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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Right-To-Work Goes Door-To-Door, Plus: Who Is On Senate Retirement List? Questions Raised Over APD Thin Blue License Plates And More On Failing Third Graders 

Sen. Sapien
Once again our Alligators, politicos and readers give us the real story of legislative session '16. Reports reach us that right-to-work advocates have been spotted going door-to-door in the Sandoval County district of Dem State Senator John Sapien, a sure sign that Campaign '16 is underway. Sapien is in a swing district and subject to pressure from both sides. It's assumed the Guv's political machine is behind the effort. Who else?. . .

And what about the union machine, you ask? Well, it dumped $2 million in here in an unsuccessful effort to keep the state House from going R last year but we're not hearing of it spending on right-to-work. . .

We reported to you how House Majority Leader Nate Gentry got cute with right-to-work and tied it to a fifty-cent increase in the state minimum wage to $8 an hour. That was an effort to make it a more difficult "no" vote for the D's. But was Nate too clever?

Roundhouse wall-leaners report that some House Republicans are balking at any increase in the minimum wage--right-to-work or no right-to-work. It will be interesting to see what kind of bill the House sends over to the Senate: Will it be one with or without that Gentry minimum wage rider?. . .

Whatever the case, a right-to-work bill will make it to the Senate. Then it's back to the most critical question. Will there be a move to bypass the Senate committee system and blast right-to-work onto the floor so conservative Dems like Sapien will really feel the heat and perhaps vote with the R's?

Powerful Senate Finance Committee Chairman John Arthur Smith is a key player in this. If he approves a "blast" or looks the other way, what does that mean for him and his committee? Maybe the full Senate starts bypassing him and blasts away in future sessions?. . .

Speaking of '16, the list of state Senators most likely to retire doesn't seem very long yet. 90 year old Dem John Pinto is on top of it. Sen Carroll Leavell is another seen as ready to depart. Senate President Pro Tem Mary Kay Papen will be 84 in '16 but shows no signs of slowing down. And she has become a strong voice in the important behavioral health battle.

ANOTHER ONE

Santa Fe Dem County Chair Richard Ellenberg says he has thrown his hat into the ring to become the next chairman of the state party. He joins Deb Haaland and Chaves County Dem Chairman Fred Moran. Dems will pick their new chair in April.

ECON BEAT

When it comes to jobs in the ABQ metro it appears more of the same is in store, and for a good, long time:

Provo-Orem, Utah, with 3 percent unemployment, tops a list of the top 10 labor markets in the U.S., while Albuquerque trails at a distant 130th place, according to a report in Forbes. . . Albuquerque trailed in total-industry job growth rates, both pre-and-post-recession, and was also found lagging in projected growth rates for 2014 to 2020.

THE THIN BLUE LINE

This is interesting stuff (what isn't around here?) A reader sends this pic of a "thin blue line" license plate that is popping up on ABQ police squad cars. He writes:

Some argue the symbol simply shows support for fallen officers. Others view it as a continued "us versus them" demonstration by a police department that's adamant that no one will tell it what to do. As a reminder, crossing "the thin blue line" is what got APD officer Sam Costales in trouble when he testified that fellow officers were lying. 

Given the history of what the thin blue line means in Albuquerque, do these license plates have any business being on taxpayer-funded police vehicles? Is there an APD policy when it comes to placing political or social statements on police vehicles? 

THIRD GRADE DEBATE

Reader Nicole Lourdes has thoughts on the controversial bill to fail third graders, if they are not testing well in reading skills:

A child's competencies and maturity is not based entirely on reading skills. He/she may be a slow reader or have a reading disability but may excel in math or music or science. He/she may have the maturity to catch up easily or social skills that render him/her a natural leader. It is cruel and shortsighted to punish and stigmatize a child who may need extra help with reading. It does not take a genius to anticipate that the children who will be hurt most will be those who live in poverty. If the Governor was not Hispanic one would think that she is driven by racist ideology. Along with the bill she's pushing to repeal driver's licenses for illegal aliens, I'm beginning to think that she needs to seek some therapy for issues of self-hatred.

The third grade retention bill has passed the House and awaits action in the Senate.

PEARCE IMPERSONATOR?

Who was that guy calling himself southern GOP NM Congressman Steve Pearce and addressing the NM legislative session Tuesday?

(Pearce) directed cautionary remarks toward House Republicans. “You could easily overreach. You could easily take too much for granted in your new role.”
. . . Pearce said many voters are angry at both Republican and Democratic leaders and feel a sense of helplessness over the state of global and domestic affairs. He said such voter dissatisfaction can have a pendulum effect in terms of political parties being voted in and out of power, which in turn can destabilize the nation. “The voters are very volatile right now, and what you don’t need is a lot of ideological three-point shots. . . What you want are some common-sense things that will improve the job situation.”

No "ideological three-point shots?" That from the king of the ideological three-pointer? Hey, Steve, welcome to our world. If that's really you.

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