- New Mexico Telegram counted down the top-eight political stories of 2013. Can you guess what number one was?
- Small businesses have been slow to sign up for health care through the Affordable Care Act.
- The Navajo Nation is grappling with the issue of same-sex marriage, the Los Angeles Times reported. While much of the reservation is within New Mexico, as a sovereign nation a ban on same-sex marriage is still in effect.
"It goes against our tribe's fundamental teaching of harmony in family," said Alray Nelson, 27, an openly gay member of the Navajo Nation and part of the Coalition for Navajo Equality. "It's hard to understand why we implemented something like this because it goes against everything we are founded upon."mariThe veto was overridden.
Nelson nonetheless said he was undaunted by the failed effort in 2005 because persuading the council president to veto the measure is still seen as one of the coalition's biggest accomplishments.
- One Tucumcari city commissioner was recalled by voters while another survived the recall attempt the Quay County Sun reported.
- A bill to help the larger microbreweries in the state went into effect on New Year's Day.
- Rep. Miguel Garcia, D-Albuquerque, is bringing back a bill to close the gunshow loophole and also restrict the mentally ill from being able to own firearms.
Martinez said in statement that she supports a compromise version of the bill crafted by lawmakers in the last session because it incorporated her proposal to “keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill.” But the governor said her highest priorities for the session remain crafting a budget and passing reforms to “improve education, expand our workforce and grow our economy.”
Garcia said his new bill, HB 44, includes the compromise language added to the bill he introduced in the last session. Senators had amended Garcia’s firearms transfer bill to prohibit the creation of a state registry of firearms owners and allow an exception to the state Inspection of Public Records Act to prevent state agencies from giving out gun owner information.
- State Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino, D-Albuquerque, will introduce a constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana in the state.
- Meanwhile state police are on the lookout for pot following its legalization in Colorado.
"Sometimes some people are going to go do what they're going to do in Colorado, and they're going to want to bring it back to New Mexico," said Lt. Emmanuel Gutierrez with New Mexico State Police.There no plans, however, to increase patrols near the Colorado border.
Gutierrez said it's a matter of time before marijuana purchased in Colorado crosses state lines.
- Environmental groups are again challenging changes to construction rules by the Construction Industries Commission.
- A Santa Fe city councilor accused of campaign finance violations is blaming poor communication.
Maestas said he was unaware of three months-old invoices for a robocall, placards and banners that he mounted on a wood frame in the back of his pickup. Maestas said Neri Holguin, an Albuquerque-based political consultant working on his campaign for free, didn’t give him or his treasurer the invoices until after he had filed his expense report. Maestas said he became aware of the invoices only after opponent Jeff Green filed the complaint Dec. 9.Maestas ultimately took full responsibility for the communication breakdown.
- A Teachers Union delivered petitions opposing teacher evaluations to the state Public Education Department.
One of those petitions, created by Stephanie Ly, president of the American Federation of Teachers New Mexico, had 3,000 signatures. Ly personally dropped off the petition with Hanna Skandera, New Mexico’s education secretary in mid-December at New Mexico’s Public Education Office in Santa Fe. The petition, which can be found on Move.org, is asking residents to help reform New Mexico’s public education system.
- The license for the Spaceport was renewed by the FAA.
The FAA requires a launch site operator license for spaceports hosting licensed vertical and horizontal launches. Seven other U.S. spaceports hold active launch site licenses, including two in California, two in Florida and one each in Alaska, Virginia and Oklahoma.
- The Carlsbad Current-Argus runs down the top ten energy stories of 2013 in the area.
- Four Corners officials want fueling stations for natural gas vehicles around Farmington. The Four Corners area has a lot of natural gas deposits.
On April 27, 2012, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez signed onto a letter addressed to Dieter Zetsche, CEO and chairman of the board of management of Daimler, a global automotive company that owns Mercedes-Benz Cars and Mercedes-Benz Vans, Daimler Trucks and Daimler Buses, and Daimler Financial Services. The letter expressed interest in switching the state's vehicle fleet to natural gas vehicles, or NGVs, to promote the vehicles' manufacturing. Governors from 12 other states have also signed the letter.
NGVs are also part of discussions taking place in other states. On Dec. 10, almost 30 municipalities, businesses and mass transit agencies in Colorado announced interest in switching their vehicles to those fueled by natural gas, The Denver Business Journal reported. Cities such as Denver and Grand Junction and businesses like Xcel Energy and Black Hills Energy signed a memorandum of understanding with the state of Colorado to buy more NGVs, according to the report.
- A judge will hear the latest request to block a horse slaughterhouse in Roswell.
- Those in the area of the 2011 Las Conchas Fire are now battling against erosion.
Initially, some of the sites from Las Conchas did see erosion issues that came across into the roads,” said VCNM Watershed Program Manager Scott Compton. “But that summer we didn’t have high monsoons and even the next summer we didn’t. But this year we had a little more recorded average, we had some high intensity storms. So we’re actually seeing some gullying coming in from Las Conchas that we haven’t seen before.”
Erosion from the denuded slopes of the caldera’s rim could prove a daunting challenge for years to come.
- The Clovis News Journal looks at what a Farm Bill that hasn't passed yet means for dairy producers in the area. It could make the price of milk skyrocket, though many are hopeful that the Farm Bill is passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama.
- The former chair of the Santa Fe parks advisory council says she lost her post after calling for an audit.
“At the May 2013 POSAC meeting, I said that I would be calling for an independent audit of the 2008 parks and trails bond as an action item on the June meeting agenda,” Booth said. “It could have been a coincidence, but the mayor removed me as chair shortly after that. The last thing I did as chair was to get the audit on the agenda.”
Coss, who appointed Booth to another term on the commission, but not as chairwoman, declined requests for comment.
- Candidates for municipal elections in Española, including mayor, are starting to announce.
- The Navajo Nation elections are coming up as well and requirements for candidacy have been revealed.