We’re moving on up
New Mexico's job growth outranked the national average, according to new data from the US Department of Labor and the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions. According to the latter, New Mexico's non-agricultural job growth rose by 2.4% compared to a national job growth rate of 1.4%. That growth placed the state at No. 6 overall, tied with Alabama, Arizona and Texas. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said the job growth accompanies New Mexico's business-friendly environment and policies "… We're building a 21st century economy with diverse and robust revenue streams," she noted.
DWI and then some
Prosecutors yesterday modified an aggravated DWI charge against state Sen. Richard Martinez, D-Española, to include an alternative charge of aggravated DWI resulting in "bodily injury." ($TNM) Martinez was arrested in June after hitting someone at an intersection in Española. Both he and his two passengers went to the hospital. A prosecutor says the charges were revised after review of one of the passenger's medical records. Prosecutors say the additional charge could help them convince a jury to convict on the aggravated DWI charge. Martinez' lawyer called the modification "wholly vindictive and retaliatory."
Workers of the world…sue
Federal District Court Judge Martha Vazquez yesterday approved a $16,000 settlement for 70 nonunion state employees ($TNM). Last December, New Mexico Department of Information Technology employee David McCutcheon sued the state Personnel Office and Communications Workers of America over having union dues automatically deducted from his paycheck. McCutcheon's suit was backed by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, which cited the US Supreme Court case Janus v. American Federation of State that ruled forcing employees to participate in union activities violates their First Amendment rights.
Still time to register
Local voters have until Nov. 2 to register for the Nov. 5 municipal and school elections. The late registration date shifts the state's previous 28-day cut-off point as New Mexico moves toward same-day voter registration, scheduled for 2021. According to the Secretary of State's office, more than 300 voters as of yesterday had taken advantage of the later deadline. All 33 county clerk offices also are offering the extended deadline, but only Bernalillo, Doña Ana and Sandoval are providing extended registration at all of its early-voting sites. Santa Fe County's voting information is available here.
Harsh, meet mellow
Responses are coming in to the cannabis task force report issued last week. Drug Policy Alliance New Mexico State Director and Senior Director of Criminal Justice Reform Strategy Emily Kaltenbach, who served on the working group, issued a statement noting that many of the recommendations reflect DPA's priorities, "including creating equity in the marketplace, reinvesting back into communities most harmed by prohibition, protecting the medical cannabis program, safeguarding children, and establishing strong consumer protections." Others have said they are disappointed at the similarities to a failed bill in last year's Legislature. For more cannabis news, check out the recent edition of SFR's Leaf Brief newsletter.
Marshmallows not included
Do these newly cold mornings have you reaching for your mittens and hot cocoa? While you're bundling up, be sure to listen to the latest episode in SFR's podcast, Reported: "What's In Your Cup, Chaco?" SFR Editor and Publisher Julie Ann Grimm delves into the interconnected history between chocolate and Chaco Canyon, with help from southwest archaeologist Patricia Crown.
Winter is coming…ish
Thanks for reading! As a Sagittarius, the Word is very skeptical of astrology, but nonetheless was deeply engaged (albeit in a slightly snarky way) by this recent New Yorker article, "Astrology in the Age of Uncertainty" about the current astrology boom, and its ascendence as a new form of psychoanalysis for people who also believe in…science.