|Winter 1998-99 Bulletin|
|1999 at the New Mexico Legislature|
|Amigos Bravos will be working the 1999 60-day session of the New Mexico legislature, beginning January 19, to establish the New Mexico Rivers Information System (NMRIS) and track a range of other river-related initiatives. Board members Ross Ulibarrí and Michael Coca have generously volunteered their time to work as part-time lobbyists, and we are looking for other volunteers with experience or interest in the legislative process to fill gaps in the schedule.
AmigosBravos has worked on the NMRIS for several years, gaining the support of a broad range of water and river interests and establishing a credible presence in the legislature. Over the last year, with the help of the New Mexico Environment Department and the New Mexico Natural Heritage Program at UNM, we have refined the project into a very solid proposal that we feel it is ready to fly during the upcoming session. The interim Committee on Water and Natural Resources endorsed the proposal in November.
Legislation co-sponsored by Senator Carlos Cisneros and five others requests a $150,000 appropriation to the Environment Department to initiate the NMRIS. Most of that money will be used to contract UNM's Natural Heritage Program to do the grunt work of refining the database platform and compiling existing river-related data from government agencies into a single electronic repository. As well as compiling all this information into one place (it now takes visiting at least a half-dozen different government offices to gather the same range of information), the NMRIS is also valuable as a way to foster a more holistic view of rivers as single, integrated entities rather than as a bunch of disconnected "resources." The general public, irrigators, water-planning groups, recreationists, tourists, watershed and environmental groups, and government agencies will all have easy access to this information, complete with optional layers of GIS (Geographic Information System) graphics, via the Internet.
Other legislative issues expected to come up this session:
Along with supporting the initiatives that will benefit our rivers and communities, an unfortunate reality of working the legislature is all the time that we will spend keeping vigil and fighting off the bad bills.
Please contact the Amigos Bravos office if you are willing and able to help us work the legislature, if you have legislative concerns we should know about, or if you'd like updates or details on any legislative issues.
|Please return to Winter Bulletin 1998-99 Index.|