Gov breaks the internet
Some of the biggest national news yesterday was Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's announcement of a plan to make tuition free at New Mexico's 29 institutions of higher learning. Officials say the plan would cost only about $25 and $35 million a year ("only" is relative here, right?) and would be drawn from the state's general fund, which has seen huge boosts due to oil and gas drilling in recent years. Experts have said that while the revenue source is volatile, the plan could still be worthwhile, citing a high return on investment in such spending. (The New York Times covered it too ($), and the Word likes to throw in those links whenever she can.)
Can I (afford to) live?
Changes could be coming to Santa Fe's affordable housing scene. Proposed changes to the city's inclusionary zoning laws would incrementally increase monetary incentives for developers to build low-income housing, as well as encouraging rent-stabilized developments aimed at middle-income renters.
New Mexico wasn't going to do it, but now the Attorney General's Office has announced that the state is switching course and will join a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma for its role in the opioid crisis. More than 2,600 opioids-related lawsuits have been filed against Purdue, and New Mexico was apparently hesitating because the AG's office couldn't be sure we would have the best possible outcome; now, however, spokesman Matt Baca says that the office "was able to secure a leadership position on the allocation committee to get the best outcome for the state" ($ TNM).
Unsurprisingly, six of nine district court judges have recused themselves from the DWI case against state Sen. Richard Martinez ($ TNM). It would be hard to find a judge in the First Judicial District who doesn't have a prior relationship with the longstanding senator, so it's likely the case will be sent to another district.
Jemez Pueblo has lost to the federal government in court. The pueblo claims that the Valles Caldera National Preserve between Los Alamos and Jemez is part of its ancestral homelands and should be repatriated because the tribe's aboriginal property rights were never officially extinguished, but a federal judge has ruled that the federal government has clear title to the land and the case was being dismissed.
While this story doesn't mention New Mexico specifically, it's a subject we all should be paying attention to: the marginalization of Indigenous folks when it comes to water litigation. The Guardian writes about tribal members from around the country as they express frustration not only over not being listened to in lawmaking circles, but treated unequally by environmental nonprofits and those who distribute grants.
Adios, law center
The Santa Fe Neighborhood Law Center is shutting down after 12 years of an all-volunteer staff working "to protect the integrity of neighborhood planning and help disenfranchised Santa Feans" through issue advocacy, conducting civic forums and supporting litigation. Citing a lack of funding and simply the inability to continue on in its all-volunteer model, the center will distribute its approximately $60,000 in assets to eight other nonprofit organizations.
Perhaps a sprinkle
It could rain today. The Word doesn't care, she's headed out of town for the weekend, and can't nothin' ruin that! We're looking at a high of 81 here in town, which means another nice and breezy day like yesterday.