Monday, March 12, 2012

Feldman: Arnold-Jones Video Bill "A Great Thing"

Albuquerque legislators Sen. Dede Feldman and Rep. Jimmie Hall briefed the Albuquerque Press Women about the recent session of the legislature today.

Feldman, a Democrat and a liberal, said she could speak frankly because of her decision to not run for reelection. She did, to fair degree, saying, for example, that the whole purpose of redistricting was “to preserve incumbent seats.”

Feldman did a video-the-senate bill because of "Janice Arnold-Jones forcing the issue and that was a great thing."

For Arnold-Jones, this seems not a "bipartisan work across the aisles" situation, but rather one of having ideas that are so good and so provocative that Ds are forced to go along. Now running for Congress, she can brag on that.

Legislators had a little “new money” to work with. Note that “little” is on the scale of things, around $250 million. The policy dilemma was choosing between tax breaks, Gov. Susana Martinez’ preference, and “filling holes.” “We did a little of each,” Feldman said.

Martinez’ line-item vetoes in the budget “kind of revealed values.” A program for home-delivered meals got axed, for example, by the clearly heartless Governor.

Feldman disapproved of Martinez’s veto of many “pork” projects, small capital projects allowing legislators to make constituents happy. But Bill Richardson vetoed a lot of pork, she said. “He did it vindictively, too,” she said.

During the session, education provided “the biggest piece of tension between the governor and the legislature,” Feldman said.

Rep. Hall didn’t push the partisan framework. Rather, he offered insights about the day one retirement announcement of House Speaker Ben Lujan. The announcement “colored the rest of the session,” Hall said. “The moment he said that, (it) created a power vacuum.”

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