Wednesday News Roundup: Santa Fe County Approves Minimum Wage Hike

Feb 26, 2014

Feds Rank NM Health Computer System As High Risk - The Associated Press

New Mexico was among the states rated as "high risk" after government security experts reviewed the vulnerability of computer systems being used to roll out President Barack Obama's health care law.

Documents provided to The Associated Press show more than two-thirds of states had potential security problems with systems designed to tap into federal computers to verify sensitive personal information.

But officials in charge of implementing New Mexico's insurance marketplace questioned those findings Tuesday.

They say New Mexico is still developing a state-run exchange for individuals, and the marketplace created for small businesses, employees and insurance providers isn't linked to the federal data system.

New Mexico exchange spokeswoman Debra Hammer says there's still an opportunity to learn from the experience of other states as New Mexico prepares to bring its individual exchange online in October.

Udall: Bases Likely Safe From Budget Cuts - The Albuquerque Journal

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced a plan to reduce the size of the US military on Monday.

The Albuquerque Journal reports US Senator Tom Udall says it’s unlikely the plan will impact military bases in New Mexico.

The economic impact of Holloman, Kirtland and Cannon air force bases and White Sands Missile Range are estimated at nearly 10 billion dollars annually. Over 40-thousand military personnel and civilians are employed at these military installations in New Mexico.

Santa Fe County Approves Minimum Wage Hike - The Santa Fe New Mexican

Minimum wage workers in Santa Fe County are getting a raise.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the Santa Fe County Commission voted unanimously Tuesday night to increase the minimum wage from 7 dollars and 50 cents an hour to 10 dollars and 66 cents an hour – that’s the same rate as the minimum wage for workers in the City of Santa Fe  starting March 1st.

The measure also increases the minimum wage for tipped employees, from 2 dollars and 13 cents an hour to 6 dollars and 40 cents an hour.

The County wage goes into effect in 60 days and will increase annually according to the Consumer Price Index.

Poll: National Parks Should Manage Valles Caldera Preserve - The Albuquerque Journal 

A majority of New Mexicans would like to see the National Park Service managing the Valles Caldera Preserve according to a new poll.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the poll, commissioned by the New Mexico Wildlife Federation, found 64 percent of people surveyed support the idea of the federal government running the park in the Jemez mountains.

Kent Salazar who’s with the trust that manages the park now says there isn’t enough funding to make improvements to the area and increase visitor access.

The park will revert to US Park Management next year if Congress doesn’t continue funding for the trust.

New Mexico Warns Military Families About Securities Fraud - The Associated Press

The New Mexico Securities Division is issuing a warning to military families to prevent them from becoming victims of financial fraud.

The warning came Tuesday from Securities Division Director Alan Wilson. He says military service members and their families are often targeted for their savings and benefits.

The division says it recently issued a cease and desist order against Albuquerque-based Equity Advisors, its owner Sidney Evans, and Voyager Financial Group.

State officials accused Voyager of promoting a scheme where it would illegally purchase veterans' monthly pension and disability payments for a single lump sum that was far less than the future value.

Officials say the pension and disability payments would then be packaged as investments to be sold.

Federal law prohibits the sale or assignment of veterans' benefits.