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Morning Word: The Jeff Sessions

May 17, 2017, 7:30 am

Two steps back
A recent memo from US Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered federal prosecutors to seek the harshest possible charge when moving forward on a case. That could put more New Mexicans in prison with much longer sentences. SFR looks at what's to come and how prosecutors had been considering the harshness of mandatory sentences before charging low-level drug crimes.

$4,000,000 for your thoughts
That's how much political action committees spent on Santa Fe's sugary-drink tax election. That works out to a whopping $204 per vote. All but $15 of Better Way for Santa Fe & Pre-K's expenses were paid for by Big Soda, which pumped more than $2 million in cash and support into the campaign. Pro-tax groups spent $1.88 million, almost 80 percent of which came from former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg.  

Chomping at the bit
The New Mexico Capitol press corps can hardly wait for some action. It'll be more than two months since the session ended by the time they and the Legislature return to the Roundhouse next Wednesday. Over at the Albuquerque Journal, Dan McKay has a look at the tax reform package possibilities likely to draw lawmakers' attention during the special session that starts May 24.

Balderas out for gov
Attorney General Hector Balderas says he's ruled out a run for governor. Balderas, a Democrat, will instead run for reelection next year. A successful campaign would have him in office when Tom Udall's US Senate seat comes up in 2020. Udall will be 72 years old that year. Just sayin'. 

False alarm
It wasn't just city police in Santa Fe, but the FBI and US Marshals who were interested in a reported abduction Tuesday. Witnesses said they saw a man stuff a teenage girl into his car and scores of officers rolled out, searched cars and scoured the midtown neighborhood. Getting the word out worked ... sort of. The man involved called police to tell them it was a domestic dispute. Police say there was no crime.

ATF pays informants in NM sting—and it pays very well 
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives used traveling informants to make a slew of arrests of people it promised would be the "worst of the worst" in Albuquerque. That was hardly the case. Now, it's come to the light that those informants make as much as $80,000 as agents ferry them about the country.

Former Pojoaque first family moving forward
It's been one year since Tino Rivera passed away from injuries sustained in a car crash. His parents, former Pojoaque Pueblo governor George Rivera and wife Felicia, spoke to SFR about trying to move forward from the death of their youngest child. They've both left the Pojoaque tribal administration—not by choice. But they've found hope in George's art and in Tino's love for dance.

Oh good
The city has reworked a plan to bring back the unmanned speed-ticketing vans that use radar, cameras and the good old US Postal Service to deliver your ticket. It's all so easy, see? A first-time offense of driving any speed more than 10 mph over the limit will cost you $50, it's $100 for each violation after that within a two-year period. The proposal has to pass one more committee before the City Council might vote on it.

Thanks for reading! The Word is going to spend the day driving very close to the speed limit.

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