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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The solar boom has some Eldorado residents bothered. They see photovoltaic panels as eyesores.
The New Mexico Court of Appeals is expected to hear arguments on assisted suicide for terminally ill patients today.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Think New Mexico’s Executive Director Fred Nathan doesn’t think a new food tax proposal adds up.
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.
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.
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.
Expo New Mexico managers are requesting money to fix state fairground “pipes, poles and leaky roofs.”
The Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce says its priorities at the legislature are centered on economic development and education reform.
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.
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.
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.
The University of New Mexico Lobos lost a tough game in Wyoming at the buzzer.
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.
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.”