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Morning Word: Suing Susana; everyone's doing it

April 14, 2017, 7:30 am

Lawmakers vote to sue governor
Legislative Council meetings aren't normally as exciting as Thursday's was. Often they deal with day-to-day legislative issues. But faced with a standoff with the governor over whether to cut contributions to public employee pensions and pull more cash from school districts, or to raise taxes to balance the budget passed by lawmakers, the council of top lawmakers voted to sue the governor. Lawmakers say that the governor's choice to de-fund the legislative branch and the state's colleges and universities is unconstitutional. They also took the first step toward calling themselves into session instead of waiting for the governor's special session to set the agenda.

State's piggy bank raids put NM among nation's worst savers
New Mexico has continued to lean on its cash reserves as the economy has lagged. But after boasting reserves that could run the state for 47 days in 2012, today's reserves could handle the same job for only three or four days. We're now in the bottom 10 states and the shaky savings have already affected how much it costs New Mexico to pay for big projects.

Higher Ed secretary applies for UNM presidency
New Mexico Higher Education Secretary Barbara Damron, who this week said she was not in the loop about the controversial cuts to the entire budget of the schools she oversees, says she was asked to, and did, put her name in for UNM's vacant president's job. The governor's appointees to the UNM Board of Regents control the panel that will decide on the next leader of the state's flagship institution.

State hopes for best water year in a decade
It seems like it's been unseasonably warm, but snowpack in the northern mountains has held its own and benefited from late-season storms. It's always a guess, but water watchers say farmers, ranchers, cities and towns along the Rio Grande should expect a full allotment of water this summer. The refreshing news accompanies what could be the state's best water year since 2008. Provided, of course, it rains this summer.

Fighting fire by going old-school
Dozens of agencies and nonprofits have come together to figure out how best to return hundreds of thousands of acres of the Jemez Mountains to something close to their natural state. The idea is to make catastrophic fires that have decimated the forest there in recent decades a thing of the past, as well as to make it harder for bug infestations to impact large chunks of the forest.

APS cuts middle school sports
If you're wondering just how bad the budget is for local school districts, the state's largest—one of the country's largest—just got rid of athletic programs for middle school students. That's going to put more pressure on parents to pay for out-of-school sports.

Yard sale: UNM's ski teams axed 
Fresh off signing a new basketball coach for a $625,000 salary and paying the one it just fired $1 million, the University of New Mexico Athletics Department has cut its mens and womens downhill ski programs. The move is expected to save $600,000. Lobo athletics have been losing millions for years.

El Santuario
One of New Mexico's great traditions peaks today, as thousands of people walk to the tiny Santuario de Chimayo to honor the high holy weekend of Good Friday and Easter. Careful on those roads north of town, people.

Thanks for reading! The Word is pulling its best spring finery from the closet.

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