Senate votes in Flynn, despite concerns over copper rule

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  • Senate votes in Flynn, despite concerns over copper rule

    From left, Sen. Phil Griego, D-San Jose, speaks with Environment Department Secretary-designate Ryan Flynn during a Senate Rules Committee confirmation hearing Tuesday. The committee voted to recommend Flynn’s confirmation, and the full Senate voted in favor of him 30-11, despite opposition from several environmental groups. Jane Phillips/the New Mexican

Posted: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 8:00 pm | Updated: 11:26 am, Wed Feb 19, 2014.

The New Mexico Senate on Tuesday confirmed Ryan Flynn as Cabinet secretary of the state Environment Department, despite protests from environmental groups and concerns from some lawmakers over a controversial copper rule and potential conflicts of interest.

The Senate vote was 30-11, with all Republicans and most Democrats who represent rural districts voting to confirm Flynn, who served as general counsel for the Environment Department before being named secretary-designate in April.

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • Pat Shackleford posted at 10:23 pm on Wed, Feb 19, 2014.

    Pat Shackleford Posts: 569

    Thank you for the info. My hasty mistake. I'll use the link below next time.

  • Robert Keaty posted at 11:13 am on Wed, Feb 19, 2014.

    SnakeCharmer Posts: 1

    Two things struck me during the Rules Committee hearing for Mr. Flynn yesterday.

    1. The number of industry representatives who strongly supported the nomination saying he was easy to work with. This has got to send up red flags when the regulated love their regulator.

    2. Numbers aside, the most urgent and significant issue is protection of watershed and aquifers. Mr. Flynn stated that his office was able to reach consensus on 80% of the Copper Rules document (a total of 42 pages) between environmental groups and industry. That remaining 20% goes to the heart of the matter and it was written by the mining industry. As little as 5% of a document can make all the difference on an issue! His taking credit for the 80% consensus was not only disingenuous but also misleading.

    By saying that he had to stay within the law he revealed his lack of courage or desire to stand up to dirty industries. This is the safe refuge for anyone not willing to stick her head out and go against the administration's wishes. Laws were used to relocate native Americans and to take their land away, laws were used to maintain slavery and to lock up Japanese-Americans, GW even had his top legal counsel come up with a legal justification for the use of torture and exemption from the Geneva Conventions.

    Smart and articulate incompetents are the thing to be most fear in government and in business.

  • JD Davidson posted at 7:29 am on Wed, Feb 19, 2014.

    jddavidson Posts: 1

    What an alarming, potentially devastating day for New Mexico! Shame on the 30 senators who betrayed the trust of New Mexico's citizens and the care of its precious resources in favor of corporate profits.

  • Mike Palaima posted at 6:58 am on Wed, Feb 19, 2014.

    pressman Posts: 34

    Certainly never again wish to hear the loyal opposition, with any expected veracity on their parts, tell me or others, that someone should not be appointed to something for undue influence. This guy, the proverbial fox in the henhouse, still has feathers clinging to his lips, and the smarmy, in the bag pols of the state of NM, coulda been anywhere USA though, ooze up to their feet and vote this guy in? How many jobs were created last year in NM? Think we were close to dead last percentage wise, how much revenue was taken in, or allocated by the state for needed development in NM owned soft businesses, green businesses, infrastructure repair, education? How much money was exported from the state to corporations who could care one whit for New Mexicans, or the ground they live on, as long as the minerals and gas and oil, keep coming? Flynn is the latter's surrogate, make no mistake about that. Kudos to those who voted no. Flynn is the enemy. Some see that.

  • Pat Shackleford posted at 2:26 am on Wed, Feb 19, 2014.

    Pat Shackleford Posts: 569

    Greasy weasel pulls the wool, yanks the cranks for extractive industries.
    Thank you Nancy Rodriguez and Peter Wirth for voting NO. I don't see Brian Egolf's name in the list of NO votes. How did he vote? Would be good for the SFNM, as the"paper of record", to at least link to complete vote records please.

  • Pat Shackleford posted at 2:02 am on Wed, Feb 19, 2014.

    Pat Shackleford Posts: 569

    "Flip-Flop Flynn" is quite the slippery one. Smooth talking con-man routinely convinces the "folks" that's he's on their side, while achieving the free-polluting goals of the mining industries. He was like a deer in the headlights though, when Gwyneth Doland (correspondent for NMPBS) questioned him on the TV program "New Mexico In Focus" on KNME. Watch the segment on YouTube, linked below.



Key issues facing lawmakers


Backdrop: New Mexico gained only 1,700 jobs during the past year ending in November. That's a growth rate of 0.2 percent and the lowest in the region. New Mexcio's unemployment rate was 6.4 percent in November compared with 6.7 percent a year earlier.

Proposals: Gov. Susana Martinez proposed expanding programs that can help bring nurses, dentists and other medical providers to rural areas. She also wants to provide $7.5 million for an endowment fund to attract top porfessors and researchers at colleges and universities. The governor recommends broadening tax incentivies to encourage startup companies as well as research and development. Democrats are pushing to increase the stat's minimum wage, which has been $7.50 an hour since 2009. Some lawmakers want automatic cost-of-living increases in the wage rate.


Backdrop: The current state budget is $5.9 billion, and revenues are expected to reach nearly $6.2 billion in the fiscal year starting in July. That provides about $239 million in "new money" for lawmakers and the governor for budget increases and to offset tax cuts. The state has cash reserves of more than $500 million, but that could shrink because of accounting discrepancies stretching back more than six years.

Proposals: Martinez has recommended a 3 percent budget increase compared with about 4 percent proposed by the Legislative Finance Committee. Martinez proposes targeted increases for hard-to-fill jobs such as state police. But the legislative panel advocates across-the-board raises for all state agency workers and educators, with higher amounts for those in certain jobs, including judges, state police and social workers.


Backdrop: About $600 million in bond financing is available for capital improvement projects. Some of that goes for specific purposes, including public schools and projects on tribal lands. However, much of the financing will be divvied up for new projects. 

Proposals: Martinez proposes earmarking about $112 million in bond proceeds for water projects across the state. The governor also recommends creatinga  new fund that can provide emergency assistance to communities with drinking water problems. The Legislative Finance Committee has recommended $10 million in bond financing for highway maintenance and $6 million for a road to the state's spaceport.


Backdrop: Public schools, colleges and universities get nearly $3 out of every $5 in the operating budget. The high school graduation rate was 70 percent in the last school year, and nearly half of graduates enrolling in state colleges in 2011 and 2012 required remedial courses.

Proposals: Martinez will renew a proposal to require schools to hold back third-graders who can't read proficiently. Some Democrats and a coalition of social advocacy groups want to earmark part of the yearly payout from a state permanent fund to provide more money for early-childhood education. Lawmakers also will consider ways to shore up a lottery-financed college scholarship program. Some proposals would change the program to make the aid need-based and provide a flat dollar amount for scholarships. 

The Associated Press

Session dates - 2014

• December 16, 2013 - January 17 Legislation may be prefiled

• January 21 Opening day (noon)

• February 5 Deadline for introduction

• February 20 Session ends (noon)

• March 12 Legislation not acted upon by governor is pocket vetoed

• May 21 Effective date of legislation not a general appropriation bill or a bill carrying an emergency clause or other specified date

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