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Lawmakers Consider Impeachment and More on 'Peace and Justice Day'

January 31, 2007

It's 'Peace and Justice Day' at the state legislature, but discussion may be far from peaceful as lawmakers consider an impeachment resolution for both President Bush and Vice President Cheney. Activists will also ask lawmakers to start testing returning soldiers for depleted uranium exposure and push for nuclear disarmament. Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino of Albuquerque is one of the sponsors.

"People say 'Well, they're going to be out of office in two years, why waste time?' No, the point is that we have to do this, otherwise, we're letting them get by. And we're sending the message to the next and future administrations."

Impeachment proceedings can be started upon the request of any state legislature, according to Ortiz y Pino. New Mexico would be the first state to do so. Opponents say legislators' time could be better spent on other issues. Activists will also be lobbying lawmakers to push for nuclear disarmament and create a New Mexico state Office of Peace.

Maria Santelli of the Albuquerque Peace and Justice Center says one piece of legislation would require the state to test soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan for depleted uranium exposure.

"They're in these contaminated war-zones and they're not getting the care they need when they come home, so we're asking the state of New Mexico to take action when the federal government will not."

Santelli adds that other legislation includes a call for the immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq and the dismantling of all nuclear weapons at Kirtland Air Force Base. The impeachment resolution is currently in the rules committee.

Eric Mack/Jamie Folsom, Public News Service - NM