Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Some Miscellaneous Bill Action

I'm a political reporter, but I get tired of predictable political talking points that both sides fall into all too frequently. That's why I appreciated the debate on House Bill 644, which sets a minimum retirement age of 55 and reduces the cost-of-living adjustment for most public employees.

The bill, which was voted down on Sunday, was reconsidered by the House and eventually passed 37-32. But it was hardly a party-line vote. And you couldn't see any other frequent breaking lines such as rural vs. urban. Apparently all these representatives were thinking for themselves, and there were good arguments on both sides.

Here's some other bills that have passed today:

* HB368, sponsored by Reps. Nate Gentry and David Doyle, both R-Albuquerque, which would prevent state officials from sealing their records after they leave office. It passed unanimously This bill was inspired by the uproar early this year over Gov. Bill Richardson sealing his office's documents for eight years, as other governors have done before him. The attorney general ordered the state Archives to allow inspections of the Richardson documents, but this bill would set that into law. It goes on to the Senate.

* SB17, sponsored by Sens. Tim Keller, D-Albuquerque, and Steve Neville, R-Aztec, which would remove the governor from the State Investment Council. Under the bill, which already cleared the Senate, Gov. Susana Martinez could stay on the council for the next two years, until July 1, 2013. The House passed it 50-18. It goes now to Martinez for signature.

* SB11, sponsored by Sen. Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe. In case you thought this bill had gone to the dogs, think again. This landmark legislation, which would allow restaurants to allow dogs in outdoor eating areas, passed the House 50-17.

I was just disappointed that nobody brought a snake to the floor as Sen. Bill Sharer, R-Farmington did in the Senate last week.

UPDATE: 7:03 p.m. The bill number for SB 17 has been corrected.