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Morning Word: Recreational Legislation

January 26, 2017, 7:30 am

Pot Push(erman)
Once again, legislators will try to advance a plan to legalize recreational marijuana use. Advocates have used its taxability (15 percent in the plan at hand) as a carrot for those who oppose it. New Mexico could use the revenue, but the governor has already said she's against the idea. Oh, and apologies to the late, great Curtis Mayfield for a terrible pun about a super fly song. 

Gotcha Covered! (...jk)
Gov. Susana Martinez was one of the first Republican governors to agree to Medicaid expansion under Obamacare. While the governor now favors its repeal, she's signaled caution in how that's done. A new article in the New England Journal of Medicine hints that's probably a smart political move, as those who've been affected by expansion tend to view the Republican-reviled law favorably—even in states Donald Trump won in November.

Dark Matters
Illegally trafficked wildlife products—things like rhinoceros horns and powdered-rattlesnake folk remedies—are a booming business, judging by seizures at the two international ports of entry on either side of New Mexico. But our state has no designated border officials keeping an eye out for such shipments. So, like the dark matter astrophysicists know is there despite not being able to see it, it stands to reason New Mexico has a problem. A new bill would impose small crimes but stiff penalties for those caught smuggling.

Chaco Culture Exhibit Shelved Indefinitely
A bad heating and cooling system at the visitor center in Chaco Canyon means hundreds of artifacts excavated from the ruins there more than a century ago will stay in storage instead of being part of a planned exhibit that's been years in the making. The park's new superintendent says the HVAC problems are the tip of an infrastructure iceberg and that the "New York City-style" exhibit was ill-conceived.

Oil & Gas Lease Near Chaco Lands BLM Nearly $3M
The controversial lease sale of four public parcels near Chaco Culture National Historical Park ended with two bidders winning mineral rights for a total price tag of $2.9 million. Several groups, including the Navajo Nation, have filed formal protests of the sale, arguing the BLM hasn't fully assessed the cultural and environmental impact of oil and gas exploration near the United Nations World Heritage Site.

UNM Backs Off Event Fee for Yiannopoulos
Considering the kind of controversy Friday's speech by alt-right Breitbart darling Milo Yiannopoulos has generated, UNM planned to charge the campus republican group $3,400 for police protection and security. Late last night, though, the university president suspended those costs, saying he planned to review the fee policy for free speech-oriented events. 

The Key to Not Getting Your Car Jacked
It's rather simple, really: DON'T LEAVE YOUR KEYS IN IT. State Senator Bill O'Neill's car was stolen a while back in Albuquerque. He left his keys in it. Wednesday, he left his keys in his replacement car and it nearly got stolen, too. O'Neill is the kind of affable guy who talked to a reporter about it. Heck, his legislative picture looks like it was taken as he was telling the story.

From Carlsbad to Carlsworse
When JR Doporto, a city councilor in Carlsbad, took to Facebook on Sunday to let women know that in addition to the right to march they also had the right to cook, clean and get slapped, he told SFR he had the right to his opinion. Of course he did. His employer, oil patch giant HollyFrontier Corp., is of the opinion he should no longer work for them. Doporto says the company violated his free speech rights.

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