Talk of the Town: How the Legislature did - Albuquerque Journal

Talk of the Town: How the Legislature did

Higher alcohol tax will help reduce its use

I BELIEVE an additional 3% tax on alcohol would be a very good thing for our state. Though many people can enjoy it without problems, there are a lot of people who can and will hurt others or themselves. One of the main reasons that I support this is it’s always been a very big problem here, and I’ve seen this firsthand in my family and in some of my friends as well.

But mainly the reason I’m behind this tax is that many sales would go down due to the fact many people will not be able to afford it anymore, this would create a better driving environment for the people that are learning and also the people who may not be as abled. Did you know 36.7% of all fatal crashes in the last decade in New Mexico involved alcohol, Bernalillo (County) being the worst? … This is a big problem and should be looked at to help better our society.

Aden McGrew, Albuquerque

Editor’s note: N.M. lawmakers settled on a 20% alcohol tax increase that would impose about a one-cent per drink increase on beer and roughly a two-cent per drink increase on spirits.

Reasons for a new state plane simply do not fly

NINE MILLION dollars for a new plane for the state? Why? One reason given was “it could also be used by Cabinet secretaries and other public officials in the sprawling and largely rural state – the fifth-largest in the nation.”

What would be so urgent that these elected officials couldn’t drive? And as far as providing air service for the students at school for the visually impaired in Alamogordo, use charter air service. Give an economic boost to these companies spread out across the state. The reasoning for purchasing a new plane has not been well thought out.

Michael Turri, Angel Fire

Lack of common sense holds our state back

I HAVE read with dismay the inability of the N.M. legislature to make meaningful changes to the issue of malpractice insurance, the Sunshine law, CYFD and pyramiding gross receipt taxes. “Because we’ve always done it that way!” seems to be the rallying cry of so many New Mexicans, and this despite hand-wringing over why this state is so far below the curve.

I think the truth is many, many people in this state enjoy the benefits of no changes – let’s just keep on keeping on.

I was also upset by the woman who wrote a letter bemoaning her difficulties in getting benefits – she never once mentioned even though she had no money she has had two more children in the interim, thus increasing the chances of never getting out of poverty and diminishing the possibility of a better life for her children. Has anyone in any of these agencies she contacted even suggested she could/can still have helped/help herself in many ways?

I think these issues irritate many because it’s a general lack of common sense by so many in this state.

Anne Burtnett, Albuquerque

Anesthesiologist bill is bad for patient safety

I HAVE been a board-certified registered nurse anesthetist for over 10 years. As a New Mexican, I am writing to strongly urge you to oppose Senate Bill 35, which is proposing to allow anesthesiologist assistants, otherwise known as AAs, to practice in more areas and with less direction in New Mexico.

In addition to our brilliant physicians in New Mexico, there are also several equally talented, qualified and wise non-physician clinical specialists such as: chiropractors, CRNAs, dentists, nurse practitioners, pharmacists and podiatrists. However, AAs aren’t among this group because they are not clinical specialists. They are clinical assistants.

There are only 2,000 AAs in the United States. No branch of the U.S. military utilizes AAs. They are legally bound to work under the medical direction of an anesthesiologist. The close “direction” requirements could be because AAs only complete a two-year program learning to technically assist an anesthesiologist after earning an unspecified bachelor degree. AAs have not had the extensive education or experience to make safe and sensible clinical decisions. They are simply trained to assist those who do.

In anesthesia, emergencies arise in an instant. Seconds count. … As a CRNA, I first and foremost have the responsibility to ensure patient safety. SB 35 supports grossly unsafe yet extremely expensive anesthesia. …


Editor’s note: SB 35 passed the Legislature and awaits the governor’s action.

HB 73 will revolutionize the cancer care here

FACING A cancer diagnosis is terrifying. I’ve been diagnosed three times in my life and have gone through nine months of chemotherapy and two seven-week rounds of radiation. During my fight, I was scared I wouldn’t be around for my family. However, I was lucky my treatments worked and kept the cancers I was fighting from growing, but for others that is not the case. New Mexicans diagnosed with cancer this year could benefit from targeted therapies learned through something called biomarker testing.

Scientific advances have made cancer much more treatable and improved the odds of survival. Using biomarker testing, oncologists can better understand cancer cells and pinpoint which treatments will work best for patients. Thanks to the targeted therapies doctors prescribe based on biomarkers in certain cancers, patients across the country are thriving today.

While many people are lucky to benefit from targeted therapy, too many people in New Mexico still can’t. Their insurance won’t cover the biomarker testing they need to determine the best treatment for their diagnosis. Thankfully, the N.M. Legislature passed House Bill 73 this legislative session, expanding access to biomarker testing.

The bill now sits at Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s desk, awaiting signature. As a three-time cancer survivor and volunteer with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, I’m urging the governor to sign this bill and help ensure New Mexicans can learn the best strategies to treat their illness.

Joyce Graves, Gallup

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