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Dems Send Message by Ignoring Gov.’s Request

Nice try, governor.

That’s the message the Democratic-controlled Senate sent to Gov. Susana Martinez on Wednesday, ignoring her request to withdraw the nominations of four State Fair commissioners.

Instead, the Senate voted to confirm three of the commissioners, all of whom were appointed by Martinez.

Commissioner Kenneth “Twister” Smith of Caballo was confirmed by a 40-1 vote, Commissioner Kenneth “Buster” Goff of Hobbs was confirmed by a 30-10 vote and Commissioner Charlotte Rode of Albuquerque was confirmed by a unanimous 40-0 margin.

Following a grueling hearing in the Senate Rules Committee, the Governor’s Office on Monday had requested the nominations be temporarily withdrawn.

But that request, or executive message, was not officially accepted by the Senate. That prompted Sen. Rod Adair, a Roswell Republican, to accuse the Democratic leaders of the chamber of “playing games.”

Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, D-Belen, denied the charge, saying, “It is the whole province of the Senate to act one way or another.”

Debate over Martinez’s appointees to the State Fair Commission has swirled around a controversial 25-year racino lease at the state fairgrounds in Albuquerque. Commissioners approved the deal in November, despite complaints the bid process was secretive and rushed.

Breaking their way: Efforts to ease New Mexico’s cap on film rebates – by allowing a “Breaking Bad” exemption – cruised through the Senate corporations committee on Wednesday.

Rather than seeking to do away with the state’s $50 million annual limit on film rebate spending, as originally crafted, Senate Bill 168 would instead grant exceptions to any qualifying TV series shot in New Mexico.

It would allow shows like “Breaking Bad” and “In Plain Sight,” both shot in Albuquerque, to be assured of receiving a full yearly rebate for 25 percent of their direct, in-state expenditures.

Sen. Phil Griego, D-San Jose, a co-sponsor, said it was recently revised after he met with staffers in Gov. Susana Martinez’s office.

“They didn’t have real big heartburn on this,” Griego said of the scaled-back approach.
— This article appeared on page A4 of the Albuquerque Journal

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