Last December 17 Sen. John Arthur Smith, Sen. Mary Kay Papen, Commissioner Oscar Butler, Commissioner Karen Perez, and Sen. Cynthia Nava met at the Fire House in Mesquite with a small group of constituents interested in hearing what might be in store at the legislature this year. The prognosis was grim. The session over, several of these, plus a few new faces, will return to the scene on Tuesday, March 16, at 5:30 p.m., for a post-session review.
President Pro Tem of the Senate Timothy Jennings has confirmed his presence, as has Sen. Howie Morales, from Silver City. Other legislators interested in attending are welcome. The idea is simply to meet with the same group of constituents from last December to discuss legislative performance from the perspective of the Fire House at Mesquite.
As I posted on Dec. 29 ("Is There Something Wrong With This Picture?") Fire Chief Alfred Nevarez complained that night he was having serious difficulties recruiting and retaining competent firemen, EMS has been suspended indefinitely, and firemen are complaining they don't have enough money to pay for gas out of their own pockets. Sen. Smith said the $82 million film credit to Hollywood for filming in New Mexico was "near and dear" to the governor's heart, and so he was threatening to veto any effort to reduce or eliminate the subsidy. Martin Lopez of the new Water Users Association complained he was unable to qualify for federal funds because the state was demanding three years of audits, while the Association has only been in existence a few months and cannot produce them. Senate and House leaders will be on hand on Tuesday to discuss the session and other matters of interest to the audience in Mesaquite.