Legislative Update March 13, 2019
Roosevelt County Chamber's
March 13, 2019
Only three days left!
The frenzy is growing as the Saturday noon session's end looms. Much has been accomplished but several important items are still undecided. Those things still dangling in the balance are the minimum wage bill, tax reform, a measure to tap the permanent fund and recreational marijuana. At the same time capital outlay for the area is looking really good and a record $7 billion budget appears ready to pass.
Minimum wage bill at impasse
It looked like the dueling minimum wage bills were both in the ditch Wednesday after Grants Sen. Clemente Sanchez' bill was amended in House Committee to the point he vowed that it looked like there wouldn't be a minimum wage bill. Trump might call that the art of the deal to storm away mad in order to get more concessions but who knows. Tempers could continue to flair or a last-minute compromise could be made.
Recreational marijuana stalled
After narrowly passing the House last week a bill seeking to legalize recreational marijuana was languishing this week in the Senate. The proposal has the backing of a few Republicans but many Democrat Senators are cautious about putting the State in the marijuana retail business, which is what the bill in the Senate proposes.
Tax reform needs amendment
Several Senate Democrats are equally leery of the tax increases contained in the House tax package. They're likely to strip some of the measures out of the bill that would raise taxes by a record amount at the same time the state is experiencing the largest revenue windfalls ever.
Capital Outlay contains $4.6 million for Roosevelt County
Barring line item vetoes by the Governor, Roosevelt County entities would likely have one of their best funding years in a long time. Among the monies included are $2.55 million for ENMU with $750,000 in improvements for Greyhound Arena and $700,000 for campus-wide infrastructure among the largest items. The pot also includes $371,000 for City of Portales to do work on Kilgore Ave. and money for Roosevelt County to make improvements to the kitchen and laundry at the Detention Center and ADA upgrades to the fairgrounds. Motor grader upgrades and roads were the largest chunk for the County with $450,000 and $383,000 respectively. Roosevelt General Hospital would also receive $125,000 for emergency room expansion.