--2 Morning Word: Martinez picks Perea to replace Easley
Sept. 22, 2017

Morning Word: Martinez picks Perea to replace Easley

Rael may run for governor, Wilson contract examined and more NM news

November 4, 2013, 8:00 am
By Matthew Reichbach
  • Gov. Susana Martinez picked Republican Vickie Perea to replace the late Stephen Easley. The four county commissions that are in House District 50 gave Martinez three candidates (Sandoval and Bernalillo chose the same candidate).
  • Will Lawrence Rael run for governor? It appears he may be looking at a run, as he quit his federal job. Rael was the executive director of the federal Farm Service Agency in New Mexico.
  • Former congresswoman Heather Wilson, now the president of a university in North Dakota, got a $10,000 a month consulting contract with Sandia National Labs the day after leaving office. She negotiated the deal while still a member of Congress.
    The form, known as the House termination report, requires disclosure of “any agreement or arrangement with respect to future employment,” but Wilson said in a Journal interview last week that congressional rules required her to list only her company – not Sandia – because the company was her employer. There is no requirement to list her employer’s clients, she said.

    “If someone asked me who my employer was or what my employment was, they were asking what entity was signing my paycheck, not who all the clients of that entity were,” Wilson said.
  • Democratic gubernatorial candidate Howie Morales will head to deep-red Otero County and speak to the county's Democratic Party.
  • The Albuquerque Journal looks at the reactions to proposed teacher evaluations from around the state.
  • Colorado teachers are accepting a similar evaluation program.
  • Gov. Susana Martinez will be out of the state again this week -- she will be in New Jersey to campaign with Chris Christie ahead of the New Jersey election that he is heavily favored to win easily. I imagine she'll find her way to a high dollar fundraiser or two as well.
  • The Archbishop of Santa Fe is rallying Catholics to vote for a late-term abortion ban in Albuquerque.
    At a special Mass at the Shrine of Bernadette, Archbishop Michael Sheehan gave parishioners a mission during his homily.

    “Let us say yes to Jesus, let us say yes to the unborn child, and urge others to do the same,” Archbishop Sheehan said.
  • Turnout is already high for the election. If it does pass, it will be challenged in courts.
  • The Albuquerque city council is proposing making violating Albuquerque's minimum wage ordinance a crime.
  • A proposed city ordinance in Alamogordo would take away public votes on tax increases by repealing an ordinance requiring public votes on tax incrases. Attorney General Gary King says that the law is superceded by a state law and is invalid.
  • A judge threw out a lawsuit by animal protection groups, which paves the way for a horse slaughter plant to open in Roswell.
  • Steve Terrell looks at the lobbyist report by Common Cause New Mexico.
    According to the study released last week by Common Cause New Mexico, the special interest that hired the largest number of lobbyists was government, including local and tribal governments as well as public educational agencies. The study found (based on information from the Secretary of State’s website and the Institute of Money in State Government) that there were 250 lobbyists hired by government agencies working the Roundhouse halls during the last session, which ended in March.

    Look at it this way: There are 112 legislators, so there were more than two government lobbyists for every lawmaker.
  • The Farmington city manager spoke about the end of the hold harmless provision for municipalities and how it will effect city services.
    The city has a $15 million general fund reserve and a $262 million budget. There have been no discussions and no proposals to raise taxes in the next budget process, something Mayes thinks is not necessary.

    But Mayes said the city will have to think of something when the hold harmless clause lapses. More cuts may trim the city's services and make complying with federal standards difficult.
  • Peanut farmers in eastern New Mexico are in trouble after the bankruptcy of Sunland Inc.
    Though he declined to say how much, Carmichael said the money he is owed for the 2013 harvest is tacked on to the money he’s owed for his 2012 crop. Carmichael said most farmers were paid about 58 percent of what was owed for 2012.

    In addition to the money he is owed, Carmichael said he had money invested in Sunland because his savings are tied to old crop money he left with Sunland for tax purposes.
  • The New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange reported 925 small businesses signed up for accounts under the health insurance exchange. This
  • Americans think the government shutdown is a bigger deal than the troubled Healthcare.gov rollout.
  • KRQE found that some owners of large homes in the North Valley were claiming a tax deduction that was not owed to them.
    By using an exemption meant for active agriculture, homeowners are able to drop their property values by, in some cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    The Bernalillo County Assessor's Office has taken a hard look at the exemptions pointed out by KRQE News 13 and now has boots on the ground.
  • The Albuquerque Journal looks at some of the problems related to New Mexico from the exchange.
    Of the five New Mexico companies selling health insurance on the federal exchange, only Presbyterian Health Plan disclosed the number of customers it has received through the exchange – fewer than 50 as of Thursday. Todd Sandman, vice president of strategy and customer engagement, said the plan is receiving “a handful” of customers a day from the exchange.
  • The U.S. New Mexico Federal Credit Union gave out over $250,000 in loans to federal workers furloughed during the federal government shutdown.
  • Democrats continue to push the education issue with an education forum in Las Cruces.
  • Will Oklahoma scrap its A-F school grading system?
  • Rep. Steve Pearce spoke to the Ruidoso News.
    As for the future of the Republican brand, Pearce said, "Conservatism never dies."

    "This is like one of those fire rings at the circus when the lion jumps through it," he said of the criticism of Republicans for the government shutdown. "I don't think this is a fire that burns. As soon as you shut the fuel down, I think the fire drops really quick and people get back to the basic life."
  • Residents in Cibola County are working with the EPA on the situation surrounding uranium mining.
    The most recent controversy has centered around the EPA Region 6 decision to locate a removal action stockpile and staging area on Village of Milan property. The location is officially referred to as the Mormon Farms, which the Village purchased in 2003.

    The September floodwaters rushed across the staging area and nearby residents feared that their properties had been contaminated with radioactive wastes.
  • Heroin use continues to fuel crime in New Mexico according to KUNM.
    New Mexico District Attorney Kari Brandenburg, says prosecutions of heroin trafficking and possession in the state have surpassed other drugs like cocaine and meth.

    Conversely, the use of prescription opiates are down.
  • The Las Cruces Sun-News has a new managing editor, Sylvia Ulloa.
    An experienced journalist, Ulloa spent 12 years at the San Jose Mercury News in San Jose, Calif., in a variety of capacities, including news and features design, design director, metro news editor and copy editor. She began at the features department of the El Paso Times in 2011.
  • Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham honored New Mexico police officers and first responders after the recent shootings in Albuquerque.
  • Two key Ruidoso city officials were granted severance pay packages by the village council.
    The proposal passed 3-2 with Councilor Denise Dean and Gloria Sayers voting against. Councilors Lynn Crawford and Joe Eby voted with Salas for the plan.

    Details include that the provisions kick in if the termination is involuntary and not the result of a conviction for violation of state law or crime of moral turpitude. The clerk or chief would be paid an amount equal to six months salary in a lump sum, the village's portion of health insurance coverage would continue to be paid for six months, any accrued and unused vacation and sick leave would be paid and the clerk or chief would not be required to mitigate the amount of the payment by seeking other employment.
  • Curry County faces a lawsuit because an attorney says the cancellation of a rap concert was race-based.
  • Over 1,000 homes in the Albuquerque area are at risk from wildfires.
  • In a piece near and dear to my heart, Albuquerque Business First listed the top wineries and breweries in the state based on production. Number five on the brewery list surprised me.

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