Morning Word: Obama's Big Immigration Executive Order
Martinez gets RGA leadership position.Morning WordFriday, November 21, 2014
- President Barack Obama made his big immigration announcement on Thursday night. The New Mexico delegation all responded to his executive order and, predictably, it fell along party lines. The Democrats were largely supportive while the lone Republican was adamantly against it. All said that they preferred for Congress to pass immigration legislation, but House Republicans have shown no indication that they have any desire to pass such legislation.
Immigration advocates are preparing for the changes here in New Mexico. Meanwhile, many in Santa Fe will not benefit from the executive order.
“This is a good thing, but at the same time I feel saddened for the people who won’t qualify,” said Minerva Pacheco, 44,who has a 13-year-old son born in the U.S. and has lived in Santa Fe for 17 years without legal immigration status. She said she has brothers in the city who won’t qualify because they don’t have children who are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents.
- There has been more national attention for Susana Martinez, as she was named Vice-Chair of the Republican Governors Association. The organization is made up of Republican governors and is dedicated to electing more Republicans in gubernatorial elections.
- The Los Alamos National Labs director sent a memo to employees blasting a story by The Santa Fe New Mexican.
According to McMillan’s statement, obtained by The New Mexican, he took aim at a portion of the newspaper report about the lab’s delay in sharing a memo with WIPP personnel that likened the contents of the burst waste drum to explosives. The story reported that a May memo by LANL chemist Steve Clemmons asserted he had determined the waste in the drum that ruptured held the same components as three patented explosives.The paper says that emails they uncovered disputed the memo that the director sent.
- The brokers at the center of the scandal at the Bernalillo County Treasurer's office are facing some serious sanctions from the State Securities Division.
State Securities Division Director Alan Wilson also plans to permanently ban two brokers – Thomas Wayne Hayes, of BOSC Inc.; and Royce O. Simpson, formerly of Oppenheimer and Co. Inc. — from trading securities in New Mexico. He wants to fine the brokers as well.I would file that under "bad start to the weekend" for the two companies.
Additionally, Wilson wants to temporarily suspend BOSC and Oppenheimer from trading securities in New Mexico until the two firms can demonstrate that they have safeguards in place to prevent future abuses against institutional clients.
- The Santa Fe New Mexican's Bruce Krasnow on what dropping oil prices mean for the state budget, at least in the short term:
Unless things get a whole lot worse, however, New Mexico is not likely to see any spending cutbacks this fiscal year, which ends June 30, 2015. And the $600 million operating fund reserve is largely to thank for that.
- While former Rio Arriba County Sheriff Tommy Rodella's legal team works to get a new trial, the prosecution who convicted him of civil rights violations asked the judge for strict sentencing because of Rodella's controversial past.
The memo outlines years of miscues and controversies involving Rodella, most of which are common knowledge and have been reported over the years in the news media. “This time, the defendant’s criminal conduct stepped into federal jurisdiction. His conviction was just, and the United States asks the same for his sentence,” the memo states.
- Guess who wants to run for President again? Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson says he would like to run again. He ran as a Libertarian Party candidate in 2012 and received just under 1 percent of the vote.
- In his role as DCCC chairman, Ben Ray Lujan will be in charge of a massive PAC. The Santa Fe Reporter looks at whether or not this is at odds with some of statements he has made in the past opposing big money in politics.
- The state legislature will consider at least two bills relating to e-cigarettes this session.
The first bill, introduced by Democratic state Sen. Cisco McSorley, would impose a tax on vaping products and require nicotine-content labeling on vaping liquid. The second bill, introduced by Republican state Rep. Monica Youngblood, would prohibit the sale of vaping products to minors.
- State legislators grilled the Executive Director of New Mexico Spaceport Authority over how it plans to reach its goals with its anchor tenant, Virgin Galactic, not living up to its original promises.
The Spaceport, meanwhile, says it will need $1.7 million in emergency funds because of the lack of Virging Galactic presence at the Spaceport.
- A judge dissolved restraining order barring a vote on the Gila River diversion plan, clearing the way for the Interstate Stream Commission to vote on the controversial project. The vote will likely come during Monday's meeting.
- The man identified as the shooter at Florida State University early Thursday morning worked as a prosecutor in the District Attorney's office in Doña Ana County as late as a month ago.
According to the New Mexico State Bar Association, May began working in New Mexico in 2013. Spokeswoman D.D. Wolohan told News 13 that May started by working on a “limited license” with the Santa Fe Public Defender’s Office in May 2013. Several long-time employees at the Public Defender’s Office told News 13 on Thursday that they had never heard of May.
May reportedly left his position in Santa Fe, and went to work with the Doña Ana County DA’s Office earlier this year, where he was a junior prosecutor. In May, May received his full New Mexico law license. The New Mexico State Bar Association says no disciplinary action was ever taken against May.
- The Human Rights Campaign rated PNM very low on workplace equality when it comes to LGBT workers.
Many of the report's complaints about PNM related to the company's alleged failings in assuring equal protections and benefits for transgender employees. According to the HRC, PNM diversity trainings do not cover gender identity and expression issues, and there are no written guidelines concerning employees who transition, or move from expressing themselves as one gender to expressing as another, while on the job.
PNM provided Albuquerque Business First with a portion of their non-discrimination and harassment policy, which does prohibit discrimination based on gender identity, but offers no more detailed guidelines than that.
- New Mexico In Focus is on tonight, as it is each Friday night on KNME. This week's show will look at challenges faced by women's veterans, the impact of oil and gas prices dropping, the problems at the state labs and the changes to Democratic leadership in the state legislature.
- The committee that helped defeat a judge in a retention election is asking the state Supreme Court to rule that he cannot be appointed to the same position.
Allowing Mitchell to apply to fill the vacancy created by the voters, “makes a mockery of the entire judicial retention system,” reads a petition filed Wednesday.
- You probably won't see a press conference for this. A defense contractor is shuttering its facility in Socorro and moving the jobs to Arkansas. The company operated largely on New Mexico Tech property.
University officials were aware of Aerojet Rocketdyne’s plans to relocate “for some time and realize their decision to move was due to a whole host of reasons, but mainly to consolidate their operations,” Lopez said. “We have had time to see how many employees we are able to retain.”
- An APS board member wants the board of the state's largest school district to back legislation relating to truancy. The legislation, which failed in this year's session, would take away drivers licenses from those who are habitually truant.
- The Tennessee mother who was shot at by State Police officers in a video that went viral was indicted again on multiple charges.
Farrell, 40, was indicted anew on counts of aggravated fleeing an officer, child abuse and possession of drug paraphernalia, said Taos District Attorney Donald Gallegos. “We’re just ready to move the matter forward and get it in front of jurors so they can decide,” said Gallegos. The jury took “just a matter of minutes” to reach its decision to indict Farrell, he added.The case was originally thrown out by a state appeals court because of problems with choosing a replacement on the original grand jury. The officer who fired at the van was fired.
- The city of Santa Fe decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana and then... not much has happened. As in, the new ordinance is still not being fully enforced.
- Mark Bentley returns and writes about Lincoln County saying the EPA is trying for a "water grab."
- An environmental activist from Grant County was honored by the New Mexico Community Trust Foundation in Santa Fe.
Harris, who introduced Salmon at the award ceremony in Sante Fe, said he thinks of Salmon as the godfather of New Mexico's river protection movement. He added via email that Salmon organized the Gila Conservation Coalition, which he considers an important contribution to New Mexico's conservation efforts.
- The state environment department approved a sewage lagoon for an RV park near Aztec. The leader of a group that opposed the approval said it was "too predictable."
- Some schools with a high percentage of lower income students ranked high in the rankings of some website called niche.com. One school administrator said smaller class sizes were one reason for the high ratings.
- There could me up to 70,000 petroglyphs on Mesa Prieta in northern New Mexico.
- The Washington Post's The Fix blog pokes some fun at Bill Richardson's sartorial choices. That jacket, though... man.
- UNM women's soccer coach Kit Vela will not return to coach in 2015. The 2014 season was filled with controversy over a hazing incident.