December 19, 2013, 1:00 am
- Programming note:
One: There is no internet at my house. So this was finished in my cell phone and is not quite as comprehensive and normal.
Also: there will NOT be a Morning Word on Christmas Eve or Christmas. New Year's Day will also be a day you'll have to go without the update. However, New Year's Eve and Festivus won't stop the Morning Word from coming out. Unless my internet is out.
- A federal court ruled against campaign contribution limits on certain contributions for political parties and PACs.
At issue were caps on contributions to political action committees for use in federal campaigns and contributions used for independent expenditures, which would include spending that isn’t coordinated with a candidate.
State Republican Party Chairman John Billingsley said Wednesday he sees the decision as a victory for free speech.It is a victory for Republicans and Republican-aligned PACs that want to weaken campaign finance laws in the state.
- I guess Aubrey Dunn has made up with Gov. Susana Martinez.
Dunn and Martinez previously clashed over donations made by her PAC after the PAC aired ads in favor of Democrat Phil Griego. Dunn wanted the donations he gave to Martinez given back.
- A provision in state law gives tobacco companies a break. KRQE looked at the provision that costs the state "hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue."
In 1943, lawmakers approved a measure to compensate tobacco distributors the cost of affixing tobacco stamps on every pack of cigarettes. By law, every pack sold in New Mexico must have a cigarette tax stamp.
"It was to defray or offset the cost of applying those stamps that can be fairly labor intensive, and so I think the intent was to do that," said Taxation and Revenue Deputy Director Shannon Baxter.
Nathan said the law made sense in the 1940s, but in an age when everything is mechanized, Nathan said the law is unnecessary.It will be interesting to see the lobbying trying to stop legislators from taking this provision away.
- State Sen. Michael Padilla is introducing a constitutional amendment that would get rid of the PED secretary position. The Albuquerque Democrat says it would take politics out of the position by replacing it with a non-partisan statewide board.
- The U.S. Senate passed a two-year budget deal which both U.S. Senators from New Mexico voted for.
- The deal will cost the state $10 million in oil and gas royalties.
- Gov. Susana Martinez named a new head of the NMFA.
- Rep. Lucky Varela, D-Santa Fe, wants $20 million in funding for programs to help at-risk kids.
- The Los Alamos County Council approved a legislative agenda.
- A total of 291 New Mexicans have enrolled in health insurance through the small business exchange.
Those figures don’t include the employees and dependents that have enrolled for coverage beginning Feb. 1, Nunez said, a figure that isn’t available yet. Nor does it include the 934 New Mexicans who have enrolled in individual policies on the federal exchange.
- Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham says the Kirtland Air Force Base jet fuel spill should be a top priority.
- A great look at the tenure and mysterious exit of former State Game and Fish Department head James Lane by Laura Paskus.
- And Peter St. Cyr looks at the problem of wage theft in New Mexico and how some companies get away with it.
- PNM rates may rise after the company puts a renewable energy plan into effect.
Under the approved plan, Public Service Company of New Mexico will buy 50,000 megawatt-hours of wind energy credits in 2014. PNM also will buy wind energy from the Red Mesa Wind Energy Center under a 20-year contract when the facility opens in Cibola County in 2015, and it will build solar photovoltaic facilities near Albuquerque with a capacity of 23 megawatts to meet state renewable energy requirements in the future.
- The Navajo Nation Council speaker addressed allegations of bribery that he is facing.
[Johnny] Naize was charged with 10 counts of bribery and one count of conspiracy by the tribe's special prosecutors in criminal complaints filed Dec. 3 in Window Rock District Court in Window Rock, Ariz.
"It is my belief that when these issues are resolved, I will have been exonerated and my name will be cleared," Naize said in the statement.
- The ACLU is suing the federal government on behalf of a Lovington, NM woman who was the subject of forced cavity searches at the border. She was then charged for the procedures done at a hospital. No drugs were found.
- The mayor of Columbus who was convicted of smuggling guns across the border into Mexico will get to keep his pension.
- The city of Alamogordo approved a $1.18 million contract for a water desalination plant.
- The man behind the potentially massive garnet mine in southern New Mexico says garnet can help fracking become cleaner.
- Devon Energy gave $15,000 for science at Jefferson Montessori Academy in Carlsbad, New Mexico.
- KUNM's call-in show this morning (8:00 am on 89.9 FM in central New Mexico or at kunm.org) will focus on holiday food traditions. One that we have? Green chile enchiladas. Yum.
- Just because Breaking Bad is over (and at the top of just about every critic's year-end list), that doesn't mean the film industry in New Mexico is dead. The Weekly Alibi takes a look at Longmire, a western on A&E.