Gov. Lujan Grisham’s agenda
Yesterday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced her priorities for the 30-day legislative session starting Jan. 21. Per the state constitution, legislative sessions held during even-numbered years focus solely on fiscal issues, along with any priorities specifically designated by the governor. Lujan Grisham included bills taking up areas of education, the economy, public safety, health and the environment. These include the creation of an Early Childhood Trust Fund and the New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship, which will create free college tuition for New Mexicans. As expected, Lujan Grisham will allow lawmakers to entertain a pending bill to legalize cannabis, and she also will push to pass a so-called "red-flag" law, which allows law enforcement to confiscate weapons from someone deemed a threat. The governor can also add bills for consideration any time during the session.
NM children at the bottom for poverty
New Mexico sunk by a point last year and is back to ranking 49th in child poverty. According to New Mexico Voices for Children's 2019 New Mexico Kids Count Data Book, 26% of the state's children remained at or below the federal poverty line in 2018. The year prior, the state ranked 48th. "We're clearly not adequately providing opportunity for children of color, who make up the largest segment of our child population," New Mexico Voices for Children Executive Director James Jimenez said of the report, which also found 30% of New Mexico's Hispanic children were living in poverty, along with 41% of Native American children. Voices' report also includes numerous policy recommendations in advance of the upcoming legislative session.
PRC website hacked
Someone hacked the Public Regulation Commission server, forcing the website offline and halting all electronic filings. As a result, anyone with paperwork will need to file using antiquated methods. "You either have to mail it or hand walk it over here," PRC spokesman Deswood Tome told The Albuquerque Journal. The PRC regulates utilities, telcom and insurance companies, among other responsibilities. No word on who might be behind the ransomware that breached the PRC's firewall, but Tome says no sensitive or confidential data was compromised. The state Department of Information Technology is in charge of the investigation.
AG: Las Vegas and LVPD violated records law
Both the City of Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Police Department violated state open government laws, according to the Office of the Attorney General. The determination follows rejected requests by The Las Vegas Optic seeking LVPD records for multiple homicides in 2018 and 2019. The city and LVPD rejected the records requests citing an exemption under the state Inspection of Public Records Act that allows withholding of information that could jeopardize a police investigation. In a letter to the city, Assistant Attorney General John Kreienkamp writes that the AG has concerns about the decision to completely deny the records request: "The law enforcement records exception should be used more commonly to redact information rather than withhold records entirely," Kreienkamp wrote. "It is plainly unlawful to engage in blanket denials or otherwise deny access to information without thoroughly reviewing the responsive record." SFR currently is embroiled in litigation with the Santa Fe Police Department over police disciplinary records.
Capital High locked down again
Capital High School was on lockdown yesterday, while the Santa Fe Police Department investigated two threats that someone had brought a gun to the school ($TNM). Nearby Nina Otero Community School and César Chávez Elementary School sheltered in place. SFPD determined the incident was a hoax. SFR was at Capital at the end of last year during another lockdown, and reported on the district's procedures for such events.
City Arts Commission transformation
The Santa Fe Arts Commission will have a new name and more autonomy, pending Jan. 29 approval by the City Council. According to a city press release, the commission will become a stand-alone Arts and Culture Department. Currently, the Commission is overseen by the city's Tourism Department. Among its other duties, the commission manages the city's art in public places program, community art gallery, Mayor's Art Awards, poet laureate, city historian, youth programs and Culture Connects. Director Pauline Kanako Kamiyama will continue in her role; Invisible City Designs owner Alex Hanna is the commission's new chair. "This goes beyond changing the name of a vitally important part of City government," said Mayor Alan Webber. "It is a recognition of how deeply rooted arts and culture are in Santa Fe's identity."
NEA awards SFIFF
The Santa Fe Independent Film Festival announced yesterday it has received a $15,000 National Endowment for the Arts grant to support its 2020 programming. Liesette Paisner-Bailey, SFIFF co-founder and executive director, says the money has been earmarked for specific purposes, including travel and honorariums for inbound filmmakers, as well as prize money and public programming. "It puts us on this list of really prestigious film festivals," Paisner-Bailey tells SFR. "All the largest festivals receive [similar] grants, and some of the big ones don't even receive it, but it's great to have them recognize what we're doing in Santa Fe and the greater film community."
It's not every day you spot Ovis canadensis on the side of the road. But that's exactly what happened to Eagle Nest man Randolph Eberle, who happened upon several bighorn sheep while driving between Questa and Red River. While Eberle was observing, the rams began ramming, in other words "started going at it," as KRQE reports. Fighting, that is. Eberle caught the showdown on video. According to the National Park Service, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep are the largest wild sheep in North America, and muscular male bighorn sheep can weigh 300 pounds and stand over 3 feet tall at the shoulder.
Chilly with a chance of: snow, rain, wind
There's a chance of snow this morning, although based on empirical evidence (aka the Word going outside in her pajamas at the crack of dawn in the pitch darkness), it hasn't happened yet. If it does snow, forecasts are now calling for accumulation of up to 1 inch, with possible rain in the afternoon. Colder today than yesterday, with highs in the mid 30s. East winds 15 to 20 mph. Chances for rain and snow tonight with possible accumulations of 1 or 2 inches. Lows in the upper 20s. Tomorrow looks about the same, except winds tomorrow could gust up to 45 mph in the afternoon.