One week from today, the assorted media from around the state will gather in the tiny press room above the state House on the first day of the session.
(Broken record time as I direct you to this site's fundraiser
so you can make sure there is one more of us up there to cover the session).
An interesting part of the first day is that everyone is there -- smaller newspapers from around the state will send reporters to the State Capitol to cover the Governor's State of the State address.
The first day of a session can be a formality most of the time. This year, we will see the battle over Senate leadership unfold and new committee assignments in both the House and Senate. And we will also see Martinez's priorities for the session.
The real work will come later, however. And, as usual, it will likely come in the final few weeks for the biggest of the big-ticket items.
On to the Word:
- Former dean of the University of New Mexico School of Medicine Leonard Napolitano passed away. Napolitano was a longtime Albuquerque resident and father of United States Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napalitano, the Albuquerque Journal reported.
- The latest from New Mexico In Depth looks at Martinez's stance on the Spaceport and how she has went from a skeptic to a proponent of the facility. The piece was by the Las Cruces Sun-News' Diana Alba Soular.
- A companion piece looks at how Martinez is trying to improve her mixed economic development record.
But since Martinez took office, New Mexico’s economic growth has been slower than the national average, according to state and federal data.
Also, while the unemployment rate has dropped, the total number of jobs in the state has declined. That’s a sign that workers have either left the state or stopped looking for employment, said Christopher Erickson, a New Mexico State University economics professor.
- Did you miss the Weekly Word? After a break for the holidays, the weekly podcast that is a partnership between NM Telegram and SFR was back for a legislative preview.
- Albuquerque's special election to decide if a municipal candidate must get 50 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff will be a mail-in election. The current law has the threshold at 40 percent.
Weekly Word guest and SFR intern Sterling Fluharty:
ABQ city council decision for mail-in election in March could mean higher turnout & greater chance of passage, if OR is an example #abq2013— Sterling Fluharty (@sterflu) January 8, 2013
- Michelle Lujan Grisham announced some additional staffers. Her office announced that former state Cabinet Secretary of the Department of Aging & Long-Term Services Deborah Armstrong would serve as Deputy Chief of Staff and Director of the congresswoman's District Offices.
Former Bill Richardson spokesman Gilbert Gallegos will serves as Deputy Director of District Offices.
Former American Federation of Teachers New Mexico political director and program manager Tiffany Fiser will be a field representative in the District Offices.
- New Mexico Capitol Report's Milan Simonich writes about an unsuccessful attempt at leadership change on the PRC.
- KOB says that Albuquerque mayor Richard Berry is in a strong position for reelection.
- Some lede from the Santa Fe New Mexican:
That is New Mexico’s record for job growth over the past three years compared with the other 49 states.
- KOAT reports that Rio Rancho mayor Tom Swisstack supports Gov. Susana Martinez's proposal to cut the corporate income tax. Rio Rancho is the home of an Intel semiconducter plant -- which would be one of the largest beneficiaries of such a cut.
- President Barack Obama nominated former U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel for the position of Secretary of Defense. Both New Mexico Senators were complimentary about Hagel, a former Republican Senator. Neither would commit to voting one way or another, however.
- Capitol Report New Mexico covers Tom Udall's filibuster reform proposal.
- The housing authority scandal is among the top-ten stories of 2012 in the latest edition of the Taos News.
- The city of Santa Fe is hosting a gun buyback program.
- Former Gov. Bill Richardson and Google executive Eric Schmidt are in North Korea.
- Breaking Bad actor Stephen Michael Quezada was certified along with nine other candidates for Albuquerque school board.
- A case involving six 'Hiroshima' Los Alamos National Labs protesters is going to court this week.
- The Santa Fe New Mexican reports on a proposal to repeal a pro-union construction rule in Santa Fe going to the city's Finance Committee for a vote.
- The Clovis News Journal has the view on the upcoming legislative session from eastern New Mexico officials.
Education, economic development and financial reforms, either in taxes or in fund distributions, seem to be on the radar for Republicans and Democrats alike, and most have pledged, as Gov. Susana Martinez has, to work across the aisle.
- A priority for Mora County, meanwhile, is $2.5 million for an uncompleted courthouse complex.
- Hewlett-Packard is transferring 200 jobs out of its Rio Rancho facility, Albuquerque Business First reports.
- A very interesting look at a teacher who came just short of passing her National board certification for teaching. The level of self-analysis that the teacher, Leah Dolan, shows in the article shows just how detailed and grueling the process can be -- and why it comes with a pay bump of around $5,000 for those who are successful.
- The CMRR got some funding in the FY13 defense authorization bill.
The legislation permits up to $70 million in new funds for the building’s construction in the budget year that runs through Sept. 30, and it makes available $120 million in money previously appropriated for the project.
The bill also establishes a $3.7 billion spending cap for the structure, which is intended to assume the responsibilities of PF-4.
- The downtown Albuquerque bar Maloney's Tavern had to pay $2,500 in fines for refusing to sit a woman with a service animal.
- Six Brazilians are accused of trying to obtain New Mexico drivers licenses with fraudulent documents, the Albuquerque Journal reports.
- Apparently Jews had a a big role in building the A-Bomb in Los Alamos. An author who wrote a book on the subject will give a lecture in Los Alamos tonight, the Journal North reports.
- The Albuquerque city council voted to name a gym and community center after legendary boxer Johnny Tapia. Trudy Jones was the lone vote against the honor for Tapia.