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Morning Word: US Senator Finally Pries Water Data From State

February 14, 2017, 7:30 am

About That Gila Water, Though
The Interstate Stream Commission has finally released public information about how much water is actually diverted from and used by water rights holders along the Gila River. According to a former director for the ISC, those numbers show there's no water shortage, as the agency has claimed while supporting a diversion project that could cost half a billion dollars. After SFR and the New Mexico Political Report jointly published a story about the secret data, US Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-New Mexico, demanded the data be made public.

Tackling Taxes
A Republican state senator thinks New Mexico's tax structure is a bit of a mess. Yesterday, Sen. Ron Griggs, R-Alamogordo, unveiled his bill to revamp how the state collects taxes. The proposal would reestablish lower taxes on food and medicine and impose higher fees on selling a car or house. It would eliminate taxes on interest income and lower corporate collections.

LOL. Wait, what?
A proposal wending its way through the Legislature would boost the fine for texting while driving to $100 from its current $25. The Senate passed the bill yesterday and sent it to the House over the objection of some senators who noted it would cost drivers more to get caught texting and driving than it would to get caught with an open container of alcohol.

How Do I Love Thee?
You may not be the next Elizabeth Barrett Browning—then again, you may—but you don't have to be to be recognized as a poet of local renown. SFR's annual poetry contest is accepting submissions until the first of March. We shall but love you better after you enter.

Start Flipping the Couch Cushions
The state Legislature's foremost budget guru says it's likely that New Mexico will need to eliminate a budget gap next year that could reach $250 million. Lawmakers will have to come up with a plan to do that this session or endure another year of special sessions and massive budget adjustment requests.

Breastfeeding Behind Bars
A legislative panel has approved a bipartisan proposal to provide a way for new mothers to pump breast milk while in jail or prison. Estimates are that the program would impact a few dozen new mothers at any given time. Corrections staff would get training and help to transport the milk to infants on the outside.

Bill Asks for Independent Police Shooting Investigations
As it stands now, police agencies in the Albuquerque metro area take the lead in investigating their own officers after they shoot at—and sometimes kill—citizens. A new bill would give that job to a special unit in the New Mexico Attorney General's Office.

Wimpy Snow Storm
Some sort of trough or moisture deficit or something didn't deliver and now it's just cloudy and damp. Maybe, just maybe, next weekend will bring the snow we so desperately need.

Thanks for reading! The Word loves love.

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