Jamaica PM heads to New York for Memorial for Slave Trade Victims

first_img Share this:PrintTwitterFacebookLinkedInLike this:Like Loading… UN SG thanks CARICOM, African Union for leading Permanent Memorial InitiativeUnited Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon on Wednesday thank the Caribbean Community and African Union for their role in the initiation and creation of a permanent memorial to honor victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade. The Memorial which is called the Ark of Return  was unveiled Wednesday in a ceremony at…March 26, 2015In “CARICOM”Six UN Member States handover cheques for Slave Trade MemorialSix United Nations Members States have confirmed contributions to a Permanent Memorial to Honour the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade last Friday 26, September.  At a high-level ceremony, held  recently at United Nations Headquarters, representatives of the Netherlands, New Zealand, Qatar, Senegal and Spain handed over symbolic…September 29, 2014In “CARICOM”Jamaica UN Mission takes lead in developing slavery victims’ MemorialThe design and execution of a permanent memorial to honour  the victims of the transatlantic slave trade titled The Ark of Return was spear headed by Jamaica’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations. Since it was a CARICOM initiative, Jamaica has been at the lead on behalf of the Region with Jamaica’s Ambassador to…March 23, 2015In “CARICOM”Share this on WhatsApp Jamaica’s Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller is slated to join other world leaders and government officials at the United Nations (UN) in New York today for the unveiling of the permanent memorial to honour the victims of slavery and the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.center_img March 25 has been declared by the UN as International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.Full story:  Jamaica Gleanerlast_img read more

ArvinMeritor Names Christopher Kete Vice President and General Manager of Specialty Products Business Unit

first_imgLSI President Brett Tennar says, “Steve’s success in developing operational strategies that improves the bottom line, builds teamwork, reduces waste and ensures quality product development and distribution checks many of the boxes of what we were looking for in a COO. This, coupled with his career in the Air Force working with highly technical systems and his in-depth understanding of Lean Six Sigma and Business Process Management sealed our offer. As our tagline states, our products are Powered by Science. This data driven approach is one reason why our company has grown exponentially as we employ the most advanced technology to product development. I am confident that Steve is the right person to drive operational strategy for our diverse and growing brands.” Advertisement With more than 20 years of experience across multiple industries and functional areas, deMoulpied has particular expertise in organizations with complex technical products. Combined, his prior positions have required a spectrum of skills in corporate strategy, operations improvement, product quality, and revenue cycle management. He has an impressive history of utilizing data driven problem solving (Lean Six Sigma) and project management (PMP and CSM) to achieve strategic goals surrounding customer satisfaction, operational efficiency and improved profit.  DeMoulpied comes to LSI from the Private Client Services practice of Ernst & Young where he managed strategy & operations improvement engagements for privately held client businesses. Some of his prior roles include VP of strategic development, director of strategic initiatives, and Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt at OptumHealth, UnitedHealth Group’s health services business, as well as Lean Six Sigma Black Belt at General Electric, where he applied operations improvement principles to customer service, supply chain and product development. A successful entrepreneur, deMoulpied is also the founder of PrestoFresh, a Cleveland-based e-commerce food/grocery business.  TROY, Mich. — ArvinMeritor has appointed Christopher Kete, vice president and general manager, Specialty Products.AdvertisementClick Here to Read MoreAdvertisement In this position, Kete will be responsible for ArvinMeritor’s growing Specialty Products business unit, serving the military and defense, off-highway, bus and coach, as well as fire and emergency markets. Kete will drive ArvinMeritor’s ambitious growth plans, which focus on product development and expansion into new market and customer segments. “Chris’ leadership skills and extensive experience in the commercial vehicle and off-highway business uniquely qualify him to lead this strategic segment of our company,” said Carsten Reinhardt, senior vice president and president, Commercial Vehicle Systems, ArvinMeritor. Kete has held positions of increasing responsibility within the motor vehicle industry, and also in the U.S. Navy. Most recently, Kete served as general manager, Cummins Komatsu Engine Co. Before joining Cummins, he was a Lieutenant in the Submarine Warfare Division of the U.S. Navy. Kete holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, and a bachelor of science in chemical engineering from Cornell University.,Lubrication Specialties Inc. (LSI), manufacturer of Hot Shot’s Secret brand of performance additives and oils, recently announced the expansion of senior leadership. Steve deMoulpied joins LSI as the company’s chief operating officer (COO). AdvertisementClick Here to Read MoreAdvertisement DeMoulpied has a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Management from the United States Air Force Academy and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Dayton in Marketing and International Business. He served six years with the USAF overseeing the development of technology used on fighter aircraft and the E-3 Surveillance aircraft, finishing his career honorably as Captain.last_img read more

Automotive Distribution Network Names Wayne Schaack Director of Product-Line Development

first_imgWith more than 20 years of experience across multiple industries and functional areas, deMoulpied has particular expertise in organizations with complex technical products. Combined, his prior positions have required a spectrum of skills in corporate strategy, operations improvement, product quality, and revenue cycle management. He has an impressive history of utilizing data driven problem solving (Lean Six Sigma) and project management (PMP and CSM) to achieve strategic goals surrounding customer satisfaction, operational efficiency and improved profit.  GERMANTOWN, Tenn. – Wayne Schaack has been hired by the Automotive Distribution Network to fill the newly created position of director of product-line development, according to Mike Lambert, president of the Network. AdvertisementClick Here to Read MoreAdvertisement “Wayne’s expertise in product-line blending, direct importing, OE product and inventory management will provide the Network with a valuable skill set,” Lambert said. “His responsibilities will include visiting members and providing training on product sourcing and Network Intelligence, our new data-warehousing initiative.” Schaack brings more than 20 years of aftermarket experience to his new role, previously serving as Parts Plus program manager and, eventually, VP of purchasing and product development for Phoenix-based Tri-City Automotive, in addition to a decade spent on the Network’s product committee. “In this cutting-edge position for the Network, I will source new product opportunities and help bring them to our members firsthand and assist our WDs in establishing programs that bring real value,” Schaack said. “The Network’s members will not only benefit from these unique product opportunities, but I feel I can also help provide valuable insight into how to take them to market based on my years of working closely with our Parts Plus Car Care Centers directly in the field.”,Lubrication Specialties Inc. (LSI), manufacturer of Hot Shot’s Secret brand of performance additives and oils, recently announced the expansion of senior leadership. Steve deMoulpied joins LSI as the company’s chief operating officer (COO). AdvertisementClick Here to Read MoreAdvertisement LSI President Brett Tennar says, “Steve’s success in developing operational strategies that improves the bottom line, builds teamwork, reduces waste and ensures quality product development and distribution checks many of the boxes of what we were looking for in a COO. This, coupled with his career in the Air Force working with highly technical systems and his in-depth understanding of Lean Six Sigma and Business Process Management sealed our offer. As our tagline states, our products are Powered by Science. This data driven approach is one reason why our company has grown exponentially as we employ the most advanced technology to product development. I am confident that Steve is the right person to drive operational strategy for our diverse and growing brands.” Advertisement DeMoulpied has a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Management from the United States Air Force Academy and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Dayton in Marketing and International Business. He served six years with the USAF overseeing the development of technology used on fighter aircraft and the E-3 Surveillance aircraft, finishing his career honorably as Captain. DeMoulpied comes to LSI from the Private Client Services practice of Ernst & Young where he managed strategy & operations improvement engagements for privately held client businesses. Some of his prior roles include VP of strategic development, director of strategic initiatives, and Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt at OptumHealth, UnitedHealth Group’s health services business, as well as Lean Six Sigma Black Belt at General Electric, where he applied operations improvement principles to customer service, supply chain and product development. A successful entrepreneur, deMoulpied is also the founder of PrestoFresh, a Cleveland-based e-commerce food/grocery business. last_img read more

International Battery Announces CEO Transition Plans and Executive Appointments

first_imgDeMoulpied comes to LSI from the Private Client Services practice of Ernst & Young where he managed strategy & operations improvement engagements for privately held client businesses. Some of his prior roles include VP of strategic development, director of strategic initiatives, and Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt at OptumHealth, UnitedHealth Group’s health services business, as well as Lean Six Sigma Black Belt at General Electric, where he applied operations improvement principles to customer service, supply chain and product development. A successful entrepreneur, deMoulpied is also the founder of PrestoFresh, a Cleveland-based e-commerce food/grocery business.  DeMoulpied has a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Management from the United States Air Force Academy and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Dayton in Marketing and International Business. He served six years with the USAF overseeing the development of technology used on fighter aircraft and the E-3 Surveillance aircraft, finishing his career honorably as Captain. With more than 20 years of experience across multiple industries and functional areas, deMoulpied has particular expertise in organizations with complex technical products. Combined, his prior positions have required a spectrum of skills in corporate strategy, operations improvement, product quality, and revenue cycle management. He has an impressive history of utilizing data driven problem solving (Lean Six Sigma) and project management (PMP and CSM) to achieve strategic goals surrounding customer satisfaction, operational efficiency and improved profit.  ALLENTOWN, Pa. — International Battery Inc., a U.S. developer and manufacturer of large-format lithium-ion batteries for energy storage applications in stationary, transportation and military markets, has announced transition plans for its leadership team. AdvertisementClick Here to Read MoreAdvertisement Mark Mills, the company’s current chairman, will assume the positions of CEO and vice chairman, effective Sept. 1. Dr. Ake Almgren, the company’s current CEO and vice chair, will step down as CEO and become chairman and consultant to International Battery also effective Sept. 1. In addition to his board role, Dr. Almgren will assist in the CEO transition and continue for the balance of 2011 as a full-time consultant to the company, and during 2012 as an ongoing strategic consultant. Thomas Puza, formerly of Ener1, has joined International Battery as chief operating officer. In addition, Joseph Jacobs, president of Wexford Capital LP, will be joining the board.,Lubrication Specialties Inc. (LSI), manufacturer of Hot Shot’s Secret brand of performance additives and oils, recently announced the expansion of senior leadership. Steve deMoulpied joins LSI as the company’s chief operating officer (COO). AdvertisementClick Here to Read MoreAdvertisement LSI President Brett Tennar says, “Steve’s success in developing operational strategies that improves the bottom line, builds teamwork, reduces waste and ensures quality product development and distribution checks many of the boxes of what we were looking for in a COO. This, coupled with his career in the Air Force working with highly technical systems and his in-depth understanding of Lean Six Sigma and Business Process Management sealed our offer. As our tagline states, our products are Powered by Science. This data driven approach is one reason why our company has grown exponentially as we employ the most advanced technology to product development. I am confident that Steve is the right person to drive operational strategy for our diverse and growing brands.” Advertisementlast_img read more

Animal Wellness Forms National Veterinary Council

first_imgIn addition to policy and advocacy work, veterinarians with the Council will, to the extent practicable, help with hands-on and advocacy programs for the Animal Wellness Foundation, putting their professional training and public credibility to advance animal protection goals. Dr. Turner is a Colorado native and is a graduate of Colorado State University. She has 20 years of experience in the veterinary field and is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Oncology). She served as head of the oncology service at Fifth Avenue Veterinary Specialists, located in New York City. Currently, she is the senior oncologist and lead investigator of multiple clinical trials at Veterinary Cancer Group at the City of Angels Specialty Center in Los Angeles, CA. She supports a combination approach to cancer care, utilizing both eastern and western principles while working regularly with holistically trained doctors to meet the needs of her patients. Since graduating from University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine with honors, Dr. Cannon has devoted over 22 years toward animal care in his private practice and almost a decade toward animal protection. He works to raise public awareness about animal issues in myriad ways and in 2012 founded Take Your Blinders Off, Inc., a non-profit that owns and operates a truck equipped with two video screens that educates the public about a wide range of animal welfare issues. He’s been featured in two documentaries exposing animal abuse and is the recipient the Pollination Project Lisa Shapiro award.  AWF News: “Veterinarians have the training and practical experience not only to help animals, but also to guide political leaders, corporations, and average citizens to do better when it comes to individual and institutional treatment of animals,” said Dr. Annie Harvilicz, the founder of the Animal Wellness Foundation and a practicing veterinarian in Los Angeles. “Our veterinarians have the experience and ability to push forward our campaigns to combat factory farming, puppy mills, horse abuse, and so many other problems. They’ll also be on the frontlines in programs to help animals directly— both for regular care and in crisis circumstances.” Sarah LaMere, D.V.M., Ph.D – San Diego, CA She has authored the consumer guide to veterinary medicine “Vet Confidential: An Insider’s Guide to Protecting Your Pet’s Health” and has made television appearances including CNN American Morning, Anderson Cooper 360, and Good Morning America to help pet parents attain the information they need to be successful advocates for their animal companions. Randall Cannon, D.V.M. – Orlando, FL After graduating from Tufts Veterinary school in 1989, Dr. Hassinger completed an internship in small animal medicine and surgery. In 1997 she founded the Wolf Rock Animal Health Center, the first Integrative Veterinary Medicine practice in Rhode Island, providing lifelong health care, combining alternative therapies with conventional medicine, surgery and dentistry. She is trained in Acupuncture, Animal Chiropractic, Homeopathy, Chinese and Western herbal medicine, Flower Essence therapy and clinical nutrition.  Dr. Hassinger served as an elder in the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association, during which time she was among the first to lecture and write on the topic of veterinarian suicide and wellness education. She has an interest in the issues involved in management of wolves and wild horses in the American West.  Having earned her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine and her Ph.D. from The Scripps Research Institute, Dr. LaMere is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of California San Diego. Dr. LaMere’s current research focus is on HIV, and her interests are specifically aligned with the concept of the One Health Initiative, which seeks to form collaborations between veterinarians and the human health professions with the purpose of furthering our understanding of both animal and human health and disease. In addition to her research career, Dr. LaMere has done both international volunteer work and disaster response. Pernilla Edstrom, D.V.M., Ph.D – Los Angeles, CA The Animal Wellness Foundation (AWF) and Animal Wellness Action (AWA) have announced the formation of their National Veterinary Council, with members bringing collective medical and advocacy experience for companion animals, farm animals, horses and wildlife. A graduate of the Virginia Tech School of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Harvilicz is the Chief Medical Officer of the veterinary hospital Animal Wellness Centers in Los Angeles. She is the recipient of the Sherrie Clark Compassion and Caring Award and the Tobey Award for helping lost, abandoned, or homeless dogs and has served on the national leadership council of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association. Dr. Harvilicz founded the Animal Wellness Foundation to create a rescue organization that enables her veterinary practice to extend animal care more broadly into the community. Dr. Armaiti May, D.V.M. – Los Angeles, CA Annie Harvilicz, D.V.M. – Los Angeles, CA Dr. Edstrom brings 12 years of veterinary care experience as Medical Director of the Animal Wellness Centers animal hospital in Los Angeles. After receiving her veterinary doctorate at Western University of Health Sciences, she accepted an internship at Animal Surgical and Emergency Center (ASEC) in West Los Angeles. There, she was exposed to a multitude of specialties, such as Emergency and Critical Care, Surgery, Cardiology, Radiology, and Internal Medicine. As a practicing veterinarian, she treats and rehabilitates pets and rescue animals while actively supporting animal protection policies. Matt Holland, D.V.M. – Washington DC Dr. Jim Keen – D.V.M., Ph. D Hastings, Nebraska The members of the National Veterinary Council are described below. Graduating with his veterinary medicine degree and doctorate in epidemiology from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Keen has 30 years of experience in veterinary and biomedical research, with a specialty in livestock infectious disease issues, public health and more recently, industrial farm animal protection and advocacy. Dr. Keen spoke publicly about abusive treatment of animals at the USDA Meat Research Center in central Nebraska in 2015 gaining worldwide attention. These revelations were instrumental in driving reforms toward better livestock welfare, better science and more accountability in dozens of federal farm animal research laboratories. He is currently a visiting fellow in Harvard Law School’s Animal Law and Policy Program, focusing on laws and policies that can reduce the use of livestock, dogs, cats and primates in federally funded in-house research programs.  The volunteer members of the Council will extend the reach of the organization’s programs and priorities and more meaningfully place veterinarians at the forefront of the animal protection movement. A wide range of public attitude surveys reveal that veterinarians are the most trusted sources on matters of animal care and animal welfare policy. Dr. May obtained her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in June 2005, before spending 20 months working at a 24-hour emergency dog and cat hospital. She is certified in veterinary acupuncture and animal chiropractic and has graduated from the Pitcairn Institute of Veterinary Homeopathy and operates her own vegan-friendly integrative veterinary practice and non-profit, Veterinary Association for Protection of Animals, that encourages and educates on animal advocacy.  Avenelle Turner, DVM, Dip ACVIM – Marina Del Rey, CA Dr. Holland graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Veterinary Medicine and is currently an AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) Science & Technology Policy Fellow at the USDA National Institute of Food & Agriculture. Dr. Holland completed an AAAS/AVMA Congressional Fellowship in the office of Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos with his policy interests including One Health — issues that impact the intersection of human, animal, and environmental health (e.g. antimicrobial resistance, infectious disease, disaster preparedness & response, etc). Elizabeth Hassinger, DVM – Exeter, Rhode Island Louise Murray, D.V.M., DACVIM (SAIN) – Rye, New York Dr. Murray is a graduate of Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, completing her residency in veterinary internal medicine at the Animal Medical Center in NYC. She worked as Medical Director before becoming Vice President of ASPCA Animal Hospital in New York. Dr. Murray has been the recipient of multiple veterinary awards, including the American Association of Feline Practitioners Award for Outstanding Interest and Ability in Feline Medicine and Surgery. Currently, she is the Staff Internist at Katonah Bedford Veterinary Center. last_img read more

Luján: Year In Service To New Mexico’s CD3

first_imgU.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján From the Office of U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján:WASHINGTON, D.C. –  U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M), the U.S. House Assistance Speaker, secured $5.7 million in federal benefits for constituents in 2019 and assisted more than 1,000 individuals living in New Mexico’s Third Congressional District through the office’s casework services. This year, Congressman Luján introduced 27 bills and co-sponsored 375 bills to improve the lives of New Mexicans. Thirteen bills, amendments, or measures written by Luján were passed or included in legislation that passed the U.S. House of Representatives. This includes legislation to revitalize Native languages, protect federal lands near Chaco Canyon from oil and gas drilling, help combat the opioid crisis, improve broadband access, and expand health care to rural communities. As Luján worked to serve the communities in New Mexico’s Third Congressional District, he also announced that more than $11.9 million in federal grants were designated for the district, sent 117,202 letters to New Mexicans who contacted the office seeking information on policies and legislative priorities, and traveled 12,620 miles throughout the district to meet with constituents. In D.C., the Luján team helped give individuals from New Mexico’s Third Congressional District an inside view of Congress with more than 180 Capitol tours and by fulfilling 18 requests to have American flags flown over the Capitol, including one flag that went to Pojoaque Middle School to replace a damaged flag.“Families across New Mexico deserve progress on the critical issues affecting our communities – and that’s exactly what was accomplished this year. I was proud to work alongside my constituents to lower health care costs, protect our public lands and sacred sites, and invest in workers,” Luján said. “As we look to the new year, I will continue working on behalf of New Mexicans and fighting for policies that uplift working families.”In addition, the House of Representatives passed more than 400 pieces of legislation this year – including more than 245 bipartisan bills – that would lower health care costs, invest in workers, and invest in our nation’s infrastructure.last_img read more

AG Balderas Issues Guidance To Public Entities Regarding Open Meetings Act And Inspection Of Public Records Act Compliance During COVID-19 State Of Emergency

first_imgWhere possible, videoconference is the best alternative method of holding meetings; All members of the public entity participating remotely must identify themselves whenever they speak and must be clearly audible to the other members of the public entity and to the public;  To comply with IPRA, the Office of the Attorney General recommends that, first, agencies continue to satisfy IPRA’s deadlines and fulfill IPRA requests however possible in light of Department of Health’s recommendations and any order pursuant to the state of emergency. Of paramount importance, as is always the case, a public entity’s records custodian should communicate promptly with the requesting party, however now regarding the circumstances of production in the context of the state of emergency. Pursuant to public health guidelines during the state of emergency, public entities should suspend all in-person inspection of public records during the pendency of the state of emergency. Public entities should make every effort to comply with the mandates of IPRA by producing records electronically. If circumstances arise where records are not available electronically and cannot be produced in the timeframes mandated by IPRA, an agency may designate a request as excessively burdensome due to the state of emergency, and communicate to the requestor that the request will be fulfilled as required by IPRA when the state of emergency is lifted.In short, IPRA very much still applies and all deadlines should be satisfied to the fullest extent possible. Where the state of emergency hampers or otherwise prohibits an entity’s ability to respond, we reiterate that the entity nonetheless should communicate promptly with the requester to make alternative arrangements to allow for the inspection of records, in keeping with the spirit and intent of IPRA.The Office of the Attorney General continues to be available to any public entity that has questions or concerns about OMA and IPRA compliance, and will also continue to take OMA and IPRA complaints during the state of emergency. All votes of the public entity should be by roll call vote; and The chairperson or person leading the meeting should suspend discussion if the audio or video is interrupted; At the start of the meeting, the chairperson should announce the names of those members of the public entity participating remotely;center_img Attorney General Hector BalderasFrom the Office of the Attorney General:SANTA FE – Today, Attorney General Hector Balderas issued the following guidance to public entities across the State of New Mexico regarding their ongoing obligations to comply with the Open Meetings Act (OMA) and the Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA) during the state of emergency in New Mexico.“The health and safety of New Mexican families is the number one priority across our State, but government must remain transparent and accountable, especially during a state of emergency,” Balderas said. “All public entities should follow the guidance of public health officials and make any necessary adjustments to ensure compliance with our transparency laws during this time.”The Office of the Attorney General advises all public entities subject to OMA to first and foremost follow the guidance of the Department of Health and other health officials to ensure the health and safety of both members of the entity and the public. Accordingly, the most prudent thing to do to ensure compliance with OMA would be to postpone any non-essential public meeting during the pendency of the state of emergency. If, however, a public entity has an emergency or time-sensitive matter to attend to, it may proceed with a virtual meeting under the following guidelines: While provided by alternative means, the public must have some form of access to the meeting to substitute for the access it would during any normally scheduled public meeting subject to OMA; The public entity should produce and maintain a recording of the open session of the meeting. Notice of the meeting must still comply with the mandates of OMA, and it should contain detailed information about how members of the public may attend and listen via telephone, live streaming, or other similar technologies—this should include such detail as relevant phone numbers, web addresses, etc.;last_img read more

Traffic Alert: N.M. 502 Closed Between 4th & Arroyo May 2

first_imgTraffic Alert:Saturday, May 2, Century Link’s contractor Kelly Cable will install a Fiber Optics Manhole at 4th Street and Central Avenue. N.M. 502 will be closed 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. between 4th Street and Arroyo Lane. Eastbound traffic will be detoured to 4th Street to Canyon Road and back onto N.M. 502.  Westbound traffic will be detoured to Canyon Road, 4th Street, Central Avenue to Knecht Street and back onto N.M. 502. Detour signage will be in place.last_img

New Mexico Supreme Court Denies Petition To Allow Public Entrance Into Legislature For Special Session

first_imgChief Justice Judith NakamuraBy MICHAEL GERSTEINSFNMThe future has a way of being unimaginable.The framers of New Mexico’s 1911 constitution might never have predicted the general public and lobbyists would ever have to watch democracy in action from outside the state Capitol, as the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled today that they would in a 3-2 decision.Chief Justice Judith Nakamura described the ruling as a difficult one to make, but nonetheless concurred with Justices Barbara Vigil and Michael Vigil in denying a petition by several lawmakers to open the Roundhouse to the public for the special legislative session this week.The ruling means those who want to follow the session will be watching hearings from their computer screens — rather than in committee rooms and House and Senate galleries — due to ongoing public health concerns from the COVID-19 pandemic.While the court issued an order denying the petition, it has not yet released an opinion explaining the prevailing justices’ rationale.Nakamura said one would be coming. The issues presented in oral arguments Tuesday were “very important, and we do plan to write” about the decision, she said.Blair Dunn, a lawyer on behalf of 24 predominantly Republican lawmakers and the state’s former land commissioner, Libertarian Aubrey Dunn, who had filed the petition, had argued the framers of the state constitution intended for people to be physically present for legislative sessions.“Democracy dies in darkness,” Blair Dunn said in his opening remarks to the court, quoting the slogan of the Washington Post.Blair Dunn is Aubrey Dunn’s son and was a 2018 Libertarian candidate for attorney general.Starting Thursday, lawmakers gather at the Capitol will begin debating tough decisions on how to shore up an estimated $2 billion shortfall in projected revenues for the fiscal year 2021 budget, largely because of financial havoc wreaked by the pandemic. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham also has outlined five key proposals that might come up for a vote during the session, including efforts to streamline the November general election and financial assistance for small businesses affected by the pandemic-related shutdown.The Legislative Council announced earlier this month the building would be accessible only to members of the media, lawmakers and their staff.The general public and the state’s corps of lobbyists will not be allowed into the building to watch floor hearings from the chamber galleries, offer input during committee hearings — where legislation is debated and often amended before it moves to the House or Senate floor — or rub elbows with lawmakers, as has happened for years before COVID-19 arrived.Blair Dunn argued Tuesday the state constitution requires public access to the Roundhouse. “Meaningful participation” in a legislative session requires physical presence, he said — and making an appearance is an action that should be protected under the First Amendment.He also argued about the possible pitfalls of a technological solution to a closed Capitol.Underscoring those arguments, the courthouse lost its internet connection for nearly 10 minutes Tuesday, forcing the Supreme Court to pause oral arguments.When they came back online, justices questioned whether lawmakers would pause legislative proceedings this week if there are problems with video feed.Thomas Hnasko, an attorney for the Legislative Council, assured justices that lawmakers would do so.Hnasko argued streaming debate, committee hearings and votes online satisfies the constitutional requirement that the public be allowed to observe the New Mexico Legislature in action.They would “take that extremely seriously and stop the proceedings” if technical issues prevent online streaming,” he said. “I have the utmost faith in that.”At the discretion of House committee chairs, the public will be allowed to speak at hearings via a Zoom video conference. The Senate has decided, however, the public will only be allowed to email a committee, rather than take part in a video conference, Hnasko said.Meeting in person “could result in a catastrophe for our citizens from a public health standpoint,” he added.Hnasko said virtual proceedings balance the need to protect the public from “the acute public health problems brought by the pandemic” with the need to ensure the legislative session remains open and transparent.New Mexico Republican Party Chairman Steve Pearce denounced the justices’ decision in a statement.“It’s the people’s government,” Pearce said. “It’s a violation of what open government represents.”last_img read more

A good night, on the hole

first_imgWould you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletters To access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week.last_img