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Morning Word: Battle Brewing Over Public Records Access

Udall wants to amend the Keystone XL Pipeline bill

Morning WordMonday, January 26, 2015 by Peter St. Cyr
A battle is brewing over a New Mexico State University proposal to limit access to some of the school's public documents. Government transparency supporters opposed the restrictions. Plus, we have a recap of all the weekend news, sports and a preview of Better Call Saul.

It's Monday, January 26, 2015.

Open government supporters are gearing up to oppose a proposal by New Mexico State University to limit access to public records.
A document prepared by NMSU and obtained by the Journal describes a litany of proposed exemptions to the Inspection of Public Records Act, including some that would make secret much of the public sector hiring process and certain law enforcement activities.
Read more at the ABQ Journal.

Even as the US Senate prepares to pass a measure authorizing the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, engineers are trying to figure out how to contain and clean up 50,000 gallons of oil spilled into Yellowstone River after a pipeline ruptured.

Read more at Indian Country. 

US Sen. Tom Udall, D-New Mexico, has offered an amendment to the controversial pipeline bill that would establish a national standard for renewable energy he says would create a quarter million jobs, reduce pollution and save energy consumers billions of dollars.
"The Keystone Pipeline is an investment in doing things the old way — importing foreign oil. Instead of doubling down on foreign oil, we should be talking about how we can move America forward by investing in the homegrown energy of the future. We have the technology and the resources to lead the world in clean energy production and jobs and fight climate change, but our energy policy needs to catch up with the times before China and Germany dominate the market," Udall said. 
The Los Alamos Daily Post has more. 

Thousands of  manufacturing jobs were lost to Nevada when Tesla announced its new battery factory would be built in the Silver State. Not to worry, even more jobs would be created in New Mexico if lawmakers legalized marijuana or approve a constitutional amendment to give voters a voice on the issue.

Read it at Albuquerque Business First. 

Speaking of green jobs, renewable energy advocates believe lot of people will be hired now that the US Interior Department has approved construction of the SunZia transmission line.
An analysis done by New Mexico State University and the University of Arizona said the line would create 6,200 jobs during its construction, as well as 36,000 jobs from the construction of new renewable plants in Arizona and New Mexico. In New Mexico, the study said, the project would bring $275 million in estimated wages. 
Read more here. 

The solar boom has some Eldorado residents bothered. They see photovoltaic panels as eyesores.

Read more at the Santa Fe New Mexican. 

The New Mexico Court of Appeals is expected to hear arguments on assisted suicide for terminally ill patients today.

See the story at KOB 4. 

The New Mexico Department of Finance’s public information officer has been suspended and will be fired early next month. Tim Korte is married to one of the one of the administrations biggest critics, but Finance Secretary Tom Clifford says his termination has nothing to do with Albuquerque Public Schools Board Member Kathy Korte’s views on the governor’s public education reforms and student testing.
Clifford said Korte’s firing is part of a broader reorganization within the governor’s administration as Martinez moves into her second term, and that the initiative will affect others as well, including Public Education Department spokesman Larry Behrens. 
Kathy Korte herself was fired by the University of New Mexico herself last year. She’s filed a wrongful termination lawsuit and claims she was fired for her outspoken views.

Read more at the Santa Fe New Mexican. 

Korte is up for re-election this year. This weekend, her campaign was accused of putting flier on the cars of people attending the funeral of her opponent’s daughter.

See more at KOB. 

The voter ID debate has taken a high tech turn. Forget about the cost of photo ids, Senate Minority Whip Bill Payne, R-Bernalillo, wants the state to consider using expensive thumbprint and eye scan technology. 

SFR’s Joey Peters has details. 

Amtrak train stops in Raton, Las Vegas, and Lamy remain at risk after lawmakers and the governor failed to request $4 million to maintain the tracks. It's not a lost cause.
Rep. Roberto “Bobby” Gonzales, D-Taos, said lawmakers will seek state capital outlay funds and federal transportation grants to cover the cost and the administration is coordinating with towns and counties to pursue grants and that the state supports keeping the route. 
Read the Associated Press story here. 

Think New Mexico’s Executive Director Fred Nathan doesn’t think a new food tax proposal adds up.

Read his take here. 

A bill introduced in the New Mexico Legislature would cut off state severance tax bonds to communities that ban or greatly restrict extractive industries or outright ban hydraulic fracturing. Today, Mora County Commissioners plan to discuss a federal court ruling that said their own ban on fracking was unconstitutional.

Read it at New Mexico Watchdog. 

Laura Paskus’s New Venture funded radio series “Drilling Deep” continues on KUNM with an interview with a Zuni Pueblo councilman who wants the federal government to protect ancient migration trails near Chaco canyon free from oil and gas industry leases. After you hear the interview with Mark Martinez, check out Paskus’ slideshow.

Check it all out here. 

Attorney General Hector Balderas has requested $18 million in general funding from the New Mexico Legislature. Balderas said he needs some of the money for water battles with Texas.

Read it at the Santa Fe New Mexican. 

Expo New Mexico managers are requesting money to fix state fairground “pipes, poles and leaky roofs.” 

Charles Brunt has more. 

The Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce says its priorities at the legislature are centered on economic development and education reform.

Read it at the ABQ Journal. 

Fans of Uber and Lyft rideshares have been hoping that legislation would be introduced this year to change the state’s motor carrier laws, but so far no bills have been introduced.

Dan Mayfield reports. 

On Friday, a judge ruled that a behavioral health care provider was denied due process by the New Mexico Human Services Department.
State District Judge Francis Mathew ordered the department to hold a hearing that would allow Santa Fe-based Easter Seals El Mirador to hear the specific allegations against it for the first time — and give the provider a chance to respond to those claims. The ruling could open the door for other providers affected by the shake-up to do the same, according to the nonprofit’s lawyer. 
Easter Seals El Mirador CEO Mark Johnson said he’s confident the group will be exonerated.

Read Patrick Malone’s story here. 


A Santa Fe jury has awarded a record $165.5 million in a civil case stemming from a triple fatal crash caused by a Fed Ex truck driver in 2011.

Read more at the Alamogordo Daily News. 

The University of New Mexico Lobos lost a tough game in Wyoming at the buzzer.

Game highlights here. 

Zach Gentry, Eldorado High School’s star quarterback, is new Michigan Coach Jim Harbaugh’s first QB recruit. Gentry had originally committed to the University of Texas.

Read it at the ABQ Journal. 

Esquire Magazine's Stephen Marche thinks the "Better Call Saul" prequel, which debuts on AMC Television on Feb. 8, starts off even better than Breaking Bad. The opening courtroom scene, Marche writes is, “perfect.”

Read it here. 

This Weekend

01.23.15

Weekend PicksFriday, January 23, 2015 by SFR

Winter/Spring 2015 Exhibitions

Dark Light by Christine Nofchissey McHorse, Account Past Due, Ledger Art and Beyond by Chris Pappan, Mechanistic Renderings by Star Wallowing Bull, War Department: Selections from MoCNA’s Permanent Collection, Heavy Volume, Small Spaces by Mihio Manus open. Through July 31

More Info >>

Made in Santa Fe

What do Lucky Gagin, Henry Fonda, Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, Divine, Rosalind Russell, Warren Beatty, and Johnny Cash all have in common?  They wa starred in films Made in Santa Fe.  Presented by New Mexico film historian and El Dorado resident, Jeff Berg, this program will include 15 clips from movies that have been filmed in and around Santa Fe since 1936.

More Info >>


Bella Gigante's Birthday Bash

The gender-bending local sensation celebrates in style with a rollicking all-ages party.

More Info >>

Flamenco Dinner

Spanish flavor, music and dance combine to dizzying effect tonight

More Info >>


Hear them Roar: New Mexican Animal Carvers and Contemporary American Folk Art

Exhibition curator Andrew John Cecil facilitates an artists panel discussion in conjunction with exhibition Wooden Menagerie: Made in New Mexico.

More Info >>

The Dybbuk

The Santa Fe Jewish Film Festival presents an adaptation of the 1914 play about a bride possessed by a malevolent spirit. Come early for coffee and a pre-film talk; stay late for a brown-bag lunch discussion with literary scholar Lois Rudnik.

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.

Morning Word: Third Group Withdraws from PNM Agreement

Mora County Commission reacts to fracking opinion

Morning WordFriday, January 23, 2015 by Peter St. Cyr
Weather conditions are improving around the state. The weekend looks good, but it's chilly getting out the door this morning.

It's Friday, January 23, 2015.

Weather continues to cause closings and delays at schools and government agencies around the state.

KOB has the list.

A third group has withdrawn its support for the Public Service Company of New Mexico’s power replacement plan. Western Resource Advocates is concerned that PNM is trying to acquire a bigger share of goal-generated electricity from the San Juan Generating Station instead of considering most cost effective renewable options.

Read more at KRWG in Las Cruces. 

SFR’s Justin Horwath analyzed a PNM mailer to Santa Fe customers urging them to not support a municipal utility proposal. Mayor Javier Gonzales says the city wants to move toward more solar and wind.
"PNM is welcome to put their message out there, but Santa Fe is serious about a renewable energy future, and the plan to get us there is going to come from the people and their elected representatives.” 
PNM told SFR it does not plan to sell its system to the city.

Read more online. 

The Mora County Commission will meet on Monday to discuss a federal judge's opinion that its ban on fracking is unconstitutional. The extraction process, attorneys for the commission say, is harmful to the environment and residents should have a say in restricting oil and gas development in their community.

The Las Vegas Optic has reactions to the ruling. 


It didn’t take long for new Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Ben Ray Lujan to lure national Democrats including Rep. Nancy Pelosi to the state for a big planning meeting.
“The conference will be a chance for members and supports to attend panels, presentations and discussions on the legislative and political strategies being implemented by House Democrats while enjoying New Mexico, its culture, traditions and amazing food.” 

Read it at the ABQ Journal.

Several groups who want big money money out of politics rallied at the Roundhouse on Thursday--the fifth anniversary of Citizens United.
“After Citizens United, corporations and the wealthy have been buying elections in New Mexico and across the country,” Environment New Mexico Director Sanders Moore said. “The oil and gas industry has a stranglehold on our state, contributing more than $600,000 in the Congressional race last year alone. It is time to bring democracy back to the people.”
Read more at the Los Alamos Daily Post.

Speaking of rallies, abortion activists gathered in Las Cruces to remember the US Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v Wade decision.

See more at the Las Cruces Sun-News. 

State lawmakers are anxiously waiting to new revenue forecasts. A big drop in oil and gas prices will have a big impact on the state budget.

Read more at the ABQ Journal. 

Corrections Secretary Gregg Marcantel is getting a big salary hike to stay in Gov. Susana Martinez’ administration. The $16,000 raise to $123,750 a year was needed to offset the difference between his original $107,060 salary and his law enforcement pension from the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department.

Read more at the Taos News. 

As former Rio Arriba County Sheriff Tommy Rodella heads to prison for 10 years, the man who got his badge and job is facing discrimination allegations. Sheriff James Lujan vowed to implement department reforms when he took over, but Rodella staff loyalists contend he’s been verbally abusive and discriminated against them.

KOAT has more. 

Reporter Erica Zucco looked at data that shows more than 200 Albuquerque Police Department officers were assaulted last year.

See the numbers at KOB. 

The people who lash out at cops usually end up in court. Barbara Vigil, the New Mexico Supreme Court chief justice, used her State of the Judiciary address to the Legislature to ask for more court funding.

Read Phaedra Hayward’s recap here. 

The price tag for reforming the Albuquerque Police Department is steep: $4 million to $6 million a year. That does not include plans to boost the number of patrol officers at APD. At least, city officials say they’re going to attempt to avoid any tax hikes to offset the expense.

Target 7’s Nancy Laflin has more.

As a rule, University of New Mexico students feel safe on campus, but an independent report says the school needs to simplify its confusing sexual assault policies.

Read more at the ABQ Journal. 

Republican lawmakers are shaking up some key Legislative committees. Matthew Reichbach writes that the Democrats aren’t happy with the sweeping changes and want to know what role the governor and corporate interests had in this year’s assignments.

Read more at the New Mexico Political Report. 

A legislative measure to boost the minimum wage in New Mexico appears to have bipartisan support this year.

Read more at ABQ Business First. 

Dallas-based Matador Resources Co has acquired Harvey E Yates petroleum company for $37.5 million. Former Republican Party Chairman Harvey Yates is not affiliated with that company. His oil exploration firm, Jalapeño Corporation, is based in Albuquerque.

Read more at the ABQ Journal. 

Longtime 770KKOB radio talk show host Terrie Q Sayer has died. The former Mrs. Nevada and animal activist had been recovering from the flu.

Read more at KOB. 

After discovering a hateful tweet directed at UNM Lobo Basketball player Hugh Greenwood and his family by a UNLV fan before Wednesday's game in Las Vegas, a booster club has pledged $1,000 to the seniors’ Pink Pack Foundation for cancer awareness and fundraising.

Read it at the ABQ Journal. 

Still no explanation for how the footballs used in Sunday's AFC Championship game ended up under inflated, and still no evidence of a conspiracy by the New England Patriots to intentionally deflate them either.

Read more at the Santa Fe New Mexican.

Enjoy the weekend. We'll be back early Monday with another big news recap.

Voter ID To The Future

Senator wants state to study thumbprint, eye-scan technology for voter ID

Local NewsThursday, January 22, 2015 by Joey Peters

A Republican state senator wants to take a different look at the contentious idea of requiring voters to present photo IDs at the polls. 

Senate Minority Whip Bill Payne, R-Bernalillo, introduced a Senate memorial today calling on the state to study the feasibility of using biometrics like thumbprints and eye-scan technology to identify voters at the polls and prevent voter fraud. He says he got the idea after hearing "years and years about whether or not any effort to have photo ID or other identification measures suppresses the vote."

"I thought I’d shake it up a little because I recently got an iPhone that uses a thumbprint identification that only I could open it instead of having to use a password or any other code to get into it," Payne says in a video statement provided to SFR by the Senate Republican Leadership office (he had already left the Roundhouse when we tried to reach him this afternoon).

Though it may seem like an expensive idea that could expand state government to new depths, Senate Republican spokeswoman Diane Kinderwater says Payne believes the technology can reduce the price of voting.

The photo voter ID issue is expected to go far this legislative session with the recent Republican takeover of the state House of Representatives, a Democratic-controlled Senate full of political moderates and a Republican governor. But that doesn't mean it won't generate controversy. Many Democrats argue that voter ID is nothing more than a ploy that disenfranchises voters. 

It's unclear how much Payne's alternative idea would cost, or how seriously it will be taken even if it passes this session. Memorials aren't required to be enforced and instead are taken as recommendations from state lawmakers. Likewise, Duran has been outspoken in her support for a law requiring photo IDs at the polls. 

But the technology Payne wants studied is used in some parts of the world. 

Venezuela, a country not exactly known for being a conservative bastion, requires thumbprints in its elections. Some international election-monitoring groups widely praise the efficiency of country's voting system, though opponents of its left-wing government criticize the scanning technology as intimidating

George RR Martin: Bestselling author, badass, breast man

Santa Fe resident is no puritan, and he wants the whole world to know it

Pop CultureThursday, January 22, 2015 by Enrique Limón

"Let's turn from the latest cheating scandal involving the New England Patriots to a much more pleasant subject: breasts,” the ardent football fan posted to his LiveJournal on Wednesday.

Martin cited inequality when it comes to the exposed male and female breast form and also addresses the criticism HBO’s Game of Thrones has receives over showing some skin.

“And heaven forfend there should be a ‘wardrobe malfunction’ during the Super Bowl or similar event that exposes the country to a brief split-second glimpse of a female nipple (actually a pastie, but don't confuse us with facts),” he continued.

His response? A special screening this Friday at his Jean Cocteau Cinema of Free the Nipple, a 2014 documentary about a group of women who led a fight for “nipple equality” in New York City.

Check out the trailer below and full schedule here.

FREE THE NIPPLE from Parker Laramie on Vimeo.


This isn’t the first time the author has expressed he’s crazy for cleavage. In a 2014 interview during Comic-Con that touched on his South Park lampoon, Martin declared himself a boob-man and corrected a throbbing detail his penis-obsessed parodied self got wrong.

“I have nothing against weenies, weenies are fine, but I’m definitely on the boobies side of the equation,” he told a female reporter. “Boobies, not weenies.”

As far as a special dress code for Fridays umm…unveiling, the new owner of Silva Lanes notes, “New Mexico is not New York, of course... but our Cocteau staff will be appropriately clad to honor the fearless women who are the subject of the movie.”

He further teased that there will be boob-shaped cupcakes at hand. Insert tasteless ’Got milk’ joke here.

Morning Word: Storm Offers Little Drought Relief

Rodella sentenced to more than a decade in federal prison; plans appeal

Morning WordThursday, January 22, 2015 by Peter St. Cyr
Light snow in Santa Fe this morning. A big winter storm in the Land of Enchantment on Wednesday will slowly move out of the state today.  If you like the white stuff, more is predicted for Monday.

It's Thursday, January 22, 2015

 
The biggest winter storm of the season has been mostly hit and miss, depending on where you live.  John Fleck reports the snow that did accumulate will “offer little relief to the parched northern watersheds that provide New Mexico’s water supply”.
 
 
We checked airport delays at 6 am and flights from the Albuquerque International Sunport are still running mostly on time, but there are more than 100 school delays and closings.
 
 
Motorists should exercise caution and be prepared for reduced visibility, fog and snow especially in the high country. For the latest road conditions dial 511.

Engineers at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant report a ceiling panel inside the nuclear waste storage mine has collapsed.
This event highlights the need to continue prioritizing roof bolting and ground control in both the contaminated and uncontaminated areas of the WIPP underground facility in order to ensure safety and habitability in the underground.
 
 
Pet lovers are upset this morning after the bodies of four dogs were found mutilated in Valencia County. Animal Control officials believe the canines were involved in dog fights.
 
Tommy Rodella, who was convicted of violating a motorist's civil rights in a road rage incident last year, will spend more than a decade in federal prison. The former Rio Arriba Sheriff was sentenced on Wednesday and ordered to pay $200,000 in fines and restitution.
 
 
US District Judge James Browning said sentencing a law enforcement officer to prison for 10 years is “tough.”
 
 
News anchor Doug Fernandez scored an exclusive interview with the veteran Albuquerque Police Department officer who was shot during a traffic stop Jan. 3. Lou Golson says he knew, lying on the street bleeding, he was going to survive.
 
 
District Attorney Kari Brandenburg told journalist Jeff Proctor she has no plans to recuse herself from officer involved shooting investigations or from prosecuting two Albuquerque police officers charged with open counts of murder.
 
 
While PNM tries to get regulators to approve a plan to allow them to acquire 132 megawatts of coal-generated electricity, Rio Rancho Public School District officials say their new solar panels have saved the district almost $100,000.
 
 
Voters won’t be casting ballots in a Navajo presidential election do-over this month after all. 
 


After Tuesday's State of the State address, Public Education Department Secretary-designate Hanna Skandera spoke to the Silver City Sun-News about the governor's 2015 education initiatives.
"It was really a call to action and a bipartisan call to action. The bottom line is to get things done together, not play politics, and I'm very excited about the great opportunity for our schools going forward. She is championing education. It's going to be a great year."
The president of the American Federation of Teachers had a different take.
"Quality educators are leaving in historic numbers due to the abusive climates in our schools created by Martinez politices. Unsound methods of evaluation, rampant profit-motivated testing for our students and a culture of retribution and fear have been the only tangible 'reforms' under this governor."



Albuquerque Public School Communications Director Monica Armenta has accused a school board member of bullying her, but Kathy Korte says Armenta should not be interfering with her Stands4Kids program.


Lawmakers have approved a $9.4 million operating budget for this year’s Legislature, House members also started working on sweeping changes to committee assignments and voted to replace two committees altogether. Democrats were not pleased with the changes.
"We're two days in and it very much seems that they're trying to impose this Washington, D.C. dysfunction," Majority Leader Nate Gentry, R-Albuquerque, told New Mexico Political Report after the hearing.

Travelers who like to cross the country by train hope lawmakers and the governor approve funds to maintain tracks used by Amtrak in Northern New Mexico.


At least three bills have been introduced to restrict abortion access in New Mexico. SFR's Joey Peters reports activists on both sides of the issue expect the measures to move further through the legislature this year now that Republicans control the House.



Protest ABQ, whose restrictive abortion ballot initiative was rejected by voters in 2013, plans to push House Republicans to adopt their measure statewide.


New Mexico’s three Catholic bishops also want the politicians to restrict late-term abortions and want lawmakers to adopt a bill requiring physicians to notify parents if a minor daughter seeks an abortion. The religious leaders also want lawmakers to use money from the state permanent fund to increase early childhood development program budgets.


Steve Terrell has more from Day 2 at the Legislature and jokes there are only 58 days remaining in the session.


Speaking of the number 2, the University of New Mexico’s men’s basketball team scored an impressive win on Wednesday night, beating the UNLV Rebels by two points, 71-69.


The storms have rapidly improved ski area conditions around the state. Time to wax the boards.

Check ski area reports here.

Updated: PNM mailers: Keep Santa Fe Moving Forward

Company calls proposal to purchase PNM's power system 'misguided'

Local NewsThursday, January 22, 2015 by Justin Horwath

Public Service Company of New Mexico mailers are urging locals to "help PNM keep Santa Fe moving forward" in a public relations blitz against creating a publicly owned utility here.

And if that phrase sounds familiar, it's because Mayor Javier Gonzales used it as his campaign's key slogan last year. Gonzales' platform also used some of the same rhetoric that proponents of a taxpayer-funded utility are now employing.

“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but moving forward when it comes to energy means a real commitment to renewables," Gonzales says in a written statement. "PNM is welcome to put their message out there, but Santa Fe is serious about a renewable energy future, and the plan to get us there is going to come from the people and their elected representatives.”

PNM calls that proposal "misguided" in its mailers.

"Some Santa Fe elected officials are proposing a taxpayer purchase of PNM's electric system and creating a city-owned electric utility," read the inside of the mailers, which feature pictures of solar panels, wind turbines, PNM workers and smiling adults and children. "It's a misguided effort that could take us backwards."

The mailers contend that the costs to taxpayers of purchasing PNM's electric system could be "four times greater" than the $250 million given in one unidentified "taxpayer funded third party study." (That's a likely reference to a study commissioned by the nonprofit New Energy Economy, released in 2012). 

Officials with PNM have not yet returned a voicemail left Thursday seeking comment on the mailers. 

On January 28, City Council is slated to consider a resolution introduced by councilors Joseph Masestas, Chris Rivera and Peter Ives that would direct city staff to contact Santa Fe County to schedule a joint county-city meeting "for the purpose of discussing and determining if and how the city and county may pursue a joint publicly owned electric utility." 

The resolution also calls for city staff to conduct a study "of the legal and technical options the city has in creating a publicly owned electric utility."

The mailers direct readers to a website PNM created, www.powerforprogress.com, created on August 2, 2014, according to a whois.net domain report. 

January 22, 2015, 3:30 pm: SFR updated this post to include responses to the mailers from Mayor Gonzales.

Back On The Table: Abortion

Bills curbing abortion rights are expected to go far this year

Local NewsWednesday, January 21, 2015 by Joey Peters

At least three bills restricting access to abortion are likely to be introduced in the current New Mexico legislative session, and activists on both sides of the issue expect them to go much further than in recent years. 

"It's very scary," says Dana Middleton, president of the Santa Fe chapter of the National Organization for Women, which supports abortion rights. 

Earlier today, a well-attended rally organized by the Archdiocese of Santa Fe marched from the city's Cathedral Basilica to the Roundhouse, where clergymen, activists and lawmakers spoke in support of bills that would curb choices for pregnant women. With a Republican-controlled state House of Representatives and a Republican governor, anti-abortion activists expect to have more success in pushing bills than before. 

"We've got a window of opportunity," Allen Sánchez, executive director of the New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops, told protestors in the Roundhouse rotunda after the march. 

He was also joined by seven state lawmakers, all Republican.

"This isn't all," state Rep. Kelly Fajardo, R-Valencia, told the crowd, referring to sympathetic lawmakers who didn't show up to the rally. "We're fighting this fight together." 

At the rally, organizers passed out sheets of paper for people to sign, affirming their support for bills that would require minors to get parental notification before obtaining abortions, call on doctors to distribute information on medical risks and alternatives to the procedure to women seeking abortion and banning all late-term abortions.

Each measure has been introduced as a bill in recent years, yet none of them have ever cleared House committees. The bills haven't been formally introduced this session yet, but with a new Republican-controlled House, they're expected to at least clear the House. They'll likely face a tougher time in a state Senate still controlled by Democrats, who usually lean in favor of abortion rights.

Both pro- and anti-abortion rights activists will be zeroing in on the Senate committees. Many anti-abortion activists even expressed confidence that the bills have enough support on the Senate floor to pass. 

"Three or four senators are the key to this whole thing," state Sen. Bill Sharer, R-San Juan, tells SFR. "[People] can have a massive effect if they show up [and talk to their legislators]."

Likewise, Middleton says the New Mexico Coalition for Reproductive Choice will send someone to testify against each of the bills at each committee hearing.

More rallies on the divisive issue are coming, including a national anti-abortion rally tomorrow. The Coalition for Choice is planning a rally celebrating the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade next Thursday at the Roundhouse. 

Morning Word: Mora's Fracking Ban Ruled Unconstitutional

Rodella's request for new trial denied

Morning WordWednesday, January 21, 2015 by Peter St. Cyr
Speeches. We’ve rounded up stories from the Roundhouse and the start of the 2015 Legislature. Plus, we’ve got reaction to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address from New Mexico’s congressional delegation, but first here’s a look at some other news from around the state.

It's Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Citing constitutional violations, US District Court Judge Robert Browning has thrown out Mora County's ordinance banning oil and gas fracking.

Among Browning’s findings are that the ordinance violates the supremacy clause, which holds that any laws that violate the U.S. constitution are invalid and that it violates the First Amendment by chilling protected First Amendment conduct. He also ruled that the county doesn’t have the authority to enforce zoning regulations on state lands and that an outright ban of hydrocarbon extraction is a violation of state law, because state law allows oil and gas drilling.


Former Rio Arriba County Sheriff Tommy Rodella will be sentenced to prison today for confronting a motorist with a gun last September.  Rodella faces a mandatory seven years for the weapon’s violation and 10 years for the civil rights conviction after Judge Browning denied Rodella’s request for a new trial.

The Navajo Nation’s presidential election has taken another twist. A motion has been filed to find council members in contempt of court for rescheduling the vote.


Two energy trade groups are withdrawing their support for the Public Service Company of New Mexico’s power replacement plan.

Students in Ruidoso appear to be doing better in school. Proficiency test scores have increase there.
Third-grade math scores showed the greatest improvement with a 54.1 percent increase in proficiency scores, with first-, fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade scores also significantly improved.

SFR’s Justin Horwath has the latest on civil litigation stemming from an intercepted email scandal almost three years.  


Socorro Republican businessman Don Tripp was officially elected Speaker of the House in Santa Fe on Wednesday. The Los Alamos Daily Post posted Tripp’s comments online.

New Mexico Political Report Editor Matthew Reichbach has a recap of Gov. Susana Martinez’s State of the State Speech calling for “progress not politics” and details about her right to work and education initiatives.


After the speech, Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez responded to Martinez’s outlined agenda and says Democrats will push minimum wage proposals and oppose the governor’s call to repeal driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants.


Senate Finance Chairman John Arthur Smith told the Deming Highlight’s Bill Armendariz that he’s in discussions with the new House speaker to free up new sources of funding for education.

After being the minority party for nearly 60 years, the Republicans elected Denise Greenlaw Ramonas the chamber’s first female chief clerk.

Journal DC Bureau Chief Michael Coleman compiled reaction from the state’s congressional delegation after President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address last night in Washington.  Spoiler alert: The Democrats liked it, while the state’s lone Republican Rep. Steve Pearce didn’t.

WisePies’ basketball arena naming deal with the University of New Mexico, Reporter Mike English found, stacks up nicely compared to similar corporate sponsorship deals in the region.


Former radio talker Larry Ahrens, who has been hosting uPublic TV’s "Morning Brew", plans to launch a new national radio show. 
"Smart Living with Larry Ahrens" will debut later this month on the Doublewide Networkout, based in Phoenix, an online radio network run by Dave Pratt, an Arizona radio host. The show will focus on a theme of living life well, Ahrens said.
Business reporter Dan Mayfield will be up early, pulling double duty when he replaces Ahrens on the morning cable show.

NFL fans, who love to hate the Super Bowl-bound New England Patriots, want to believe the team deliberately conspired to deflate 11 of 12 playable footballs even though the game balls were fully inspected by referees before Sunday’s rainy AFC Conference Championship.

Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady, who has won more playoff games than some teams have won in their entire franchise history, called the air pressure allegations “ridiculous.”  Patriots’ fans, including me, simply haven’t seen any proof that Head Coach Bill Belicheck was on the sidelines sticking the balls with a needle. The team, it seems, at least deserves some due process.

3 Questions

with Charlotte Jackson

3 QuestionsWednesday, January 21, 2015 by Emily Zak

A curator, an artist and a gallery owner discuss their careers in art—and how being women affected them—at a panel on Monday at Charlotte Jackson Fine Art. In the meantime, Charlotte Jackson, director at the hosting gallery, hints about what’s she plans to discuss.

What first attracted you to a career in art?

I started out as a working artist. I loved it, but it just wasn’t what my calling should be. I eventually became involved for the first 10 years in my career in development for museum and foundations. From there, I became involved in the gallery business, and eventually 1988, 1989, I started my own gallery. I knew that it was something that I wanted to do, and I was good at it, I enjoyed it and I loved going to work every day.

What do people need to succeed in the gallery world?

There has to be a passion, and the passion has to be able to overcome the ups and downs of the art market. I mean, we’re faced with new distractions and new obstacles constantly in this business, and you really need to have a good vision of what it is you want to do. And in my opinion, you need to have a good, solid program. I also think that you have to have a good head for business. This is not for the faint of heart. In the worst of times and the best of times, it’s always challenging.

Why is it so important to have this panel with successful women in the arts?

There are still glass ceilings, and that may even be addressed in this conversation. But for future women, it’s important. Because the more we have this conversation, the more our voices are heard for the next generation. When I was first coming into the scene, there was something called ‘Guerrilla Girls.’ It was something that made me pay attention to what I do in the gallery. I think it’s very important for women in the arts to have these kind of dialogues and listen to women with experience and the things we’ve encountered, so you can say, ‘Wow, maybe I won’t go down that path, or maybe I can change this.’

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