Where have we seen this before? After demanding that the Legislature repeal and replace the bail reform amendment that she endorsed and 87 percent of voters approved, Gov. Susana Martinez isn't sharing her ideas for what a new amendment might look like. Andrew Oxford over at the New Mexican reports this morning that Martinez refused an invitation to meet with the Legislature's criminal justice reform panel and discuss potential changes to the amendment. Her demand has little chance of succeeding, as both houses of the Legislature are controlled by Democrats and she'd need a two-thirds majority to repeal a constitutional amendment. Cynics are already saying it's an election-year ploy to paint Democrats as soft on crime.
What if you just ask nicely?
It's the kind of advice a loving mother would give—and has, in the Word's case. And, as usual, Mom has a point. Strapped for cash and coming off years of cuts to programs and jobs, the state auditor says New Mexico has failed to collect $65 million in taxes owed on health insurance premiums. A full $29 million of that is owed by Presbyterian Health Plan, the state's largest medical insurer. True, who doesn't want to give their health insurance company a break on filling out all those forms? The money could help some people, though.
The state Department of Health put the last-minute kibosh on a cannabis cooking dinner scheduled for this past weekend, citing concerns that the meal of THC-infused delicacies was being offered not at a state-regulated dispensary but at Santa Fe's Body health and wellness center. The dispensary that planned the dinner says the state is hammering the program with regulations that crimp innovation.
UNM still keen on tuition increase
The state's largest university continues to consider a plan to raise tuition for students next year. It's called differential tuition and the numbers being kicked around right now are $15 per credit hour for undergrads and $100 per credit hour for graduate students. The hike would boost the university's budget by about 7 percent. UNM is generally considered one of the more affordable public research universities around, but it's also in one of the nation's poorest states.
Somebody is going to have to pilot the ship at UNM—albeit under the watchful eye of seven regents who have the power to change course at will. The university interviewed the last of five presidential candidates yesterday, Dr. Kenneth Kaushansky. Regents could have a decision next week.
Down in Albuquerque, where the runoff for mayor has turned nasty on TV, at least one station is checking a political ad for facts. The commercial in question, from Dan Lewis, attributes a quote to Tim Keller that he never seems to have said. Early voting starts today.
Court deals blow to Bland
A state District Court judge says New Mexico's former investment officer, Gary Bland, was out of bounds when he didn't disclose personal and professional ties to a father-son team that had connections to the Richardson administration and also handled state investments. The State Investment Council has sued Bland, Anthony Correra, Marc Correra and former governor Bill Richardson. It's seeking to recover some of an estimated $100 million in losses.
Last week, the National Weather Service announced it anticipates a weak La Niña pattern to develop and hang around for the traditional winter months of December, January and February. While that's likely to mean warmer temperatures, it doesn't mean New Mexico will miss out on winter storms. SFR checked in with both the meteorologists who craft predictions and the ski industry that prays for storms.
Thanks for reading! The Word may have to get some of those fingerless gloves for morning typing. It's getting chilly, people.
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