KUNM News Update
Fri September 20, 2013
Friday News Roundup: King Disagrees With Governor On Same-sex Marriage
King Disagrees With Governor On Same-sex Marriage - The Associated Press
Democratic Attorney General Gary King is taking issue with Republican Gov. Susana Martinez's suggestion that voters should decide whether to legalize same-sex marriage in New Mexico.
King, who's running for governor against Martinez next year, said Friday the best approach is for the state Supreme Court to resolve whether gay marriage is legal in the state. He said it's a civil right issue.
The high court has a hearing scheduled next month to consider whether a district court judge in Albuquerque correctly ruled that it's unconstitutional to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Martinez has said she believes marriage should be between a man and woman, but that voters should make the decision on gay marriage through a constitutional amendment that would appear on the ballot.
Land Office OKs Wind Farm Lease In Central NM - Associated Press
The State Land Office has approved a proposal for a large wind energy project in central New Mexico that officials say could generate as much as $40 million for the state over 45 years.
Land Commissioner Ray Powell announced Thursday that Iberdrola Renewables of Portland, Ore., has won the right to lease nearly 34,000 acres of state trust land in Torrance County to develop a wind farm that ultimately could generate about 1,000 megawatts of electricity. That's enough to supply up to 400,000 homes.
The first phase of the project is expected to produce nearly 300 megawatts of electricity. State officials say construction could start later this year.
The proposed "El Cabo" wind farm would cover private and state-owned land.
NM Officials: New Vet Cemeteries May Take 3 Years - Associated Press and The Carlsbad Current-Argus
Efforts to establish four state veteran cemeteries in rural areas of New Mexico may take up to three years to finish.
The Carlsbad Current-Argus reports that Gov. Susana Martinez and New Mexico Department of Veterans' Services Secretary Timothy Hale told Carlsbad officials this week that's how long it will take to navigate through the Veterans Administration.
Hale said it is hard for the VA in Washington to fathom the distances of rural communities in New Mexico from major cities.
Martinez urged advocates for a cemetery to "comply with the process" since the federal government will pay 90 percent of the cost and the state 10 percent for veteran cemeteries.
She said about 78,000 New Mexico veterans live within 75 miles of the state's three national cemeteries.
NM Delegation Seeking Relief From July Floods - Associated Press
The state's congressional delegation wants the Obama Administration to act quickly on requests for disaster assistance from severe July floods.
The delegation recently sent two letters to the president asking for help from floods that caused damage in New Mexico and the Santa Clara Pueblo.
New Mexico and the Santa Clara Pueblo have each asked for a federal disaster declaration, which would provide federal assistance for restoration, debris removal and cleanup.
The lawmakers added that severe floods last week have compounded the damage, causing multiple community evacuations, further public infrastructure damage and landslides.