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Morning Word: Scorned Senate Sours on Gov's Real Estate Deal

March 13, 2017, 7:30 am

The Bitter Taste of a Sweetheart Deal
This one was the talk of the Roundhouse on Saturday. Sen. Steven Neville, R-Aztec, recalled his own bill after learning that the special exemption it authorized for the Department of Children, Youth and Families to lease a building in Albuquerque would benefit one of Gov. Martinez' major campaign donors. Senators specifically asked about that issue as they vetted the bill and were told there was no conflict.

Oh, the Humanity
Late last week, Gov. Martinez vetoed what its Republican sponsors nicknamed the Teachers are Human, Too bill. Sen. Craig Brandt, R-Rio Rancho, says he'll start the process of a veto override. The bill, which lets teachers take up to 10 sick days without it impacting their teacher evaluation, overwhelmingly passed both houses, but that's no guarantee lawmakers will take the rare step of overriding the governor's veto.

Legislature Set to Send Tax and Spending Bills to the Governor
With a scant week left in the legislative session, the Senate on Saturday passed a package of tax increases and next year's budget bill. The tax hikes are designed in part to boost the state's reserve funds, which are at historically low levels and threaten New Mexico's credit rating. The governor has had little appetite for new revenue, instead favoring cuts to a state government she sees as bloated.

US Attorney Gets the Boot
Albuquerque-based US Attorney Damon Martinez was shown the door Friday as part of an abrupt house cleaning of Obama political appointees. US Attorney General Jeff Sessions asked dozens for their immediate resignation. While it was expected most, if not all, of the federal prosecutors would leave their posts, the move came with little warning and little in the way of public plans for what's next.

The Recording Said This was an Anonymous Tip
Imagine how angry you'd be if someone promised you that if you reported suspected workplace fraud, waste or abuse, they'd protect your identity—and then they didn't. That's what happened to two city employees in Santa Fe. Instead of staying anonymous, a police detective outed the employees' identities by interviewing them more or less in front of their colleagues. The city's spending money to figure out what went wrong.

Traffic Stops and Domestic Violence Calls
A lot of police officers will tell you they're two of the scariest calls a cop has to take; you never know what you're rolling up on until you're there. A Navajo Nation police officer was shot and killed over the weekend while responding to a domestic violence call. There's a suspect in custody.

Governor Vetoes Another Hemp Bill
It's just not gonna happen. The governor put veto ink to paper and nixed the second bill to reach her desk this session having to do with an industrial hemp program. The former prosecutor has said in the past that the plants look too much like marijuana to make such a program feasible for law enforcement. Roughly 30 other states have laws that allow industrial hemp growing.

Daylight Saving Time Bill Creeps Closer to Final Vote
The Word assumed you paid attention to every news agency ever this weekend and your clocks are now an hour ahead of where (when?) they were when you left work on Friday. The bill to essentially make Daylight Saving Time a permanent fixture in New Mexico has one committee left before a House floor vote. It'd make for some dark mornings but steal an extra hour of sunlight from those winter evenings.

Thanks for reading! The Word encourages you to have an extra cup of coffee this morning. Y'know, for safety's sake.

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*The emailed version of the Word incorrectly attributed a statement accepting the governor's veto of the teacher sick day bill to Sen. Craig Brandt. The Word regrets the error and now fully supports the bill to do away with the time changes inherent in Daylight Saving. 


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