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Morning Word: Educators' Credentials Questioned

September 19, 2016, 7:30 am
Educators’ Licenses Could Be Revoked
At least seven state-licensed educators’ credentials are being reviewed for being deficient after a Las Vegas Optic newspaper investigation revealed they’re likely unqualified for their jobs, including a principal in the Santa Fe Public Schools District. The Public Education Department is reviewing the problem and could decide to revoke the employees’ licenses. The licenses were issued by Charles Trujillo, the former licensing bureau chief, who faces his own accusations of falsifying credentials to obtain school district work himself before being arrested on forgery and fraud charges.

Baby Brianna's Mother Set to be Released from Prison
Stephanie Rene Lopez, the mother who was convicted for killing her own daughter known as Baby Brianna, is scheduled to be released from prison Sept. 25 after serving less than half of her sentence.
Public outcry led to state law now mandating 30 years in prison for child abuse resulting in death.
The Baby Brianna Foundation says it is saddened but the law cannot be enacted retroactively.
Torraco Accused of Conflict of Interest
The New Mexico Attorney General’s Office wants State Sen. Lisa Torraco, R-Albuquerque, a private practice criminal defense attorney, removed from a child solicitation case. Prosecutors allege Torraco has a conflict of interest after advising a client to delete an email account used in the alleged crime. Torraco says the legal motion is “dirty, dirty politics” and says she was just doing her job. 

Johnson Excluded from National Security Briefings
After Gary Johnson stumbled over not knowing Aleppo is a war-torn town in Syria during a national television interview last week, Andy Lyman reports that the Libertarian Party wants their presidential nominee to be on the same footing as Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton to receive national security briefings. But it appears the party’s nominee doesn’t qualify for those briefings since the party didn’t receive at least 25 percent support in the 2012 election.

Applications for Citizenship Increase
Immigrant advocacy groups are celebrating a 25 percent increase in the number of people applying for US citizenship in New Mexico.
According to the nonprofit Somos Un Pueblo Unido, new data from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office shows that 637 citizenship applications were received in New Mexico during the second quarter of 2016, or the period from April 1 to June 30.
More Spending Cuts Proposed
The Rio Grande Foundation is proposing ways to trim the state’s budget deficit. The group’s plan includes more spending cuts and no new taxes, and “includes things Democrats might like including legalizing and taxing marijuana sales, eliminating corporate welfare programs, and addressing athletic department subsidies.” And stuff that Republicans will support, “including cutting K-12 spending, especially on administration; reducing the proliferation of branch campuses in higher education; and eliminating film subsidies.” For now, Gov. Susana Martinez still hasn’t decided to call a special session to fix the budget crunch, and Andrew Oxford reports this fall’s election season could complicate things.

Homicides Spike in Albuquerque
The number of murders in the state’s largest city is spiking and with 45 homicides in the first nine and a half months of 2016. If the rate continues, Albuquerque is on track to match the 70 violent deaths recorded in 1996.

Fair Ends to Good Reviews
We still don’t know how many people attended the New Mexico State Fair, which ended Sunday, but the event is already getting good reviews.


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