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Morning Word: Webber announces gov run

Skandera may get confirmation vote and more NM news...

October 29, 2013, 8:00 am
By Matthew Reichbach
  • Alan Webber became the fourth Democratic candidate for governor on Monday. Webber, who was a founder of Fast Company magazine, has never run for elected office before.
  • Allies of Susana Martinez went after Webber.
  • Will Hanna Skandera finally get a vote? The Senate Rules Committee may finally vote on Skandera's confirmation in the upcoming legislative session. She has been the secretary-designate of the Public Education Department since the beginning of Gov. Susana Martinez's term in office.
    The Senate Rules Committee will vote whether to recommend confirmation for Skandera during the next legislative session, slated to begin Jan. 21, 2014, the committee chairwoman, Sen. Linda Lopez, said Monday.

    Whether that committee votes to recommend or not recommend confirmation, the vote will then go to the full Senate floor for a final decision. If the Senate does not confirm Skandera, as Lopez put it Monday, “She is gone that same day.”
  • A study found that lawmakers who voted the way industries preferred had more campaign donations.
    “We want to clarify that the correlations found here between lobbyist spending, campaign contributions and voting behavior do not imply that legislators are trading votes for campaign donations or fancy dinners,” said Viki Harrison, executive director of Common Cause New Mexico.

    But Harrison added, “The correlation between contributions and voting behavior alone can erode trust in government and interest in politics among the population. If the public believes that powerful interest groups can use their financial resources to steer policy in the direction of their interests, it is not good for the status of democratic governance in our state.”
  • Winthrop Quigley writes that the Affordable Care Act is simple enough to work despite the opposition from Republicans.
    Their fears are justified. The Affordable Care Act will very likely succeed because it has set such a low standard for success.

    For all of the talk about its complexity, Obamacare’s major provisions are pretty simple. Insurance companies have to cover everybody, and in return just about everybody has to have insurance. If you don’t have Medicare, an employer’s insurance or some other coverage, you can buy coverage for yourself and your family online. If you don’t have enough money to buy insurance without breaking the household budget, the government will help with tax credits or, in New Mexico and some other states, with Medicaid. Since many people have found that their insurance is just fine until they actually need to pay for care, the act also requires coverage to meet some minimum standards.
  • The Albuquerque Journal writes about efforts to make Albuquerque a digital city.
    The project is part of an effort to create a new high-speed network in Albuquerque, starting along Central Avenue, according to city documents. Up to $1 million from the city’s bond program is available to help start the project.

    But companies that already provide Internet service in Albuquerque aren’t keen on the idea. Comcast and CenturyLink say they’ve already invested heavily to make high-speed service available in New Mexico.
    Hopefully it goes better than the efforts a few years back to make free wi-fi available for all of Rio Rancho.
  • Jon Barela, the New Mexico Economic Development Secretary, will speak about some of the details of a planned community on the border between New Mexico and Mexico.
    “The Bi-National Community Gov. Susana Martinez and Chihuahua Gov. Cesar Duarte announced in Southern New Mexico is a unique, bi-national, master-planned community that will help prepare our region for increased investments and job growth,” Barela said in a statement. “This conference will give us the opportunity to showcase what we have accomplished , especially the Bi-National Community master planning process, to this group of leaders and investors from the U.S., Mexico and Canada.”
  • Santa Fe's chief finance director didn't disclose his second job as a consultant. He says it was an oversight.
  • Two Albuquerque hotels are paying employees back pay after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor.
    The probe found overtime, minimum wage and record-keeping violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Employees in Albuquerque and at properties in five Texas cities were not properly paid wages due, the Labor Deaprtment said in a news release.

    The hotels are owned by HTL Operating LLC, based in Odessa, which has agreed to comply with the FLSA at all of its locations and pay the back wages
  • A former Sunland Park police officer was cleared of bribery charges because of errors in the indictment paperwork.
    Investigators alleged that Monarez, at the urging of former mayor pro tem Daniel Salinas, convinced his sister, a Sunland Park city council candidate, to drop out of that race. Her competitor was an ally of Salinas, court documents state. In return, Salinas arranged Monarez's hiring at the Sunland Park Police Department -- there was also a police position in line for Monarez's sister, documents state.

    About a month after Monarez's arrest, a Doña Ana County grand jury indicted him on bribery and conspiracy charges, accusing him of violating a section of the statute related to municipal elections. Both charges are fourth-degree felonies.
  • The Taos Town Council decided against making any changes to the high standards in the energy codes of the town.
  • A PNM solar battery project is up for a global energy award according to the Albuquerque Journal.
  • Groups are pushing for a statewide position of Poet Laureate. The cities of Santa Fe and Albuquerque each have poet laureate positions.
  • The Portales News=Tribune speaks to the news director at KENW.
  • An outspoken government watchdog in Las Cruces passed away at the age of 93.
    Markham previously said that it was not unusual for people to leave documents at her doorstep anonymously that revealed behind-the-scenes shenanigans by government officials that needed to be exposed.

    "She was always fighting for the downtrodden and those who couldn't speak for themselves throughout Las Cruces and the region," her daughter said. "She was an amazing mother who worked hard throughout her entire life, and had many achievements."
  • KOB reports on businesses that are being impacted by the Paseo del Norte / I-25 interchange construction and how they are learning to cope.
  • Joline Gutierrez Krueger writes about why Albuquerque loves and misses Breaking Bad. There is a special Breaking Bad section of the Journal today.

    I have to admit, as big a Breaking Bad fan as I am, I'm kind of tired of the obsession with it. It's over, guys.
  •  

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