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Morning Word: Dark Money, Free Speech

July 13, 2017, 7:30 am

Dark money battle
Proposed campaign finance rules that would require some groups to register as political action committees, forcing them to disclose their donors, are facing opposition from a slew of conservative and libertarian groups. Those groups say the rules suggested by Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver would chill free speech. The first of three hearings is scheduled this morning at the Capitol. You can watch online.

Audit finds pervasive wage gaps among state vendors
A just-completed review by the Office of the State Auditor found there's little compliance with—or enforcement of—a 2009 law designed to reduce disparities between the salaries paid to men and women who do the same jobs. The law is supposed to require vendors with the state to provide information about how much they pay men and women to do the same work. But the audit found vendors often skip the documentation altogether, and the state has done little to make them comply with the law.

Overdose deaths tick up in NM
New Mexico's rate of drug overdose deaths was up slightly last year, as the state deals with a decades-long drug problem. Three out of four overdose deaths were caused by opioids like heroin or prescription painkillers. 

DA passes on passed-out couple
District Attorney Marco Serna has dropped charges against a Santa Fe County couple found passed out on a friend's driveway—their 9-month-old child in the back seat. Serna told KRQE he didn't believe he could prove to a jury that the couple had driven drunk, which would be the evidence he'd need to win a case on child abuse charges against the pair.

Former Auditor's employee sues over flex time
Mary Martinez used to be a division director at the Office of State Auditor, but says she was forced to resign after a supervisor refused to allow off-hours work to make up time she'd missed while caring for her sick father. Martinez has filed suit against the agency.

First National president leaves after merger
Michelle Coons had been president at First National Santa Fe bank and Bank of the Rio Grande since 2012. But she's left the institution, now known as First National 1870, after a merger closed with a Kansas-based financial group. 

Iraqi refugee expects to be deported
Kadhim Al-bumohammed has lived in the US for 20 years. He served alongside US troops in the Persian Gulf. He expects to be detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement at a hearing today. Two misdemeanor domestic violence convictions raised flags for customs officials. He'll leave behind a wife and four kids if he's sent back to Iraq.

It hasn't rained much
Which you can tell by picking up your dry morning paper. There's moisture around, meteorologists say, just not around where most people live in Santa Fe. On the plus side, rain in the mountains means there isn't significant drying happening as we wait for the monsoons to kick in.

Thanks for reading! The Word encourages everyone to leave their car windows open overnight. That is always a good way to ensure it will rain.

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