Tuesday, January 21, 2014


The New Mexico State Legislature opens today.  Back in the day when the broadcasters used to have real news departments, we would extensively cover the legislature.  Up on the assignment board would be the lineups for daily assignments for legislative reporters like Rodger Beimer and sometimes this blogger Jim Baca.  The slot was labeled XGR which was short for legislature.

These days we can assume that when the TV stations cover the lawmakers it will be about personalities or the outrageous happening of the day, rather than something really important.  Here are some suggestions from an old time broadcast journalist for coverage this year.

  1. Find out if any committees have followed the impact of the tax cuts for the rich that the Governor and Legislature enacted last year and if not, why not.
  2. Ask and report on the costs of private prisons for the state of New Mexico and if they have any positive impact on recidivism.  Should private prisons who require prisoners for profit stay in business in NM?
  3. Find out if the legislature is interested in mimicking any of the great best practices of other states in innovative programs in government.
  4. Ask the leadership of both houses if they would support legislation limiting the use of surveillance drones by both law enforcement agencies and private sector concerns.  (This could be called the backyard hot tub bill.)
  5. Who will sponsor a bill to stop the practice of forgiving gross receipts taxes on newspapers in this state since most publications are nothing more than large conservative corporate p.r. machines.
Well, maybe some of these aren't too important but they would be informative.  Speaking of which this is a must read for anyone who has fallen victim to myths about America.

And then if this doesn't scare you, nothing will.

1 comment:

Bubba Muntzer said...

The Oxfam study referred to in your last link, which contains such tidbits as:

"The world's 85 richest people own as much as the poorest 50 percent of humanity."

hasn't brought any screams of protest from our Democratic delegation to Washington, and it won't. It's pretty well known that wealth and income disparities are now worse than they were in the 1920s "Gilded Age", but Mssrs Udall, Henrich and Lujan and Ms Grisham never talk about this. Never.

And yet Democrats have so far succeeded in continuing to portray themselves as representatives of working people, even though the current situation could not have come about without their willing complicity.

In fact inequality has gotten worse since Obama came into office. The federal omnibus budget bill, that every member of our delegation just voted for, which tosses people off unemployment and cuts Medicare, on top of food stamp cuts that went into affect a month ago, is more austere than the notorious "Ryan Budget" of a couple years ago. That's right, it cuts federal spending even more. Meanwhile NM's state Democrats have cut businesses taxes to 3 percent in a race to the bottom with other states.

Things will only get worse, as the Democratic Party leadership sees no reason whatsoever to change tact, since a., they get plenty of Wall street and Hedge Fund money and they know the terms of it and b., they feel they have strong demographic winds at their back now.

Keep supporting them and see how much worse things can get.