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Legislative tidbits: Bill would limit bills


Days remaining in session: 28

Bill would limit bills

A measure introduced by Sen. Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe, would limit the number of bills a lawmaker can introduce each session.

Under the plan, lawmakers could prefile as many bills online as they like before a session starts, but then would be limited to five bills and two memorials during each 30-day session and 10 bills and two memorials in a 60-day session.

Wirth said the measure is a recommendation of the Structure and Process Task Force.

Lawmakers each session introduce thousands of bills but only a small percent become law. In 2008, 1,438 bills were introduced and 107 passed. In 2009, 2,058 bills were presented and just 323 were approved, according to information provided by Wirth.

Webcasts are back

The full Senate again this session is webcasting its proceedings for the world to see. But the House isn’t.

That would change under a measure introduced by Rep. Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces. HR2 would require the House to put its regular committee hearings while HJM 15 aims to put joint interim committee hearings on the web as well.

Webcasting became popular last session when Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones, R-Albuquerque, started using her own equipment to webcast from committees on which she serves, something she will do again this session. Several news organizations also began webcasting.

Lawmakers in the Senate also are expected to push again for webcasts of committees in that chamber.

New caucus in town

Information from the Working Families Caucus said the group today will hold a press conference to unveil its legislative package.

Among the ideas being pushed by the group of progressive legislators:

• a bill that would restore the 2003 income tax levels for people making more than $150,000 a year.

• a measure that would track how state tax money is spent.

• a bill that would require large corporations to use a so-called combined reporting system. That means companies that do business in multiple states would combine the profits of their subsidiaries and report them under one corporation. Using this system, the companies would pay taxes in each state where they do business instead of being able to shift their profits to a state like Delaware, which doesn’t charge a corporate tax.

Twittering away the session

We’ve mentioned that The New Mexican is twittering this session to keep you informed. But we’re not the only ones.

Follow these groups for updates throughout the month that lawmakers will be in town:

@NMHouseDems, @NMHouseGOP, @KOB4, @nminfocus, @Peter770.

Looking ahead

On Friday morning, high school students plan a “Walk of Sorrow’’ to the Capitol from Santa Fe Prep to remember the victims of the crash that claimed four teens this summer.

The march and rally for stronger DWI laws is from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Participants are asked to wear black and walk in silence.

Quote of the day

“I am a proud Democrat. They might not be proud of me.”

— Senate President pro-tem Tim Jennings, D-Roswell, in a floor speech in which he criticized various parts of Gov. Bill Richardson’s state of the state speech.


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