Legislative tidbits – Jan. 18

Days remaining in session: 29

Bus Stopped: For more than a decade — probably longer — the state Transportation Department has provided a shuttle bus during legislative sessions, with stops at various parking lots in the city to take people to and from the Roundhouse.

But no more. Manon Arnett, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation said Tuesday that the state decided to eliminate the shuttle due to a decrease in ridership and the increased availability of parking in the nearby parking garage built across Don Gaspar Street from the Capitol.

Tea Party: They didn't get the attention that their political opposites, the Occupy protesters, did at the Capitol this year. That's mainly because they didn't disrupt the governor's state of the state address like some of the Occupiers did Tuesday.

But for the third year in a row, various members of Tea Party groups from around the state had a rally of their own outside of the Capitol. They carried American flags and signs calling for a law to require voters to show photo identification at the polls and protesting President Obama's healthcare law. Just like Democratic legislators spoke at the Occupy rally, some Republican lawmakers spoke at the Tea Party event.

There were no major confrontations between the two groups.

Looking Ahead:

  • Gov. Susana Martinez will speak at the New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops Annual Legislative Breakfast, 8 a.m. Wednesday at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish Hall, 417 Agua Fria St.
  • Later on Wednesday, New Mexico's three Roman Catholic bishops, including Archbishop of Santa Fe Michael Sheehan, are scheduled to concelebrate a noon Mass in the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi before leading a 1:30 p.m. prayerful procession with other abortion opponents to the Capitol for an approximately 2:30 p.m. rally, part of Sanctity of Life Unity Awareness and Unity Day. Supporters of abortion rights are scheduled to make their voices heard on Monday, Jan. 23, with a Capitol press conference marking the 39th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision. That 1:30 p.m. event will be sponsored by the Santa Fe chapter of the National Organization for Women in coordination with a coalition including Planned Parenthood, The Religious Coalition for Choice, The Southwest Women's Law Center and Young Women United.
  • On Thursday, Senate Republican Leader Stuart Ingle of Portales and House Democratic Leader Kenny Martinez of Grants will speak to the New Mexico Association of Counties about what to expect in the 2012 Legislative Session. The association will honor Sen. Nancy Rodriguez, D-Santa Fe, and Rep. Conrad James, R-Albuquerque, will be with its Soaring Eagle Award for their “leadership in securing legislation vital to protecting and advancing county interests.'' More than 650 elected and appointed county officials are in Santa Fe this week at the group's annual Legislative Conference.

Quote of the day: "While this has taken a toll on me physically, it has not broken my spirit, my will, my faith and my commitment to New Mexico."

— House Speaker Ben Lujan, D-Nambe, in a speech opening the 2012 session in which he announced that he is suffering from 4th stage lung cancer.

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