Big, fat, beautiful wilderness bill
The US Senate has passed a massive wilderness bill designating new areas and expanding protected protected areas all around the country ($), as well as protecting more land from mining. New Mexico would benefit from it ($), including more wilderness area around the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument near Las Cruces and the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument between Santa Fe and Taos. It heads to the House now, but it cruised through the Senate 92-8, so it clearly has tons of support from lawmakers.
Be on the lookout
A sex trafficking victim is suing an Albuquerque motel, as well as the website Backpage, for allegedly aiding in her exploitation. The suit says the motel "failed to properly train staff to look for signs of human trafficking, failed to prevent traffickers from renting a room and didn't install security devices that could have helped deter or identify human traffickers." These types of lawsuits have likely gained steam from SESTA/FOSTA, legislation passed last year that aims to help sex trafficking victims, but that activists say causes a whole other host of problems. Read about it in SFR's Love and Sex issue, on newsstands today.
If you're anywhere near social media, a water cooler or anywhere that people talk and gripe, you've likely heard that everyone's tax refunds seem to be lower this year. Unless you socialize at the water cooler with gazillionaires or corporations, that is. CNBC says the average refund is down 8.4 percent. Also, the president has now said that he is "not happy" with the deal reached with Congress on border security, but that the government won't shut down again on Saturday. Hallelujah.
Wait a minute, Mr. Postman
Have you received a mail-in ballot about a tech initiative in schools? Fill it out this week, you'll feel better about your civic engagement. SFR intern Leah Cantor explains what it's about, looks at its benefits and how it won't raise taxes or create new ones.
Haven’t slept a wink
A 34-year-old lobbyist from Española says that he refused a blood alcohol level breath test in January not because he was drunk, but because he was too tired to spend the time taking it ($) and just wanted to get home. Needless to say, he's probably lost a lot more sleep since that action. Eric Martinez was arrested and is now facing charges of aggravated DWI (a charge available to prosecutors when a suspect refuses to submit to such a test).
Batten down the hatches
Weather folks say it's gonna get windy today, prompting fire concerns in areas below snowpack. Last March, when The Word's friend from the East Coast texted casually to say what's up, The Word could only reply: "Dust is blowing in closed windows and everyone is losing their minds." Spring winds happen every dang year but they always feel so new and terrible, don't they?
“No way, forget about it”
As for that petition to impeach the governor that we told you about yesterday, don't worry about it. (Not that we think you were.) Speaker of the House Brian Egolf said yesterday he won't even entertain the notion.
Thanks for reading! The Word has a few petition ideas, not limited to "Bring Back the Chicken Parm at Il Piatto," "Make a Platypus Emoji" and "Stop the Spring Winds."
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