Morning Word: Judge rules for PED in teacher evaluation case
Latest on capital outlay freezes and more NM news...
November 26, 2013, 8:00 am
- A district court judge in Albuquerque refused to block the new teacher evaluation plan.
In issuing a written decision late Friday afternoon, Judge C. Shannon Bacon wrote that existing legislation does give the department the authority to create and impose an evaluation plan by executive force, noting that “the manner in which teachers are evaluated is a discretionary matter that may not be controlled by mandamus.”
The move is a major setback for the many educators who are fighting against the new rule.
- Programming Note: Unlike some department stores that are opening on Thanksgiving, the management behind the Morning Word is going to give all the elves who scour news throughout the state the holiday off. There will not be a Morning Word on Thanksgiving or Black Friday. We will be back on Monday with a recap of all the news over the long weekend.
- Gov. Susana Martinez will continue on her plan to without capital outlay moneys from entities that don't have current audits. Attorney General Gary King said with the action, Martinez overstepped her authority.
Clifford said in a statement that the executive order is a "strong financial control measure that will help safeguard the millions of dollars of capital outlay appropriations made each year."
King spokesman Phil Sisneros said the attorney general's office will assess what step to take next, including a possible lawsuit, if the governor continues to place a hold on capital projects.
- Agencies in charge of health care for public employees have dropped the ball when it comes to controlling insurance costs according to the Legislative Finance Committee.
- Legislators want to put a stop to two southern New Mexican counties using a tax to pay for, in part, schools. The tax in question is a tax to help fund the Spaceport.
With one or two counties using a sales tax to help finance school operations, the state’s carefully crafted system of equal funding for public education in its 89 districts is being thrown out of balance, Lundstrom said.
“This has opened a can of worms. Can you imagine if Albuquerque decided to pass a tax for school operations? The whole state see an inequity in school funding,” Lundstrom said.
- The former campaign manager of Santa Fe mayoral candidate Patti Bushee filed a complaint against Bushee, alleging that the candidate violated public financing rules.
Tarin Nix’s complaint centers around a $1,750 check Bushee gave Nix in June for campaign management services. Bushee, who at the time anticipated running a privately funded campaign, wrote the check from her personal funds. Bushee later decided to seek public financing.
“I believe this has violated the Public Campaign Finance Code by obtaining seed money contributions in excess of the amount allowed ($100),” Nix said in the complaint, referring to the June check. “By her own admission, Ms. Bushee contributed $1,750 of her own money, which violates the $100 contribution limit.”
- The Santa Fe mayoral candidate who was disqualified for not having enough valid signatures spoke about his problems. In all, 219 out of 298 signatures were deemed invalid.
Unlike other candidates, D’Anna didn’t compare the signatures he collected against the voter rolls to verify they were valid before submitting them.
“Why didn’t I do that? I’ll tell you why. My whole campaign has been based on trust,” he said.
- The incoming head of the NMFA will get at three-year, $160,000 contract.
- Lawrence Rael is stepping down as president of the New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce. Rael is stepping down because he is running for governor.
- Voters may decide on changes to Albuquerque's ballot initiative process.
Now the mayor and City Council say they are preparing to ask voters to overhaul the initiative process, which would require an amendment to the City Charter.
Advocacy groups on both the left and the right have used petition drives in the past year to craft their own legislation and get it directly before voters without vetting from city attorneys or the City Council.
- Michael Corwin, the head of the inactive Independent Source PAC and private investigator with ties to Democrats, wrote about using his private investigator skills for campaigns.
- The Taos County Attorney told commissioners to stop going to lunch together to avoid looking like they are breaking the Open Meetings Act.
- The Navajo Nation was added to a federal disaster declaration and can now receive grants from FEMA for recovery from flooding this summer.
- State Rep. Dianne Hamilton, R-Silver City, will run for a ninth term.
- An audit for Lincoln County came back with no major problems.
- An oil company is asking for sanctions on a hotel owner who received a settlement for gasoline allegedly leaked onto her property after the hotel owner revealed the terms of the settlement.
- KRQE reports on a nightmare tenant who didn't pay two months of rent and allegedly stole pieces from a house when she was evicted.
- An oil and gas lease sale ended up in $11 million in extra revenue for the state.
- New Mexico is the 49th-best-run state according to 24/7 Wall St.
- All hail the King of Clines Corners.