Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham yesterday put forward her proposed budget, which would increase general fund spending overall by more than 8%, courtesy record-setting revenue from the oil and gas industry. Legislators will take up the budget on Jan. 21 when they convene for a 30-day session. The approximate $7.7 billion budget includes 4% pay increases for teachers, 3% for state employees and a 2% increase at public colleges and universities. The proposed budget would put $320 million aside for an early childhood education trust fund, while holding in reserves for leaner times approximately 25% of annual general fund spending. The governor also is calling for free tuition for 55,000 in-state students at the state's community colleges, four-year colleges and universities.
Sen. Martinez sentencing
State Sen. Richard Martinez, D-Ojo Caliente, will be sentenced today in Santa Fe for drunken and reckless driving ($TNM). The New Mexico Attorney General's Office told the court yesterday that Martinez should serve the maximum 180 days in jail, pay a $900 fine, attend DWI school and have an ignition interlock installed in his vehicle. The state also is asking for restitution for Johnny and Gerrie Sisneros, who were in the Jeep Martinez hit last summer in Española. Martinez has refused to resign from office, despite a call for Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham that he do so. He has picked up a challenger for his seat: Rio Arriba County Commissioner Leo Jaramillo, who also has a DWI in his past, albeit in 1996.
State Supreme Court wants recs
The State Supreme Court is asking a new 15-member committee to submit by the end of March recommendations for the state's pre-trial detention procedures. A 2016 constitutional amendment here gave judges the capacity to hold defendants they determined were a threat to the public, and to release those who weren't. The system has been criticized by some; last spring, 2nd Judicial District Attorney Raúl Torrez proposed an alternative pre-trial system that would focus on specific types of crimes. Chief Justice Judith Nakamura issued a news release yesterday noting the new committee, headed by Retired Supreme Court Justice Edward Chávez, "can help strengthen the reforms approved by voters in the 2016 constitutional amendment and provide additional guidance to judges making the difficult decisions about pretrial detention and release."
On the Railyard
Tomorrow, the Santa Fe City Council will consider whether to take a next step in selling a 10,242 square foot building in the Santa Fe Railyard to real estate/investment company Luna Capital Advisors. The building formerly housed Santa Fe Clay, and is located between Violet Crown movie theater and El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe. While some have complained in the past about lackluster activity in the Railyard, Luna Capital spokeswoman Tiphini Axtell said she believes an upswing is in the offing, noting Opuntia's relocation there, as well as a possible new brewery, ice-cream shop and design studio. The city is looking to sell the building for $150,000, its appraised value.
Oops. We forgot to wish New Mexico happy birthday yesterday. Monday marked 108 years since statehood; President William H. Taft signed the proclamation making New Mexico the country's 47th state on Jan. 6, 1912. To fully embrace New Mexico's history, check out State Historian Robert Martinez' website dedicated to the state's past, which includes videos and podcasts on its history; profiles of notable New Mexicans and interactive maps.
Cover your mouth
If it seems like everyone is sick, it may be because New Mexico continues to have a heavy flu season. We're not alone: Flu activity has been elevated across the country for the last eight weeks, and the Centers for Disease Control expects it to remain so. The CDC estimates at least 6.4 million flu illnesses, 55,000 hospitalizations and 2,900 deaths from flu this season. According to the New Mexico Department of Health, 237 New Mexicans died of pneumonia and/or influenza last season.
Encomiums continue for former Santa Fe New Mexican Editor Rob Dean, who died unexpectedly at home on Sunday. Santa Fe Reporter Editor and Publisher Julie Ann Grimm says Dean was a "supportive mentor and trusted ally" during her decade at The New Mexican. Dean's wife, Toni Dean, a career nurse, tells SFR it appears Rob experienced a catastrophic medical event Sunday morning, though the cause of his death has yet to be determined. He had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and had recently made a treatment plan with doctors and begun telling friends and family about an optimistic prognosis, she says. "He always felt he led a charmed life and people had been so good to him," Toni says. "He wanted to return the favor and believed that by informing people and giving them a voice, that helped society."
Breezy like Tuesday morning
Sunny today with a high near 44 and northwest wind 10 to 15 mph. Same-same mañana. Still looking like a 30% chance of snow Thursday night, and a 40% chance on Friday.
Thanks for reading! The Word currently is grappling with the existential question prompted by this New York Times Magazine article ($) of whether she would—hypothetically—want to attend a concert performed by a hologram of David Bowie? (Or anyone). She thinks the answer is no.