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Morning Word: Gov Promises to Bring Lawmakers Back

March 20, 2017, 7:30 am

Legislative Session Ends With a Promised Budget Veto
After 60 days of crafting a budget for the coming year, the Democratic-controlled state Legislature sent the governor a spending plan that hinges on the revenue bill—that's higher taxes and fees—they sent her at the same time. The governor promised a veto and a special session.

Or This
In a post-session press conference, Gov. Susana Martinez heaped blame on the Legislature for refusing to compromise and said the state was "staring down the path of a government shutdown." Senate Democrats snapped back and said New Mexico, which has the nation's highest unemployment rate, has lost enough jobs under Martinez.

Voters Will Decide on Ethics Commission
Here's a prediction you can hang on the Word: Voters will approve a constitutional amendment in 2018 that creates what lawmakers desperately want to call an independent ethics commission. The Legislature ironed out the last few kinks in the proposed amendment during the waning hours of the session, settling on who appoints the commission's members—mostly, it's the Legislature. Still at issue is how transparent the committee's work will be.

Don't Move
The governor has promised a veto for both minimum wage bills that lawmakers sent her way during the session. They wouldn't affect locally higher pay floors in Santa Fe, Albuquerque or Las Cruces, but the bills would have raised the minimum wage elsewhere in the state to $9 or $9.25 an hour.

Your Mom Goes to College
And if she doesn't, she certainly could without the nightmarish financial situation facing many college graduates. A new report says New Mexicans pay the lowest cost per credit hour of any public university system, averaging about $113. That's four times less than a private college's average cost and nine times (NINE TIMES) less than the average private university.

New Rules for Sexual Assault Evidence Kits
After backlogs in evidence that was collected but not processed—leaving both victims and alleged perpetrators in legal limbo—proposed new rules on the governor's desk say police agencies have 30 days to send the kits to a lab.

You Can Still Bring Your Gun to the Roundhouse
In one of the more New Mexican debates (yes, they passed the chile license plate bill) of the legislative session, the House spent an hour and a half debating the merits of open carry in the Capitol before ultimately deciding to let the practice continue. Several gun control bill hearings in the past years have taken place with advocates exercising their right to bear arms in front of the people debating whether to curtail that right.

'Retablo' Catapults 9-Year-Old to Spelling Bee Glory
Akilan Sankaran wasn't sure he'd won the New Mexico Spelling Bee. It was his first trip and he felt like the words he drew weren't as hard as the others he heard from his seat on the stage. But after all six of his remaining competitors went down in a single round, Sankaran rocked "retablo" to win a trip to Washington, DC, and the national competition. He'll bee one of the youngest competitors.

Thanks for reading! The Word is in awe of your pulchritude.

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