Wednesday, July 29, 2009

NM Legislative Land Grant Committee to Hold Public Meeting in Taos July 30-31

The legislative interim Land Grant Committee will meet in the Rio Grande Hall of the Taos Convention Center on July 30th and then tour the Cristobal de la Serna Land Grant on July 31st, according to a statement released by the NM House. The public is encouraged to attend.

“This is the first of our annual round of taking the Committee to the ‘home ground’ of our land grant communities for our interim meetings. During this meeting we will get a first-hand view of the issues our community land grants are facing in the region surrounding Taos. I am particularly looking forward to our tour of the Cristobal de la Serna Land Grant," said Representative Miguel P. Garcia (D-Bernalillo-14), Chair of the Committee.

"We will also be taking a look at how some of the legislation we passed during the last legislative session is being implemented and how that implementation is filtering down to the local community land grants. Some of that legislation dealt with tort liability coverage for community land grants as governmental entities, and also with tailoring the financial reporting required for governmental entities to smaller entities like community land grants," said Senator Richard C. Martinez (D-Los Alamos, Rio Arriba & Santa Fe-5), Vice-Chair of the Committee.

On Thursday, July 30th, the Committee will convene at 10:00 AM and will first hear from Darren Cordova, Mayor of Taos, Daniel R. Barone, Chair of the Taos County Commission and Representative Roberto "Bobby" J. Gonzales (D-Taos-42) or their representatives. At 10:30 AM, Joe Romero, President of the Cristobal de la Serna Land Grant will them provide the Committee with a history of that land grant and update them on the land grant’s current issues. At 11:15 AM the Committee will be briefed by Joanna Prukop, Secretary of Energy Minerals and Natural Resources on the Senate Bill 32 which provides tax credits for land conservation incentives and how the legislation can be applied to benefit community and grants.

After breaking for lunch, the Committee will reconvene at 1:30 PM when Al Duran, General Counsel of the General Services Department’s Risk Management Division (RMD), and Paula Ganz, RMD Staff Attorney, will address Senate Bill 59, which provides for land grant tort liability coverage under the state’s Tort Claims Act. At 2:30 PM, Evan Blackstone, General Counsel for the Office of the State Auditor, will brief the Committee on how the tiered financial reporting system provided for by Senate Bill 336 will be implemented.

At 3:15 PM, the Committee has invited the Rio Costilla Cooperative Livestock Association to report on its current operations and programs. At 4:00 PM the Committee will be briefed on the Arroyo Hondo Land Grant’s history and the current issues it faces. At 4:45 PM, the Committee will conclude its business for the day with a presentation by Juan Sanchez, President of the Chilili Land Grant on the status of the nominating process for creating a land grant council.

On Friday, July 31st beginning at 9:00 AM, the Committee will be taken on a tour of the Cristobal de la Serna Land Grant and the Arroyo Honda Land Grant and their facilities by officials and representatives of the two community land grants. The gathering place for the tour will be determined during the meeting of the preceding day.

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