Martinez' Approval Ranking Sinks

Three separate polls show Gov. Susana Martinez’ approval rating

. The timing isn’t good for Republicans, who’ve been counting on her popularity to help with key legislative races this fall. Political analyst Joe Monahan has the numbers and the scoop.

Administration Officials Won't Answer Questions

Her popularity may continue to trend down after three of her top Human Services Department officials opted to

during testimony about widespread food stamp program application fraud in Las Cruces on Friday.

Their refusal to answer questions came directly after sworn testimony from six HSD employees who alleged a widespread practice of fraudulently altering federal food benefits applications. The practice, according to eight former and current HSD employees who testified in federal court last month and today, amounts to adding false assets to the applications of people who would otherwise qualify for emergency aid from their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, otherwise known as food stamps.

State Wages Stagnate

Martinez’ popularity might have started to nosedive after her infamous pizza party in Santa Fe last December, and getting it back up may be difficult as the


While New Mexico's average weekly wage has grown by 10.2 percent between the third quarters of 2009 and 2015, the nation's has grown 15.8 percent. The average annual growth rate between the two periods has been 1.7 percent for New Mexico and 2.5 percent for the nation.

Overall, the average weekly wage in New Mexico was much lower than the nation's, making the state 43rd in the third quarter of 2015. While the state recorded an average weekly wage of $798 in the third quarter of 2015, the nation's was $974.

Meth Overdoses Spike

Who knows if it’s the result of the economic hardships, but the number of meth overdoses in New Mexico is

in New Mexico.

Heroin and prescription opioids account for most overdose deaths in New Mexico, but methamphetamine overdose deaths have climbed steadily since 2008. And emergency room visits linked to amphetamine and methamphetamine abuse nearly tripled from 2010 to 2014.

Immigrant Cases Clog Courts

Federal judges in New Mexico are also

in the number of immigrant cases on their court dockets.

Criminal felony immigration cases in New Mexico federal courts have increased 80 percent in five years to 3,749 in 2015 from 2,078 cases in 2011, according to U.S. court statistics compiled by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University.

Cops to Cook Crack 

This is a little strange, but the Albuquerque Police Department’s narcotics team got approval from a state judge to

to sell in undercover street operations.

Yates Picks Up Endorsements

Former state Republican Party Chairman

ahead of this weekend’s vote for a national committeeman. He’s trying to oust Martinez ally Pat Rogers.