote on the softer abortion ban or will it languish in committee? That's an especially relevant question for the ABQ swing House districts represented by GOP Reps Conrad James and Sarah Maestas Barnes. . .

And what about right-to-work, the diversion du jour of Santa Fe? Well, the Senior Alligators monitoring this one still believe it will easily pass the House but die in the Senate. They see the Guv hammering it again in the '16 session which happens to be the year when all state Senators will face re-election.

The arguments for right to work--which forbids agreements requiring employees to join a union and pay dues in order to get or keep a job--are getting spotty. NAIOP--the  prominent ABQ real estate group--that is zealously backing the measure, says:

The site selection industry. . . often use right to work as a screening factor for their clients to eliminate locations and to narrow choices. If a state doesn’t check the box that says they are a right-to-work state, an estimated one-third to one-half of relocating or expanding companies simply will not consider that state in their location choices.

But that notion is directly contradicted by a number of site selectors including this one:

"In the old days, leading up to the mid 1980s, right-to-work was on most checklists of states to include and those to eliminate," site selector Don Schjeldahl of The Don Schjeldahl Group of North Carolina said on Wednesday. "Since 1984, right-to-work has steadily become less and less important as a location factor for most companies to the point now that it hasn't come up on my projects in probably 10 years."

Well, maybe lawmakers can make a deal with NAIOP. If they agree to publicly name at least five companies that employ at least 100 workers who will come to NM within two years after we pass a right-to-work law,  then pass the sucker.


That's what he calls himself and he writes:

Joe, your point that maybe the Dems should roll over and let the third grade retention bill  happen is a purely political position. It completely ignores the psychological damage to the child, as well as the chaos that will erupt in the schools. At one time, we estimated that as many as 25,000 kids could be caught in this web-in one year! Imagine trying to retool your school with additional 3rd grade classes as well as the new teachers. And the insanity doesn’t stop there, now the artificially inflated class sizes work their way through a system that is used to no more than 25 per class, causing yearly adjustments of teachers and students all the way into high school. This is not about the “social stigma,” its about the lasting damage to children’s self image and to school culture. 

A recent news article concluded that if the third grade retention bill passed, it might not have the widespread impact that Senior Educator Alligator believes. That's because of the many exemptions in the measure as well as the retesting that would be administered before flunking third graders.


From the ABQ mayor's office:

Plans for the 2015 Charity Gala are underway. Mayor Berry and First Lady Maria Berry will host the 29th annual charity gala April 25 at the Albuquerque Convention Center. This special night is dedicated to raising funds for selected non-profits that are engaged in inspiring work throughout our community. Ticket prices are $150 per person, $1,500 for a table of ten, and sponsorship packages start at $3,000. For more information regarding the event and ticket sales, please visit here.

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