Phasing out medical cannabis for non-residents
Non-residents would no longer be allowed to buy medical cannabis in New Mexico under a proposed law change heading to the governor's desk and likely to be signed. The House voted Monday night to approve Senate Bill 139, which cleared the Senate over the weekend on a 32-8 vote. Still smarting from a District Court loss that led to the state issuing more than 600 cards to out-of-state patients, the Health Department, lawmakers and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham are pushing for a language change in the statute that would halt the practice. The House Health and Human Services Committee voted 6-1 Monday morning to recommend passage of the bill and it moved quickly to a floor vote.
$250,000 inequity study on the table
The Santa Fe Public Schools Board is scheduled to consider a $250,000 plan to study inequity in the district at its meeting tonight ($TNM). The study emerged following discussions and failed attempts by some board members to close Acequia Madre, Nava and E.J. Martinez elementary schools last November. Board members instructed Superintendent Veronica García to find ways to address inequity in the districts, along with declining enrollment. García's plan would allocate $100,000 for a project manager from outside the district, $95,000 for contract workers such as data experts and the creation of a committee to make recommendations by January 2021. "The point of the committee is to ensure we're being representative so that a voice from the south side of the city is the same as a voice from the east side and a voice on the northern edge the district," García said.
House passes bill to revamp PRC
Despite objections from some Public Regulation Commissioners, along with Republican legislators, the state House of Representatives passed, over the weekend, HB 11, a bill that would significantly reconfigure the PRC ($TNM). The agency has been in conflict with Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham over its adherence to the Energy Transition Act. HB 11, which would direct the PRC's staffing, is just one measure in a long line of legislative attempts to address ongoing problems with both the PRC and its predecessor agencies. The House approved the bill by 36-43; it is scheduled to be heard by the Senate Corporations & Transportation Committee today.
Protesters want murals saved
ICYMI, 100 people gathered over the weekend to protest the planned destruction of Gilberto Guzman's mural on the Halpin building on Guadalupe Street. The state Department of Cultural Affairs, as well as the city's Historic District Reviews Board, both have signed off on destroying the mural, due to its state of disrepair. The site will become the Vladem Contemporary art museum, a unit of the New Mexico Museum of Art. At the protest, speaker Theresa Sanchez, a friend of Guzman's, said many activists have approached both the city and the state about preserving the mural. Guzman, who has told SFR he also would like to see the mural preserved, attended the meeting. Some of the activists at the protest, which was organized by 3 Sisters Collective and Hernan Gomez, also attended a second rally on Saturday to protest the city's removal of pro-Palestinian art pasted on a homeowner's wall at the corner of Camino Lejo and Old Santa Fe Trail. A hearing on that mural is scheduled for next week.
We've got some catching up to do with "Your New Mexico Government," a podcast devoted to the 54th Legislature, now in its final days. In episode 20, SFR Editor and Publisher Julie Ann Grimm updates listeners on the House passage of HB21, which would limit nondisclosure agreements in instances of sexual harassment; budget secrecy in the Senate; and the confirmation of Public Education Secretary Ryan Stewart, among other issues. In episode 21, New Mexico PBS producer Matt Grubs discusses Senate Joint Resolution 7, which could pave the way for New Mexico to have a professional legislature. "Your New Mexico Government" is a collaboration between SFR, New Mexico PBS and KUNM radio.
Smoking age change
Senate Bill 131, which would create the Tobacco Products Act, earned a do pass recommendation from the House Health and Human Services Committee yesterday. As SFR reports, the bill would adopt a framework for licensing of tobacco manufactures, wholesalers and retailers, along with increasing the tobacco-purchasing age to 21 in an effort to curb youth vaping and tobacco use. It could next move to the House floor for a final vote before heading to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who says she would sign it. The bill passed the HSC on a vote of 7-1, with only state Rep. Zach Cook, R-Ruidoso, voting against it, based on concerns he, a grocery store owner, had about the law's impact the bill could have on small businesses in rural parts of the state.
Blast from the past
The 2014 Slate magazine article by Doug Preston, "The Dalai Lama's Ski Trip," has been making the rounds lately (Visit Santa Fe recently shared it on Facebook), and it's worth reading or re-reading. In it, journalist and thriller writer Preston recalls his days in the 1980s eking out a living as a journalist in Santa Fe (preach). He ended up acting as the Dalai Lama's press secretary during the latter's visit to Santa Fe. This included a trip up to Ski Santa Fe: "'Look at view!' the Dalai Lama cried, heading toward the back boundary fence of the ski area, behind the lift, where the mountains dropped off. He halted at the fence and stared southward…'This look like Tibet.'"
If yesterday seemed freakishly warm and spring-like, relax: Winter's not totally over yet. Today, forecasts call for a 30% chance of rain after 5 pm. Tonight: a chance of rain and snow before 8 pm, then a chance of snow afterward. Overall chances of precipitation are 50%. Tomorrow will be warmish again, with highs near 48, but another chance of rain followed by snow tomorrow night.
Thanks for reading! The Word can't stop watching these wildlife videos from Santa Fe Institute resident artist Thomas Ashcraft, who set up toy jackalopes and motion-sensing night-vision cameras all over SFI's Cowan Campus.