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Morning Word: Interim Superintendent Gets Six-Figure Contract

August 3, 2016, 7:25 am
Contract Finalized
Veronica Garcia will earn $180,000 a year as the interim Santa Fe Public School District superintendent. Meanwhile, James Jimenez, a former Department of Finance and Administration secretary and Rio Rancho city manager, has been hired to replace Garcia as the executive director at New Mexico Voices for Children.

Homeless Students Hard to Count
At least 4,000 students returning to class in Albuquerque this fall are homeless, and the state's largest school district says the number could be even higher.

Homelessness Among State’s Vets Declines
However, the number of homeless veterans in New Mexico has fallen 23 percent in the past year and nearly 50 percent since 2010.

State Registers Youngest Cannabis Patient
Amylea Nunez, an eight-month-old girl who suffers from a rare case of epilepsy, is the state’s newest and youngest medical cannabis patient. It’s not clear how long Nunez waited to be officially registered in the program. Other patients are waiting up to two months and that is, according to State Auditor Tim Keller, creating hardships for patients. He wants the New Mexico Department of Health program administrators to process them faster. State Sen. Cisco McSorley wants the regulators to use revenue from annual licensing fees to hire more staff.

Judicial Campaign Reforms Needed
New Mexico’s judiciary gets good marks for integrity and independence, but Gwyneth Doland reports that reformers say “more is needed to get money and politics out of the state’s highest courts.” 

Legal Whiplash
So it turns out pre-construction work can begin on the City of Albuquerque’s controversial rapid transit system after the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals lifted a temporary injunction halting the work.

Secretary of State Candidate Forums Cancelled
The League of Women Voters has cancelled three secretary of state candidate forums after Republican Nora Espinoza declined to participate. Espinoza believes some of the league’s leaders openly back Democratic candidate Maggie Toulouse Oliver.

Green Party Candidates Off Ballot in Santa Fe County
Speaking of politics, two legislative candidates nominated by the Green Party in Santa Fe won’t be on the general election ballot Nov. 8. A judge ruled they didn’t properly complete their paperwork.

CDC Gives New Mexico Money to Battle Zika Virus
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is giving New Mexico another $400,000 to help battle the Zika virus.

New Lottery Program Questioned
New Mexico Lottery Officials may have exceeded their authority when they set up their "Play at the Pump" program, which allows players to buy tickets at the same time they refuel their vehicles. Walter Rubel reports that lawmakers “were ‘startled to learn’ of the new program after rejecting bills in each of the last two legislative session that would have allowed for such a plan.”

 

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Morning Word: Death Penalty Reinstatement Would Cost State Millions

Morning Word At the same time New Mexico lawmakers are trying to shore up the state’s budget, the New Mexico Public Defender's Office is questioning the costs associated with reinstating the death penalty.  ... More

Sept. 22, 2016 by Peter St. Cyr

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