Drain the Swamp?
Attorney General Hector Balderas made no bones about cleaning house when he took office in 2014. Now, six of the former workers at the office have filed a lawsuit saying they lost their jobs out of retaliation. The State Personnel Board didn't rule in their favor, and while an appeal is pending in that case, some are asking a state District Court judge to rule that Balderas did not have the right to fire them. The case lands at a time when Balderas is reportedly considering a run for governor in 2018.
Members of the state Democratic Party who want to be considered for its next chairman (or chairwoman) are lining up, including Santa Fe County party head Richard Ellenberg and Las Cruces resident Rusty Pearce. Republicans picked their newest chairman, Ryan Cangiolosi, last month. Current Democratic Party Chairwoman Debra Halaand has said she won't seek a second term.
This story shouldn't be politics, but it is. New Mexico officials who want to spend tens of millions on a water project to divert the Gila River won't share their scientific data. A former director of the Interstate Stream Commission who's been at odds with the plan has already proven some of their calculations are flawed. Now they say that math is secret because of his agenda.
In the Air
People who live in the San Jose neighborhood of Albuquerque say the city's air quality permitting program has problems. After a protracted effort, they're finally getting a hearing about a gasoline plant that's one of several polluting business allowed to operate in the typically low-income area. KUNM radio reports that federal officials are also investigating the city's air permitting process.
Water wars between New Mexico and Texas over how much flows across state lines in the Rio Grande might see some kind of ceasefire under a new environmental statement issued by the US Bureau of Reclamation. A Southern New Mexico irrigation district has taken a different stance than the state government on the water-sharing deal.
A long-stagnant train station in Santa Fe now has permission from the state to serve passengers thanks to a letter officials issued Monday, reports KRQE News 13. The platform at Zia Road and St. Francis Drive is the only station in the area built on private land, and developers built a "kiss and ride" loop and pedestrian access this fall. No word on when trains will actually stop there.
Wait for It ... Again
The death penalty, gas tax ideas and minimum wage hike are all due to return in the legislative session that starts a week from today. This afternoon, two House Democrats expect to announce their Cannabis Revenue and Freedom Act, a proposal that would allow adults in the state to legally consume cannabis and pay taxes on it.
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