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At the Roundhouse

Daily roundups of the N.M. legislative session by John Robertson

At the Roundhouse: Three up, 314 to go

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Things sure have a way of stacking up around here.

attheroundhouse-150x150Maybe it’s just my usual spring fever that makes me impatient.

Our 112 senators and representatives have until March 16 to get things done, and they’ll probably take every minute of it.

Long days are in the forecast for the 13 days until adjournment.

  On deck: Just over 1,300 bills have been introduced, by the way.

The Legislature’s website shows just three bills having passed both houses and sent up to the governor.

Only about 24 percent of the 1,300 ultimately will get through, by past measurements. But that would mean that about 314 viable bills are still in the works.

The state budget and public employee pension reform are among big things still left to do.

Who’s the boss? Looks like it will be later in the week before the Senate Rules Committee resumes its confirmation hearing on Hanna Skandera as  Gov. Susana Martinez’s secretary of public education.

The committee didn’t put her on its agenda Monday morning.

Seven hours of testimony already have been taken on the current Martinez administration lightning rod, as reported by Journal Capitol Bureau reporter Dan Boyd after Saturday’s hearing.

Rank-and-file teachers have turned out in droves to say Skandera, who lacks classroom teaching experience, isn’t qualified to lead the state’s education efforts. Business leaders, school administrators and others testified about the need to rock New Mexico’s education boat and praised Skandera’s accountability moves.

Most speculation seems to hold that Skandera’s nomination could pass the 42-member Senate floor. There is less confidence about the vote on the 10-member Rules Committee. The inside battle now seems to be just getting it out of committee on onto the floor.

A tie vote on the committee, by the way, would prevent the nomination from going to a floor vote.

Meanwhile, the big struggles behind the scenes seem to be who’s going to direct education policy in New Mexico and who’s going to control the money?  Martinez, Skandera and the executive branch or the Legislature and union-organized teachers?

 

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