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Santa Fe Councilors Compete With Mayor's Soda Tax Plan- Santa Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

A political battle is brewing between Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales and two city councilors over the mayor's proposal to tax sugary drinks to fund early childhood education programs.

Andrew Turner / Creative Commons via Flickr

New Mexico Consolidates Personnel FunctionsAssociated Press

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez signed an executive order Friday designed to save money by shifting human resources functions to a single executive agency.

Women On War

Feb 24, 2017
http://www.artful-life.org/

Starting in the 1990's, women became eligible for a greater number of positions in the military than ever before, including, since 2013, combat.  What have been the challenges for these women?  Eight local veterans shared their stories with a group of New Mexico poets recently, and the poems inspired by these conversations make up Women on War, presented in early March by the Albuquerque organization Artful Life.

Associated Press / Juan Labreche

Prosecutor Won't Retry Albuquerque Police Shooting CaseThe Associated Press

A newly installed district attorney in New Mexico says he will not retry two former Albuquerque police officers charged in the fatal shooting of a homeless camper.

Wikimedia Commons via CC

President Trump eliminated protections for transgender students that allow them to use the bathroom of their choice on Wednesday. In New Mexico’s largest school district, those rights are preserved. 

KNME

As President of the University of New Mexico from 1948-1968, Thomas L. Popejoy understood the value of the performing arts and having a proper hall to house them. He also understood the obstacles in getting such a hall built.

Michael Hess / Creative Commons

Latest Wilderness Plans Draw Fire From New Mexico Ranchers – The Associated Press 

New Mexico's two senators have introduced legislation they say has been years in the making to set aside tens of thousands of acres as wilderness on opposite ends of the state in areas recently designated as national monuments.

Hannah Colton

 

The Public Education Department has been unwavering in its focus on using standardized tests to “raise the bar” for education in New Mexico.

State Senators recently approved a resolution that proposes a new paradigm of student assessment.

Santa Fe City Council To Vote On Immigrant Resolution – The Associated Press

The Santa Fe City Council is scheduled to vote on a resolution that would affirm the city's immigrant-friendly policies without using the word "sanctuary."

Bjoertvedt / Creative Commons License via Wikimedia Commons

Republicans unveiled a plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act last week. U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich has been a vocal critic of repealing the healthcare law. He spoke with KUNM's Ed Williams about what changes to the ACA could mean for this state. 

City of Santa Fe / Creative Commons

Santa Fe City Council To Vote On Immigrant ResolutionThe Associated Press

The Santa Fe City Council is scheduled to vote on a resolution that would affirm the city's immigrant-friendly policies without using the word "sanctuary."

Evaluating Teacher Evals In New Mexico

Feb 21, 2017
Hannah Colton/KUNM

New Mexico’s teacher evaluation system has seen fierce pushback from teachers unions since it was created by Governor Susana Martinez’ administration back in 2012. It uses student testing for 50 percent of a teacher’s rating; the other half is based on classroom observations, attendance and other measures.

The usefulness of accountability systems like New Mexico’s is in doubt from multiple sides of the education reform debate.

Office Of Rep. Phil Gingrey via Wikimedia / CREATIVE COMMONS

New Mexico Senate Endorses Popular-Vote System For PresidentAssociated Press

New Mexico would join a movement to elect U.S. presidents by popular vote under a bill approved by the state Senate.

Night Owl City via Flickr / Creative Commons License

KUNM Call In Show 2/23 8a: Public education is one of the largest expenses for the state.  We'll compare out our state’s funding model to other states across the country and debate legislation introduced this year to address school funding. Where do you think the state should invest in education? How would you measure quality in public education? We'd like to hear from you, email callinshow@kunm.org or call in live during the show. 

Budget Crisis Hits New Mexico Classrooms

Feb 20, 2017
Hannah Colton/KUNM

In January, Governor Susana Martinez signed off on a plan to use $46 million from public schools' cash reserves to fill part of this year’s budget gap.

Education spending in New Mexico still hasn’t recovered from the 2008 recession, and as oil and gas revenues continue to stagnate, schools are bracing for more cuts. 

Craig Wilkinson via Flickr / Creative Commons License

New Mexico Bill Would Ban Drones Near Power Plants, AirportsThe Associated Press

A New Mexico lawmaker has proposed banning drones from flying within 500 feet of power plants, refineries and other such critical-infrastructure facilities.

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston / Creative Commons via Flickr

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids in cities across the country are alarming immigrant communities. Hundreds of Albuquerque community members found solace with each other Friday night at a candle-lit St. Paul Lutheran Church.

Creative Commons, Wiki

New Mexico Judge Rules Against Underfunded Public Defenders—Associated Press

A state district court judge in southeastern New Mexico has rejected arguments by public defense attorneys that they are too overloaded with work to provide adequate representation to poor defendants facing jail time.

Bill To Create State Ethics Commission Moves Forward

Feb 17, 2017
ANNAfoxlover via Wikimedia Commons / public domain


A House committee in Santa Fe unanimously passed a measure Thursday that would create an independent state ethics commission.

http://www.surfacedesign.org/events-exhibits/exhibits/

The Surface Design Association, a New Mexico-based alliance of fiber and textile artists, recently asked its members to express their feelings about "place" -- the suddenly explosive topics of borders, bridges and sanctuaries.  The result is SDA's third international juried exhibition, Shifting Landscapes, on display February 24 - May 20 at the Santa Fe gallery, form & concept

Courtesy of Heading Home

In 2011, the city of Albuquerque launched its Heading Home initiative. It was a shift in tackling homelessness because it focuses on getting people in housing first, and then provides services to help them become more stable. The program has targeted the most vulnerable people experiencing chronic homelessness who have health issues, including behavioral health challenges. Since its launch it has housed more than 600 people.

Jim Clark

Feds Propose Wolf Releases In Southwestern New Mexico By Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press

Federal officials want to release two packs of Mexican gray wolves in wilderness areas near the Arizona-New Mexico border this year in an effort to bolster a struggling population threatened by inbreeding.

Groupuscule / creative commons license via Wikimedia

Cities across the country have reported an uptick in federal immigration raids. On Wednesday Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested undocumented immigrants in Las Cruces.

Sarah Silva of the immigrant rights group NM Café has been leading protests against the ICE operations in Doña Ana County. She spoke with KUNM about the immigration raids there. 

Ed Williams

A national bus tour protesting Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act is passing through New Mexico. The Save My Care campaign held a rally in Albuquerque Wednesday.

Tax Credits via Flickr

New Mexico Democrats Rally Around Tax Plan To Fix Budget GapThe Associated Press 

Democrats in the New Mexico House of Representatives are rallying around a package of tax and revenue measures designed to shore up state finances and stave off spending cuts to education and Medicaid health care.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Congress passed a law decades ago to apologize to people who were exposed to radiation when the U.S. tested nuclear weapons. New Mexico’s never been included even though the first detonation of a nuclear bomb in human history happened right here in 1945.

BruceBlaus via Wikimedia Commons / Creative Commons License

Lawmakers advanced a bill Wednesday that would require health insurance providers to cover birth control. The federal Affordable Care Act already requires this, but the proposal will keep birth control covered in New Mexico, even if Congress repeals the ACA.

Victor Björkund / Creative Commons via Flickr

Students with disabilities in New Mexico are subjected to physical restraint and seclusion at a much higher rate than other students. Lawmakers are considering a bill that would limit the practices.

Seventy six percent of public school students in New Mexico who are subjected to restraints are students with disabilities, according to data from the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. There are no federal laws regulating restraint and seclusion.

Israeli Defense Forces via CC 3.0

President Trump is the latest in a succession of U.S. presidents pledging unbreakable support for Israel. Last year, for instance, the US signed a $38 billion military aid package with the Israelis even as Washington pressed Israel to make peace with the Palestinians. As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump signaled an intent to bolster Israel in even more demonstrative ways. But lately, in the early days of the Trump administration, the language of support has become somewhat less robust. 

frankieleon via Flickr / Creative Commons

New Mexico Receives Bleak Revenue Forecast The Associated Press

A top budget negotiator in the New Mexico House of Representatives says a dire revenue forecast for the coming fiscal year remains unchanged after a review by state economists.

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