War of Words surrounding key issues at Legislature

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SANTA FE (KRQE) – Call it a ‘War of Words’, Democrats and Republicans in the Roundhouse using starkly different phrases to describe the same controversial issues.

Every year, catchy words are tossed around Santa Fe when it comes to certain topics. This go-around is a banner year.

To start, there’s the bill to hold third graders back who don’t read well enough. It’s sponsored by Rep. Monica Youngblood, a Republican out of Albuquerque, and passed the House with a 38-30 vote Wednesday night.

Republicans call it an end to ‘social promotion,’ but Democrats won’t utter those words, they call it ‘mandatory flunking.’

“It is removing any sort of parental involvement or any sort of voice as well as teacher voice and teacher involvement,” Rep. Stephanie Maez, a Democratic from Albuquerque said.

“The Democratic spin machine is in overdrive and it’s unfortunate they are trying to muddy the waters on legislation that a vast majority of New Mexicans support,” Rep. Nate Gentry, a Republican from Albuquerque, said.

How about the bill to let workers opt out of unions?

It’s called ‘right to work’ for the Republicans. The Democrats refer to it as ‘anti-worker legislation.’

“It’s not a right to work,” Rep. Christine Trujillo said. “This whole bill does not provide work, no work,” the Albuquerque Democrat continued. “And I don’t care what they come up with, it’s all bologna.”

Finally, ‘illegal immigrants’ and ‘undocumented workers.’

A pair of bills seek to undo the law that allows them to get drivers licenses.

“New Mexico has become a hub for criminal activity because of this failed policy and we’re hoping to repeal it,” Gentry said.

“In terms of this particular debate, I think the term undocumented is more accurate as well as less offensive,” Rep. Javier Martinez countered. “Let’s face it, the term ‘illegal’ is offensive to a lot of people.”

Politicians know the phrases they use can help sway New Mexicans. Voters KRQE News 13 spoke with know it, too.

“I think that if you hear a certain phrase, you are going to bring your slant to it,” Wren Stroud of Carlsbad said.

“I hope people make their decisions much more well informed than just a bunch or words that politicians use to sell their point of view,” Santa Fean Kay Kenton said.

Republicans are optimistic this is the year they can pass some of these bills. The governor stands behind all of them, too.

The Senate, however, is still controlled by the Democrats.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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