KUNM

Santa Fe City Council To Vote On Immigrant Resolution, Plan In Place To Fix Navajo Vets Housing

Feb 23, 2017

Santa Fe City Council To Vote On Immigrant Resolution – The Associated Press

The Santa Fe City Council is scheduled to vote on a resolution that would affirm the city's immigrant-friendly policies without using the word "sanctuary."

What started out as a rebuke to President Donald Trump's efforts to address illegal immigration, the resolution has been softened and the reference to sanctuary removed.

The resolution will be considered at Wednesday's council meeting as the Trump administration continues to threaten withholding funds from local governments that don't cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

Rather than specifically identify Santa Fe as a sanctuary city, supporters say the resolution affirms the city's status as "a welcoming community for immigrants and refugees."

The resolution also states that the city has the authority to preserve the confidentiality of residents' information, including a person's immigration status.

Navajo officials: Plan In Place To Fix Vets Housing Program – The Associated Press

Navajo Nation officials say they have a plan for improving a problem-plagued veterans housing program.

Tribal President Russell Begaye's office says the Navajo Nation Veterans Administration submitted a corrective action plan in response to critical audit findings.

The findings included poor accountability for building materials, selection of ineligible veterans for homes, poor construction management and uninhabitable homes.

Begaye's office says the veterans housing program is revising its policies and procedures to implement the corrective action plan.

Senate Passes Digital Privacy Legislation- Associated Press

Law enforcement officers would be required to get search warrants before delving into private electronic communications under a measure approved by the New Mexico Senate.

Sens. Peter Wirth of Santa Fe and Jim Dines of Albuquerque say the bill would update the state's antiquated privacy laws to cover emails, text messages and other digital information.

The bipartisan legislation has support from the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico.

The proposal would be an extension of a 2014 U.S. Supreme Court decision in which the court held that the warrantless search and seizure of the digital contents of a cellphone during an arrest was unconstitutional.

Search warrants or a suspect's permission are typically required to search cars, houses or other physical property where people have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

New Mexico bill would ban alcohol for repeat DWI offenders- Associated Press

A new proposal would ban alcohol for New Mexico's repeat drunken drivers in what would make for one of the most restrictive DWI laws in the country.

The bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Jane Powdrell-Culbert of Corrales is scheduled to be heard by a House committee Thursday.

Under the legislation, those convicted of a second drunken driving offense would be prevented from purchasing and consuming alcoholic beverages for a year. A lifetime ban would be imposed after a third conviction.

Those placed on alcohol bans would be required to get driver's licenses like those issued to people under the age of 21.

A similar proposal that addressed ignition interlocks as well as the purchase of alcohol by offenders won House support in 2013 but languished in the Senate.

House Democrats Push Through New Mexico Budget Bill- Associated Press

The New Mexico House of Representatives approved plans Wednesday to increase state revenues by $250 million, hold state spending steady and rebuild a financial cushion despite opposition from Republican lawmakers.

House Democrats pushed through the budget and a companion revenue bill on 37-32, party-line votes. The financial plan maintains general fund spending at $6.1 billion for the fiscal year starting in July.

New Mexico government is wrestling with stunted state revenues linked to a downturn in the oil sector and a sluggish local economy. To balance the budget, the House approved increased taxes and fees on hospitals, car buyers, trucking businesses and online sales by out-of-state retailers.

An initial provision to tax sales by nonprofit groups was eliminated.

New Mexico Senate Confirms Gallagher As Health Secretary – Associated Press

The New Mexico Senate has confirmed Lynn Gallagher as the head of the state's public health agency.

The unanimous vote came during Wednesday's floor session.

Gallagher has held the top spot at the state Health Department since March 2016 when she was appointed by Gov. Susana Martinez following the death of then-Secretary Retta Ward.

Gallagher's resume included recent stints as deputy health secretary and general counsel for the Long-Term Services Department, after an early career in business and finance in New York and Florida.

The department said Gallagher has been focused on addressing substance misuse, teen births, diabetes and obesity.

Officials say teen birth rates in New Mexico have declined to their lowest level in decades, and the childhood obesity rate continues to trend downward.

Gabby Giffords Steps Into New Mexico Firearms Debate – Associated Press

Former U.S. Congresswoman and mass shooting survivor Gabrielle Giffords is stepping into a tense debate about whether to require background checks on most private gun sales in New Mexico.

Wednesday, Giffords and her national gun-safety advocacy group Americans for Responsible Solutions threw their weight behind efforts to build a broader support in New Mexico for bills designed to keep guns out of the hands of convicted criminals, perpetrators of domestic violence and the mentally ill.

The New Mexico Legislature is considering two high-profile bills to expand background checks on firearms transactions against a federal database and to remove guns from domestic violence situations where a protective order has been issued.

Bill provisions are being revised after supporters and critics faced off in a series of politically charged hearings.