- Attorney General Gary King says a ballot initiative seeking to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy would be unenforceable because it violates the state and United States constitutions.
- The Santa Fe Reporter looks at the assault on abortion access in New Mexico.
While the same tactics have successfully brought similar abortion restrictions to states like Ohio, North Carolina and Texas, New Mexico’s situation has at least one distinction: If voters approve the 20-weeks ban, Albuquerque will become the first city to restrict abortion access on the municipal level.
But the consequences would go far beyond the city limits. For one, all of New Mexico’s surgical abortion providers operate in Albuquerque. The ban would also effectively end late-term abortion in the Southwest.
- Albuquerque city councilors received an earful from anti-abortion activists.
- Dan McKay with some parliamentary stuff:
Jones hadn’t tried to block the election. But she did introduce a resolution Wednesday that would direct the city to pursue legal action to determine whether the abortion ordinance is constitutional and whether the city is obligated to propose it to voters, if it’s not.
In any case, her proposal appears to be dead as a practical matter. Councilors referred Jones’ bill to their finance and government committee, and the chairman of that committee, Don Harris, said he didn’t intend to place it on the committee’s agenda until Nov. 25.
That’s six days after the election.
- Meanwhile, mayor Richard Berry outlined his plans for his second term in office.
- Los Alamos National Labs will shut down at the end of next week if the federal government shutdown is not ended and Congress agrees to fund the government.
- Here is the take from the hometown paper, the Los Alamos Monitor. And also the Los Alamos Daily Post.
- Albuquerque Business First examines the costs to New Mexico's economy of closing Sandia and Los Alamos National Labs.
But, said Lee Reynis, director of the University of New Mexico’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research, it’s hard to determine what the immediate impacts would be. Many of the labs’ contracts are multiyear contracts, and only 45 percent of those are with New Mexico companies. Of the total contracts Sandia has in New Mexico, 64 percent, or $256 million, was paid to small businesses.
The larger impact will be when many of the lab’s nearly 10,000 employees, 8,900 of whom work in New Mexico, are put on furlough as a result of the shutdown.
- Tuesday, the Democrats in the New Mexico congressional delegation called for contractors at Los Alamos National Labs and Sandia National Labs to get back pay if they are furloughed. The Republican Party of New Mexico chided Democrats for not including the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, as Rep. Steve Pearce did.
- Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich have shuttered their offices because of the shutdown. Steve Pearce's is still open, the Las Cruces Sun-News reports.
- The shutdown will delay the sale of land leases from the Bureau of Land Management.
- Federal courts, however, will remain open during the shutdown. Court workers were deemed essential.
- Terry Schleder's short, controversial run as Executive Director of the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government is over. Erin Muffoletto takes over as interim ED.
- Albuquerque Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry allegedly used his position to... pet dogs. I'm pretty sure he's being sarcastic with this quote but...
KRQE News 13 asked Perry if he was able to pet the animals even though they were unavailable because of his position.
"That's the allegation," Perry said. "Of course, I run the entire city, and I can go to the zoo and pet animals at the zoo and otherwise."
- Leslie Linthicum confirms what we knew -- that there is hunger in New Mexico. It all comes from a statement by state Human Services Department secretary Sidonie Squier when Squier said there is not and never was hunger in New Mexico.
Outed by the news media, Squier quickly did an about-face, ascribing her comment to a poor choice of words. Squier either chose her words about as poorly as one could imagine (when I said “none” I, uh, actually meant “a lot”) or she got caught saying what she meant.
In her walk-back, Squier said, “I agree that there are hungry children in New Mexico, and none of them should go without access to food or be malnourished.”
- The backlash against the teacher-evaluation system continues.
Nineteen school districts out of 85 around the state, including Rio Rancho and Albuquerque Public Schools have passed resolutions calling on the state to slow down implementation of the evaluation system. Teachers called on the Los Alamos School Board to join that effort.
The issue is currently in the courts as well. A writ of mandamus was issued to the state’s Public Education Department, setting a hearing in regard to its new teacher evaluation system by District Court Judge Shannon Bacon to Secretary-Designate Hanna Skandera. The court hearing is set for 10 a.m., Nov. 21 in Albuquerque.
- Albuquerque city councilors adopted a resolution that would result in a 2.5 percent pay raise for APD officers.
- Santa Fe municipal candidates are trying out public financing for the first time.
- Climate change will be bad for the forests in New Mexico according to a LANL researcher.
Rising temperatures are killing forests globally, and research by Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists finds it is highly likely that the Southwest, including New Mexico, will lose the vast majority of its forests by 2050. That means no golden aspens in the fall or pine trees in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
The Pacific Northwest would follow closely behind, with forests dying off a few decades later.
- Mining operations at the Navajo Mine in the Four Corners area continue as the Navajo Nation decides whether or not to purchase the mine.
- Welp. The Deming Headlight asks if there is a connection between the Fast and Furious scandal and Columbus gun smuggling.
- A vacancy on the Ruidoso City Council is still, well, vacant. The Ruidoso News:
"At the (Sept. 9 meeting) I put forward the name of Tom Battin to fill the vacancy on the council. It was rejected 3-2," [Mayor Ray] Alborn said. "I do not have anyone nominated at this meeting. I don't think it is appropriate for me to put Mr. Battin, a man of his class, through that again, so I'm going to go to Plan B, which will come in the future.
"If you were here because of that, sorry, but I just didn't think now was the time to do it. I talked to the three dissenting councilors and they each told me they would not change their vote. So there was no need to bring it forward."
- An awkward sign of the times?
Obesity has become such a problem at the college, he said, that “we recently had to spend $200,000 on new chairs because so many students could no longer fit in the old ones.”
A spokesman for CNM on Monday said Bustos was mistaken about the reason for the new chairs and had probably been speaking “anecdotally.” Brad Moore, CNM’s director of communication, said the new chairs were part of a larger project – refurbishing a building that opened in 1989 and where the original, hard-plastic chairs were still in use.
“There have been anecdotal comments (about obesity) over the years, but that’s not what this project was about,” Moore said.
- Portales' Sunland is ceasing operations. The plant is the largest organic peanut butter processor in the country. The plant was never able to recover from an E. coli recall.
- The Portales News-Tribune on the community reaction:
“We’re just very saddened by the news after they tried so hard to rebound from their problems with the (Food and Drug Administration) that Sunland was unable to continue,” said Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce Director Karl Terry./blockquote>
- A long-serving Rio Rancho city councilor won't run for office again in 2014. Patty Thomas has served for 23 years in the Rio Rancho Governing Body.
- Three National Park Services workers on furlough because of the government shutdown volunteered to put mud plaster on the San Miguel Mission in Santa Fe.
- Meanwhile, the government shut down is hurting small breweries.
The Stumbling Steer — a roughly $2 million project under construction at the former Quarters on Ellison NW — is set to open at the end of November, but Lee said it possibly could debut without its own beer.
That’s because The Stumbling Steer’s brewery license is still awaiting federal approval.
- Two people were hurt when a hot air balloon hit power lines in Rio Rancho and one man had to have his arm amputated according to KOB.
- A Las Cruces resident was on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, which apparently still exists.