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Morning Word: Raising the Bar—Sort Of

March 2, 2017, 7:30 am

Senate Approves Minimum Wage Boost
State senators gave broad support to lifting the state's minimum wage to $9 an hour starting next year. The House has its own plan, which adds another quarter to the proposed wage. Santa Fe's wage, currently at $11.09, would be unaffected by the plan.

House Bill Would Block Sugary Drink Tax
A bill sponsored by an Albuquerque Republican would prohibit local governments from taxing food and drinks, thus blocking Mayor Javier Gonzales' plan to use whatever money is generated by a 2-cents-an-ounce tax to fund early childhood education programs. The measure may not have much of a chance at advancing; it was introduced on Valentine's Day and is still in its first committee.

New Mexico Still 151,000 Jobs Behind Pre-Recession Levels
That's the grim news delivered by the Legislative Jobs Council, which says New Mexico would need to add those jobs within a decade to offset people leaving the workforce and to reach pre-recession employment levels. New Mexico has the nation's second-highest unemployment rate, trailing only Alaska.

Someone Stole $200,000 from Northern NM College
When new leadership started digging into the finances of the troubled Española institution, they realized a series of checks had been used not by the school, but by an employee. When the state auditor confirmed the money had been taken, a top employee resigned. Law enforcement is on the case.

Setting the Record Straight
The state Supreme Court heard arguments in a case that would decide whether judges have the power to order a felony arrest record to be cleared in some situations. In the case in question, Albuquerque police showed up at a paramedic's home to arrest her for assault on a peace officer. She had grabbed an officer's arm at the scene of an attempted suicide the day earlier as the two argued over who should be able to get to the injured person first.

School for the Arts Raising Cash for Sanbusco Move
The New Mexico School for the Arts is halfway to its goal of raising $30 million to move into the old Sanbusco shopping center in the Railyard. The state-chartered school plans to apply for economic development grants to help mind the gap in funding.

Gov Yanks Appointees to Ease the Legislative Load
There's no love lost between Gov. Susana Martinez and Sen. Linda Lopez, D-Albuquerque. Lopez chairs the Senate Rules Committee, which aides to Martinez accused of acting at a snail's pace in confirming scores of appointees. Yesterday, Martinez withdrew the names of more than 50 appointees, saying they can work without confirmation.

Still Rocking That Chile Crop
New Mexico chiles brought in $50 million last year as the world recognized our state's clear dominance in flavorful chile production. Growers planted more than 9,000 acres and harvested nearly 70,000 tons. No, we will not let it go (see yesterday's Word).

Thanks for reading! The Word does not recall having met with the Russian ambassador.

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