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(Continued from Page 1) “I’m really excited about it,” Florez said. “I want to thank everyone for all the help we have had. We’re doing a lot right now and if we hadn’t had the help we wouldn’t be as close to meeting our goal.” She also thanked her mother, Sonya Florez, who has baked “about a million” brownies, held raffles and baked cookies and cinnamon rolls. “We have had so much support,” Sonya Florez said. “It doesn’t surprise me because Artesia is that way.” She said she hopes her daughter comes home with “a greater appreciation for home and for mom and dad” and a love for travel. Gail Brown said she and her daughter have held raffles for a set of golf clubs and a rifle, and sold Valentine’s Day baskets to raise money for the trip. She said the fund-raising in itself has been a good learning experience for the girls. The girls are still short of reaching the $6,000 goal. They are offering to paint address numbers on the front and back of homes and businesses to help raise the remainder of the money. Anyone who would like to have the girls paint numbers, or who would like to donate to their trip funds, may call 3083741.
Richardson plans for special ethics session
ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Lawmakers could be called back for a special session later this year to deal with ethics reform, Gov. Bill Richardson said Saturday. Richardson said he will reconvene a bipartisan ethics task force to recommend ethics legislation and a timeline for a possible special session. “We are not going to sit on our hands because a handful of state senators, including most Republicans, refuse to reform our ethics laws,” Richardson said. “The people of New Mexico expect more from their elected leaders.” Two ethics measures won approval during the 60-day session that ended March 17 and are pending the governor’s signature. One will limit gifts to elected state officials. The other will tighten the Governmental Conduct Act, including to require state officers and state employees — but not legislators — to disclose any employment they have outside of their governmental jobs. Richardson called lawmakers back for a special session that ended Friday to consider a proposal to create an ethics commission to investigate complaints against state officials, state employees, judges, government contractors and lobbyists and to recommend disciplinary action. But that and another measure to limit campaign contributions to candidates for statewide and judicial offices to federal levels failed. The proposals were part of
are not going to sit on our hands because a handful of state senators, including most Republicans, refuse to reform our ethics laws,” Richardson said. “The people of New Mexico expect more from their elected leaders.”
“We a package of ethics revisions recommended by the task force appointed by Richardson in the wake of a kickback scandal involving two state treasurers. Thursday’s indictments of four people — including former Senate President Pro Tem Manny Aragon — involving kickbacks in the construction of the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Courthouse, add to the urgency in addressing ethics reform, said Richardson spokesman Gilbert Gallegos. “I want tough ethics proposals that will shed more light on government spending with the goal of preventing illegal kickback schemes like the ones outlined in the courthouse scandal,” Richardson
said. Senate Republican Whip Leonard Lee Rawson of Las Cruces said Saturday that he doesn’t believe the idea of the special session will be well received by lawmakers. Ethics legislation would only trap people who are trying to be honest, and the laws can be abused, he said. “Just because you have an ethics commission or ethics laws, doesn’t make someone ethical,” Rawson said. “Just because you walk in the garage, doesn’t make you a car. Ethics legislation only
treats the symptoms, it doesn’t treat the cause.” The bottom line, Rawson said, is that if voters elect ethical people, “then you don’t have to worry about ethics legislation.” Richardson said he once again will ask Suellyn Scarnecchia, dean of the University of New Mexico Law School, and former Gov. Garrey Carruthers, the dean of New Mexico State University’s College of Business Administration and Economics, to co-chair the task force.
Gonzales urged to resign as AG
WASHINGTON (AP) — A Republican congressman on Saturday urged Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to resign, citing what he said were Gonzales’ contradictory statements about his role in the firing of eight federal prosecutors. “I trusted him before, but I can’t now,” said five-term Rep. Lee Terry, whose district includes metropolitan Omaha. Gonzales’ credibility took a blow this past week during testimony by his former chief of staff, Kyle Sampson, before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Sampson, who resigned March 12, said the attorney general was regularly briefed about plans to fire the prosecutors and was involved with discussions about “this process of asking certain U.S. attorneys to resign.” Lawmakers impatient to hear Gonzales’ side of the story said the embattled attorney general needed to explain himself quickly or risk more damage to his department. Gonzales is to testify on Capitol Hill on April 17. “My views were that this was Democrat posturing and a witch hunt,” Terry said. “My trust in him in that position has taken a hit because of these contradictory statements by him.” Terry’s change of heart came on the first day of a two-week break for House members and Republicans hoped to avoud spending much of that time on the defensive about Gonzales.
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