--2 Morning Word: New effort to change ABQ minimum wage
       
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Morning Word: New effort to change ABQ minimum wage

And the rest of New Mexico's news

August 1, 2013, 8:00 am
By Matthew Reichbach
  • The "weapon" of legislating by petition in Albuquerque may take another look at the minimum wage. This time on tipped employees, according to KOB.
    But Smith and her group wants tipped employees to get paid $9.50 an hour between tips and a wage.

    The proposal also wants to remove the percentages the employer has to pay in cash wages.

    Meaning, as long as the employee gets $9.50 an hour, the employer could reduce their wage from $3.83 an hour to $2.13 an hour, the federal wage for tipped workers.
    The issue would not be on October's ballot.
  • Former New Mexico State University President Gerald Thomas passed away at the age of 94.
  • Thanks to a failed sales tax increase, Dona Ana County will likely have to cut services.
    The 1/4 of 1 percent sales tax hike -- an extra 25-cent charge on a $100 purchase -- would have paid for expanded 911 center staffing; for Crisis Triage Center operations, a facility to help the mentally ill; and for county ambulance services.

    The county has money budgeted in its 2013-14 budget to pay for its share of the 911 center -- which is also funded by a handful of cities -- the Crisis Triage Center and a yearly $1.3 million ambulance contract, county officials said. But county commissioners are dipping into county savings from past years -- at a level of $15.4 million -- to accomplish that and other projects in the cycle that started July 1, said County Finance Director Bill Noland.
  • Sen. Tom Udall has $1.5 million cash on hand for his re-election campaign. So far, Udall has no announced opponent.
  • Milan Simonich continues to beat the drumbeat of Attorney General Gary King's role in a raid that resulted in the euthanization of hundreds of chickens by the AG's Animal Cruelty Task Force. Simonich contrasts King's stance on the proposed horse slaughter plant in Roswell to the raid.
    "New Mexico has had laws on its books for more than seven decades protecting our citizens from adulterated food," King said as to why he opposes Valley Meat Co., which would operate the horse plant. "Scientific studies show that horse meat fits the legal definition of an adulterated food product due to the presence of many chemical substances routinely used on horses that are deemed unfit for human consumption."

    It does not matter to King that the horse plant could not operate unless it passed health and safety inspections by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
  • Capitol Report New Mexico reports that the Navajo Nation supports the horse slaughter plant.
  • The Santa Fe New Mexican reports on two candidates entering the race for a city council seat in the southern part of the city.
  • Media News:

    Workers at the Gallup Independent say the publisher pushed staff.

    Astrid Galvin, the higher education reporter for the Albuquerque Journal, is leaving to go to school in Arizona. Her last day is August 2. The Journal is looking for a replacement.

    Dick Knipfing did his last 5:30 edition of KRQE news today. He'll be exclusively doing the 10:00 edition.
  • There was a controversial zoning change in Rio Rancho.
    In the public comment period, Corrales Village Councilor John Alsobrook said the change would push residential use into a commercial area.

    "This is not a transition," he said.

    Also, he said the Whiteline Properties didn’t address public need for the change, as was required, and rental occupancy rates in Albuquerque were low. Alsobrook asked the governing body to deny the zone change.
  • Daily Drought and Fire Digest:

    New Mexico is still in a drought, despite the rain.

    There will be a wildfire conference at the Inn of the Mountain Gods August 12-13.

    Fire officials will begin prescribed burns in the Lincoln Forest.
  • Thom Cole looks at how survivor benefits for pensions could end up with millions going to public employees' families.
    udges and magistrates can designate anyone they wish as survivor beneficiaries without any reductions in their pensions, and beneficiaries receive 75 percent of the pensions for life should the retirees die.

    Other PERA retirees also can designate anyone they wish as survivor beneficiaries, but their pensions are reduced based on their life expectancies and those of their beneficiaries. That means a retiree who designates a 4-year-old granddaughter as his survivor beneficiary is going to receive a very small pension, and the benefit for the child is also going to be very small once the retiree dies.
  • Some more land from Price Dairy was bought for a wildlife refuge.
  • The Weekly Alibi has a piece on how a copper mining company helped rewrite environmental rules. It is a very similar topic to a piece by Laura Paskus in the Santa Fe Reporter in May. Note: This has been updated for clarity.
  • The Taos Police Department also has an interim police chief who may get the permanent gig.
  • Frontier is ending service to Albuquerque.

 

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