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Morning Word: To Protect and Troll

February 21, 2017, 7:30 am

To Protect and Troll
Santa Fe Police Sergeant Troy Baker has a lot to say about some of the people he's sworn to protect and serve ... and it isn't nice. Baker, who was elected by his fellow officers as president of the union that speaks for them, disparaged Muslims, the transgender community, African Americans, women, protesters, immigrants and others through memes posted on his Facebook page. After SFR asked Baker and the SFPD chief about whether the posts were appropriate, the department began an investigation into whether Baker's comments constituted conduct unbecoming of an officer.

Budget Battle Begins Anew
The budget bill and a plan to raise taxes to inject money into New Mexico's state accounts both passed committees yesterday on party-line votes. The threat of a veto by Gov. Susana Martinez looms, though. Meanwhile, a massive tax-reform bill designed to lower many tax rates while closing carve-outs has started to make its way through the Roundhouse.

Bill Would Let State Fine Oil and Gas Companies for Spills
More than halfway through the legislative session, a measure that would allow state regulators to force companies to pay up for oil and gas spills is set for its first committee hearing. Fines laid out in the Oil and Gas Act haven't been updated since FDR was president (in his first term). Meanwhile, spills are spiking in frequency and the head of the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association's last job was the head of the state Environment Department.

I'll See Your Raise and Raise You
Mayor Javier Gonzales won some hearty applause when he announced a plan to give 5 percent raises to city workers. But the math doesn't add up. A quadrupling of the likely cost would eat up most of the estimated $4.5 million in extra revenue next year.

Getting the Ban Back Together
It's widely expected that, despite a Twitter promise to see opponents of his overturned travel ban in court, President Donald Trump will sign a new ban that might withstand legal scrutiny. That could happen as soon as today.

Actually, This is a Popularity Contest
New Mexico would join a multi-state compact requiring presidential electors to vote for the national popular vote winner if a Senate bill becomes law. We're fairly certain there's something about how the president is elected in the Constitution, though, and it seems likely someone will sue to protect the sanctity of their vote—like say if a candidate wins the electoral college but not the national popular vote.

Don't Be Shia
Actor and artist Shia LeBeouf quietly moved his "He Will Not Divide Us" art installation from Queens, New York, to the side of the El Rey Theater in Albuquerque over the weekend. The project, which asks passersby to say "He Will Not Divide Us" into a camera mounted outside, caused quite a stir in New York. The Museum of the Moving Image abandoned the project a week ago. So now it's at 7th and Central in Albuquerque. Yeah. What could possibly go wrong?

Bregman's Back
New Mexico has a few Natives in the Major Leagues, but none made the splash that Albuquerque's Alex Bregman did in a late-season debut last year. At the ripe old age of 22, the Houston Astros are looking for big things from the guy they took second overall in the 2015 draft. Also, his dad's an attorney.

Thanks for reading! The Word hope you enjoy your new President's Day mattress. You bought one, right?

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