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Morning Word: College Daze

April 4, 2017, 7:30 am

Auditor Unloads on Northern NM College
Citing scores of deficiencies in purchasing practices, a former employee who appears to have stolen $200,000 and a former president who apparently took 744 hours—worth a whopping $87,000—of questionable leave, the state auditor released a scathing report on the Española college. State police are already investigating the theft. The school's new president took over last fall.

A Week of Waiting
The governor has until high noon Friday to act on bills sent to her in the 2017 legislative session. Those, of course, include the budget. The $6.1 billion spending measure is too high in Susana Martinez' opinion. Signing it would also require her to approve some revenue-raising options given to her by lawmakers. There's little chance of that. The governor could line-item veto enough programs to make up the difference, or she could call a special session. She's only threatened one of those things.

Workers' Comp Bill Signed
The governor did sign a bill to change the rules behind the state's workers' compensation program. It lets employers fire former workers' comp beneficiaries for something unrelated to the injury claim. It also penalizes injured workers who refuse a legitimate offer to return to work.

How Does it Feel?
Rolling Stone magazine highlights a New Mexico bill that's sponsored by the House's top Republican and waiting for the governor's signature. As Steve Terrell explains, the bill would add opioid addiction to the list of conditions for which a medical marijuana prescription is allowed. The article points out it's uncertain if the governor will sign it. 

In T or C, No One Can Hear You Scream
So sayeth the senior citizens who had to give up their activity center as a launchpad for now-canceled tours to Spaceport America, which is a launchpad for yet-to-come Virgin Galactic flights into space, which is apparently where New Mexico's massive investment return floats, weightless and free, waiting to return back to Earth.

Mine Spill Damage Claims Reduced 
Law firms representing those who took an economic hit from the Gold King Mine Spill have dropped the amount of their claims from $1.2 billion to about $420 million, says the Associated Press. The environmental impact, which may be harder to measure, is ongoing.

We're Crafty
An international study of craft beer's economic impact says what many people have already tasted in New Mexico: a delightfully robust local brew scene with distinct overtones of profitability. The survey hints at more than $75 million in growth in the industry's economic impact since 2013.

This Poll Ain't Big Enough for the Three of Us
Taos, Madrid and Cloudcroft are among the hamlets in the running for USA Today's Best Small Southwestern Town poll. It's a reader poll, so you can vote. The newspaper includes California and Nevada towns, which means somehow Carmel-by-the-Sea is in the Southwest. Go ahead, Clint. Make our day.

Thanks for reading! The Word apologizes for the low-hanging-fruit Clint Eastwood reference. Also, that was 30 years ago. Man, we're old.

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