What's ahead? Health care, ethics and budget top list

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By Carol A. Clark

Citizens curious about the topics of this year’s 30-day legislative session, which begins Tuesday, filled Fuller Lodge Thursday evening for the annual legislative preview co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters and the American Association of University Women.“This is a budget session,” said Rep. Jeannette Wallace, R-Los Alamos, Sandoval and Santa Fe, who sits on both the Appropriations & Finance Committee and the Capital Outlay Committee. “You can only do budget items and what the governor puts on the agenda.”When you’re talking about a $6-billion budget, working to divvy up $364 million for all the demands out there is not that much to work with, she said.Sen. Carlos Cisneros, D-Los Alamos, Rio Arriba, Santa Fe and Taos is vice chair of the Finance Committee. “Our economy is starting to slow down,” Cisneros said. “A year ago, we had $500 million in new dollars. This year, we’re going in with about $365 million and as we go into the session, we recognize the demand for funding is going to exceed our abilities.”Highway maintenance is an issue Cisneros and Wallace expect the governor to push. Reduction in taxes is something Cisneros suggests will be considered as will ethics and campaign reform.The major topic of discussion at Thursday’s event was health care.

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