Legislative Update March 7, 2013

Our first legislative session has been a busy and successful one.  We wanted to share with you a quick update on what we’ve been working on during the session based on the input we’ve received from so many of you about your priorities.

Many of you have shared with us that ethics reform and accountability are big concerns. To add more accountability to state government, I’m sponsoring a pair of bills requiring audits of “at-risk” capital outlay projects (HB345 & HB305). Capital outlay projects often cost millions of dollars, and these two bills create stronger safeguards to ensure that taxpayer money is being spent wisely.

As many of you know, water rights and conservation are a big issue in our community. I’ve sponsored a memorial for federal funding to help conserve and manage the San Juan/Chama project (HJM24), where a lot of Santa Fe’s city water originates. A second memorial requests funding to improve the Santa Cruz Dam (SJM6 cosponsored with Sen. Martinez). Both of these memorials will help our Congressional delegation secure federal dollars for these projects. In addition, we’ve been working with local acequiasto create a fairer system for capital outlay funding that allocates money to each acequiain equal rotation, starting with the first five acequias receiving funding July of this year.

Of course, most of us are deeply concerned with sustainable energy and environmental protection. I’m happy to co-sponsor a bill with Sen. Peter Wirth to extend the sustainable energy tax credit for homeowners (SB14). In addition, I’ve joined many of my fellow representatives in funding the installation of solar panels on the roof of the Roundhouse parking structure, and have also requested funding for solar panels for the Tesuque fire station. I’ve sponsored a request for clean up of Area G at LANL (HJM5). This clean-up will safeguard our environment while creating good, local jobs. Many of you have expressed a particular interest in Rep. Egolf’s bill requiring disclosure of fracking chemicals (HB136) — this is a bill I’m in strong support of.

Creating economic opportunity is on most people’s minds, of course. One of my bills, HB401, makes it easier for high tech industries to relocate to New Mexico. These clean, sustainable businesses grow our economy and protect our environment at the same time. And Rep. Tom Taylor and I are co-sponsoring a bill that would make it easier for start-ups who want to provide more energy efficient and innovative transportation alternatives by removing the current monopoly enjoyed by taxicab companies throughout the state (HB194).

We’ve also heard from a lot of community members who care deeply about animal welfare. To help protect our animal companions, I’m sponsoring a mirror bill to Sen. Martinez’s bill that strengthens penalties for animal cruelty (HB224). In addition, I’m signed on as a supporter for a bill banning unfair one-size-fits-all breed-specific regulations (HB63). I also spoke out against the creation of a Horse Slaughter Facility in southern New Mexico.

In addition, HB306 mandates that pueblos carry appropriate liability insurance and provide proper training for deputized tribal law enforcement officers. As many of you know, this bill addresses a critical public safety concern voiced by many in our community.

Finally, I’ve heard from a lot of bike riders, who made the excellent suggestion for a bill that makes it legal for cyclists to use left and right hands to signal turns (HB582) — a small detail, maybe, but an important one in our community where bikes are an important part of our way of life.

As a citizen legislator, my priority is to represent you.  To stay updated on what we’re working on and share your thoughts and input, you can subscribe to our Facebook page or email us at info@carltrujillo.com.

 

Autism Awareness Day at the Legislature

February 13, 2013 011One of the best things about serving as state legislator is being able to meet young people in our community who get the experience of serving as legislative pages for the day.

February 13 was Autism Awareness Day at the legislature, and to highlight the challenges faced by kids with autism, Carl hosted two very special pages (and one Very Special Grownup Guest, too):  Caitlin Herrera, her best friend Andrea Alarid and her grown up helper, Rebecca Baca.

Caitlin and Andrea are each 10 years old, and both of them had a lot of fun at the Roundhouse.  They were each introduced by Carl on the House floor, and then spent the day learning about state government and being Carl’s helpers.

Caitlin is 10 years old in 4th grade at Kearny Elementary.  We all have particular challenges in life and Caitlin’s is that she’s autistic.  But that doesn’t stop her from doing what she loves to do, including music, singing and loving cats.

Andrea Alarid is 10 years old and attends Wood Gormley Elementary.  She loves math and science and thinks maybe she’d like to be a Bio Chemical Engineer when she grows up — which was really fun for Carl because he works as a scientist when he’s not at the legislature representing us.  In her free time, Andrea likes doing crafts and volleyball.

Accompanying the girls was Caitlin’s education assistant, Rebecca Baca.  Rebecca is an inspiring example of a community member who figured out that one of the most rewarding things we can do in this world is to help others.  She started as a substitute teacher and, one day, accepted an assignment as a special needs aide, where she found her life’s passion in working as an assistant for kids with autism and other special needs.

In addition to the experience that Caitlin and Andrea had, Caitlin’s class got to enjoy the day with them by watching the webcast from their school.  (Did you know you can watch the legislature on webcast?  Tune in here.)

As part of Autism Awareness Day, Caitlin, Andrea and Rebecca all wore beautiful, brightly colored “Autism Speaks” scarves, and as you can see from the photo, they presented Carl with one as well.

Caitlin’s mom, Liz Valdez, who is also a dedicated autism citizen activist, shared with me a bit about Caitlin’s experience as a page.  “I was so very proud of Caitlin for doing so well.  She was treated with respect, and I am so thankful that Representative Trujillo was willing to sponsor the three of them.”

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