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Morning Word: Courts in Crisis

January 20, 2017, 7:30 am

The Courts on Life Support
It's time to make the right choice, outgoing New Mexico Supreme Court Justice Charles Daniels told the legislature Thursday as he argued for a bigger budget for the court system. Years of politically popular anti-crime laws coupled with reduced funding for court programs and public defenders have left the state's judiciary bordering on a constitutional crisis.

Banning Gay Conversion Therapy
New Mexico would become the seventh state to ban so-called conversion therapy, a controversial faith-based response to homosexuality, if a new bill becomes law. The practice has been roundly criticized by professional medical organizations and gay rights advocates.

Pearce's Post
New Mexico congressman Steve Pearce has landed a seat on the House Natural Resources Committee. The republican has long favored the rights of private citizens to profit off public lands, supporting ranching and logging and opposing the reintroduction of the Mexican gray wolf to New Mexico. NM Political Report takes a deep dive to look at what past performance means for future results.

Sun, Sun, Go Away
The city of Aztec is pondering a moratorium on generation agreements with customers who install solar panels. That option has become increasingly popular, but the city's electrical utility is concerned about how that affects backup power capacity and how much improvements to the grid will cost.

About Time
A pair of reports suggests the investments the state has already made in early childhood intervention programs like home visitation are working. How and how much to invest in such efforts has been the subject of much teeth-gnashing over the past few years. Proponents have argued taking a bigger chunk of New Mexico's multibillion-dollar permanent funds would pay big dividends down the road. Others say taking money now would threaten the funds' permanency.

Too Good To Be True
Matthew Sample called his investment plan the Lobo Volatility Fund. Considering six investors saw $1 million disappear, he may have been honest about the "volatility" part. Federal prosecutors say that's about it, and now Sample has pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges. Weird, you wouldn't think someone who hung wallpaper woven with gold in his Santa Fe mountain home would be involved in an investment scheme.

Milo, When I Was Young
Some students at the University of New Mexico are growing increasingly anxious about next week's visit from alt-right darling Milo Yiannopoulos. Minority groups and others have asked the school's acting president to bar the appearance. 

The End of an Era
There was a time in New Mexico legislative history when lawmakers would breeze into town after a holiday weekend, then take another long weekend to let bill printers catch up with work they'd created through all their highfalutin' legislating. No longer. At least not in the House, where the new speaker is bringing representatives to work today to address bills expected to patch the hole in this year's budget. The august body known as the Senate? They'll see you Monday. And so will we.

Thanks for reading! The Word wonders if you have brunch plans this weekend.


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