Morning Word

Gov. Lujan Grisham Slated to Discuss Abortion Protection with President Biden Today

CDC reports Santa Fe County has high COVID-19 levels

Gov to meet with Biden today on abortion rights

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham will be among the governors meeting virtually today with President Joe Biden to discuss actions taken in their states to protect access to abortion following the US Supreme Court’s June 24 decision overturning Roe v. Wade. Earlier this week, Lujan Grisham signed an executive order aimed at protecting both health care providers and those seeking abortion services from any legal action from other states. According to the governor’s office, Lujan Grisham will meet with the president at 11 am MST; the open portion of the meeting will live-stream at www.whitehouse.gov/liveAccording to The Hill, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee will also attend. Biden referenced the meeting with governors yesterday during a press conference in Madrid, Spain, where he said he also would support eliminating filibuster rules—in which the US Senate requires 60 votes to pass laws—in order to codify abortion rights.

Dems decry SCOTUS EPA decision

New Mexico’s state and federal officials offered swift condemnation yesterday to the US Supreme Court ruling in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency, in which the court, as SCOTUSblog succinctly notes, “truncated the Environmental Protection Agency’s power to regulate greenhouse gases.” (On a 6-3 vote, obviously; you can read more background on the case here or, if you don’t feel like reading, Stephen Colbert summed it up pretty well last night). US Sen. Ben Ray Luján, noting the decision “jeopardizes the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane,” reiterated points from the amicus brief he and 190 Democrats filed asserting “Congress gave the EPA necessary, broad authority to use their scientific expertise to regulate air pollution under the Clean Air Act. This is a critical federal responsibility at a time when the dangers of climate change are plainly visible in New Mexico and across the country.” Similarly, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said the “disappointing decision…undermines the authority of the federal government to meaningfully act to address the climate crisis at a time when action has never been more urgent” and, “like other decisions before it, this ruling further highlights the importance of state-level policies that provide the protections the majority of Americans support.” In the case of New Mexico, she adds, that includes expediting the state’s transition to renewable energy. House Speaker Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe, and state Rep. Matthew McQueen, D-Galisteo, chairman of the House Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources Committee, also released a joint statement saying while New Mexico is fortunate “to have leaders who helped us set ambitious climate goals and created pathways to achieve those goals…other states that do not share our commitment to reducing emissions are now off the hook. Our environment does not stop at our state borders—lack of action by surrounding states will jeopardize our clean air and will have consequences for New Mexicans.”

State Supreme Court upholds pre-trial detention rules

push to revamp the state’s pre-trial detention system, backed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Bernalillo County District Attorney Raúl Torrez, encountered pushback and ultimately failed to garner sufficient support in the Legislature’s last 30-day session. Now, the state Supreme Court has weighed in, announcing a decision yesterday that upheld the denial of pretrial detention of Jesse Mascareno-Haidle, who was charged with residential burglaries in the Albuquerque area. According to a news release announcing the opinion, the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office twice sought to detain Mascareno-Haidle after he was arrested in separate cases in 2021. Two different judges denied the detention requests. Prosecutors appealed the second judge’s decision, which was upheld by the state Court of Appeals. A challenge was then filed with the Supreme Court. Under a 2016 constitutional amendment, felony defendants can only be held in jail if prosecutors can prove the defendant is dangerous and pretrial detention is the only way to protect the community and ensure the defendant’s reappearance in court. Justices rejected arguments that evidence regarding the “nature and circumstances” of the charged offense is a reason to change those requirements. “To allow the State to rely solely on the nature and circumstances of the charged offenses, not only to prove that the defendant poses a future threat to others or the community but also to prove that no release conditions will reasonably protect the safety of any other person or the community, would all but eliminate Article II, Section 13 and the corresponding constitutional burden of the State,” the court wrote in its unanimous opinion by Justice Michael E. Vigil.

COVID-19 by the numbers

Reported June 30:

New cases: 1,059; 563,848 total cases

Deaths: 13; Santa Fe County has had 316 total deaths thus far; there have been 7,941 total fatalities statewide. Statewide Hospitalizations: 190. Patients on ventilators: 20.

Community level: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s weekly community levels report, which uses case rates along with two hospital metrics in combination for its framework, for the seven-day period of June 23-29, 10 counties—including Santa Fe County, which was yellow last week—have “red” or high levels (four more than last week). Among other recommendations, the CDC recommends indoor masking for communities with high levels. Nine counties are “green,” aka low, and the rest are “yellow,” or medium.

Case rates: According to the state health department’s most recent report on geographical trends, for the seven-day period of June 20-26, Sierra County had the highest daily case rate per 100,000 population: 82.5, followed by Los Alamos County at 77.3 and San Juan County at 65.2; Santa Fe County’s case rate was 57.8, considered “red” or high in that report.

Resources: Vaccine registrationBooster registration Free at-home rapid antigen testsSelf-report a positive COVID-19 test result to the health department; COVID-19 treatment info: oral treatments Paxlovid (age 12+) and Molnupiravir (age 18+); and monoclonal antibody treatments. Toolkit for immunocompromised individuals. People seeking treatment who do not have a medical provider can call NMDOH’s COVID-19 hotline at 1-855-600-3453. Vaccines for children: Parents of children ages 6 months to 5 years can now schedule appointments for vaccinations at VaccineNM.org.

You can read all of SFR’s COVID-19 coverage here.

Listen up

The most recent episode of the Growing Forward podcast ticks two boxes: It executes a decent LL Cool J pun and navigates the framework for understanding the intergovernmental agreements Pojoaque and Picuris pueblos have signed with the state to participate in the burgeoning cannabis industry. In “Don’t Call It A Compact: Part 1,” hosts Andy Lyman and Megan Kamerick discuss the nature of those agreements and talk with Pojoaque Pueblo Gov. Jenelle Roybal; Picuris Pueblo will take center stage in the forthcoming second part of the episode.

Independence Day, the Santa Fe way

The Manual includes Santa Fe in its list of the 10 best US spots in which to spend one’s July 4 weekend. No, we don’t have any beaches or sites where the framers signed the Declaration of Independence, but we are the oldest state capital. Santa Fe, the story notes, “packs plenty of historical and cultural punch,” with no shortage of art and outdoor adventures as well. As for the specific July 4 celebrations, the City of Santa Fe will be hosting a free movie screening of Space Jam: A New Legacy at 6:30 pm tonight at SWAN Park (“doors” at 5:30 pm). Saturday’s pool party at Bicentennial has been postponed due to expected weather, but the fireworks display on Monday, July 4 at the Santa Fe Place Mall will take place from 4 to 10 pm. Hosted by the mall, the city and the Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe, the event will feature local bands galore, including Eryn Bent, The Alex Maryol Band, Una Mas y La ChaCha and Dream Noise. There will also be face-painting, a bounce house, glitter tattoos and giveaways from stores at Santa Fe Place. And, lest we forget, Pancakes on the Plaza returns this July 4 (7 am to noon along with the vintage car show), with proceeds benefiting the Santa Fe Children’s Museum and YouthWorks.

Albuquerque overdelivers

We probably wouldn’t describe Albuquerque as either overlooked or under-rated, but that’s the word from the Daily Beast, which includes Albuquerque in its twice-a-month series on underrated destinations. In For This Overlooked Southwest City, the Mountains Are Its Skyline,” the Daily Beast proclaims Albuquerque “sits under a watermelon sunset within an ancient Pueblo history on a land fit for adventure.” More specifically, writer Brandon Withrow recounts his visit, which included a dust storm, a soak in a hot spring and a forest fire (Cerro Pelado). Withrow also rides in a hot-air balloon; hikes the Sandia Mountains; rides horses at The Stables at Tamaya; grabs a brew at the “trendy” Bow & Arrow Brewing Co; road-trips on the Turquoise Trail; visits Ojo Caliente’s Santa Fe location and eats at its restaurant, Blue Heron. The hot-air balloon pilot, by the way, supplies the story’s headline when he tells Withrow the reason for Albuquerque’s building height limit (“The mountains are our skyscrapers,” he said). “That strikes me as wonderful,” Withrow writes, “not only because I prefer not having the presence of mountains shrouded by buildings, but also because it serves as a reminder that the best parts of Albuquerque are not just what are found downtown—though that is great. The best part of Albuquerque, as it is with many places, is often what you find exploring in its corners and limits.”

Rain returns

The National Weather Service foresees a potentially wet holiday weekend. Today, showers and thunderstorms are likely (a 70% chance for precipitation), mainly after 3 pm, some of which could produce heavy rain. Otherwise, it will be partly sunny, with a high near 83 degrees. North wind around 10 mph becoming south in the afternoon. We have a 50% chance for more scattered showers and thunderstorms this evening, mainly before midnight. As for the coming days, look for a 60% chance for storms on Saturday and Sunday, decreasing to a 30% chance on July 4.

Thanks for reading! While The Word isn’t feeling particularly gung-ho about America at the moment, she will be taking a three-day weekend during which she will start reading Elif Batuman’s new novel and perhaps see if she can assemble one of these July 4 cocktails. The Word returns Tuesday, July 5.

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