House blocks parental-notification bill
The Legislature used this Saturday to handle some controversial bills, holding large hearings on Saturday morning. A measure that would have required abortion providers for some teens to notify their parents before the procedure failed on a party-line vote ($) in the House. As is often the case with such an issue, there was a lot of emotional testimony.
A bill favored by the governor that would have reinstated the death penalty for certain criminals was quickly shuffled off the legislative coil this weekend, as a House committee ensured its demise. Proponents pointed to recent cases such as 13-year-old Jeremiah Valencia, whom police say was horribly abused by his mother's boyfriend before being killed. Others pointed to initial accusations that later prove to be false, such as the former lawmaker's son who was held for the killing of Albuquerque teen Jayden Chavez Silver, only to have charges later dropped.
Santa Fe's next-to-the-top cop is leaving the department rather than chance an appointment to chief from the next mayor. SFPD Deputy Chief Mario Salbidrez will instead take over as head of security for the city's public school system. Both Salbidrez and Deputy Chief Andrew Padilla have been running the department since the departure of Chief Patrick Gallagher for Las Cruces. They had each told SFR they wanted to become chief.
Santa Fe minimum wage bump
The city's minimum wage will rise to $11.40 an hour next month. Wage increases are tied to a regional consumer price index and this year's hike—2.82 percent—is the largest in 7 years.
Medical specialist movement
If you've lived in our fair state for long, you know finding a specialist for many medical needs can be next to impossible—let alone getting an appointment. That's particularly true with movement disorders like Parkinson's Disease. There are 10,000 people with it in New Mexico. There are three doctors, all in Albuquerque. The folks across the street at The New Mexican have an interesting look at the problem ($) and potential solutions.
UNM’s open records secret
The state's largest public university has been dogged by the inner workings of, in particular, its Athletic Department. Emails released under the state's open records law show attorneys for the former athletic director changing official university statements and that same AD telling subordinates to destroy emails after reading them. In November, the school met with an outside attorney to discuss the law, and a week later, he wrote a memo with suggested changes that the Legislature might entertain. A week after that, as reporters began sniffing around, the university wrote a letter of engagement for the $1,800 consultation. The next month, the university's spokeswoman said the school wasn't planning to pursue any changes. The newly released attorney's memo includes large blacked-out sections. The school claimed the sections were attorney-client privileged.
Cool on cops
Two heavy-hitting lawmakers are less than thrilled about new Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller's idea to get the state to pay for more police officers in his city. Rep. Patty Lundstrom, D-Gallup, and Sen. John Arthur Smith, D-Deming, say the state shouldn't be responsible for bailing out the city. Smith says the city council has $125 million available to it through unlevied gross receipts taxes, and if the city is short on money, perhaps it's time to make tough taxing decisions.
Petry honored at Super Bowl
Santa Fe veteran and Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. Leroy Petry was honored during the coin toss before the Super Bowl, along with more than a dozen other medal winners. The retired Army master sergeant lost a hand during battle in 2008 when he picked up a live grenade and threw it away to save his fellow soldiers.
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