Thursday was a big day of news for the New Mexico congressional delegation.
On the top of the list was the swearing in of Michelle Lujan Grisham and Martin Heinrich to their new positions.
Heinrich was sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden as the state's junior Senator. Lujan Grisham replaced Heinrich in the 1st Congressional District seat. New Mexico Telegram has the story including video
Meanwhile, Rep. Steve Pearce made headlines by being among the Republicans who did not vote for John Boehner
for Speaker of the House.
U.S. Senator Tom Udall, meanwhile, continued his push for filibuster reform
. This time, Udall and fellow Senators Tom Harkin, D-Ill., and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., introduced their filibuster reform proposals.
Back in New Mexico, Attorney General Gary King said the New Mexico Department of Public Safety must furnish documents
that were requested by Independent Source PAC. The documents related to time off sheets for his police detail during a Louisiana hunting trip for First Gentleman Chuck Franco.
Remember, the fundraiser to help the Word cover the 2013 legislative session
is still going on. We are now almost at $600, but there is still some way to go to get to the $3,500 goal. Please do what you can to donate -- it is the only way that New Mexico Telegram will be able to cover the legislative session.
On to the Word:
- Have you been missing the Weekly Word podcast? Well, never fear -- the podcast which is a partnership between the Santa Fe Reporter and New Mexico Telegram will be back on Monday with a legislative preview.
- New Mexico In Depth says they are publishing their first series of articles next week. New Mexico In Depth and reporters from the Santa Fe New Mexican and Las Cruces Sun-News wrote a series of articles about the first two years of Gov. Susana Martinez's term and what the future holds for her.
The first article profiles Martinez halfway through her term. Other articles will look at important topics, including Martinez’s decision whether or not to expand Medicaid, her record on economic development and support for Spaceport America, her push to repeal the 2003 law that allows undocumented immigrants to obtain New Mexico driver’s licenses, her decision to create a state-based health exchange, and her efforts to find common ground with state lawmakers on the issue of limiting social promotion.Can't wait to see what these great reporters have done.
- Another online news source, New Mexico Compass, has a primer on the REAL ID Act.
- Gov. Susana Martinez wants $40 million in economic development incentives. Martinez made the announcement at a Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce luncheon, Albuquerque Business First reports.
- The Associated Press reports on the same Martinez speech.
In outlining part of her agenda for the upcoming legislative session, Martinez said she will ask the Legislature to reduce the corporate tax rate to 4.9 percent from 7.6 percent over several years.
The governor also wants to wants to change how New Mexico determines the taxes owed by corporations that do business in multiple states. Companies would be offered the option of basing their tax liability on their sales in New Mexico. The change could help corporations like computer chip maker Intel, which has a plant in Rio Rancho but the bulk of its sales are outside the state. Currently, the tax obligation of a corporation is tied to its payroll, property and sales in New Mexico.
- The Albuquerque Journal was there as well.
- Tim Keller says Democrats will have their own plan.
- Speaking New Mexico In Depth and New Mexico Compass -- I will be on KNME's Call-In show next Thursday with Trip Jennings of New Mexico In Depth and Marisa DeMarco of New Mexico Compass to talk about the changing landscape of news media.
What do you want to see covered by news media in New Mexico? Which media outlets are doing it well? We'll hear from reporters and editors at new online media outlets and discuss news coverage in New Mexico, what is missing, and what they plan to do about it. We'd like to hear from you. Email email@example.com, post your comments online, or call in live during the show.
- Milan Simonich says that a new PRC commissioner had a stumbling start to her tenure.
Espinoza said her call for regular, ongoing executive sessions was not an attempt to exclude the public from PRC meetings. Rather, she said, she was trying to advocate for “retreats” or workshops in which PRC executives could have frank discussions that would prepare them for binding votes at their regular public meetings.
- Teh Santa Fe Reporter reports that state lawmakers are still accepting contributions after the prohibited period started on January 1. Not only that, but SusanaPAC, the political action committee for Susana Martinez, is still soliciting contributions.
Some Democratic legislators had their ActBlue websites still up, but were deactivated, SFR reported.
- New Mexico Economic Development Secretary Jon Barela says the New Mexico MainStreet program created 622 jobs in 2012 at an event in Artesia.
- Gov. Martinez says the state is on track to get approval for the health care exchange, the AP reports.
- TSA agents found not one but two grenades in checked luggage at the Albuquerque Sunport in the past week.
- Christopher Torchia will be the South Africa bureau chief for the Associated Press. Torchia used to work at the Albuquerque Journal.
- Albuquerque Public Schools changed its bidding process for contracts. The last formula resulted in higher-priced bids getting contracts.
- The Farmington Daily Times has a new managing editor.
Roberts had worked since 2005 at the El Paso Times, where he was most recently an investigative reporter. The newspapers share the same parent company, Digital First Media.
Roberts succeeds Troy Turner as The Daily Times’ top editor. Turner accepted a promotion to Digital First’s news team in New York City.
- Anti-DWI activists want breathalyzers installed in the homes of those convicted of DWI, the AP reports.
The proposed requirement would apply to offenders who claim they don’t have a vehicle and are not driving, said Richard Roth, director of Impact DWI.
As a condition of probation, they would be required to have a home Breathalyzer and blow into the device in the morning and the evening.
- The trip to North Korea by former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and Google executive Eric Schmidt is bad timing, U.S. State Department officials say.
- The Las Vegas Optic says New Mexico Highlands University is going green.
- No Labels, a group that opposes government gridlock, called No Labels will meet in Santa Fe.
- A press release from the Tax & Revenue Department:
John C. Tysseling, the Chief Economist for the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department, has been appointed as a member of the U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (USEITI) Advisory Committee for a three-year term by the United States Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. The USEITI Advisory Committee is charged with promoting transparency concerning revenue from natural resources by monitoring and reconciling industry payments and government revenues.
- The Farmington police officer who shot and killed a man had been involved in three shootings in the past six years.
- Questa residents had to turn off their faucets because of a water line break.
The break has been repaired but the system can't pressurize because many have faucets open to keep pipes from freezing.
- Sen. Martin Heinrich announced his new offices. In addition to his Washington D.C. offices, he will have offices in Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Santa Fe, Farmington and Roswell.
- Former 3rd Judicial District Attorney Amy Orlando is now associate deputy director for Juvenille Justice Services of Southern New Mexico, the Las Cruces Sun-News reports. Orlando, who replaced Susana Martienz in the DA spot, was defeated in November's elections.
- New Eddy County sheriff Scott London will have his department evaluated by a team from Bernalillo County before making any changes, the Carlsbad Current-Argus reports.
- Bloomfield closed its MVD because an employee allegedly embezzled $20,000.
- Scientologists say they found an alien space cathedral in rural New Mexico.
The Sun report, penned by BBC journalist (and author) and Scientology debunker John Sweeney, claims the church designed the underground site to withstand a nuclear holocaust. Hidden within the complex's vaults are titanium caskets that hold gold disks inscribed with the original texts of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, according to the Daily Mail.