Nambé mourns teen
Jeremiah Valencia likely died back in November. How his absence from the world around him at age 13 wasn't noticed sooner or pursued with more diligence remains an incomplete story. Last night, community members held a vigil to support his extended family. Prosecutors want his mother, her boyfriend and his son to be in jail until trial, calling them a danger to the community. Law enforcement says the boyfriend, Thomas Ferguson, killed the boy after months of vicious abuse.
House passes budget
In an overwhelming vote, the House of Representatives passed a budget for next year. The $6.3 billion measure gives 2 percent raises to state employees, who haven't had a pay bump since 2014. State cops, prison guards and courts employees would get a bit more. The bill boosts total spending by 4 percent while restoring state reserves. Only three lawmakers voted against it, and one of them said it doesn't do enough to replenish money taken from school districts to balance the budget the past two years. It's on to the Senate.
We want results!
Probably more than a few of us assumed election night in Santa Fe would be a dramatic affair, as round after round of ranked-choice voting eliminated candidates until there was a winner. Maybe it sounded a little dystopian and Hunger Games-ey; that there'd be drama. There will not. At least, not any more than normal. Last night the City Council took only a few minutes of casual debate to determine how results would be released after voters picked a mayor and two new councilors using the system. We'll find out the winner first and go through how we got there a few minutes later.
Health care buy-in
A group of Democrats wants to study the possibility of opening the state's Medicaid system to citizens who want to buy in to the program as a way of gaining more affordable access to healthcare. Such a plan wouldn't likely get signed by Gov. Susana Martinez, so the Legislature is right now focusing on a study to see what the cost and benefits to the state would be if it opened the plan to more people.
Crime package passes hurdle
A bill centered on five criminal justice reforms passed a House committee yesterday with a bipartisan vote. The measure ($) would boost penalties for felons caught with a gun, but eliminate the possibility of jail for crimes like littering. It would also expand behavioral health programs in prison, offer longevity bonuses for veteran officers and tighten some ignition interlock rules for people convicted of DWI.
Molina sues state
After missing out on a five-year contract to participate in the state's Medicaid program, Molina Healthcare is suing New Mexico, alleging a consultant who helped evaluate proposals had a conflict of interest. That decision cost Molina hundreds of millions in premium revenues. It's asking the court to halt the decision while it explores Molina's claims.
$50 nuclear test detector
A makeshift balloon cobbled together for about 50 bucks at Sandia National Laboratories could help detect low frequency emissions from underground nuclear tests. When a few of the contraptions are in the air at the same time, their reusable sensors can triangulate the location of a test hundreds of miles away.
Thanks for reading! The Word wonders if they can make those balloons to triangulate the location of an REI scratch 'n' dent sale. We'd invest.
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