Albuquerque Journal from Albuquerque, New Mexico on February 16, 1978 · Page 6
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Albuquerque Journal from Albuquerque, New Mexico · Page 6

Albuquerque, New Mexico
Issue Date:
Thursday, February 16, 1978
Page 6
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A-6"ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL Thursday, February 16, 1978 Legislature 78 $54 Million in Tax Cuts Also Backed Passes Appropriations Measure Senate By Eugene Ward Of the Journal's Santa Fe Bureau SANTA FE The Senate Wednesday night approved a $641.6 million general appropriations act (HB 2) and $54 million in tax cuts in less than a half hour. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Aubrey Dunn, Otero, carried the bills on the floor facing only three opposing votes on HB 2 and none on the tax cut measures. Included in the tax measures is HB 178, a permanent income tax cut of $32 million. The bulk of the tax cut will go to reducing tax bills of low and middle income residents. That measure, unchanged from the House version, now goes to the governor for his signature. Earlier Wednesday House and Senate Democratic leaders met with Gov. Jerry Apodaca to discuss House and House OKs Feed Bill, Fight Ends By DAVE STEINBERG Of the Journal's Santa Fe Bureau SANTA FE - The New Mexico House passed and sent to the governor Wednesday night the $1.9 million feed bill, bringing the New Mexico legislature to the end of an extraordinary, session-long fight that delayed until adjournment, pay to the lawmakers and to some employes. The measure, a committee substitute for SB202, passed on a 66-2 vote. The two dissenters were Reps. Manuel Trujillo, D-Rio Arriba-Taos and Bill Warren, D-Bernalillo. Both explained later they felt the House had conceed-ed too much to the Senate in the inter-chamber power struggle over Senate demands for, among other things, equality of membership on joint interim committees. "When you look at who gave up, everything within the bill was given by the house. We made every effort to arrive at a compromise that was equitable," said Rep. Tom Brown Jr, D-Eddy-Chaves. Brown's appropriations committee had earlier in the evening given a "do pass" recommendation to the bill on a 10-6 vote. The bill is identical to the draft which House leaders had agreed to last week. The draft was the subject of hours of behind-closed-doors negotiations between House and Senate leaders. House Minority leader Hoyt Patti-son, R-Curry-Roosevelt-Curry, praised the House majority members for working out a bill that will prove to be good for the legislature. Pattison also praised the House unity. But Rep. Walter Parr, D-Dona Ana warned that if the House isn't unified, it won't be able to resist future Senate incursions. "I have made every investigating of the bill short of going through it myself," Rep. Brown declared to his committee earlier. Senate Approves Gas Tax Hike BUI From the Journal's Santa Fe Bureau SANTA FE The Senate Wednesday night passed 31-3 a measure that will give voters in Bernalillo and Los Alamos counties the right to vote on a two-cent a gallon gasoline tax. The bill (HB206), sponsored by Rep. Adele Hundley, D-Bernalillo, is limited to class A and H counties or Bernalillo and Los Alamos. The measure was amended in Senate finance to include only those two counties with the House-passed measure giving voters in those counties the right to vote on the issue. Albuquerque Mayor David Rusk and Bernalillo County Commissioners testified in favor of the measure before both House and Senate committees, and the inclusion of Los Alamos came in response to related bills. The money generated by the gasoline tax can only be used for mass transit Systems or road improvements. I -r ' J J APWirephoto i ' JJJfltlPP State Sen. Aubrey Dunn, D-Otero, chairman of the Semite Finance Committee, raises a sheet of figures while making a point. The action came during a committee meeting which began Tuesday evening and SpfifilSlFf lasted until dawn Wednesday. The committee was taking action on a OU99M.UH number of money bills. New Highway Dept. Chief Commission OKs O'Cheskey By DAVE STEINBERG Of the Journal's Santa Fe Bureau SANTA FE The State Highway Commission grilled Fred O'Cheskey for two straight hours Wednesday then unanimously concurred in Gov. Jerry Apodaca's appointment of O'Cheskey as the new head of the highway Dept. O'Cheskey said he wouldn't take undue influence from the commission, from the governor nor legislators. He said he would be answerable to the commission. Senate confirmation of the appointment is expected today, just hours before the end of the regular 30-day legislative session at noon. . The appointment was made possible by passage this session or a bill giving the governor, for the first time in years, new limited powers to appoint the highway administrator. Under the former law the governor had no say in the appointment. The new law says the governor appoints with the concurrence of the commission and the confirmation of the Senate. Officially, O'Cheskey, state revenue commissioner and Energy Resources Board director, takes over Mar. 31, but O'Cheskey said he will be transferred to the road agency to learn the ropes the first of next month. Under questioning from all five commissioners, O'Cheskey had these recommendations for improving the state's largest agency: Insure that all policies are reduced to writing so that the public and the staff know the agency's position and that it can act fairly. Plan a solid package of bills to the legislature each year, determining requirements from all parts of the state. O'Cheskey has been a legislative lobbyist for several years. He acknowledged that he was called on to lobby for the bill that brought about his appointment. He said he didn't know at the time he was lobbying what the result would be. Senate differences. The issues ranged from public school funding to money for abortions. The meeting was to resolve differences to avoid a special legislative session. Those differences were apparently resolved. Contributing to the conflict, according to the reports from some legislators, were amendments which some members attempted to tack on to the appropriations bill aimed at a senator and two representatives. The amendments were introduced by Sen. C.B. Trujillo, Taos Democrat and majority floor leader, and Sen. Paul Becht, R-Bernalillo. The amendments would have prohibited legislators now in office from contracting for professional services with agencies receiving state funds. Those affected would have been Rep. Ray Sanchez, D-Bernalillo, Sen. Ray Leger and Rep. Sam Vigil, both Las Vegas Democrats. Sanchez is a lawyer and is involved in public defender cases. Vigil and Leger are educators. One influential legislator said the abortion issue could force a special session. The issue, has been heavily lob bied for by Right to Life groups who oppose abortion and Right to choose groups which say abortion should be an individual choice. The Senate has approved language severely restricting use of state money for abortions. The House, however, has resisted attempts to insert similar language. Failure to reach an agreement between the Senate and House could mean a special session, the legislator said. Apodaca backed a $21 million income tax reduction as part of his tax package. The tax cut would go into effect in the 1978 tax year. In addition, the Senate approved a bill that will reduce the gross receipts tax statewide by one quarter of one per cent. The bill, a combination of a House and Senate bill, will cost the state an estimated $21.4 million. The general appropriations act is $14 million less than the version passed by the House. The Senate Finance Committee met all night Tuesday to trim the budget in Long-range planning should not be interrupted by special legislation nor by the introduction of new industries because planning should take those developments into account without any surprises. "I think the commission should take the bull by the horns. That doesn't mean you change your priorities around," O'Cheskey said. The agency should not worry about changing its priorities with the advent of a new governor. O'Cheskey said he's never been asked by governors to do favors for people as revenue commissioner. "I've never compromised anyone's taxes. I've never had to. I'd take a walk before I'd compromise," he told the commission. Likewise, he said, he has resisted the efforts of former Atty. Gen. David Norvell to forgive taxes on certain people. t Consider the possibility of altering working districts of the department which for years have lowered more than one commission district. , As a member of the 1974 Highway Dept. Task Force, O'Cheskey said that he had made the suggestion to rearrange the districts. He said it was based on his fear of commissioner intervention. The possibility of a unit tax on gasoline so that as the price increases so does the tax. Consideration of a telephone hotline for citizens to complain directly to the agency. Commission Chairman Jim Denison of Hobbs had asked for a study of a hotline installation. O'Cheskey is the first highway dept. head in years who is not an engineer. The governor's Executive Reorganization Act changed the law to permit a rwnengineer as of Mar. 31 O'Cheskey is replacing State Highway Engineer Jim Bird who is retiring on that date. the area of education, government and the legislature. The biggest cutback occurs in the area of public school support with nearly $9 million cut. That cut comes from the Senate Finance Committee using a per student unit funding fee of $995 as compared to the $1,020 agreed upon by the House. The present funding level is $905 per student unit and the House rejected a move to up backing to $1,026 on the floor by 35-35. Sen. C.B. Trujillo, D-Taos, Mora, San Miguel, said that the Senate and House leaders would meet after the night session to work out some differences so the session could end on time today. One of the differences appears to be the funding formula. Rep. Tom Brown, D-Eddy, said that he wanted to study the Senate version before commenting. Brown, chairman of the House Appropriations and Finance Committee, carried the measure in the House. Indians Seek Federal Aid On Resources WASHINGTON (AP) - American Indian leaders meeting here Wednesday agreed on resolutions and statements asking for federal aid in development of Indian-owned resources. "I think it was a successful meeting," Floyd Correa, of the Pueblo of Laguna, N.M., told a reporter. "I think the member tribes present all voiced the need for unity and that we will have a unified effort by all tribes on energy matters." Correa is a member of the executive committee of the Council of Energy Resource Tribes, which called the meeting. It includes 25 Indian tribes that own oil, gas, coal, uranium, oil shale and geothermal energy resources beneath their reservations in 10 states. Correa said the group is seeking to expand the organization to include other tribes and Alaskan Indian native organizations that have energy resources. The group now receives funds from the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Correa' said it is seeking more funds to expand its staff and open a western office. Senate Approves Therapeutic Use Of Marijuana From the Journal's Santa Fe Bureau SANTA FE - The Senate passed without debate or amendment Wednesday night a bill setting up a controlled program for glaucoma and cancer chemotherapy patients to use marijuana for their illnesses. The measure, HB329, passed 31-1 and now goes to the governor for his signature. The bill provides for a program in the new Health and Environment Dept. with a governing board to control the therapeutic use of the drug. It also changes the classification of the drug in the state so that it can be used for medical purposes. Introduction and passage of the bill were spurred by testimony of Lynn Pierson of Albuquerque. Pierson had told legislative committees that his smoking marijuana helps to curb the nausea and vomiting that accompany the painful aftereffects of chemotherapy. Last year, a glaucoma patient had testified in Santa Fe that marijuana smoking helps ease the pain of glaucoma, a disease of the eye. The measure was cosponsored by Rep. David Salman, D-Mora-Harding-San Miguel and Rep. Dan Berry, D-Lea. The bill was introduced after legislators found out that a memorial asking the cancer research center of the University of New Mexico to do work with marijuana would take several years to develop. Legislative Briefs House Gives OK To Juvenile Bills From the Journal's Santa Fe Bureau Two bills dealing with juveniles have passed the House and been sent to the Senate. HB187, sponsored by Rep. John Lee Thompson, D-Bernalillo, would allocate $450,000 to provide shelter care facilities for children in need of supervision. HB189, sponsored by Rep. Frank Gurule, D-Bernalillo, Seeks $112,000 to seed pilot demonstration programs attacking problems of youth, including youth unemployment and child abuse. House Approves Indian Committee By The Associated Press Legislation to create a legislative Indian-State Relations Committee, which a sponsor called a "pow wow bill," was passed Wednesday by the New Mexico House. The House also approved the creation of three other interim legislative committees to study some pertinent issues before the 1979 session. These include a Higher Education Study Committee, which is a re-creation of the old University Study Committee; a Model Procurement Code Committee, to study public purchasing practices; and an Insurance Study Committee. APS Confirms Offer for School An Albuquerque Public Schools official confirmed Wednesday APS received a $1.9 million offer to buy old Monroe Junior High School but rejected it because the Board of Education took the school off the market Oct. 19. : Bill McMillin, building planning director, said the offer was from George Hensley, a builder. McMillin said his office is conducting a study of possible uses APS might make of the property, which was closed as a school in 1974. The 12-acre property, adjacent to Winrock Shopping Center on Louisiana Blvd. NE, was rezoned C-2 by the Environmental Planning Commission m August when another offer on . it was pending. Bus Hits Car A man and his wife were injured Monday afternoon when a school bus. with five children aboard apparently rolled through a stop sign at a North Fourth St. intersection and struck their car, State Police reported. The driver of the school bus, Paul f. Lucero, and the five children escaped injury in the accident, but Solomon Guerrero, 64, and Velma Guerrero, 64, ' were taken to Presbyterian Hospital..-Mrs. Guerrero was treated and re-i leased and Guerrero was listed in "good" condition Monday night. '

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