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The state Senate has passed a proposal that would ask parts of state government to start doing more research on which of their programs delivers the best return on investment.

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New APD Policy Minimizes Use of Force – Albuquerque Journal

Officers in the Albuquerque Police Department are training under new guidelines that emphasize de-escalating situations as part of a larger reform effort.

Capital Outlay Reform Fails

Feb 13, 2016
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Lawmakers sidelined a proposal Friday to change the way New Mexico pays for public works projects.  

A broad coalition of business, labor and good government groups supported the proposal, which would have created a commission to evaluate and prioritize infrastructure projects.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

KUNM Call In Show Thu. 2/18 8a: 

  

The state’s attorney general cleared just about all of the providers accused of Medicaid fraud a couple of years ago—but the news didn’t come soon enough to keep many of their doors open.

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Panel Oks Revamped New Mexico REAL ID Bill With Fingerprints- Associated Press

A New Mexico Senate committee has passed a revamped New Mexico REAL ID bill with an immigrant fingerprint provision sought by House Republicans.

Gwyneth Doland

The state auditor released a report Friday showing about $4 billion is sitting around across the state unspent—but it’s unclear whether that money could help with the current budget shortfall vexing lawmakers in Santa Fe.

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People, Power and Democracy is a project focusing on state government ethics and transparency.  Gwyneth Doland spoke with KUNM's Chris Boros.

Bill Would Require Details From Lobbyists

Feb 12, 2016
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A recent poll found 89 percent of New Mexico business leaders want to know more about how lobbyists spend money to influence lawmakers.

A House committee is reviewing Democratic Rep. Jeff Steinborn’s bill that would require lobbyists to disclose exactly how much money they spend and which lawmakers are the recipients of that money. Currently, lobbyists are only required to disclose how much money they spent in all.

“Information is power,” Steinborn said. “It’s important for transparency so citizens can see who is being wined and dined, who is being given gifts.”

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New Mexico Braces For Budget Crunch Linked To Oil PricesAssociated Press

Leaders of the New Mexico Senate are urging state agencies to institute cost-saving measures and plan to rewrite a budget for next year approved by the Republican-controlled House in response to declining revenue forecasts.

Neil Conway via CC

UPDATE: The Associated Press is reporting that New Mexico House Republicans and Senate Democrats say they have reached a compromise on a bail reform proposal.

Both sides spoke Friday at a press conference, with Republican Rep. David Adkins saying the bill crafted by Sen. Peter Wirth, a Santa Fe Democrat, is the "right piece of legislation to support."

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The state House voted Tuesday to create a statewide ethics commission. But will the proposal have time to get through the Senate? There are only eight days left in the session.

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Lawmakers Calls For Freeze On State HiringAlbuquerque Journal

An influential lawmaker is calling for a freeze on hiring state workers and a ban on nonessential travel as New Mexico faces ongoing budget struggles.

Uber Bill Gets Green Light From House

Feb 10, 2016
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Ride-booking companies like Uber and Lyft exist in a legal grey area in New Mexico. But a bill that would make them official passed the House this week.

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DOE Chief Says WIPP Will Reopen This Year – Albuquerque Journal

The U.S. Energy Secretary said the government’s troubled nuclear waste repository in southern New Mexico will reopen by the end of the year.

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We are more than halfway through the legislative session and the bills are starting to move more quickly on their way to the finish line next Thursday. Gwyneth Doland is covering state government for the People, Power and Democracy Project. She spoke with KUNM's Chris Boros.

@BeWellNM on Twitter

The New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange reported this week that a record 54,586 people signed up for insurance using the exchange during the Affordable Care Act’s most recent open enrollment period.

KUNM

Presbyterian Medical Services was cleared of fraud allegations by the Attorney General’s Office on Monday. The nonprofit won’t be getting a refund on millions it paid to stay open after the state made those accusations in 2013.

brtabq.com

The city of Albuquerque received word Tuesday that it got the OK on federal support to build a bus rapid transit system.

 

The Albuquerque Rapid Transit project would create dedicated bus lanes in the middle of Central Avenue. It's expected to cost the city nearly $120 million dollars with – about $70 million coming from the Federal Transit Administration according to President Obama’s budget.

 

Numerous businesses along Central fear prolonged construction and congestion that could deter customers.

 

 

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Sheriff Orders Internal Investigation Into Elderly Man’s DeathAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

The sheriff of Bernalillo County has ordered an internal affairs investigation into the death of an elderly man after a standoff with deputies last fall.

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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

KUNM Call In Show Thu. 2/11 8a: The city of Albuquerque was approved for 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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