Dems limit public access to the Roundhouse

Welcome back. This week's edition of the Intelligencer is coming a day early due to the Thanksgiving holiday. In this week's edition, Democrat bosses limit public access to the Roundhouse, new COVID related school closures, water woes reflect poor leadership, Hispanics under attack by wokeism, and Lujan Grisham's incoherent policy signals.

The Intelligencer is a weekly newsletter that gives you a quick overview of La Politica across New Mexico and the U.S., covering topics such as policy, current events, the political landscape, and tech.

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Dax Contreras
Executive Director, Hispanos Unidos

1. Democrat leaders limit Roundhouse access

Details: Democrats in Santa Fe, who in the majority are firmly in control of the Roundhouse, decided to require members of the public to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination in order to attend the upcoming special and regular sessions of the Legislature. The special session will be held next month in early December and the regular session will occur at the end of January 2022.

Rules for me but not for thee: While the vaccine mandate will apply to members of the public as well as Roundhouse staff, the mandate notably does not apply to legislators.

The big picture: The vax mandate follows policies (by the same Democrat party bosses) that barred public access to the Roundhouse this year. The limiting of public access comes at a critical time: the redistricting special session will develop the district maps for the next decade and the regular session will decide how billions in state revenue, including billions in federal aid, will be spent.

What they’re saying: “We strongly oppose this decision as one that is antithetical to our transparent legislative process,” GOP senators Baca and Brandt said. “Just one year after the Capitol was surrounded by a fence, barring the people from their house, the leaders of the Legislature are yet again erecting a barrier to New Mexicans’ access to their government.”

2. “We are aware that this can cause undue hardship for working parents.” - Los Lunas Schools Superintendent Arsenio Romero


School restrictions: Two school districts in New Mexico cities, Santa Fe and Los Lunas, voluntarily closed in-person classes and moved online ahead of this week’s Thanksgiving, citing COVID-19. Working parents, including many public school teachers, are scrambling to find daycare for their kids. Meanwhile, Las Cruces Public Schools is enacting new requirements to stem coronavirus infections, which include making students “face one way in classroom and cafeteria settings.”

High court blocks citizens: The New Mexico Supreme Court stopped an effort by New Mexico citizens to hold accountable Governor Lujan Grisham for her dictatorial COVID-19 mandates. Citizens collected thousands of signatures for petitions to convene citizen-led grand juries filed in Eddy, Lea and Chaves counties. “I’d like to know why they didn’t let the process work,” said one of the citizens.

More threats: Recently, Lujan Grisham threatened to go further than even the federal government in severe COVID measures, “So we are analyzing what we can do to create those incentives - and potentially mandates - for making sure that people are fully vaccinated, which means three vaccines.” Despite the governor’s dictates, the virus continues to spread.

3. State Democrats continue to neglect water crisis


Details: When John D’Antonio resigned as State Engineer in protest late last month, he emphasized that elected Democrats in control of the budget did not prioritize reform, “Glaring non-response from the legislature on funding the 50-Yr Water Plan for the last three years with expectations that it be completed regardless of funding limitations.”

What they’re saying: State Representative (D) Nathan Small, apparently will not be missing D’Antonio, as he blasted the ex-water czar, “I am very hopeful for a strong, active and innovative partner…which has not been the case for the last few years.” Democrat Rep. Andrea Romero echoed Small’s perspective, “With new leadership, comes new opportunities.”

The big picture: Last session, Rep. Small spent much more of his time on “green energy” than water. The legislature in general — supported mostly only by Democrats, especially the radical environmentalist wing — was focused on destroying oil and gas. Here’s a quick list of some of those bills: HB9, HB15, HB105, HB137, HB206, HB263, HB297, SB29, SB63, SB83, SB84, SB243, SB297, and SB301 (using the search terms “renewable energy”).

4. Hispanics under attack from radical progressives

Details: As the controversy around the new state standards for social studies ratchets up, some folks are connecting the dots that tie recent violent events with what’s being taught to children. Last year a mob of torn down public property in Santa Fe. That led to a lawsuit filed by Union Protectíva de Santa Fé, a group that celebrates Hispanic history and culture.

Why it matters: In an op-ed in the ABQ Journal, State Representative (R) Ryan Lane rang the alarm that the new curriculum will demonize Hispanics, noting new social studies standards being proposed by the New Mexico Public Education Department that include “Discussing, debating, or holding academic conversations about both positive and negative evidence of Spanish influence in New Mexico today." He emphasizes that the proposed standard is not related to "the evils committed in the 16th or 17th centuries by conquistadors, but the negative influences of Hispanics today. Yes, today.”

The big picture: Rep. Lane concluded his warning, “If New Mexico embraces the woke theology…do not be surprised to see increasingly hostile sentiments toward Hispanics in New Mexico. To my Hispanic neighbors: Buyer beware, the woke are coming for you. Do not let the wolf in the door.” 

5. MLG sends mixed signals to win reelection


Details: Governor Lujan Grisham is seemingly aware that voters rightfully blame her executive orders for the economic destruction left in her wake, as she made a new campaign promise to cut the GRT, saying “Cutting gross receipts taxes for the first time in decades will put more money in the pockets of New Mexico families and businesses.” Conservatives and fiscal moderates have been advocating for not only cutting but completely doing away with the onerous GRT for decades.

On the other hand: MLG also recently announced the creation of three new bureaucrat positions to help spend federal relief money that the state Supreme Court ruled must be spent by the legislature. So why create these new positions when the legislature will do the heavy lifting?

The big picture: While New Mexicans will take any GRT cuts, it’s obvious MLG is concerned with staying in power. After all, if she truly cared about working families, she never would have signed the grotesquely titled “Healthy Workplaces Act”, which will force employees to navigate a nightmare of compliance and will inevitably lead to reduced hours or payroll reductions.