News

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Ten behavioral health agencies were cleared of fraud on Monday, Feb. 8, by the New Mexico attorney general. The AG’s Office found no deliberate pattern of abuse.

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A new survey of New Mexico business leaders shows most think there is a real problem with money in politics in the state. And some business groups are getting serious about plans to clean up state government.

Albuquerque Transit

The city of Albuquerque is seeking a federal grant to build a rapid transit bus system down Central Avenue. The city would also borrow $13 million to fund the project. The design would create a center lane along the corridor for buses running every 7 to 8 minutes.

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House Passes $6.3 Billion BudgetAssociated Press, Santa Fe New Mexican

New Mexico's Republican-led House of Representatives passed a $6.3 billion budget that increases spending on Medicaid health care, early childhood education and prisons while cutting funding to state colleges and universities.

Rita Daniels

New Mexico REAL ID Compromise Passes 2nd Test-Associated Press

A second Senate committee has passed a bipartisan proposal aimed at making New Mexico compliant under the federal REAL ID Act.

Commentary: When Will We Get An Ethics Commission?

Feb 5, 2016
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New Mexico is one of only 8 states that doesn’t have an ethics commission and lawmakers are considering a proposal to create one during the legislative session this year.

Viki Harrison of Common Cause New Mexico wants to know how big the scandal has to be before our state has one here? She asks, "What are we waiting for?"

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You can read Harrison's full length op-ed published by New Mexico In Depth here

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Lawsuit: Sheriffs Used Pepper Balls And K-9 On Elderly ManAlbuquerque Journal

Family members of an elderly man who was shot with pepper balls and taken down by a K-9 dog have filed suit against the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office.

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Many people complain that big public works projects aren’t getting done in New Mexico because the system we use to fund them is dominated by politics. But that could change as two proposed reforms of the capital outlay system gain momentum this legislative session.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

When Native American people move to Albuquerque from more rural parts of the state, some say the transition can be tough. And a community center that provides basic resources is in danger of shutting its doors. 

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There are less two weeks left in the 30-day legislative session. People, Power and Democracy's Gwyneth Doland has been up in Santa Fe covering state government. She spoke with KUNM's Chris Boros. 

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The issue of transportation and capital outlay reform has been “front and center” during this year's 30-day legislative session in Santa Fe. Many say New Mexico’s capital outlay process is broken.

But as Paul Gessing of the Rio Grande Foundation says, it’s not just that. If New Mexicans are going to get the most ‘bang’ for their infrastructure buck, he says we must reform the way workers are paid on public works projects.   

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Common Dreams / CREATIVE COMMONS

Study Critiques APD Lapel Camera Policy – Albuquerque Journal

A new report finds policies on using lapel cameras in the Albuquerque Police Department are confusing and impact officers’ actions interacting with people on their beats.

Ed Williams

Decades ago, a chemical business called Laun-Dry Supply Company leaked poisonous dry cleaning solvents into Albuquerque’s groundwater.

In the years since, nobody has investigated possible health impacts to people living near the contamination.

But that changed this week. On Wednesday, the New Mexico Environment Department started the process of testing houses for chemicals from the Laun-Dry spill.

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Finger Print Provision Scuttles Deal On Immigrant LicensesThe Associated Press

Leading Republicans in the New Mexico Legislature are insisting that immigrants who are in the country illegally provide finger prints when applying for a special driver identification card, under amended legislation designed to make state driver's licenses compliant under federal regulations for identification.

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There were 5,406 untested sexual assault evidence kits in the state at the end of last year, according to the state auditor. A pair of bills to tackle the problem cleared their first hurdles on Tuesday, Feb. 2.

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KUNM Call In Show Thu. 2/4 8a: A new report says New Mexico’s economy isn’t growing because it’s based on “crony capitalism,” meaning our government responds to the needs interests of a few powerful, wealthy interests—leaving the rest of us pay the price. 

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Medicaid Edges Out Political Agendas In New Mexico – Associated Press

Rising costs for health care linked to the expansion of Medicaid in New Mexico are crowding out initiatives sought by Gov. Susana Martinez.

New Mexico Legislature

A plan to give individual voters more influence in elections hit a roadblock on Friday but is expected to get a hearing this week. The proposal (HJR 1) introduced by Rep. Carl Trujillo, D-Santa Fe, would amend the state constitution to create an independent citizen group that would be in charge of redistricting.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

The state Legislature is working up a budget, and one proposal on the table would cut more than $8 million from behavioral health services. Residents who’ve been deeply affected by drug use in their communities called on lawmakers Saturday, Jan. 30, not to cut the funding that combats it.

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Lawmakers in Santa Fe are nearing the halfway point of this 30-day session.  Gwyneth Doland of the People, Power and Democracy project spoke to KUNM's Chris Boros to discuss the status of a proposed constitutional amendment that would create an independent redistricting commission. 

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Lawmakers considered proposals Monday that would use a small share of the state’s Land Grant Permanent Fund to pay for early childhood education, and the measures ran into familiar roadblocks.

For the past five years, some democratic lawmakers have tried to tap into the state’s $14 billion Land Grant Permanent Fund to pay for early childhood education programs.

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New Mexico’s 30-day legislative session is nearly at the half-way point. It’s a budget session where lawmakers focus on funding state government. Javier Benavidez of the Southwest Organizing Project says they’d like to see lawmakers take a laser focus to issues of poverty, injustice and inequality this year.

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APS Seeks $575 Million In Bond ElectionAlbuquerque Journal

Albuquerque Public Schools is looking for more than half a billion dollars from voters in a bond election on Tuesday.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

The rate of drug overdose deaths—nationally and statewide—is racing up the charts, echoing HIV trends of 30 years ago, according to the CDC. That’s why demonstrators in Santa Fe on Saturday asked legislators not to erode resources that fight substance abuse. 

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New Mexico lawmakers are readying their infrastructure wishlists for this year’s session. But some believe the capital outlay system – that funds our roads, water systems and university buildings - is completely broken. Fred Nathan of Think New Mexico says more transparency and a merit-based system would be the best solution.

nmindepth.com

New Mexico Child Pornography Loophole Bill Heads To Senate- Associated Press

A New Mexico House-approved bill aimed at closing a loophole in the state's pornography law protecting children faces an uphill battle in the Senate.

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The Latest: Change-Of-Venue Motion Denied In Police ShootingThe Associated Press

A judge has denied a motion to move the trial for two former Albuquerque officers charged with second-degree murder in the on-duty shooting death of a homeless man in 2014.

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In the latest round of the ongoing fight about food stamps, a lawsuit filed Wednesday, Jan. 27, aims to halt new work requirements. 

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It’s the second week of the 2016 state legislature and lawmakers are considering a range of measures to increase transparency and accountability in  government. Susan Boe of the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government says, in a time of growing mistrust of public  officials, transparency is more important than ever.

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House Passes REAL ID Bill After Heated DebateAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

The state House of Representatives passed a bill on Wednesday aimed at putting New Mexico in compliance with the federal REAL ID Act.

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