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New York Times: Chemical Industry Courts Tom Udall

Paper reports Senate Democrats upset over the environmental champ's alleged bidding for industry

Local NewsFriday, March 6, 2015 by Justin Horwath
The New York Times has published a story about an "unlikely alliance" between the chemical industry and New Mexico's Democratic US Senator Tom Udall, regarded as an environmental champion.

From reporter Eric Lipton's report

So environmental activists were stunned to learn that Mr. Udall’s political supporters now include the chemical industry, which has donated tens of thousands of dollars to his campaigns and sponsored a television ad that praised his leadership.

This unlikely alliance has been forged as Mr. Udall emerged as the chief Senate negotiator for Democrats on legislation that would fundamentally change the way the federal government evaluates the safety of more than 80,000 chemicals.

Udall "emphatically rejects the notion that he is industry’s emissary," reports the Times

“I am fighting for our children and trying to make sure they are not being pumped full of chemicals in the next generation,” Udall said. 

Fellow Democrats, including Barbara Boxer, D-California, are reportedly upset over Udall's negotiations with US Sen. David Vitter, R-Louisiana. Udall and Vitter, according to the report, want to require testing of 10 high-risk chemicals a year, a much slower clip than environmentalists and public health experts are proposing. 

One party's not upset: The American Chemistry Council. It paid for an ad supporting Udall that ran in New Mexico markets:

This Weekend

Fun for First Friday

Weekend PicksFriday, March 6, 2015 by SFR

Refuge

Valerie Rangel exhibition features hand-cut silhouette patterns of tree branches, displayed on black and white paper.

More Info >>

First Friday

Get some inspiration from the museum's Modernism Made in New Mexico exhibition and draw your own landscape. Free with museum admission.

More Info >>


Speed Lab

A workshop series on the different coffee blends, specialty drinks and the methodology behind creating great cups of coffee. This series also offers free tastings and 10% off off bulk coffee and brewing equipment.

More Info >>

Metal World Radio Presents

Blinddryve, Savage Wizdom, Capicorn and Almost a Lie plans to raise the roof.

More Info >>


Not Quite Right

Three couples grapple with dueling expectations in the upbeat family drama by Elaine Jarvik and Robert F Benjamin.

More Info >>

Nacha Mendez

This singer-songwriter's music was aired on the first annual Latin Grammy Awards, and she has performed locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally.

More Info >>




Get more information about how to spend your fun days when you sign up for the SFR Weekend newsletter, delivered to your inbox each Friday afternoon.

Can New Mexico Lead US Relations With Cuba?

State Rep. Miguel Garcia wants to establish Cuban Trade Office

Local NewsFriday, March 6, 2015 by Joey Peters

A lawmaker wants New Mexico to take immediate advantage of the United States' newly opened relationship with Cuba. 

State Rep. Miguel Garcia, D-Bernalillo, says he wants to see New Mexico become Cuba's "favored state" by establishing the first Cuban trade office in the nation. That includes becoming the country's commercial hub for popular Cuban items like rum and cigars.

"It's really to position New Mexico as moving forward with state relations with Cuba," Garcia says. 

His bill would use $25,000 from the general fund to establish the trade office under the state Economic Development Department. A director for the trade office would be appointed by the department secretary, currently Jon Barela. 

The director of the office would "promote trade between New Mexico businesses and Cuba, including identifying potential partners and buyers in Cuba, assisting with marketing goods and services to Cuba, assessing the potential of Cuban markets and accompanying New Mexico businesses and government officials to meetings in Cuba."

A fiscal impact report of Garcia's bill notes that Cuba's opening with the United States is "slow and gradual" and that "private enterprise in Cuba is not yet recognized by the government and would require cumbersome procedures to find local hires with business contacts." Indeed, the Cold War era US trade embargo remains until Congress repeals it, which doesn't seem likely anytime soon.

But the Cuban government has been slowly opening up to market reforms since the collapse of the Soviet Union, its onetime mega trade partner.

Garcia says that New Mexico has had a strong "human resource pool" with Cuba since the 1960s that will add to the Cuban Trade Office's success.

This includes University of New Mexico sociology professor Nelson Valdes, whom Garcia says has previously met directly with both former Cuban President Fidel Castro and current Cuban President Raul Castro. Valdes is expected be on hand Saturday as Garcia's expert witness when the House Business and Employment Committee hears his bill. 

Another UNM professor, Spanish and Portuguese Department Director Enrique Lamadrid, will also serve as Garcia's expert witness.

The bill passed the House Government, Elections & Indian Affairs Committee last month on a 5-4 vote, with state Rep. Jane Powdrell-Culbert, R-Sandoval, as the only Republican present voting yes. 

New Mexico isn't a stranger to appearing in news headlines with Cuba, which is located just 90 miles south of the coast of Florida.

The state's connections with Cuba were also on display this week when Santa Fe lawyer Jason Flores-Williams became the attorney for Charlie Hill, a member of the radical Republic of New Afrika who was charged with killing a cop in New Mexico in 1971 and soon fled to Cuba for asylum, where he's been for 44 years. 

Three years ago, former Gov. Bill Richardson traveled to Cuba in a failed attempt to release American citizen Alan Gross, who was arrested and held there for five years over charges of subverting the Cuban government. Gross was released last year after both the US and Cuba announced that they were normalizing their relations.

Morning Word: Coal Strip Mine Expansion Halted

Federal judges cites health concerns

Morning WordFriday, March 6, 2015 by Peter St. Cyr
Environmentalists who want energy companies to invest in renewables like solar and wind are celebrating a court ruling that will halt the expansion of a coal strip mine. Republicans will have to move their right-to-work legislation through three Senate committees in 15 days. That, plus a friendly reminder to set your clocks forward one hour on Sunday.

It's Friday, March 6, 2015

Citing health concerns, a federal District Court judge in Colorado has halted the expansion of a coal mine on the Navajo Nation.
"The Diné people who reside near the power plant and Navajo Mine have suffered the burden of coal impacts for far too long. This is our home, and we cannot just move away from our communities, so we are grateful that the court rejected this plan," says Colleen Cooley of Diné CARE. 
Read more at the Daily News. 

Right-to-work legislation, a Republican priority this year, will have to go through the committee process after Democrats blocked a direct vote by Senate members.

Joey Peter’s has details at SFR. 

More New Mexico Legislative News: 

  • Lawmakers are considering revising the state whistleblower protection laws – Santa Fe New Mexican. 
  • Senators have passed another race horse drug testing bill – ABQ Journal
  • Racinos want to extend credit to gamblers – ABQ Journal
  • The House Safety and Civil Affairs Committee voted unanimously to approve the bill that would require sheriffs to have at least seven years of professional experience in law enforcement to run for the office – Associated Press
  • A restrictive abortion bill, modeled after similar measures in Texas, has been tabled – New Mexico Political Report. 
The Las Cruces city clerk has until Monday afternoon to verify signatures on petitions to recall three city councilors, Olga Pedroza, Gill Sorg and Nathan Small – all labeled as too progressive by a group called New Mexicans for a Better Tomorrow.

Read it at the Las Cruces Sun-News. 

Santa Fe City Councilor Joseph Maestas has decided to recuse himself from voting on a proposal to ban the sale of miniature bottles of alcohol because his family owns a liquor license that is for sale.

SFR’s Justin Horwath has more. 

A group of Southern New Mexico Catholics are organizing a trip to Philadelphia in September to see Pope Francis celebrate mass on his first official visit to the United States.

Read it at the Deming Headlight. 

In May, UFO enthusiasts are headed across the border to see recently discovered pictures of the Roswell Incident revealed at the National Auditorium in Mexico City. The UFO museum in Roswell will also present them at their annual festival in July.

See more at KOB. 

After a series of attacks on college Muslim students around the country, the Associated Students of the University of New Mexico passed a resolution urging the school’s administration to take a stand against Islamophobia here.
Citing domestic attacks against Islam such as the February killing of three Muslim students at the University of North Carolina and a Molotov cocktail being thrown at the Albuquerque Islamic Center last year, as well as the continuing fight against ISIS in the Middle East, the legislation states that UNM “should stand strong in opposition of Islamophobia and related hate crimes.”

Read it at the Daily Lobo. 

A Daily Lobo columnist is urging state lawmakers to pass a constitutional amendment to allow voters a voice in legalizing marijuana in New Mexico in 2016.
Although New Mexico already has some of the most lenient marijuana laws in the country, full legalization would provide top-down economic improvements in local communities by adding millions to the annual budget. In addition to bringing in much-needed tax revenues, legalization would save the state millions more in resources currently being wasted on law enforcement. 
Read Jason Darensburg’s view here. 

Medical marijuana is already legal in New Mexico and now the New Mexico Department of Health has re-opened its license application process to select up to a dozen new producers.

Get your application here. 

Hollywood producers have agreed to pay a New Mexico landowner $35,000 for using his property to film Mark Walberg’s The Lone Survivor after KRQE’s Larry Barker discovered the film company had been originally “duped” into paying a Chilili Land Grant title holder the fees.

See Barker’s piece here. 


Lights. Camera. Action. It’s just not Santa Fe and Albuquerque schools that are preparing students to work in New Mexico’s growing movie and television industry. Students at Eastern New Mexico University are getting some on-the-job training making their own artistic movies.

Read more at the Clovis News Journal. 

Mission: Graduate, a United Way of Central New Mexico initiative, appears to be a big success. Local universities and community colleges are handing out more diplomas.
According to the annual data report by the group, 16,178 degrees and certificates were handed out in 2013 compared to 12,607 handed out in 2012, an increase of 28 percent. 
Read more at the ABQ Journal. 

Volunteers in Ruidoso may not have set a world record, but they packed a whopping 116,640 meals to feed more than 320 starving children around the world for a year.

Elva K Österreich has the story and the video. 

After flood damage shut it down last fall, Slaughter Canyon Cave is reopening at Carlsbad Caverns this weekend. 

Read more at the Current-Argus. 

Not everyone likes Benjamin Franklin’s Daylight SavingTime idea, but Sunday is the day we all have to spring our clocks forward one hour. See you back here on Monday. Enjoy the weekend.

Councilor Maestas Recused From Mini Vote

Opposition to the bill that would ban the sale of alcohol bottles 8 ounces or less dwindles

Local NewsThursday, March 5, 2015 by Justin Horwath
City Councilor Joseph Maestas will recuse himself from voting on a bill that would ban the sale of miniature liquor bottles in Santa Fe because his family business owns a liquor license for sale, a reversal from his vote against the proposal during Monday's Finance Committee hearing.

The District 2 councilor will explain to the full council that he made the vote "in the belief that there was no conflict, in part because the city attorney had not advised me that there was," a statement drafted by the city attorney and sent to Maestas reads.

"Nevertheless, I did disclose the interest, to assure transparency," reads the statement. "A motion on the item failed, so my participation did not influence the outcome."

With Maestas out of the voting, the proposal is all but likely to pass. Five councilors in the nine-member body are sponsoring or co-sponsoring the bill. Besides Maestas, District 4 Councilor Ron Trujillo is the only member to have voted against it.

At Wednesday's Public Utilities meeting, Maestas recused himself from voting on the bill, says Assistant City Attorney Alfred Walker.

Councilors Patti Bushee, Peter Ives and Chris Rivera all voted for the measure Wednesday, says Walker, allowing it to clear that committee.

The proposal is set to be heard in front of the City Business Quality of Life Committee on March 11. That committee has no voting power, however, and the full council will consider it during its April 8 meeting.

Walker says an amendment has been added to the bill that would have banned the sale of minis to sites that don't allow "off-site" consumption.

Maestas is listed as a vice president of Vic's Bar Inc. The family business ran Vic's Bar in Santa Cruz, which Maestas says it stopped operating in 2006. The business still owns an inter-local dispenser license that's for sale, he says. 

The license can be sold to a Santa Fe buyer. The bill, sponsored by District 1 Councilor Sig Lindell, proposes to ban the sale of single-serve bottles of liquor 8 ounces or less within city limits. At Monday's Finance Committee meeting, Maestas "made the argument that small-family operated liquor stores could see their profits negatively affected by a ban on the sale of miniatures," City Attorney Kelly Brennan wrote to Maestas in a March 3 email.

"This effectively defined the benefit/loss that may be associated with the failure or enactment of the bill," Brennan wrote in the email.

Liquor licenses are in high demand in Santa Fe, she wrote. If the mini-ban impacts profits to liquor sellers, the value of Maestas' license "might be diminished," Brennan wrote, which triggers the requirement for Maestas to recuse himself from voting on the issue.

"If it were merely a matter of a point of view formed as a result of life experience, there would be no conflict," she wrote . "It is the existence of the license and its 'for-sale' status, together with the defined benefit, that creates the conflict."

Maestas says he approached Brennan after Monday's Finance Committee meeting to get assurance from her that he's able to participate in the discussion.

Maestas—who has disclosed his interest in the business and recused himself on liquor license matters in the past—says he was upset that Brennan did not  "pass me a note—didn’t advise me that I might have a conflict of interest."


"I’m not too happy about this," he says. "I would rather have her interrupt and embarrass me at a committee meeting than have to read this recusal at a council meeting."

Brennan—who was at the meeting during Maestas' vote—apologized in the email for the "confusion." 

"As I explained last night, I was under the impression that you took the item off the agenda in order to recuse yourself, and was surprised when you did not," she wrote. "However, I did not want to intervene at that point, although I fully intended to communicate with you on the subject as soon as possible after reviewing the code with the specific facts in mind." 

Right To Work Suffers Setback

Motion to blast bill to Senate floor fails

Local NewsThursday, March 5, 2015 by Joey Peters

The so-called "right to work" bill suffered a major setback today after a failed attempt by Republican state senators to bypass committees and hear the measure on the Senate floor.

Senate Minority Leader Stuart Ingle, R-Chaves, made the motion to refer the bill to the committee of the whole—words for the entire Senate body—late Thursday afternoon. Ingle argued that the legislation, which would eliminate mandatory union fees as a condition of employment, is too important to the state to go through the Senate committee process.

"Sometimes no matter what side we're on, there's an issue that affects the whole state and there’s something we all need to do," Ingle said on the floor. "This is one of those issues."

The motion failed on a 25-17 vote, with all Democrats voting no and all Republicans voting yes. The bill, dubbed the Employee Preference Act, is now assigned to three committees—Public Affairs, Judiciary and Finance—where it's widely expected to go down on party lines. 

The bill has been a priority of Republicans this session in the wake of the GOP takeover of the state House of Representatives and Gov. Susana Martinez' landslide reelection. Democrats, backed by organized labor, have largely opposed the bill. It's since passed the House on a party line vote, save one conservative state Rep. Donna Irwin, D-Doña Ana.

Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, D-Valencia, made a pledge to kill the bill at the start of the session. Two key conservative Democratic senators—John Arthur Smith and Pro Tem Mary Kay Papen, both of Doña Ana County—also vowed to vote against any attempt to bypass the committee process with right to work. 

Still, several Republican senators tried their damnedest to "blast" the bill to the floor.

"This motion to go to the whole helps the 42,000 [people] I represent have a voice," said state Sen. Cliff Pirtle, R-Chaves, who doesn't sit on any of the committees that the bill has been referred to. "It can go to all eight committees, but guess what? The committee of the whole is all eight committees meeting at once."

If the bill wasn't blasted, Pirtle argued that all his constituents would be "silenced." 

State Sen. Craig Brant, R-Sandoval, argued that the bill still hasn't being properly heard in the Senate so late in the session.

"We're on Day 44 of a 60-day session," Brant said. "We have a little more than two weeks left. And on an issue of this vital importance, we're going to send it to a committee so it can not be heard? I ask this body, is this really what you want to tell your constituents?"

At another point, state Sen. Bill Sharer, R-San Juan, claimed that "the whole country is watching what is happening in the New Mexico right now."

Near end of the debate, a few Democrats started speaking their opposition to the blast. State Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino, D-Bernalillo, mentioned bills he supports that he's never gotten to vote on because of them dying in committees, including a state constitutional amendment to draw money from the Permanent Fund for early childhood education.

He added that the Senate Public Affairs Committee, which he chairs, will hear the bill Sunday and that the "everybody in the state is welcome to come."

Morning Word: SolarCity to Compete with PNM

Land commissioner and others accused of ethics violations

Morning WordThursday, March 5, 2015 by Peter St. Cyr
The sun could be providing energy for thousands more homeowners soon. The state didn't get Tesla, but here comes SolarCity. That plus, we've got the scoop on auditioning for the second season of Manhattan and a look at all the legislative news.

It's Thursday, March 5, 2015

Already under pressure from environmentalists and regulators, the Public Service Company of New Mexico could be facing some stiff competition soon. SolarCity plans to set up shop in the state in the next few months and offer homeowners affordable loans to purchase solar panels to generate their own electricity.
The timing of the new SolarCity announcement was a surprise for Rep. Sarah Maestas Barnes, R-Bernalillo. On Tuesday, the New Mexico House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill she sponsored that would expand the solar tax credits on purchases and leases of solar systems. The next day, SolarCity, which is one of the nation's largest residential solar financiers, announced its expansion to New Mexico. 
 US Sen. Martin Heinrich said he welcome company’s announcement.
“Solar energy’s future in New Mexico is as bright as our sun—our tremendous solar resources should be harnessed as an engine of economic and job growth for our state. SolarCity’s decision to come to New Mexico is great news for our residents, our economy and our environment.” 
Dan Mayfield has details at ABQ Business First  

A Kirtland Air Force Base spokesman has threatened to cut off KUNM reporters’ access to the base following the station’s report on pollution in the Rio Grande.

Read more here. 

The state public lands commissioner, his son and an Otero County commissioner are being accused of ethics violations.
Two Otero County residents have filed complaints with the state auditor and the state attorney general alleging that State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn, along with his son, attorney Blair Dunn, and an Otero County commissioner, colluded for financial gain with public money and violated state law in connection with government contracts. 
Blair Dunn called the lawsuit "frivolous."

Staci Matlock has details. 

Doña Ana County Treasurer David Gutierrez is in hot water. He’s accused of offering a co-worker $1,000 to have sex with him.

See more at KOB. 

If you’re planning to get out of town for business or spring break and thinking about parking your car at the Albuquerque International Sunport’s public garage, you better make sure your vehicles registration is current. Investigative reporter Matt Grubs found out travelers are getting a lot of tickets.

See it at KRQE. 

A Navajo lawmaker doesn’t want medical marijuana legalized in his nation because it contradicts tribal values and traditions. While other tribes are considering the option, Council Delegate Edmund Yazzie thinks legalizing marijuana would "drive up crime rates and drug addiction" on the vast reservation that extends into New Mexico, Utah and Arizona.

Read more at the Las Cruces Sun-News. 

Employees working in the medical marijuana industry here in New Mexico may have to submit their fingerprints and undergo criminal background checks.
House Bill 527, sponsored by Rep. Paul Pacheco, R-Albuquerque, would authorize the state Department of Health to use the National Crime Information Center for criminal background checks of primary caregivers, employees and certain contractors of licensed nonprofit producers. Also subject to the checks would be manufacturers, couriers and laboratories approved for the medical marijuana program. Those found to have convictions for trafficking or distributing illegal drugs would be permanently disqualified from working in the program. 
Steve Terrell has more. 

Former professional football player Nate Jackson want the National Football League to drop its ban on marijuana.
Jackson said he avoided opiate painkillers as much as he could during his six-year career from 2003-08. Instead, he self-medicated with marijuana so that he wouldn’t retire addicted to prescription drugs like so many of his contemporaries.  
Read more here. 

Gov. Susana Martinez is pushing new initiatives to protect caseworkers at the Children Youth and Families Department.
Under current law, it is a felony to commit assault or battery on paramedics, school employees, and sports officials like referees and umpires. However, assault and battery on a child abuse caseworker is not a specific offense, even though they routinely find themselves in stressful and potentially dangerous situations involving child custody and safety. 
Read more at KRWG. 

Good news for uninsured New Mexicans. Joey Peters found out that folks who missed out on the initial signup will be eligible to take advantage of a second open enrollment period March 15 to April 30.

More at SFR. 

Laura Paskus has a new essay on her recent journey and experiences at Chaco Canyon.
For centuries, this landscape has yielded what people needed. Once it was corn and beans, clean water, sandstone and timber. Then came the drought. There were wars and conquests. And in the past half-century, while the San Juan River irrigates thousands of desert acres, we’ve also forced the land to surrender coal and uranium, oil and gas. 
Read it at SFR. 

Members of the Independent Community Bankers of America have elected the CEO of Centinel Bank to head their association this year.

Read more at the ABQ Journal. 

New Mexico Legislative News: 

  • An effort to raise the minimum wage has failed in the state Senate. Milan Simonich has more on the Democrats voted against it – Santa Fe New Mexican
  • It looks like the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce is prepared to call for a special session if their priority bills don’t get passed before the regular session ends – New Mexico Political Report
  • After years of saying no, lawmakers now think it’s ok to purchase lottery tickets using a debit card – Las Cruces Sun-News
  • Senators also want to limit college lottery scholarship funding and use more of the revenue to increase prize amounts – Santa Fe New Mexican
  • Retired police officers who return to work could cost the state Public Employees Retirement Association almost $69 million next year – Dan Boyd
  • The Senate Conservation Committee has passed a bill that would give lawmakers more oversight of a Gila River diversion project – Ollie Reed. 
  • Lawmakers have reached a compromise on a bill that requires hospitals to make prices more transparent – Santa Fe New Mexican

The Albuquerque Isotopes have a new logo for the upcoming season, but not everyone likes it.
John Traub, the 'Topes general manager, told Business First on Wednesday that the team is not replacing the old, beloved logo but simply adding more logos, and more branded merchandise, to sell. "People are not realizing it's an addition," Traub said. "The old uniforms, white, black and gray will stay." 
Read more at ABQ Business First. 

Fans of Sam Shaw’s Manhattan have a chance to appear in the WGN America show. Producers are looking for extras and casting for the second season gets underway Saturday in Santa Fe.

Details on the auditions are online. 


Editor’s Note: An earlier report of this story listed the wrong reason why Kirtland’s spokesman is mad at KUNM.

Obamacare Enrollment Extended

Those without insurance can register from March 15—April 30

Local NewsWednesday, March 4, 2015 by Joey Peters

Uninsured New Mexicans who missed out on enrolling in health coverage this year are in luck.

Though the latest open enrollment period under the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) ended last month, a new special enrollment period will now begin on March 15 and last through the month of April. 

The decision for this "extra enrollment" period comes from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. 

"I think they were beginning to realize that many people are still not aware of health option changes and still certainly not aware of the penalty changes," says Barbara Webber, executive director of Health Action New Mexico

The ACA imposes penalties on people who don't have insurance and don't qualify for subsidies. For 2015, that penalty jumps from $95 per adult to $325 per adult and is imposed during taxes for 2016. But uninsured people who didn't register for coverage are eligible to sign up during the extra enrollment period at BeWellNm.com, the website of the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange.

And if uninsured people register for coverage during the extra enrollment period, they can get out of most of the fees for next year. They'll instead pay a prorated fee to cover the time they weren't enrolled in an insurance program in 2015.

Webber says that despite the health care law being in effect for nearly two years, a sizable segment of the country still isn't aware of the ACA's requirements. 

"We know that, based on polling, 30 percent of people are still not aware that they have to have health insurance," she says. "It's just hard to reach everyone. Not everyone reads the papers. Like any federal program, it takes a while for people to get on board with it."

Spokeswoman Amanda Molina says the same resources that were available during the latest open enrollment period, namely staff support from enrollment counselors and certified agents, will be available during the extended period.

A total of 51,857 New Mexicans signed up through the exchange during the latest enrollment period, which occurred from Nov. 15, 2014 through Feb. 15 of this year.

Morning Word: Pearce Votes Against Funding Homeland Security

Supreme Court reconsiders Obamacare

Morning WordWednesday, March 4, 2015 by Peter St. Cyr
Thousands of federal workers in New Mexico are breathing a little easier today now that their salaries have been fully funded. Is today the beginning of the end for Obamacare? The Supreme Court takes another look at the law. That, plus the latest from inside the Roundhouse.

It's Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A few days after funding the Department of Homeland Security for another week, Congress has approved the full $40-billion budget, but not with the support of US Rep. Steve Pearce, R- New Mexico. He remains opposed to the president’s executive action that defers immigrant deportations.
“DHS plays a vital role in our national security. However, the Congress cannot allow President Obama to continue acting without regard for the law. The House did not live up to its commitment today. When sworn in as a Member of Congress, each individual takes an oath to uphold and honor the Constitution. We failed in that mission with this vote.” 
Reps. Ben Ray Lujan and Michelle Lujan Grisham, both Democrats, voted for the budget.

Read it at the Albuquerque Journal. 

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is headed back to the US Supreme Court today and there’s a lot at stake with federal subsidies for people enrolled in health care exchanges, which could collapse if the plaintiffs prevail.

Read it at The New York Times.  

Gov. Susana Martinez has settled a lawsuit with the Associated Press that will make some of her security officer’s travel records public.

The AP has details. 

Construction is about to get underway for some big water projects in Las Cruces.

Read more at the Las Cruces Sun-News. 

Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales and three city councilors have racked up thousands of dollars in out of state travel expenses in the last year.

Read more at the Santa Fe New Mexican. 

Carol Wight, the executive director of the New Mexico restaurant association, believes the state has a big problem with new unemployment insurance program rules that have tripled premium prices. She says New Mexico's economic recovery will continue to lag if it's not fixed.
Read her view at ABQ Business First. 

Sarcastic remarks made by Public Lands Commissioner Aubrey Dunn’s son Blair Dunn, an American Lands Council attorney who wants federal lands transferred to the state, have offended some groups opposing the transfer.
Native American leaders are highly motivated to be well schooled legally, in order to protect their peoples' interests against the further diminishment of rights and treaties by the dominant white establishment. Native leaders should be applauded, not disparaged, for their eloquent and determined defense of their people, lands and culture. 
Read Jim Klukeert’s take here. 

Students around the state continue to protest PARCC tests, but they’re being warned if they go to another school’s campus they could be charged with trespassing.

See more at KRQE. 

Public Education Secretary Hanna Skandera says the tests only measure what is being taught in class.

See her interview with Ryan Luby. 

In Carlsbad, health officials are working to make the transition to a new mental health and substance abuse treatment company as seamless as possible.

Read more at the Carlsbad Current-Argus. 

San Juan County commissioners have approved $775,000 for new programs to combat homelessness and substance abuse.

Read more at the Farmington Daily Times.  

New Mexico Legislative News: 

  • A new poll shows that three-quarters of New Mexico’s business leaders support an independent ethics commission – KUNM
  • The House Safety and Public Affairs Committee has approved a measure that would require political action committees to reveal the names of their donors – New Mexico Political Report
  • Senators have blocked a bill that would give the governor more say on capital spending – Santa Fe New Mexican
  • But lawmakers have approved another measure that would give local small businesses a better shot at landing state contracts – ABQ Business First
  • A bill that would restrict the use of solitary confinement in New Mexico has advanced – Santa Fe New Mexican

Street View

03.04.15

Street ViewTuesday, March 3, 2015 by SFR
Somebody is promoting bike safety with street art.

We see what you’re up to, and we like it! Send you best shots to streetview@sfreporter.com or share with #SFRStreetview for a chance to win movie passes to the CCA Cinematheque.

New York Times: Chemical Industry Courts Tom Udall
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