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Morning Word: It Just Might Be Crazy Enough to Work

February 28, 2017, 7:30 am

Tom Udall's Big Supreme Court Idea
You read this right: New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall has Washington talking. Udall surprised some people yesterday after meeting with fellow Westerner and Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. Udall suggested President Trump approach current justices who might soon retire and offer to appoint President Obama's pick for the court, Merrick Garland, if they step down now. Then, both confirmations would move forward smoothly—at least in Udall's opinion. If he can convince Trump he came up with the idea while reading The Art of the Deal, it just might be crazy enough to work.

Gov. Martinez Meets With Trump in DC
After exchanging a few barbs on the campaign trail, Gov. Susana Martinez and President Donald Trump finally sat down for a few minutes this week. The governor was in Washington DC over the weekend with the rest of the nation's state executives. For as much as she rails on New Mexico's attachment to the federal government, Martinez bit the bullet and urged Trump to look at her state's outsize role in national security and the defense industry before making cuts.

Sweet Deal May Be in the Works
Mayor Javier Gonzales hinted at potential carve-outs from his proposed sugary drink tax during last night's Finance Committee meeting. The mayor shared, but did not formally introduce, an idea to exempt businesses with less than $100,000 in gross revenue. Councilors also questioned how the tax would be imposed on house-made lemonade or other drinks at local restaurants. 

Recreational Marijuana Bill Gets Housed
The House Business and Industry Committee voted overwhelmingly to block a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana use in New Mexico, similar to Colorado's system. Public support for such program is growing, but the Trump White House signaled recently that it may crack down on state marijuana programs, and the bill would have faced a veto from the governor.

Flying the Co-op
La Montañita Co-op has had a rough year. The state's largest member-owned natural grocery lost money. Now, in an attempt to fix the wobbly wheel on the cart and get it moving in the right direction, the co-op's board has eliminated three top jobs and hopes to be back in the black in 2017.

Gov Moves to Streamline State HR
The governor announced this on Friday afternoon, but lots of people have their minds on something else at that time—so much so that Friday afternoon has become a popular time for public figures to announce tough news. Now that it's Tuesday morning, Gov. Susana Martinez has ordered state agencies to eliminate scores of jobs in human resources and consolidate them in the State Personnel Office. The move will save money and isn't surprising to those who've listened to the governor campaign. Those whose jobs disappear, though, will enter a grim employment market.

Santa Fe Schools Mull Budget Options
Last week, the Word pointed you to Las Cruces and the tough choices made regarding school supplies. That conversation is happening across the state as schools come to grips with reduced reserve funds that are normally used to pay for federal programs and other costs up front, often with the promise of reimbursement. In Santa Fe, the district is considering furlough days, central office cuts, paying a reduced share of health insurance premiums and other cost-saving measures to weather the financial storm.

Snow Yeah
You know what they say about February: In like a groundhog, out like powder. POW! Finally. Taos is reporting almost a foot and a half in the last 24 hours. Down a bit lower than the ski gods, the rest of us mortals will likely see clouds and rain and even snow.

Thanks for reading! The Word thinks we're going to look back on this era of male facial hair much like we do on the '70s. "Dad! What were you thinking?" Anyhow, sick stache, bro.

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