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Morning Word: High Noon

April 7, 2017, 7:45 am

US Attacks Syrian Military Base
Last night, two US Navy destroyers fired nearly 60 cruise missiles at the airfield where the Trump administration says the regime of Bashar al-Assad launched a chemical weapons attack that killed at least 80 civilians. The decision could represent a shift in focus away from ISIS and toward the government of Assad. Russia, which has military forces in Syria, condemned the attack.

Today's the Day
After 20 days of promising to veto the budget handed to her by lawmakers, Gov. Susana Martinez is expected to make good on that pledge. Despite a massive dump of executive action messages (detailed below) there are dozens of bills left that need a signature by noon or they will be vetoed. The governor also promised what she hoped would be a short special session, with a budget fix that would apparently be negotiated largely away from the public eye.

Wednesday, the governor's spokesman told the media that she had been "reviewing each bill, one by one, with staff." Yesterday, the governor decided to reveal her action on more than 100 of those individually reviewed bills. They included signing a bill to require speedy testing of rape kits.

Veto Watch: Solitary Confinement Limits
Gov. Martinez rejected a bill that would have limited the use of solitary confinement in New Mexico prisons and imposed stricter oversight on the controversial practice. The governor called it a safety issue for corrections officers, though the union that represents those officers supported the bill.

Veto Watch: New Science Standards
The governor also vetoed an attempt by lawmakers to force the state to adopt new science standards. SFR highlighted the Next Generation Science Standards in a recent cover story. The standards have unanimous support from a hand-picked panel of advisers to public education secretary Hanna Skandera. Though the administration could provide no evidence of current efforts to further review the standards, the governor maintains "the Public Education Department has already been working diligently" on the matter.

Veto Watch: Lobbyist Disclosures
Martinez also vetoed a bill that would have required more disclosures from lobbyists about how they spend money on lawmakers. The Legislature passed the bill to close a loophole that allowed spending of up to $100 without the need to disclose how it was spent. The governor said the language of the bill was vague, so the loophole stays open.

Free Market Think Tank Weighs in on Soda Tax
The Rio Grande Foundation, an Albuquerque-based think tank known for its opposition to taxes and regulation, says it plans to start a campaign against the proposed tax on sugary beverages. A city attorney sent the foundation a letter demanding it either register as a campaign group and file finance reports or tell the city why it felt it didn't have to do so.

New Mexico Makes Best Places to Film List
The state made the Hollywood Reporter's annual list of best places to make a movie or TV show in the US or Canada. Since taking a major hit six years ago, the state's incentives have rebounded nicely.

Thanks for reading! The Word is ready for the weekend. It's baseball season!

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