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Deal sought on teacher sick leave

SANTA FE, N.M. — A Republican senator’s vow to push for an override of a vetoed teacher attendance bill was tempered Friday.

Sen. Craig Brandt, R-Rio Rancho, said he still might launch the veto override early next week but will first try to reach a compromise with Gov. Susana Martinez’s office.

The governor on Thursday had vetoed a bill, sponsored by Brandt and others, that would have allowed teachers to take more than three sick days per year without risking losing points on their annual evaluations.

That prompted Brandt to criticize the governor for being unreasonable and say he’d move quickly to override the veto. Overriding a veto requires a two-thirds vote in each legislative chamber.

The Senate has not voted to override a veto since 2010, during the last year of then-Gov. Bill Richardson’s tenure in office.

DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME: Sen. Cliff Pirtle must have been feeling good Friday afternoon as a House committee was set to consider his proposal to keep New Mexico on daylight saving time all year long.

He was softly singing the chorus to the Rolling Stones’ “Time Is on My Side” outside the committee room.

His proposal, Senate Bill 239, cleared the committee on a 6-2 vote and is continuing its push toward the House floor.

The bill calls for New Mexico to petition the federal government for permission to switch to Mountain Daylight Time all year. The state is already on daylight time for eight months out of the year, from mid-March to early November.

Pirtle, a Roswell Republican with a bushy beard, said daylight saving time would give people an extra hour of sunshine later in the day.

“This is good for New Mexico families,” he said.

His proposal has already cleared the Senate. It has one more committee stop before it can hit the House floor.

Perhaps Sunday will be the last time New Mexicans have to “spring forward.”

WEBCAST OUTAGE: For much of Friday, the legislative website was down and webcasting was unavailable to the public for floor sessions and committee meetings.

Legislative officials said the issue was related to off-site equipment that serves the state Capitol.

The technical issues were eventually fixed, and the Legislative Council Service said archived webcasts would still be available despite the internet outage.

This is the first year both the House and Senate are archiving webcasts of both committee hearings and floor sessions.

Most state government agencies did not experience the outage, as the legislative website is run independently by legislative branch agencies, according to the state Department of Information Technology.

Friday’s outage occurred with just 8 days remaining in the 60-day session, and frustrated viewers hoping to tune in to morning committee meetings on lobbying restrictions, marijuana penalties and dozens of other bills.