Still a mystery

An FBI investigation of the the death of a US Border Patrol agent last year says there's no evidence of a "scuffle, altercation or attack" on Rogelio Martinez. Field agents conducted more than 600 interviews in New Mexico and Texas. The incident was used by President Trump as evidence that the US needed a border wall. The Border Patrol union said it was an ambush. Dispatchers that night reported that Martinez's partner thought they ran into a culvert. Forensic analysis on a pair of suspects from Portales showed they weren't connected to Martinez' death.

Lottery bill held up

A measure at the Capitol to do away with a requirement that 30 percent of the state lottery's proceeds go toward scholarships ran aground ($) in a House committee yesterday. Supporters say it would spur marketing for new games and eventually lead to larger distributions to the college scholarship funds. Detractors say it strayed too far from the program's original intent of providing a path to college for many New Mexico students.

Late lawmaker PAC endorses SF city candidates 

A political action committee funded by campaign contributions to late Santa Fe Rep. Lucky Varela endorsed Ron Trujillo ($) in a newspaper ad over the weekend. Jeff Varela said he doesn't expect to make additional expenditures from the newly formed PAC, but Lucky Varela's legislative fund from 2014 had nearly $46,000 on hand as of April 2017.

Journal takes heat for cartoon

An editorial cartoon equating MS-13 gang members with Dreamers and calling them future Democrats and printed on the editorial pages of the Albuquerque Journal has been condemned by both the state's US Senators and others for being racist and bigoted. Sen. Martin Heinrich called it "a new low" for the state's paper of record and Sen. Tom Udall called on the paper to apologize. Editor Karen Moses said last night, "Our editorial pages offer views from all sides of the spectrum, and we realize some of the content will offend readers. … In hindsight, instead of generating debate, this cartoon only inflamed emotions."

 Familiar failure looms for early childhood education amendment

After narrowly passing the House, a proposal to take a bigger cut of the state's Land Grant Permanent Fund has to wind its way through Senate committees, including the place where it's usually died with or without a hearing. The Senate Finance Committee has long been populated with lawmakers who say the state is at the limit of what it can pull from the fund annually without endangering payouts for future generations.

Slippery slope

Some lawmakers want to study whether the state should let police hide body camera video of people who have mental or physical health issues, claiming they're concerned about the privacy of those citizens. Others warn that could shield controversial contact with people such as Albuquerque's James Boyd or suspects or bystanders who are shot or otherwise subjected to force by police—the gunshot as a "physical health care" issue—and deeming police as health care providers is an end run around public oversight.

Cattle battle

National Public Radio has a story that's a good read (or a good listen) about a court battle over grazing rights on public land. If that sounds a little like Cliven Bundy in Nevada, it is, with the notable exception that no one here has gone to guns over the issue. While ranchers no longer own much of the land their family cattle graze on, they claim the feds have unfairly fenced off creeks and cut the herd from water.

What have we here?

It's a little cold front, friends. The wintery arrival is expected to sweep into New Mexico Saturday night into Sunday and deposit a bit of snow as far south as Albuquerque. No guarantees, of course, but temps are expected to top out in the 30s in Santa Fe on Sunday.

Thanks for reading! The Word needs to switch coffee beans. Currently pouring organic Black Lightning. Any tips? Thanks for the breakfast sammo recommendations, by the way!

CORRECTION: The Santa Fe bond issues approved by voters and mentioned yesterday won't raise your property taxes. The Word misread a primer on them.

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