When is a law not a law? Well, when the city can't enforce the penalties for the law.
This appears to be the case with the new minimum wage law that Albuquerque voters passed last year.
KOB spoke to the Albuquerque city attorney
who said his office isn't able to enforce the law. It came to light after a local conservative restaurant owner said he signed agreements with his staff saying they would not get the higher pay.
This is, of course, illegal. But owners doing similar things may not face the consequences.
The reason? Not enough resources from the city council.
City attorney, David Tourek says he’s not enforcing it saying, “without the necessary authorization and necessary resources being provided by Council, the City Attorney's Office will not be initiating civil lawsuits."
Labor attorney Dan Faber says it’s up to individual workers being shortchanged to sue their employer.
"If the city has decided it's not going to take the reins of this ordinance and enforce it then I think there are going to be very few enforcement lawsuits brought," said Faber.
The owner of Route 66 Malt Shop Eric Szeman was one of a handful of restaurant owners who told the city council that it would cost them jobs to pay more to their workers.
On to the Word:
- The February 19 legislative roundup from the Santa Fe New Mexican is up.
House Chief Clerk Stephen Arias wanted to know if HB 61 would allow him to use two fishing poles at the same time. After consulting a witness, bill sponsor Rep. Yvette Herrell, R-Alamogordo, said it would.
- Opponents to raising the minimum wage took out an ad in the Albuquerque Journal. Perhaps more importantly, the ad from the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce and two other groups got the earned media from KRQE.
- Sens. Phil Griego, D-San Jose, and Linda Lopez, D-Albuquerque, are the "Energizer bunnies" of the 2013 session according to the Santa Fe New Mexican. This is because of the large number of bills the two committee chairs are carrying this year.
Lopez, a single mom from Albuquerque who chairs the Senate Rules Committee, is sponsoring 46 bills and memorials — the most in either chamber. Looking at legislative measures alone, Lopez has filed 40 bills, just ahead of Sen. Phil Griego’s 39.
- La Jicarita looks at "how not to manage for drought.".
Unless your idea of how to address current and impending drought in New Mexico includes building pipelines, dams, and tunnels to move water around and spending lots of money buying water rights you’re not likely to be hired by a water management bureaucracy in New Mexico or get elected to the legislature (except maybe Peter Wirth or Michael Sanchez). Let’s take a look at some of the consequences of these practices.
- There are varying estimates for the cost of early childhood education.
- A bill that would allow counties to add an excise tax to liquor sales was tabled in the House Taxation and Revenue Comittee.
- The State Senate confirmed two members of the New Mexico Finance Authority despite them not catching on to a fake audit.
- A state senator introduced legislation that would ban fracking. The bill was attacked by the oil and gas industry and the legislators who support it.
- The Albuquerque Journal says the Albuquerque Police Department is targeting four supervisors. They were allegedly at a bar with a police officer before he went home and beat his wife.
- New Mexico Capitol Report reports on the same confirmation.
- A Portales police officer has been disciplined for texting sexually explicit messages to a 17-year-old girl. The officer was working as an officer in Lovington when the messages were sent according to the Clovis News Journal.
Gonzalez said he exchanged sexually explicit text messages with a 17-year-old girl, according to minutes from the meeting. The NMLEA suspended his license for 180 days, placed Gonzalez on one-year probation and ordered him to complete an ethics class.
- Nearly 300 sex offenders will be transferred to a privately-run prison in Otero County.
- New Mexico Compass reports on New Mexicans joining in on the "One Billion Rising" movement.
- Former Albuquerque mayor Jim Baca has some advice for mayoral candidates.
- A Rio Rancho firm is making money on online advertising.
- The Associated Press reports that animal protection bills are pending in the state legislature.
- Bird watching from John Fleck at the Albuquerque Journal:
The swan, spotted by bird-watchers several times since Friday on the stretch of the Rio Grande from the Alameda Bridge area north to Sandia Pueblo, is the first New Mexico mute swan reported to eBird, the Internet bird reporting system run by Cornell University and the Audubon Society.Fleck says the bird is considered an invasive species in some parts of the United States.