Gem Fire Air
NM Legislature Deals Two ‘Green Chiles’ to SJR5!
February 25, 2007
Note: This is the fourth article covering SJR5 in the New Mexico Legislature. Links to the first three are at the end of this article.
Today, Sunday February 25 2007, the New Mexico Senate Public Affairs Committee, after hearing an hour of public testimony advocating an open discussion on the floor of the U.S. Congress as to the possible impeachment of President George W. Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney, voted a “Do-Pass” on SJR5 by a vote of 3-2.
This comes on the heels of The Senate Rules Committee also passing SJR5 on February 16th.
On both days, more than 150 citizens filled the committee chambers, overflowing an additional 60 and more into the halls outside.
They came from Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos, Embudo, Las Vegas, and Pax Christie. Speakers consisted of a former state representative, trial lawyers, a former CIA agent, a poet laureate, teachers, sociologists, a representative from Vets For Peace, and they ranged in age from the teens to seniors.
Some spoke of the logistics, the rule of law concerning the impeachment process.
Others spoke of the direct personal impact:
> a mother suffering the loss of her young adult son who has expatriated to survive his experience of the Bush Administration’s form of domestic tyranny.
> a young teenager saying that she had just read Orwell’s “1984” and that she feels as if she is living inside that science fiction novel.
> a man who spoke to the bottom line pointed out that SJR5 is not asking the senators to impeach GW and DC, but that to vote 'yes' was actually a vote for the democratic process to go forward and to force a public discussion in the U.S. Congress.
> several who said that to vote 'no' would be equal to censoring the freedom of a public discussion.
> a grandfather who wanted to fulfill his duty to his new granddaughter and leave the status of democracy in this country in a better place than it presently is.
Many spoke of the fact that George Bush and Dick Cheney have made mincemeat of the Constitution, and who like bill sponsors Ortiz y Pino and Grubesic, voiced the importance for the people of New Mexico to send the message to the U.S. Congress, and especially to future administrations that they cannot act with impunity. Ortiz y Pino also stressed that we should not allow the national Democrats in Congress to table this matter, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has stated.
Today’s hearing for SJR5 was a close call, and kudos to Senator Dede Feldman, Chair of Public Affairs for successfully bringing SJR5 to the final 3-2 victory while handling an attempt by the Republicans in committee to kill the bill.
Just for the record:
> Mary Jane Garcia (D) vice-chair was absent for the entire session.
> Steve Komadina (R) was also absent the entire session.
> present for the vote was chair, Dede Feldman, sponsor Ortiz y Pino, and Dave Ulibarri—all Dems, and Republicans Stuart Ingle and Steven Neville.
> in and out of the session, but not present for the vote were, Mary Kay Papen, (D) reported to be undecided, and Gay Kernan (R). Either Papen or Kernan voting ‘no’ would have killed SJR5.
> noted to be visiting the session was Senate Majority Leader, Michael Sanchez who sat in Mary Kay Papen’s chair, which she vacated about halfway through the testimony. Papen did not return until after the vote was taken.
Most importantly in both committee hearings, of the hundreds of people present, when the Chairperson called for anyone who wished to speak against SJR5, NO ONE came forth.
It is apparent that some senators have no true idea of what is an impeachable offense, they really don’t mind what George Bush and Dick Cheney are doing to the fabric of this country, and/or that they are in agreement with the tyrannical, non-democratic, and unconstitutional methods employed by these two present heads of state.
To use a procedural method as did Senator Stuart Ingle (R) to blatantly attempt to kill this bill after the overwhelming demonstration by the people to pass it, reveals the lowest form of integrity to an elected office. He either did not listen or he did not care what the people said.
In regards to this matter, one thing is very apparent. The people who do support SJR5 are not giving up. They see the unfairness of the fact that this bill has been assigned to three Senate Committees. Two at the most would have proven sufficient airing.
We have yet to get through the third senate committee, and wait to find out when that will be scheduled by the Judicial Committee. In some ways this could be the proof of the intent of Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez who also sits on the Judicial Committee and who is responsible for assigning the three-senate hearings. It is very significant that he sat in on today’s Public Affairs hearing of SJR5, and left after the vote was taken.
Here are the members of the Judicial Committee: Calls and letters are urgently suggested.
JUDICIARY: Monday, Wednesday & Friday - 2:30 p.m. (Room 321)
* Indicates this senator has already signed SJR5
> *Cisco McSorley-Chair (D) (505-986-4485)
> Richard C. Martinez-Vice Chair (D) (505-986-4389)
> *John T.L. Grubesic (D) (505-986-4260)
> *Linda M. Lopez (D) (505-986-4737)
> Lidio G. Rainaldi (D) (505-986-4310)
> Michael S. Sanchez (D) Senate majority Leader (505-986-4727)
> William H. Payne (R)/Ranking Member (505-986-4276)
> Rod Adair (R) (505-986-4385)
> Kent L. Cravens (R) (505-986-4391)
> Clinton D. Harden (R) (505-4369)
If the Judicial Committee passes SJR5, then it goes to the floor of the Senate where there are 24 seated Democrats and where a majority vote is needed to pass SJR5 on to the House for additional committee assignments.
It appears to me that if it gets to the House, mass communiqués of letters and calls to the offices of House Speaker Ben Luhan (D) are needed to strongly encourage him to not assign SJR5 to three more committee hearings. One hearing will be sufficient. Any more is truly a hardship on the people of New Mexico who have faithfully come out to support SJR5 despite this year’s record-breaking winter weather.
If the Democrats in the Senate have not made it clear to their House partners that the people of New Mexico have spoken and shown up in overwhelming support of SJR5, then the House will just have to be inundated by the masses in irresistible numbers. Santa Feans will need to send the clear and unmistakable message to our representative Ben Luhan that we expect him to represent the people’s wishes in this matter.
Viva la SJR5!
We continue to thank the sponsors Ortiz y Pino and Grubesic, and all the Democratic senators who have signed on SJR5. We look forward to the Senate passing this by an overwhelming majority to the House and positively anticipate the House passing it as well.
Still in the Land of Enchantment!
Labels: Dick Cheney, George Bush, Impeachment Resolution, New Mexico Senate Public Affairs, New Mexico Senate Rules, Senator Ortiz y Pino, SJR5