Morning Word: ABQ abortion ban vote today
HSD controversy in separate IPRA, HIPPA situations and more NM news...
November 19, 2013, 8:00 am
- Well, today's the big day. Election day in the contentious 20-week abortion ban. The turnout was very heavy for early in-person voting -- twice as many as in the municipal elections last month where the mayor was up for election.
- KUNM takes a look at concerns about the health-of-mother clause and how it could be insufficient.
Singleton says, for her, medicine is about intervening before there's a crisis. In her medical opinion, it's unethical to require doctors to stall treatment that might threaten the life of the baby until a woman's life is in immediate danger, as the city's ballot measure would require.
"There's no other branch of medicine where people think that's in any way ok," Singleton went on. "A woman is not an incubator. A woman cannot be forced to be a life support system for another person."
- New Mexico Compass previews the "landmark abortion vote."
- The state Human Services Department misused executive privilege in denying an IPRA request from New Mexico In Depth. The HSD has since shifted its reason for denying the open records request for two of the three emails. It remains out of compliance with Gov. Susana Martinez's executive order on IPRA requests on the third.
- Did the HSD violate patients' HIPAA rights? That's what State Sen. Howie Morales is alleging.
Morales said how it was done is raising eyebrows.
"They found out that an email had been sent out by the agent to them and to other providers throughout the state," Morales said.
Morales said he heard the documents were scanned, put into a computer system and then emailed out to New Mexico and Arizona providers.
- A fraud hearing in Torrance County is secretive, as the judge sealed the hearing.
- In another highly anticipated state House election, Philip Archuleta will run for reelection in a southern New Mexico seat.
A freshman Democrat from Las Cruces, he won a three-way race for the House District 36 seat last year.
Nunez is now a Republican and hopes to regain the seat.
The incumbent was Andy Nunez. He was elected as a Democrat but switched to independent after a public feud with the Rep. Ben Lujan, the late speaker of the House of Representatives.
- Steve Terrell is the latest to write about an effort to rewrite the state's criminal code, focusing on "silly" laws.
She gave me a couple of examples when I wrote an article about this subcommittee a couple of weeks ago. One was a law against spitting on a building (30-8-12). Torraco also alerted me to a New Mexico statute (30-21-5) that prohibits “improper use of official anthems” in public. That means that someone singing an irreverent version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” could be arrested. New Mexico criminals might have to share a cell with Roseanne Barr.
- Legislators will likely be looking at water issues in next month's session. The Las Cruces Bulletin:
Now the stakes are serious for farmers, users of Rio Grande water north of Elephant Butte Reservoir and the state’s finances, Cervantes said, because Texas is suing New Mexico in the U.S. Supreme Court because of pumping to make up for the meager river flow.
Elephant Butte is at its lowest level since 1916, he said, resulting in farmers only getting 3.5 acre-inches of river water for irrigation instead of the usual 4.5 acre-feet. That has forced farmers along the Mesilla Valley to pump more ground water than is used by the city of Las Cruces in a year, he said.
- Read the latest from John Fleck on the water situation in the state.
- A plan by Gov. Susana Martinez to streamline requirements for nurses from other states is raising concerns in Texas or -- believe it or not -- too much regulation in Texas on the issue.
- Can Republicans defeat Tom Udall? National Journal says with the right candidate... maybe.
The Land of Enchantment has grown less friendly to Republicans in recent years, in large part due to the GOP's struggles to appeal to Hispanics. But with popular Republican Gov. Susana Martinez at the top of the ticket next year, Republicans could have a shot against Sen. Tom Udall with the right candidate and a beneficial national environment. So far, no notable Republicans appear willing to run, leaving little-known attorney David Clements as the only declared candidate.
- The deadline for those in the federal high-risk insurance pool to switch to new plans is getting closer and closer, the Santa Fe New Mexican reports.
Under the ACA, insurance companies have to offer insurance to high-risk individuals and anyone with a pre-existing condition of any kind. But the transition right now to one of the new plans isn’t smooth.
The ongoing problems and delays associated with enrolling in health insurance plans under the federal exchange make it even more difficult for people with severe medical challenges.
- Albuquerque's economy will finally improve according to a report by IHS Global Insight.
- Capitol Report New Mexico reports on the secrecy around the firing of state lottery CEO Tom Romero.
- New Mexico is experiencing a shortage of medical marijuana.
- Another round in the battle over the Mexican Gray Wolf is looming.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will start public hearings this week on whether Mexican gray wolves can be released directly into New Mexico's Gila National Forest.
Only about 75 Mexican gray wolves live in the wilds of New Mexico and Arizona. Under existing federal rule, lobo reintroductions are limited to a part of Arizona that is in the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area.
- Homeowners near Magdelena are unhappy with military training that goes on in the area, especially since the permit for the training was recently extended and expanded.
- The Alamogordo City Council will discuss the city manager's contract -- namely terminating his contract.
Hernandez wants Stahle's contract terminated because of his handling of after-parties at the city sponsored Oktoberfest event in September. He said it took too long for the city to report the violations of state liquor laws, and employees involved should have known the rules, adding that if the commission voted to fire Stahle, it would have to be done in the open anyway.
The city, acting on the advice of the city attorney, reported itself to the state liquor board in October.
- New Mexico is good at prescribing generic prescriptions instead of name brands -- top five in the nation.
Nevada, at 81.4 percent, is top in the nation for writing prescriptions for generic brand drugs, followed by Minnesota (81.1 percent), Oregon (80.8 percent), New Mexico and Iowa (80.4 percent), according to the recently released data.
"The most important thing is that it is a very rare situation where a brand name is prescribed when its generic equivalent is available and is the same medication and works the same way," said Dr. Kathleen Hales, who has worked in family medicine at Memorial Medical Center in Las Cruces for 8.5 years.
- Frontera NorteSur looks at important elections that are decided by low turnout elections in the region.
- PNM unveiled its newest solar energy center.