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Morning Word: Guess Who's Back?

June 13, 2017, 7:30 am

New Koch
The Koch brothers-backed Americans for Prosperity group is opening up shop in New Mexico. It's been at least four years since the social welfare organization—a 501(c)(4) in IRS terms—has had a presence in the state. The tax designation means AFP can raise and spend unlimited amounts of cash and keep its donors secret, as long as it doesn't take a position on individual candidates and spends most of its money on social welfare. Burly Cain, a Libertarian and the state director for AFP, says that will include a speakers' series and activist training. It could also include an office in Santa Fe.

Next to last ... again
This is the fourth year in a row that New Mexico has ranked 49th in the annual Kids Count survey of childhood wellbeing among the states. The Annie E Casey Foundation compiles the measure. New Mexico bumped up its childhood health ranking from 44th to 37th, in large part because more kids are getting access to health care under Medicaid. New Mexico Voices for Children says many of those kids were already eligible for help before the Affordable Care Act, but their parents didn't know they qualified.

Tax plan goof would have cost millions
The much-discussed but not-debated gross receipts tax reform pushed by House Republicans and the governor in the legislative special session contained a technical error that would have cost tens of millions of dollars in revenue. The 430-page bill was being drafted even as the session began, something that led Democratic legislative leaders to say they couldn't truly debate such a massive measure on short notice. 

Council race is on
JoAnne Vigil Coppler, a Santa Fe businesswoman, plans to run for the City Council seat in District 4 that's being vacated by Ron Trujillo, who is running for mayor. Coppler has a long history in state government and currently owns her own real estate company.

Former Rep. Miera seeks higher office
Former State Representative and onetime House Majority Leader Rick Miera is running for lieutenant governor. Miera stepped down from his House seat in 2014 after 23 years in the Legislature. The lieutenant governor handles the day-to-day action when the Senate is in session—just like the vice president—but unlike on the national level, each party decides on its lieutenant governor candidate separately from the candidate for governor.

New Mexico school funding on trial
Santa Fe Superintendent and former Public Education Secretary Veronica Garcia testified in day one of the trial over how much money the state gives public schools. Garcia said the state may do an okay job of distributing what money it provides, but it doesn't provide enough. Two groups suing the state say the Public Education Department has chronically underfunded schools and that that's having an outsized impact on Native Americans, English-language learners and low-income students.

Steal wheels
Twice in the last few weeks, someone has stolen the wheels off cars owned by the Public Schools Facilities Authority. It may seem an odd choice for thieves, because the cars are kept in a keycard-controlled parking garage near University Boulevard and Avenida Cesar Chavez in Albuquerque. But that usually means nobody's around much.

First round
The Miami Marlins of Major League Baseball picked pitcher Trevor Rogers of Carlsbad in the first round of yesterday's amateur draft. The 6'6" Rogers posted gaudy numbers his last two years in high school. But that huge frame means there's likely more development to come for the lefty. The Marlins used the 13th pick in the draft for Rogers. It's kinda lucky: puts the signing value of the pick at $3.875 million. 

Thanks for reading! The Word is also eligible for the draft, though after 25 years or so, it's probably not going to happen. But it could.

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