Monday News Roundup: Governor Susana Martinez To Release Budget Proposals

Jan 6, 2014

  Governor Susana Martinez To Release Budget Proposals - The Associated Press 

Gov. Susana Martinez is gearing up for the Legislature by preparing to unveil her budget proposals to lawmakers.

The Republican governor is scheduled to release her budget recommendations Monday afternoon. The Legislature convenes Jan. 21 for a 30-day session that's limited mostly to budget, tax and other issues placed on the agenda by the governor.

Martinez has outlined some spending initiatives in recent weeks, including higher starting salaries for teachers, $12 million for merit pay bonuses for educators and expanding programs that can help bring nurses and other medical providers to rural areas.

Finance and Administration Secretary Tom Clifford has told lawmakers the overall budget increase should be kept in the 4 percent range next year to protect New Mexico in case revenue growth is less than expected.

Group Wants To Repeal Navajo Same-Sex Marriage Ban - The Associated Press

An effort to repeal the Navajo Nation's same-sex marriage ban has been energized by court decisions in some states to allow such unions.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that Alray Nelson, organizer of a gay and lesbian rights group advocating a repeal of the tribe's same-sex marriage ban, is looking for new members of the council to introduce a repeal proposal.

But Council member Lorenzo Bates said no one on the council is pushing for a repeal of the law and that constituents aren't raising the issue.

An adviser to Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly says the tribal president respects the choice of gay or lesbian Navajos to get married elsewhere, but that the president isn't making a repeal of the ban a priority.

Judge dismisses Albuquerque redistricting lawsuitThe Associated Press

A judge has dismissed a lawsuit against Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry over a redistricting dispute about a year ago that moved a City Council district to the city's west side to account for population growth there.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that U.S. District Judge William Johnson said the lawsuit was without merit, criticized those who brought the case for being sluggish in moving the case along and ruled the plaintiffs cannot re-file their case.

The lawsuit claimed that the new district arrangement made Hispanics less able to elect officials of their choice and that it interrupted "communities of interest" that organize for particular candidates or causes.

Berry signed the new districts into law in March 2012 and says he was confident the city would prevail.

Flu Strain Back In New Mexico - The Associated Press

 State health officials say a flu strain that caused the 2009 flu pandemic is causing widespread illness again in New Mexico this season. The Albuquerque Journal reports that a New Mexico Department of Health epidemiologist says the influenza strain is especially hitting children and younger adults. He says activity and hospitalizations for flu in Albuquerque began rising in late December.