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Morning Word: Special Session Set

May 8, 2017, 7:30 am

It's on
She made the call. Gov. Susana Martinez will bring lawmakers back to the Capitol on Wednesday, May 24 for a special session to finalize next year's budget, plan capital outlay spending, complete a huge tax reform effort and appoint university regents. Leading Democratic budget voices, like Sen. John Arthur Smith, say they haven't had any discussions about what a compromise budget would look like. 

Gov's attorney says her vetoes are legit
So goes the argument her private attorney, Paul Kennedy, filed with the Supreme Court on Friday. (How long has he been in the private-lawyer-on-the-taxpayer-dime racket, anyway?) Kennedy argued that the governor has the right to veto whatever she chooses from a budget bill, including all public higher education funding and money for an entire legislative branch. He also says, though, that the court should recognize no one's in danger of running out of money (um, furloughs anyone?) and that the special session can fix everything. That's a little more than a week after oral arguments on May 15.

Worst of the worst?
A federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives operation last year promised to catch the "worst of the worst" in a high-level sting operation on Albuquerque's streets. Instead, ATF agents arrested and charged a disproportionately high number of African Americans and just a handful of Anglos. Many of the charges, Jeff Proctor at New Mexico In Depth found, were for amounts of drugs far less than what the feds usually bother with. What's more, some of the defendants didn't have a felony record, something the worst of the worst often have in spades.

Second Tai
Former Santa Fe County sheriff's deputy Tai Chan will go on trial again tomorrow for the murder of fellow deputy Jeremy Martin in October 2014. The trial will be in Las Cruces. In a mistrial that ended last June, jurors deadlocked on whether to deliver a verdict of murder or manslaughter, failing to reach a unanimous decision on all charges. After the judge declared the mistrial, the lead detective on the case filed a whistleblower lawsuit claiming she'd been denied the necessary resources to give the killing the attention it deserved. 

Another Santa Fe tax
Brace yourselves. It's not a 2-cents-an-ounce tax on sugary drinks, but the Santa Fe County Commission will soon be considering a new gross receipts tax to pay for public safety and mental health services. The tax could be as low as 1/16 of a percent or as high as 1/8. Last November, voters said yes to an advisory measure on the ballot that asked about the 1/8 percent tax, which would not target sugary drinks but just about everything else.

Weekend manhunt
Two Sandoval County Detention Center inmates escaped through a hole in the facility's fence, jumped up on a roof, and found a construction site where they ditched their orange prison wear and headed off into the illicit freedom of a Friday night. By Sunday afternoon, they'd both been captured. Expect to learn more about the case today.

Valles Caldera runs back on
It's been a year since Karen Williams was attacked by a bear as she inadvertently ran between the sow and her cubs during a trail race at the Valles Caldera. The feds have approved this year's run, though runners will now be required to wear bells and will get text alerts if someone sees active wildlife along the race course. A federal employees' group dedicated to environmental causes says the race needlessly puts humans and wildlife at risk.

Goa Way?
Over at the New Mexican, Sami Edge takes a look at some of Santa Fe County's strangest street names and the county rule behind them. It's the reason you could end up on Muscle Car Lane or Quarrels End.

Thanks for reading! The Word is up and at 'em.

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