The Secret of Medicaid Glitch

The Word is trying out awful children's book titles this morning. Last week, we learned that a problem with a new software system meant New Mexico children were getting kicked off Medicaid rolls instead of getting health care. This week, we learned that the Martinez administration has known about it since the beginning of December. Two agencies updated the number of kids affected from 15 to near 60, though it hasn't identified all of them yet.

Disbarred

The Supreme Court has disbarred former Santa Fe City Councilor Matthew Ortiz. Disciplinary investigators say he converted money from a trust account meant for clients and instead used it himself. Ortiz, who's been working a state job for almost four years, says he chose not to contest the charges and tells SFR he's a "favorite target" of the state's disciplinary board.

We don’t plan to fail …

State Rep. Nate Gentry's bill to require a post-graduation plan for high school students passed another committee yesterday. The Albuquerque Republican says requiring a college application, trade school admission, entering the military or other such plan would boost the success of graduates beyond high school and also make graduating more relevant. The bill has attracted national attention.

Schooled

After the $6.3 billion budget bill passed the House, Artesia state Rep. Jim Townsend begged his fellow lawmakers to inject another $41 million into the bill to replenish the cash reserves of school districts across the state. The accounts were cleaned out last year as the governor and legislators desperately scratched around for cash to stuff into a gaping budget hole. The House Appropriations and Finance Committee killed the bill, but then tabled it as Rep. Patty Lundstrom said she'd think about it … which means there might somehow be a chance to tack it onto the budget bill further down the road.

How?

A combination of indifferent behavior seems to be behind the death of Jeremiah Valencia, as the justice system ($) failed to treat primary suspect Thomas Ferguson seriously enough to keep him in prison as a series of violent assaults on women and animals added up. Family friends say they didn't act on signs of abuse. There are a couple of bills in the Legislature that might address some issues at play, including urging caseworkers to be trained on the link between animal abuse and violent behavior towards people, and another that would expand the age limit of Brianna's Law, which requires a life sentence for some child abuse cases, from victims under 13 to victims under 18 years old.

If you have cash, that’d be great

Two workers at the MVD office in Fort Sumner City Hall have been charged with embezzlement after police say they voided transactions that were paid for in cash. Alisha Segura and Tianna Gallegos had apparently been at it for more than a year, pocketing cash that added up to $40,000. So not only did customers have to go through the whole MVD thing, but the transactions weren't real.

The end isn’t pretty

Gov. Bill Richardson saw his approval ratings slide at the end of his two terms as governor. Susana Martinez used that unpopularity as a battering ram as she swept into the state's highest office. Now, Martinez is on the ugly end of that equation. A recent poll ($) ranks her disapproval at 57 percent, making her the fifth most unpopular governor in the country.

He saw it

Does anyone else have difficulty remembering what happens if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow? Is it winter or spring? Well, he saw it and it's six more weeks of winter. Which, this winter in New Mexico, means literally nothing. It's like the State of the Union. You have no idea what's going to stick, what's going to be forgotten, what any of it means. Like freshman-year philosophy. It'll be warm for the foreseeable future, with a little wind.

Thanks for reading! The Word is going to celebrate six more weeks of winter with a bike ride. 

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