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Morning Word: Politics, Drug Overdoses, and Police Officer Shortages

October 7, 2016, 7:30 am
Lawmakers Approve Budget Solvency Package; Skip Crime Reform Bills
Senate Democrats returned to Santa Fe on Thursday and passed a series of bills aimed at shoring up the state’s budget, but opted not to vote on any of Gov. Susana Martinez’ crime reform measures. SFR’s Steven Hsieh has a recap on all the legislation that passed and failed here.

Faith Leaders Blast Republican Vote to Reinstate Death Penalty
While the bill to reinstate New Mexico’s death penalty didn’t get through the senate during the special session, it will probably be back in January for the 60-day session ahead. Thursday's House vote isn’t settling well with the state’s Catholic Archbishops and other faith leaders.

Migrants Odds of Crossing Border Nearly 50/50
An internal Department of Homeland Security report reveals that border control agents catch barely more than half of the migrants who attempt illegal border crossings into the United States.
The report found that 54 percent of people who entered illegally between border crossings got caught in the 2015 fiscal year. That's much lower than the 81 percent success rate that Homeland Security cited publicly using a different counting method.
Toulouse Oliver Has Double-Digit Lead Over Espinoza
Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver appears to have a big lead over Republican Nora Espinoza in the Secretary of State race, according to a new poll in the Albuquerque Journal.
Toulouse Oliver, the Bernalillo County Clerk, led Espinoza, a lawmaker from Roswell, by 45 percent to 31 percent in a poll of 501 likely voters. Twenty-four percent of those polled said they had not decided whom to vote for in the Nov. 8 general election. One percent declined to say.
Jury Considering Cops' Fate
The fate of two former Albuquerque police officers charged with murdering a homeless man in 2014 is now in the hands of a jury. During closing arguments, prosecutors said cops are “not above the law.” Defense attorney argued Keith Sandy and Dominque Perez were just doing their jobs. If convicted on second degree murder charges, the men face up to 15 years in prison.

Fentanyl Claims 20 Lives in New Mexico
“State authorities say they're investigating 20 drug overdose deaths in New Mexico this year that were likely caused by illicitly manufactured fentanyl," according to the Associated Press.
The New Mexico Department of Health and the state Office of the Medical Investigator say that of the 20 deaths, 11 also had methamphetamine present in toxicology results. The overdose victims ranged in age from 17 to 63 and 85 percent were male.
Police Shortages a Myth
The ABQ Free Press has done another comprehensive survey and determined claims by law enforcement agencies that there is a dire shortage of police officers and sheriff’s deputies is untrue.
The state’s 102 police agencies are collectively staffed at 90.3 percent of the officers they’re budgeted for, and 79 agencies are 90 to 100 percent staffed. The state’s 102 law enforcement agencies are authorized for 4,920 officers, and they have 4,446 officers on their payrolls, the survey shows.

It should be another good weekend to visit the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta or head to the mountains to check out the trees changing colors. Whatever you decide to do, have fun and be safe. We’ll see you back here on Monday morning.

 

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Morning Word: Toulouse Oliver Heads to Santa Fe Early

Morning Word The secretary of state-elect will assume duties on Dec. 9 after interim Secretary Brad Winter opts out early. ... More

Dec. 01, 2016 by Peter St. Cyr

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