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Morning Word: How Are We Gonna Pay For This?

February 23, 2017, 7:30 am

Come, Susana. The Game is Afoot!
The state House of Representatives passed a pair of bills that would set next year's state budget at $6.1 billion and raise $265 million to help pay for it. Economists say it seems likely the state's revenues will stop falling, but they'll probably also not grow. Hence, the tax increases and fee hikes. The measures passed the House on a party-line vote, Democrats for and Republicans against. Gov. Susana Martinez can't vote, but she can veto, and a spokesman says she will.

Santa Fe Strengthens Sanctuary Law
Flying in the face of some national sentiment—certainly that of the White House, which has threatened to punish sanctuary cities by withholding federal funds—the Santa Fe City Council unanimously passed a bill that would offer more language-access programs and block the city from participating in the "e-verify" program that cross checks immigration databases with employment records.

Former Congresswoman Appears in Support of Gun Control Bills
Gabrielle Giffords, the former congresswoman who was shot in the head by a gun-wielding assailant in 2011, was at the Roundhouse to support two gun control bills that would require background checks for online, private and gun show firearm purchases, as well as make it more difficult for those with domestic violence charges and accusations to buy a gun. The bills are both still in the committee process.

We're Gonna Send This to Collections. Aw, Never Mind.
The City of Santa Fe plans to write off nearly $3 million in unpaid utility bills. The proposal, which is relatively common in larger cities, passed without discussion last night. The city also revamped its collection structure, largely by putting the onus on rental owners to pay off delinquent bills.

Auditor Pokes State Insurance Office Over Financial Practices
State Auditor Tim Keller says his staff can't offer an opinion on the financial health of the Office of the Superintendent of Insurance because the agency's internal enforcement of its policies is too lax. Auditors pointed to travel-reimbursement rules that weren't being followed and cash-handling standards that may have been ignored.

Committee Stalls Bill That Would Shield Publicly Funded Research
The House Education Committee refused to act on a bill that sponsors say is designed to protect proprietary research and foster public-private partnerships at state universities. But opponents warn it could end up shielding programs like the fake treatments for syphilis at an Alabama university or the LSD experiments at colleges across the country in the '50s and '60s. 

SFPS Head Gets Two More Years
The Santa Fe Public School Board voted to give Veronica Garcia two more years at the helm of the city's schools. The board approved an extension to Garcia's current contract. The former New Mexico education secretary served as an interim superintendent after Joel Boyd's departure and soon signed on for the job permanently.

Like We Said ... (Part Deux)
After less than a week of existence in downtown Albuquerque—within spitting distance of both Central Avenue and the planned ART bus rapid transit line—the feed has been stopped from the "He Will Not Divide Us" live camera installed by a team of artists that includes actor Shia LaBeouf. It's been vandalized, had a gun pointed at it and reports of shots fired nearby prompted a tweet from the actor.

Thanks for reading! The Word wonders if you're gonna eat that last donut. It's yours if you want it. You're going running at lunch again, yeah? No! Don't feel guilty. But if you don't want it now, we'll just...

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