Oct. 21, 2016
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Morning Word: Special Session Needed to Fix Budget Deficit

July 21, 2016, 7:35 am
Special Session Needed to Fix Deficit
State Senate Finance Committee Chairman John Arthur Smith and State Treasurer Tim Eichenberg want Gov. Susana Martinez to call a special session to fix a $150 million budget shortfall. They want to look at new tax revenues and spending cuts at the start of the 2017 fiscal year.

New York Times: Trump Considered Vetting Martinez for VP
Gov. Susana Martinez was mentioned in a story about how Gov. Mike Pence got the nod for Trump's VP. Martinez repeatedly said she didn’t want the job. Apparently, she was eliminated before the final round.
“Before the list was drawn up, Trump also expressed interest in Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico, but after Martinez did not return repeated phone calls from Lewandowski, Trump said that he was done with her – and then bashed the governor on a campaign stop in Albuquerque in late May.”
Martinez’ staff denies the governor shunned Donald Trump's campaign manager. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence got the nod and used his nomination acceptance speech Wednesday night to try and unify the party.

Former House Speaker Martinez Formally Resigns 
Former House Speaker Kenny Martinez had said he would leave his seat after being hired as Bernalillo County attorney. Harry Garcia of Grants won the Democratic primary and has no Republican challenger for the seat in November. He'll take office in January. Gov. Martinez will only need to appoint an interim representative if she calls a special session before then.

Martinez' resignation letter was received by acting Governor Brad Winter. With the governor and Lt. Gov. John Sanchez out of state at the Republican National Convention, New Mexico Secretary of State and Albuquerque City Councilor Brad Winter is serving as acting governor. The Albuquerque Journal reports Winter isn’t sleeping at the governor's mansion in Santa Fe, and so far he hasn’t signed any executive orders. Following Martinez' lead, Winter also hasn't hosted any press conferences.

Griego Waives Arraignment
Former state Sen. Phil Griego won’t be in court for arraignment this Friday, after all. His attorney told Andy Lyman at New Mexico Political Report that Griego waived the arraignment and pleaded not guilty to all nine felony counts. No trial date has been set. Judge Brett Loveless ordered Griego to stay away from witnesses and request permission if he needs to travel out of state. He remains free on his own recognizance. 

Rail Runner Ridership Drops
Cheap gas is making it easier for commuters to drive to work—but it’s cutting into the ridership of the Rail Runner Express. Passenger counts were down 11 percent between July 2015 and June 2016.

Utility Wants to Extend Gas Pipeline to Mexico
The New Mexico Gas Co. is looking for new economic development opportunities south of the US border and has applied for a federal permit to extend its Santa Theresa pipeline into Mexico.

Weather Coverage Improvements Needed
With record temperatures scorching the state this summer, New Mexico In Depth climate writer Laura Paskus has a heady idea: To serve the needs of all New Mexicans, editors and publishers should be encouraging their reporters and newscasters to incorporate data about climate change into stories about the economy, planning, infrastructure projects, workforce issues, tourism and community issues.


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Morning Word: Santa Fe Proposal Aims to Protect Native American Art Consumers

Morning Word Local businesses would be required to prove they are selling authentic Native American art if the proposal is approved by city councilors.  ... More

Oct. 18, 2016 by Peter St. Cyr


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