Morning Word: Extraordinary session idea floated
The latest on same-sex marriage in NM and more...
September 3, 2013, 8:00 am
- Does the behavioral health funding suspension require an extraordinary session of the legislature? This would require three-fifths of each chamber to vote for it. In other words, it would require some Republicans, which is unlikely.
The only extraordinary session in the state's history came in 2002 when the legislators overrode a budget veto by Gov. Gary Johnson. A petition for an extraordinary session was circulating in 2005 for the impeachment of then-Treasurer Robert Vigil, but Vigil opted to resign instead of face impeachment and removal from office.
- State Auditor Hector Balderas says that the audit does not show fraud.
"We want to make sure that we're testing and auditing their fraud detection that they're relying upon to make these life-changing decisions for citizens of New Mexico," Balderas said. "And what I've seen so far in that report is just not enough."
Balderas said he wants more evidence, and HSD says it won't hold back.
- Organized labor, which is generally an ally of Democrats, used Labor Day to help out Albuquerque mayoral candidate Pete Dinelli.
- Same-sex marriage in New Mexico reaches the New York Times again, with another piece that friend of the blog Heath Haussamen has a byline on.
The state’s Democratic Party has worked hard to take ownership of the issue, using it to bolster its narrative of New Mexico’s gradual tilt to the left on social issues. In an interview, the party’s chairman, Sam Bregman, noted the lack of protests after clerks began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in San Miguel County, home to many Roman Catholic Hispanic families, and Valencia County, where evangelical churches have recently multiplied. (The Valencia County clerk, Peggy Carabajal, is the sole Republican among the clerks issuing the licenses. She won her election in 2012 by 26 votes.)
- The Albuquerque Journal looks at how New Mexico came to having same-sex marriage.
- Republicans finally sued to halt same-sex marriages in Dona Ana County on Friday.
- Once again, Steve Terrell wins in the headline department. Wrapping up some same-sex marriage news, Terrell writes, "A Big Gay Box of Pandoras."
- Los Alamos County Clerk Sharon Stover will decide today whether or not to abide by a court order and issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
- The news organizations that are suing for the release of a behavioral health audit want a judge to review the audit itself.
New Mexico In Depth and the Las Cruces Sun-News state in their motion, filed Thursday, that a review of the audit by the judge assigned to the case – James T. Martin of Las Cruces – is “the only way for this court to make a proper analysis whether the disclosure is mandated.”
- A lawyer is suing the Human Services Department alleging she was fired for complaining about the behavioral health audit before it was released.
In a complaint filed in state District Court on Monday, Jeffreys said she went to the attorney general and state auditor Feb. 26 to report “irregularities in the arrangements for audits of behavioral health providers on behalf of OptumHealth,” the company under contract with the state to oversee New Mexico’s managed care system for behavioral health.
A spokesman for the department said Friday he couldn’t comment on the lawsuit because it is pending litigation.
- Michael Sanchez let his Labor Day deadline come and go without saying if he would run for governor.
- Writing for New Mexico Compass, Alex Escué Limkin says that a proposal to put a road down the Albuquerque bosque near the Rio Grande would be "a disaster."
A 10-foot-wide road is not disastrous in itself. In the end, it will resemble any other road through a wilderness setting: By width and uniformity and ugliness, it’s a surgical scar.
But take a moment to think of the construction efforts to make such a road. Think of the massive trucks and backhoes that will have to be motoring back and forth through that narrow beleaguered space, the clouds of diesel fumes they will be expelling, the tons of rubble that endless lines of dump trucks will be hauling in.
- The Sun Zia project, a transmission line that is threatened because the US Army does not want the line to go through land near White Sands Missile Range, continues to divide. Gov. Susana Martinez says the Army is right, Sen. Martin Heinrich says the Army "moved the goalposts" on the project.
- The Las Vegas Optic looks at one same-sex couple who got married in San Miguel County.
- Dan Mayfield writes about the increasingly common talk about changing New Mexico's tax code over at Albuquerque Business First.
Our local (tax) code is broken. So, the question is, why wouldn’t you fix it?” said Richard Anklam, executive director of the New Mexico Tax Research Institute, who spoke at the Reforming the Gross Receipts Tax meeting last week in Chama. “If you do it right, you’ll reduce (state) revenues. So, you offset it. Then you create winners and losers.
“There are several conversations going on right now,” Anklam said.
- In addition to the oil and gas industries, NMSU-Carlsbad is proving to be an economic boon to the area.
- The Democrat running against Rep. Steve Pearce says oil should be phased out and replaced with alternative energy sources.
- The Navajo Nation Council will start debating the government's 2014 budget.
- The Albuquerque Journal covers the shrinking and disappearing small towns in New Mexico.
- Drought and Fire Digest:
The state Environment Department and the Office of the State Engineer are stepping up their efforts to educate the public on water conservation in this current drought.
The Albuquerque Journal covers the Ute Lake pipeline that is a huge deal in Eastern New Mexico.
- An organized labor group is hoping to increase the minimum wage in Santa Fe County from $7.50 to $10.50 per hour. Already, areas in the city of Santa Fe have a $10.51 per hour minimum wage.
- The Rio Rancho Governing Body voted against allowing AT&T to build a cell tower, despite the threat of a lawsuit from the company.
- Attendance at the annual Bernalillo Wine Festival was down this year.