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Morning Word: State Unemployment Rates Still High

August 22, 2016, 7:30 am
Unemployment Rates 3rd Highest in Nation 
At 6.4 percent, New Mexico still has the third highest unemployment rate in the nation in July, down a couple of ticks from 6.6 percent last year. Nationally, unemployment rates in July averaged 4.9 percent. 

MedPot Patients Finally Get a Break
The New Mexico Department of Health with has been struggling to keep up with processing medical cannabis applications. The program will extend existing patient cards 60 days so people can continue to buy their medication without fear of being arrested. Regulators are scheduled to be questioned by lawmakers at an interim committee meeting today in Taos.

State’s Use of Private Prisons Also Questioned
At the same time that the federal government is planning to stop using private prisons, including one in Cibola County, the ACLU thinks it’s time the state consider doing the same thing for five privately owned state prisons.

Espinoza Cleared
Acting Secretary of State Brad Winter cleared Nora Espinoza of allegations she violated the campaign finance reporting act, but suggested she do a better job with details on her future reports.

Joy Ride
Gary Johnson rallied his home state supporters at a big weekend rally in Albuquerque and even took time for a lowrider joy ride.

Clinton Picks Up Endorsement in New Mexico
No surprise here: Pueblo Indian governors in New Mexico are endorsing Hillary Clinton for president.

Santa Fe Police Officers Finally Get Body Cameras; Raises Are a Different Matter
It took longer than expected, but the Santa Fe Police Department will begin issuing body cameras to officers by the end of August. Cops in the capital city also want a raise, but Andrew Oxford reports the city’s “flat” budget is standing in the way.
Meanwhile, a couple of the state’s biggest law enforcement agencies are boosting pay and redoubling efforts to recruit experienced officers, raising concerns among city officials that the Santa Fe Police Department might be left behind in the competition for personnel.

Hiring law enforcement officers in New Mexico has grown competitive in recent years, largely because of chronic understaffing at the Albuquerque Police Department amid tumult and federal oversight, but also because changes to the retirement age have enticed officers around the state to begin drawing their pensions earlier than they might have planned. 
Santa Fe’s Public Safety Committee recently approved a resolution calling on officials to work together on a plan for retaining officers.

Police Videos Released
Jeff Proctor got his hands on body camera videos that shows Albuquerque Police officers raiding a needle exchange program mobile trailer earlier this summer. The videos seem to contradict what the cops originally claimed about their interactions with health care workers.
Video footage shows a chaotic scene at the syringe exchange, with several officers in street clothes and balaclavas to cover their faces rushing the van with assault-style rifles while others shout commands at people standing on the sidewalk nearby.

The videos cast doubt on APD’s key claim: The detectives did not know the van was a syringe exchange prior to storming it. The detectives ask the Health Care for the Homeless staffers who they work for, but at no point do any of the officers ask about what is going on inside the van. One of the officers seems to have known without being told what Gabaldon was doing inside — exchanging syringes. That same officer enters the van and appears unsurprised by what he finds.

 

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Morning Word: Declining Revenues Could Mean More State Budget Cuts

Morning Word State government officials may have to do some more belt-tightening as economists estimate a $69 million deficit in current fiscal year and $300 million less revenue in 2017. ... More

Dec. 06, 2016 by Peter St. Cyr

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