Martinez signs budget
The governor vetoed brick-and-mortar improvements to far-flung college campuses, as well as a pair of art projects—you'll have to wait for a robotic dinosaur at the Museum of Natural History—but she signed most of the $6.3 billion budget passed by lawmakers last month. Martinez noted it will put $63 million toward raises for teachers. As you might expect, there's more money for state law enforcement.
Cloudy day for solar, northern New Mexico communities
The governor did not sign a bill that would have restored a tax credit for homeowners or small businesses that install solar panels. She also vetoed a bill that would have allowed the state and local governments to tax nonprofits, if such an entity were to win the contract to manage Los Alamos National Lab ($). That puts at risk tens of millions of dollars in revenue, because the lab contract is up for grabs and nonprofit companies are among those vying to win it. Martinez called it "poorly crafted tax policy."
Even candidates, or maybe especially candidates, were bemoaning the nearly five hours it took for Santa Fe to report the results of its first ranked-choice voting election Tuesday. The city clerk tells SFR that may be the new normal, citing the only delays in the process as getting memory cards to City Hall and a slowdown so city attorneys and others could understand the results they were seeing.
Union head accused of sexual harassment, discrimination
The head of one of New Mexico's largest unions who is also a business agent for a powerful film union has been accused by a former public relations employee of sexually harassing her and grabbing her. Christa Valdez alleges John Hendry sent her texts asking for nude photos and grabbed her bottom. Her lawsuit also claims Hendry implied he could ruin her career, at one point costing her a contract with another business. Hendry told the Albuquerque Journal he hadn't yet seen the lawsuit.
The governor has jumped into the controversy over remarks made by a Catholic advocate for an early childhood education spending proposal. Allen Sánchez of the Conference of Catholic Bishops told the AP last month that there was an element of racism in the view that it wasn't wise to spend more money from the state's permanent fund. Republicans took umbrage this week and sent the Archbishop of Santa Fe a letter asking for clarification. John Wester backed Sánchez and now the governor is backing Republicans, saying the comments are "extremely disappointing."
Seven-year-old boy kills friend in Four Corners shooting
San Juan County Sheriff's deputies responded to a shooting call over the weekend that took them into Colorado. A group of boys had broken into a summer home and a locked cabinet ($) and were playing with a loaded gun they found there when a 7-year-old shot a 9-year-old, killing him. Colorado authorities have taken over the investigation.
Amtrak's Southwest Chief, which runs from Chicago to Los Angeles and winds its way through New Mexico, will likely keep on rolling, after the federal government awarded a $16 million grant ($) for repairs to track owned by BNSF Railway. The tracks north of Lamy through the northeastern part of the state have been a problem spot for years.
Warmity, warm warm
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