Morning Word: ABQ abortion election Tuesday
Looking at the late-term abortion question in a statewide context
November 18, 2013, 8:00 am
- The Albuquerque Journal looks at the abortion vote in Albuquerque and the context of the issue in New Mexico.
- Gov. Susana Martinez met with prominent anti-abortion advocates in 2011, the group said at the time.
- KRQE covers a protests against the abortion ban over the weekend.
- The anti-abortion protester who interrupted a Veteran's Day ceremony is still in jail after a protest at UNM.
- Mid-Heights Messenger looks at the District 7 runoff between Janice Arnold-Jones and Diane Gibson.
- Democrats are hoping that education will be a big plus for them in the governor's election next year.
- Schools will get leeway on graduation requirements after there were fears that the requirements were too stringent.
- Educators are not happy with the new evaluation software program.
Teachers and principals are supposed to use the interactive Teachscape program, which accepts data and documents – called “evidence” – related to the classroom observations. Through video and other electronic tools, it provides teachers with recommendations on how to improve their classroom skills and nurture professional development.
Many educators from around the state say the Public Education Department introduced the new evaluation program too hastily and without adequate training. But administration officials, including Gov. Susana Martinez and Education Secretary-designate Hanna Skandera, contend the program needed to be launched right away, because New Mexico’s students, as a whole, fare so poorly in national rankings.
- Former US Senator Jeff Bingaman agrees that the Affordable Care Act needs tweaking but said that the law is still important.
Bingaman explained that Obamacare is designed not only to cover the uninsured, but also to correct “the very real problem” of those who have insurance that doesn’t provide adequate coverage for potentially expensive illnesses or injuries. He pointed out that the minimum coverage levels weren’t determined in the congressional legislation, but by the Department of Health and Human services.
“They may be requiring things they shouldn’t be requiring,” Bingaman said. “The idea was everyone who would get a policy once the law was implemented would be up to those standards.”
- The Albuquerque Journal looks at the effects of food stamp cuts.
“A lot of food pantries currently are saying they are stretched and would find it very difficult to do more than they are doing,” said Sherry Hooper, executive director of The Food Depot, which provides food to agencies in nine northern New Mexico counties.
The cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps, which took effect with this month’s allocation, total $5 billion nationally. And it’s estimated that U.S. charities provide about $5 billion worth of food aid annually.
- The Tea Party Patriots founder is against tapping the permanent fund for Pre-K funding.
On Thursday, Mark Meckler, one of the founders of the Tea Party Patriots, spoke to the New Mexico Business Coalition about the issue.
Meckler, a national figure who has spoken on behalf of the conservative movement on Fox News, CNBC and others, said, “I started looking at New Mexico. In every state there are things that are absolutely the state. You have a permanent fund. Every state wishes it had one.”
- John Fleck wrties about the grim outlook for water in New Mexico.
According to a Journal analysis of new and historical data from the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer, water use in Curry County has dropped 29 percent since the mid-1990s. And Dunlap’s farmers are not alone. The state’s latest water use report, completed last month, suggests the same thing is happening across New Mexico. Total water use in the state, including all farms, businesses and cities, has dropped 14 percent from its peak in the mid-1990s, even as New Mexico’s population has grown by 22 percent.
While the success in reducing water use may look like a water conservation success story, the reasons behind it are not encouraging. Groundwater across the entire state, especially on New Mexico’s east side, is dwindling, according to research by the University of California’s Jay Famiglietti, who uses satellites to measure changes in the aquifer, the fresh water underground that is pumped up for use on farms and in cities.
- Jemez Pueblo is keeping up its effort to reclaim the Valles Caldera.
- Sen. Martin Heinrich brokered a deal to have MIT study a $1.2 billion electricity line that is in danger after White Sands Missile Range says it doesn't want it to go on the path it is scheduled to.
- APS will discuss superintendent Winston Brooks' future tonight.
- Nineteen New Mexico hospitals will lose Medicare funds because they didn't reach quality and performance measures.
- A bill to create a pilot program for veterans that suffer from PTSD didn't get any votes from the Military and Veterans' Affairs Committee.
State Sen. William Payne, R-Albuquerque, challenged the proposal. He said PTSD treatments should be linked to the medical school at the University of New Mexico, not a social work program downstate.
Payne, right, also said a PTSD program would serve the greatest number of veterans if it were based in Albuquerque. About one-third of the state's population of 2 million live in the Albuquerque area.
- Gov. Susana Martinez wants permanent funding for JTIP programs.
- Will Amtrak return to Clovis for the first time in 40 years?
- The city of Rio Rancho is looking at whether or not to put a general obligation bond question or sales tax on the ballot in March. The city's Governing Body could also opt for both.
- The Deming Headlight has the latest on the Tierra Blanca Youth Ranch story including an interview with ranch director Scott Chandler.
Recent media coverage of an investigation by CYFD and a subsequent raid on the ranch by New Mexico State Police made national headlines. State police were looking into accusations of mistreatment and cruelty to the at-risk youth Chandler takes guardianship of from parents and court appointments.
"Tell me what inner-city kid is going to like being at a working ranch," Chandler asked. "...They might say anything to get out."
- Gov. Martinez appointed a Magistrate Court Judge -- appointed Donna Bevacqua-Young.
- The secretary-designate of the state Energy, Mineral and Natural Resources Department will hold a listening tour.
- A new coyote-killing-contest is doing what coyote-killing-contests does (besides killing coyotes): It is provoking outrage.
- A developer in Rio Rancho will get impact free credits from the city after the developer built drainage infrastructure.
The city used to give developers impact fee credits for building infrastructure that would benefit residents beyond the development. However, since the institution of the impact fee moratorium and the following lawsuit by developer Curb Inc. over the moratorium reducing its opportunity to sell its impact fee credits, the city had stopped giving out the credits.
- A non-profit that runs a shooting range is severely behind on its tax bill.
- Santa Fe Gold is no longer mining in New Mexico.
- A new cave discovery at Carlsbad Caverns is the largest in 25 years.
Thomas, along with another caver, discovered a new cave room inside the Caverns hundreds of feet up from the main area. Dubbed "Halloween Hall," the fresh find marks the biggest discovery for the Caverns in more than 25 years.
"It was a little unbelievable at first," Thomas said. "We were kind of shocked and then we were really excited about it."