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Politics Notebook: Fooling around with the time change

SANTA FE – Roughly 9 million acres of New Mexico state trust land won’t actually remain on daylight saving time year round.

State Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard raised a few eyebrows Monday when she issued an executive order putting an end to the twice-yearly time changes on the state land under her authority.

But not everyone caught on that it was an April Fools’ Day joke – there was a disclaimer at the bottom of the order – that poked fun at a long-running legislative debate.

Angie Poss, a spokeswoman for the State Land Office, said some social media users thought the executive order was real, but she said that the overall response to the joke was positive and that most people found it humorous after recent legislative debate on the issue.

The House and Senate passed different proposals this year dealing with time change – the House version called for New Mexico to be exempted from daylight saving time, while the Senate version would have kept the state on daylight saving time year-round.

But neither of those bills ultimately passed both legislative chambers, a necessary step for legislation to reach the governor’s desk.

GUN LAW REPEAL: A top state House Republican is not giving up in his effort to have voters decide whether New Mexico’s new background check law for gun sales should be repealed.

House Minority Leader James Townsend of Artesia on Tuesday resubmitted a draft petition to Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver’s office that seeks to put in motion a rarely used referendum process.

Toulouse Oliver, a Democrat, last month rejected the initial petition submitted by Townsend and other House Republican leaders.

Among the reasons cited by Toulouse Oliver was a state constitutional prohibition on petitions for the repeal of “laws providing for the preservation of the public peace, health, and safety.”

But Townsend said in a Tuesday letter that he does not believe the secretary of state – or the Attorney General’s Office – has the authority to determine whether a bill meets that definition. Only the courts can make such a decision, he said.

He also addressed several technical issues Toulouse Oliver had highlighted in the initial petition.

At issue is a bill expanding New Mexico’s background check requirement for gun sales that Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed into law last month. Once the new law takes effect in July, the state will require background checks before nearly any firearm sale in the state, including transactions between private individuals.

No law has been repealed by referendum in New Mexico since 1930, according to legislative staff.


Dan Boyd: dboyd@abqjournal.com

 

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