Morning Word: Martinez preps for another drivers license battle
And the rest of New Mexico's news...
December 18, 2013, 8:00 am
- Gov. Susana Martinez is gearing up for another battle over drivers licenses for undocumented immigrants. Martinez has so far in her tenure kept a hard line on not allowing any undocumented immigrants to earn drivers licenses. Her efforts have largely died in the state Senate.
- A task force in Los Alamos couldn't make heads or tails of New Mexico's school grading system.
However, even a committee of five Los Alamos physicists, statisticians and math experts had difficulty after running the numbers and crunching figures in an effort to understand why one of their school district’s seven schools received a grade of C.
On Monday, several of those men said the grading system — which weighs student performance, student growth and the growth of both the highest-performing and lowest-performing quadrants of student populations — contains helpful data but doesn’t clearly convey either the proficiency of students or the true measure of a school’s worth.
- Oh look, prefiled legislation is appearing on the legislature's website. Some bills that jump out to me are a bill to ban sales of e-cigarettes to minors by Rep. Paul Bandy, R-Aztec, and a bill banning texting while driving by Sen. Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe.
- Albuquerque Business First looks at a package of bills in the Senate to boost the economy.
The bills, which are based on a report by the Santa Fe-based think tank Think New Mexico, would offer in-state tuition to international STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) students, post-performance tax rebates of 30 percent to companies that relocate to New Mexico or expand here, and a one-stop-shop online portal where businesses can file all their licensing, regulation and tax forms in one place, Think New Mexico said in a news release.
“New Mexico’s private sector jobs crisis must be the legislature’s first priority during the upcoming session, and this package of bills moves us in the right direction,” said state Sen. Mary Kay Papen, D-Las Cruces.
- The LFC blames poor planning for water projects that don't get done.
An evaluation conducted for the committee shows that the state has $37 million in federal grant funds available in its drinking water revolving loan fund, but most communities instead pursue grants instead of loans because they are more aware of that funding.
About $353 million in grants have been awarded for water projects since 1996, according to the committee.
- A water battle in Las Vegas. Acequias and the city are duking it out in court.
- The Portales City Council pledged support for a key part of the Ute pipeline project.
- Sen. Martin Heinrich's office released video of the Senator calling for the declassification of the CIA's interrogation program.
- The Navajo Nation could receive $1 billion to clean up uranium mines.
- The take from the Farmington Daily Times.
- New Mexico is importing more people with college and advanced degrees.
- A revamping of the state criminal code could save the state millions. It will be interesting to see what the for-profit prison companies think about it.
- Sunland Park is back in the news! This time, the city hired a city manager after warnings that the state could take over the city if it didn't hire a city manager.
The city has been without a city manager for about 15 months, ever since the previous manager was arrested and charged in a public corruption scandal. Around the same time, the state Department of Finance and Administration swept in to take control of the city's finance director and purchasing agent position after serious allegations were uncovered regarding city spending.
State officials have said the city hadn't yet taken the right steps, such as hiring a city manager, to allow DFA to pull out. Tensions between the state and city officials had been building in weeks leading up to Tuesday's vote.
- The Farmington Daily Times looks at Gov. Martinez's new higher education nursing initiative.
- Curry County commissioners took $6 million off of their capital outlay requests.
- Part two of Albuquerque Business First's year in review.
- The Los Alamos County Council discussed the use of economic development funds.
Much of the discussion centered on potential road construction/infrastructure projects in areas ripe for development.
- Fort Sill Apaches are suing the state for recognition.
- Rep. Steve Pearce will be talking about his new book in Capitan and Ruidoso. Carlsbad too.
- PNM unveiled a solar energy center in Otero County on Tuesday.
- Deming is considering a new high school.
- Rio Rancho mayor Tom Swisstack weighed in on the controversy over a teacher telling a black student dressed as Santa that Santa Claus was white.
Santa Claus is fictional.
- The Pit was named the fifth-loudest college arena.
- You didn't win the Mega Millions jackpot.