KUNM Call In Show Thu. 1/31 8a: A bill introduced in the state legislature would make it a crime to coerce or facilitate an abortion with the intention of destroying evidence for a woman who has been the victim of rape or incest. The bill's sponsor, Representative Cathrynn Brown (R-Carlsbad), is defending the measure and says she has made changes in the language of the bill to make it clear she is trying to prevent rapists from coercing women to have abortions. What would a law like this mean for abortion rights in New Mexico?
Advocates of the Violence Against Women Act have reintroduced the bill to congress this week. Also known as "VAWA", the bill could have major impacts on how authorities respond to domestic violence against Native Americans, Undocumented Immigrants, and members of the LGBT community. However, as KUNM News Intern Christine Trudeau reports, the bill could also be killed by house republicans, again, if a compromise can't be met.
Seven in 10 births in New Mexico are paid for by Medicaid.
The Albuquerque Journal cites (http://bit.ly/VpAkxz) a recent analysis by the state Legislative Finance Committee that shows 71 percent of the nearly 27,800 babies born in New Mexico during 2010 were paid for by the state and federally funded health insurance program for the poor.
Experts say the large number of Medicaid births reflects a slew of problems in New Mexico, such as high rates of unemployment, drug use, school dropout and teen pregnancy.
New Mexico lawmakers are turning their attention to a proposal that will require criminal background checks of people buying firearms from private sellers, including at gun shows.
The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled Monday to consider the legislation by Democratic Rep. Miguel Garcia of Albuquerque.
Federal law requires background checks for sales by licensed dealers in stores or at gun shows. However, the law doesn't cover firearm sales between private individuals, whether at a gun show or someone's home.
Court papers allege that somebody fraudulently obtained more than $1 million in parts from Dell Computers by making hundreds of calls while pretending to place orders for Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories in New Mexico
The Albuquerque Journal (http://bit.ly/VfQh5P ) reports that the alleged fraud reportedly started in 2007 and continued until 2010.
The case was turned over to the Secret Service that year after a security investigator for Round Rock, Texas-based Dell contacted Albuquerque police.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have proposed endangered species protection for the Zuni Bluehead Sucker. The proposal includes 293 miles of streams considered critical habitat for the fish in New Mexico, and Arizona.
A biologist for the Center for Biological Diversity, Tierra Curry says the Zuni Bluehead Sucker is only found in the Zuni river watershed in New Mexico and in the Little Colorado River watershed, and Canyon de Chelly watershed found in Arizona.
Fri. 1/25 10a: Albuquerque's Indian Pueblo Cultural Center recently named a new Executive Director, Travis Suazo, of Acoma, Laguna and Taos Pueblo heritage. Mr. Suazo joins Spencer Beckwith at KUNM to talk about the IPCC's performing arts events, including its popular weekend series featuring Native American dance groups.
Several bills have been introduced at the state capitol that would change the law granting driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants. It's unclear whether the governor, who has supported all-out repeal in the past, now wants to compromise.
Republican Representative Stuart Ingle says he wants to find middle ground on the immigrant license topic so legislators can move on to more important issues.
Thurs. 1/24 10a: On January 27 at Albuquerque's National Hispanic Cultural Center, the New Mexico Philharmonic presents the world premiere of "From a Distant Mesa," a work for tenor and orchestra set to texts on Southwestern themes by writers Rudolfo Anaya, V.B. Price and Adam Cornford. Spencer Beckwith speaks with the composer of "From a Distant Mesa," Albuquerque's Daniel Steven Crafts.
Over the last 12 years, the USDA has settled landmark loan discrimination cases brought by black and Native American farmers. Now they’re offering $1.3 billion to Hispanic and women farmers to resolve discrimination that took place between 1981 and 2000. Yet many ranchers in the Southwest say it’s an unfair process that doesn’t go far enough to address past discrimination.
The Bernalillo County District Attorney’s office has decided not to pursue child abuse charges against an Albuquerque woman for allegedly causing harm to her unborn child.
District Attorney Kari Brandenburg has concluded that New Mexico’s child abuse statute does not pertain to the unborn. 24-year-old Elizabeth Ramirez faced criminal prosecution after a pre-arrest medical exam determined heroin and meth use to be cause of her unborn child’s poor health. Brandenburg told KUNM that the arresting officer probably didn’t understand the law.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico advocacy groups say Walgreens won't allow individual pharmacists' personal religious beliefs to prevent customers from filling birth control prescriptions.
The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico announced Tuesday that Walgreens told the ACLU and the Southwest Women's Law Center that the company will take steps nationwide to make sure customers received prescriptions regardless of employees' beliefs.
Wed. 1/23 10a: The young musicians of the Albuquerque Youth Symphony Program present a variety of musical events in the coming weeks, including their annual "Playathon" on January 26 at the Cottonwood Mall and a Youth Symphony Orchestra concert on February 3 at Popejoy Hall. Spencer Beckwith gets a preview of the events from the Music Director of the Albuquerque Youth Symphony Program, conductor Gabriel Gordon.
Opening day in the NM Senate is always filled with high drama. This year was no exception. The tension centers on who will be elected President Pro Tem, a position elected by both Republicans and Democrats to lead, to appoint committees and their important chairs.
Democratic lawmakers say a compromise has been reached on legislation to limit the ability of passengers on space tourism flights to sue spacecraft parts suppliers.
Top House and Senate leaders on Tuesday said the agreement was negotiated by trial lawyer representatives and officials of Virgin Galactic, which plans to fly tourists into outer space from a state-financed spaceport in southern New Mexico.
Current state law exempts Virgin Galactic from being sued for damages by passengers if there was an accident.
The federal government reports that New Mexico's graduation rate for the 2009-2010 was 67.3 percent. That's below the national average of 78.2 percent. Only the rates in Nevada and Mississippi were lower.
The so-called "average freshman graduation rates" indicate the percentage of 9th graders who go on to graduate within four years.
The rates are being reported by the National Center for Education Statistics, which is part of the U.S. Department of Education.
KUNM Call In Show Thur. 1/24 8a: Bernalillo County District Attorney Kari Brandenburg plans to restart what some have called a controversial process of reviewing the cases of officer involved shootings by using an 'investigative grand jury.' How would you like to see these shootings dealt with? Are these juries enough? What other options are there for determining whether an officer was justified in using deadly force? We'd like to hear from you. Email email@example.com, post your comments online, or call in live during the show.
Lawmakers say the shooting deaths of five members of an Albuquerque family likely will intensify a debate in the Legislature over restrictions on firearms.
House Speaker W. Ken Martinez, a Grants Democrat, said Monday the Legislature may need to consider gun safety issues, such as providing assistance to people to buy trigger locks or other devices for safely storing firearms.
An Albuquerque legislator, even before the shooting, had proposed expanding background checks to people who buy firearms from private gun owners, including at gun shows.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The University of New Mexico has hired a new company to lobby on its behalf in Washington, D.C. — at nearly double the cost the school has paid in recent years.
The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/VaTYgJ) that UNM will pay Madison Associates, based in the nation's capital, $237,000 this year for its lobbying services under a one-year contract that could be renewed for three years.
President Bob Frank says the firm will have to earn "every cent we pay them."
Fri. 1/18 10a: Serenata of Santa Fe presents Kathleen McIntosh in a solo concert on January 20 in the ballroom of the Scottish Rite Center. The internationally-known harpsichordist, a resident of Santa Fe, will perform music by J.S. Bach, Domenico Scarlatti and other 18th Century composers. Kathleen McIntosh joins Spencer Beckwith at KUNM to talk about the program.