The third day of the legislative special session was, “another wasted day at the taxpayers’ expense,” according to Rep. Candy Spence Ezzell, R-Roswell. Legislators convened at 11 a.m. on Thursday. After starting late, Ezzell said legislators were on the floor for less than 40 minutes. The sole presentation for the day was that performed by the Fiesta de Santa Fe Mariachi Band.
Rep. Bob Wooley, R-Roswell, echoed Ezzell’s sentiments, stating the session was in slow motion. Wooley said that he had spoken with state senators and learned that the upper house is also moving slowly. “We have great hopes things will start clicking,” he said.
Determined to make the best use of their time, local legislators are working outside of the Roundhouse on redistricting plans. “We as members of the Southeastern corridor of the state have been working extensively on redistricting maps to make sure all rural areas are represented. We don’t need any seats moving into metropolitan areas.” Wooley said Nora Espinoza, R-Roswell, Dennis Kintigh, R-Roswell, Ezzell, and he have been collaborating in hopes of keeping all four of their seats intact. “The four of us from Roswell are kind of scared. We’re working very hard together so we can keep our seats. We don’t care exactly where our districts are, as long as they are intact.” The four have been working with a demographer to generate different scenarios in which their seats remain intact while shifting selected districts.
Ezzell said Brian Sanderoff of Research and Polling Inc., is pushing “the other side of the aisle’s agenda,” to create more districts in the Albuquerque and Rio Rancho areas. This scenario means a large number of rural areas will have to overlap. “We are not willing to not let their voices be heard. We may have to enlarge our areas to get that done, but that’s OK.”
The majority of the bills at the session are at the discussion level, according to Ezzell. “From our side of aisle, we understand that redistricting is the first priority up here. That is why were up here. We’ve started seeing other bills being dropped that aren’t on the proclamation.” Ezzell said that the fireworks bill should be left at the local level. “The county commissioner should have the right to say whether there will be a ban. One size does not fit all for our state.”
Wooley backed Gov. Susana Martinez’s plan to save the state’s unemployment fund that calls for withdrawing $130 million from the state’s saving account in increments of $65 million this year and next. He said that his concern that the state would fall below the minimum reserve level and thus lose its bond rating, would not occur under the plan.
Ezzell expressed her desire to make the public aware of two meetings she’s held thus far this session. The first was with the Interstate Stream Commission concerning the water issue the organization has created in the Lake Arthur area, which has hindered more than10 area farmers’ ability to pump water. She also met with Major Cordova, head of the Motor Transportation Department, to discuss an emergency cause in effect that allows barrels of hay, a difficult commodity for ranchers to access given the drought, to be transported within and outside of the state.
“It’s very important for our constituents from home to voice their concerns. Email us or call up here to state capital,” Ezzell said.