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Morning Word: Courts and Public Defender Request Budget Hikes

September 14, 2016, 7:30 am
Money for Justice
At the same time executive agencies are cutting back program spending and preparing for even steeper cuts, the state’s courts and public defender’s office are asking lawmakers for more money to operate and boost employee and contractor pay.

UNM Plans Hiring Freeze and Budget Cuts
In anticipation of fewer state dollars, the University of New Mexico is preparing to cut its budget by 5 percent and implement a hiring freeze.

No Probable Cause
A state District Court judge in Albuquerque dismissed charges against Los Alamos National Laboratory employee Jeremy Danielson, who was accused of carrying a hoax bomb at the Sunport on Sunday.

Voters to Advise SF County on Tax Hike
Santa Fe County wants to gauge voter sentiment on raising local gross receipts taxes one-eighth of 1 percent to fund behavioral health services, so commissioners are putting an advisory question on the Nov. 8 ballot.
Bernalillo County asked voters there a similar question on its 2014 ballot, and voters supported the idea. The county then increased gross receipts tax by the same rate that Santa Fe County will propose on the November ballot. Bernalillo County said it generated some $20 million in 2015 from its tax increase.
Fewer Residents Go Without Health Insurance 
The Affordable Care Act is working in New Mexico. A census reports show the number of uninsured residents is down 25 percent since 2015.

Photo ID A Big Issue in SOS Campaign
The New Mexico Secretary of State campaign is turning into a referendum on Voter ID laws and whether voters should have to present photo id before casting ballots.

Beyond Disturbing
Victoria Martens, the mother of the 10-year-old girl killed in Albuquerque last month, told police she solicited men to sexually assault her daughter in the past, because “she enjoyed watching.” We’re also learning, even before the horrific homicide, Albuquerque Public School officials were worried about the girl and twice asked the Children, Youth and Families Department to investigate possible abuse and neglect. 

Local BBQ Sauce Makes NFL Debut
Paul Allen, the owner of the Seattle Seahawks, who helped launch Microsoft in Albuquerque years ago, is a big fan of Albuquerque restaurant Powdrell’s Barbeque. In fact, he’s having the sauce served on slow cooked meat at Century Field during home games.
Joe Powdrell, whose family has been serving barbecue in Albuquerque since 1962, said he and brother Mike traveled to Seattle for last weekend’s season opener, having been invited to work with concession crews and give them “the benefit of our experience” with regard to meat smoking and sandwich preparat. He said they’d already sent the Seahawks “an initial quantity of sauce,” a product made in Albuquerque but with roots that go back to 1870 and his great-grandfather’s cooking in Louisiana.


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