NMCGA Presidents Letter 3/11

Dear Fellow Members,

It is said that there are no two legislative session that are like. This is my second year representing the New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association (NMCGA) and I can certainly testify that it is the case. Not only is it different inside the building, but we have just finished the coldest storm in Santa Fe and across the state that I can remember.

That in and of itself has taken a great deal of time within the halls of the Roundhouse trying to get a handle on why so much of the state was without power and gas for such a long time.

With the new Administration and several new faces in the Legislature, there is a lot of learning the lay of the land involved for all. As we have reached the mid-point of the 60 days, things are just beginning to roll. It took some time for committees to get assigned and begin to consider legislation and now it seems we are a bit behind. Although at this point there are less than half the bills we expected to be introduced, there is still plenty to keep an eye on. We have a list of well over 125 bills that we are working.

There is always interest in taxes and this Session is no different, but there seems to be a strong commitment that there will be no new taxes. But there is a magnifying glass looking at every possible ways for the state to “enhance revenues” and we will continue to protect our position.

There are several bills targeted at combining boards and commission and moving authority to the cabinet secretary level. I like that approach . . . if I am the one getting to choose who the cabinet appointees are. But short of that I will stand for the opportunity for more citizen participates in government. Having said that, there are clearly some boards and commissions that have outlived their original charge and should be eliminated. Those that remain should have their budgets carefully justified.

With 125 bills to track, you can imagine that the issues are all over the board from eminent domain — one bill we supported that gave the state power over federal land use designation, another that we oppose that seems to be using the power for private economic development — to the Livestock Board. We are hoping that the third time is the charm for the Pore Space bill that is working its way through the Senate and then on to the House. We have even testified on health care issues as the state looks to see how Obamacare might be implemented and what it is going to cost.

Now that the cold spell has passed, we can appreciate the warm days all the more. It was great to see all of you that were able to make it to Santa Fe for the Board Meeting and Ag Fest during the storm. Please come back as the last couple of weeks are sure to be eventful!

Thanks to our staff for their hard work and dedication to our industry. And thanks to the ag group that keeps us all working together. We are truly fortunate to have each other.

 

Sincerely,
Rex Wilson
President-Elect

 

 

 

 

PS:  I knew I would leave a legislator out last month
and sure enough I did. I don’t know how any of us could
overlook President-Pro Tem Tim Jennings.  Sorry Senator!