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Morning Word: The Guv's Tumble

March 8, 2017, 7:30 am

Governor Martinez' Badly Timed Tumble
Gov. Susana Martinez may have to take it easy for a while after she says she hurt her knee while skiing in Utah during a Republican Governors Association meeting. Martinez told KRQE she was going to have her knee checked out. It's bad timing, because the governor just criticized lawmakers for wasting time on useless legislation and told the Associated Press she might call them back into a special session. That's a common gubernatorial stick—one used by Bill Richardson many times—though with both houses controlled by Democrats, it doesn't seem likely legislators will deliver the legislation she wants.

Tobacco Tax Plan is a Slow Burn
A Senate bill that would increase tobacco taxes by 90 percent on a pack of smokes just cleared a major hurdle and heads to the Senate floor for debate. Supporters think the $89 million it's estimated to bring in could spare deeper cuts to school funding. It's a new tax, though, and the governor has shown no willingness to sign such a measure.

Vaping Consumed by a Cloud of Cigarette Smoke
The state Senate's busy day—and yes, we know the House did stuff, too—continued with a vote to include vaping and e-cigarettes in restrictions on where people can smoke in New Mexico. The bill passed by a healthy margin, though some senators pointed out there's not much science behind including the newfangled smoking contraptions in current restrictions.

Solitary Struggle
As lawmakers debate bills that would limit the use of solitary confinement on New Mexico prisoners who have mental illness, SFR looks at the impact of spending 22 hours a day with no human contact.

State Scours Española School District
While suspended superintendent Eric Martinez awaits a Public Education Department decision on his educator's license, two other state agencies—the Attorney General's Office and the Office of the State Auditor—are giving the district's finances a closer look. The district hasn't given the auditor an internal check of its finances in two years.

Balderas Signals Support for Early Childhood Amendment
It might be more significant for his future political plans than it is for his current job as attorney general, but Hector Balderas has endorsed a proposed constitutional amendment to direct more permanent fund money toward early childhood education programs. From a law enforcement perspective, though, investing in kids early on is theorized to be much more efficient and effective than trying to correct behavior once they're old enough to show up in the criminal justice system.

Soda Election's Gonna Be When?
It seems Mayor Javier Gonzales' soda tax proposal is likely to go before voters at some point. The most pressing question seems to be when. A special election in May is favored by hizzoner, but special elections need special funding—somewhere in the neighborhood of $90,000 in this case. Wrapping the vote into the next municipal election in March of 2018 is the next option. The hearing and city council vote is tonight.

Shia in LaBeouf: the Actor/Emperor Has No Clothes
Yeah, we're the news side of SFR, but the Word can see the arts and culture people from where we sit, and that gang can write. Jordan Eddy's look at the seven-day stint of actor/artist Shia LaBeouf's "HEWILLNOTDIVIDE.US" art installation in Albuquerque is something your brain needs.

Thanks for reading! The Word will not divide us, either, unless the word is "pineapple" and it is being said in relation to pizza. That's just wrong.

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