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Morning Word: Cabinet Secretary Held in Contempt

September 28, 2016, 7:30 am
Earnest Held in Contempt
Federal Judge Kenneth Gonzales is holding New Mexico Human Services Department Secretary Brent Earnest in contempt for failing to comply with court orders aimed at improving the administration of food aid and Medicaid health care benefits. 

Courts Reduce Mileage Reimbursements
The New Mexico Judiciary announced it will reduce court spending by about a half million dollars a year by lowering its mileage reimbursement rate for travel by judges, staff, jurors, interpreters and court-ordered witnesses. Matthew Reichbach reports, “Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Daniels wrote a letter to Gov. Susana Martinez and a separate, though identical, letter to legislators last week stating that any further cuts would be detrimental to the courts system.”
“The Judiciary’s ability to protect public safety and provide an acceptable justice system for our citizens will be critically diminished by reductions of our current modest appropriates beyond an additional 1%,” Daniels wrote. “Even a 1% reduction could begin impairing operation of some drug courts and other important judicial services, although with our mileage reimbursement reduction and other self-imposed money-saving measures, we think we can function for this fiscal year with a 1% mandated reduction in general fund appropriations for the judicial branch.”
Senators Want State Considered for Defense Tech Hub
US Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich want Defense Secretary Ashton Carter to consider opening a US Defense Department technology hub in New Mexico as part of the military's mission to widen the technology gap between the United States and its adversaries.

Clinton Outraises Trump in New Mexico, Again
Donald Trump’s campaign may be buying ad time in New Mexico ahead of the Nov. 8 election, but so far Hillary Clinton’s campaign is continuing to outraise him here. New Mexico In Depth reviewed the latest financial filings and found Clinton raised nearly $240,000; Trump $116,000; Gary Johnson got $25,000 and Green Party candidate Jill Stein only collected $5,000.

Climate Change Impacts Chile Crops
There’s no scientific doubt that climate change is impacting the world’s environment. And now SFR’s Elizabeth Miller reports warmer temperatures and more dramatic weather events will make it harder for state farmers to grow chile and may eventually mean higher prices at the market.

West Nile Virus Still a Threat
Summer may have come to an end, but the West Nile virus remains an active health risk until probably the first real frost. The New Mexico Department of Health reports three men have recently been hospitalized with a neuroinvasive form of the virus. That brings the total number of cases to five in 2016. Last year, the public agency recorded 14 nonfatal human cases.


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