KUNM

Susana Martinez

Mark Woodward

Did Gov. Susana Martinez violate the state’s sunshine law by failing to provide public records to a Santa Fe newspaper? That’s one of two questions at the heart of a lawsuit brought by the Santa Fe Reporter against the governor. We talked about the paper’s discrimination claim in our first story. Here we dig into the lawsuit’s allegations of government secrecy. 

Mark Woodward

When she was running for office, Susana Martinez campaigned on open government and promises of transparency. But journalists here say her administration routinely blocks access to state experts and employees, and won’t respond to questions from news organizations that have published critical stories. According to a lawsuit filed by the Santa Fe Reporter against the governor, that kind of blacklisting is discrimination and censorship.

From the 2013 ACLU-NM report "Inside The Box"

Advocates around the country have been working to limit the use of solitary confinement in jails and prisons. The New Mexico Legislature passed a bill this year that would prohibit putting people who are under 18 or pregnant or who have a serious mental illness into solitary. But last week, Gov. Susana Martinez vetoed it.

Mark Woodward

Testimony ended today in the three-day trial of SFR v. Gov. Susana Martinez with Mark Zusman, who co-owns the newspaper and two other weeklies, saying all three prioritize the watchdog function of journalism. 

Mark Woodward / with permission

The SFR v. Gov. Susana Martinez trial began today in state District Court with the governor’s high-powered, contract defense lawyer attacking the credibility of the journalists who filed the lawsuit, suggesting they were not precise, not knowledgable, not prepared and not invested in the profession.

Heath Haussamen / New Mexico In Depth

Gov. Susana Martinez delivered this year’s State of the State address on Tuesday, which also marked the start of the legislative session. 

Arpingstone via Flickr / public domain

Governor Susana Martinez and her administration haven’t had a lot to say after the state attorney general cleared the last 2 of 15 behavioral health organizations that were accused of fraud in 2013. Their Medicaid funding was frozen and many of them have shut down.

A statement from the Human Services Department spokesman echoed what the Governor said this week - that Medicaid dollars should be used to help the people who need it most and that the attorney general is turning a blind eye to wealthy CEO's who squandered funds on private planes.

the tutoress via CC

New Mexico’s attorney general announced on Tuesday that his office cleared the final two behavioral health providers accused of fraud. Those allegations against more than a dozen providers shuttered services that the state is still scrambling to restore.   

https://www.flickr.com/photos/87913776@N00/460375914

Over the past few years New Mexico has used short-term solutions to balance the budget without raising taxes. But if oil and gas prices stay low, it will become more and more of a challenge to find the money the state needs to pay the bills.

Raising at least some taxes might not be politically popular, but Sen. John Arthur Smith, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, argues it’s the fiscally conservative thing to do. And he wants to start with the gas tax.

Zack McCarthy via CC

In front of a group of commercial real estate developers, Gov. Susana Martinez signed a bill she said will make the campaign finance system more accurate and transparent, and make it easier for the public to access the information.

ANNAfoxlover via Wikimedia Commons / public domain

Gov. Susana Martinez opened a 30-day session of the state legislature Tuesday with a speech urging lawmakers to make public safety their top priority. But that wasn’t the only item on her agenda.

After a year marked by high-profile public corruption cases, the two-term Republican used part of her state of the state address to encourage government reform.

tomswift46 via Flickr / Creative Commons License

UPDATE 1/1 10:45a

Authorities have identified two men in Roswell found dead in the aftermath of last weekend's snow storm.

The Roswell Daily Record reports that Chaves County Sheriff Britt Snyder says 64-year-old John Spain died while shoveling snow.

AUDIO: Governor Appears 'Inebriated,' Says Bottles Were Thrown

Dec 18, 2015
Heinrock via Flickr / Creative Commons License

UPDATE 12/22 1p Associated Press: A recording from a police sergeant's belt tape suggests New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez was inebriated the night police responded to a complaint at a hotel where she was hosting a holiday party.

Public Domain

KUNM Call In Show Thu. 12/3 8a: Politicians have been arguing over the idea of resettling Syrian refugees here in the United States—and in New Mexico—in the wake of the Paris attacks. We'll ask whether taking in these refugees represents an unacceptable risk—or whether it's our moral obligation to help those fleeing war. We'd like to hear from you! Email callinshow@kunm.org, post your comments on our Facebook page, or call in live during the show.

Ed Williams

On Monday, the governor announced a two-week program offering free vaccinations to children before school starts.

 The Department of Health will run the program with money from the state’s general fund to cover vaccinations for uninsured children.

smgcee via CC

New Mexico’s auditor identified more than $4.5 billion in unspent state funds earlier this year. Now a national agency wants to see some of that money go to a program for people with disabilities.

It’s known as the DD Waiver, and it’s a program that helps folks with developmental disabilities get services. But the waiting list is up to 10 years long.

insunlight via Flickr / Creative Commons License

  

For hundreds of people in New Mexico, getting out of jail or prison hinges on whether there’s a bed in a halfway house, a slot in a treatment program or space in a mental health facility. Until a spot opens up, they remain behind bars, and it costs taxpayers thousands of extra dollars while they wait.

Images Money via CC

New Mexico legislative leaders say talks are underway to try to forge a compromise on a funding bill for building work and other projects across the state.

The regular session ended without agreement on a capital outlay bill amid partisan finger-pointing, but the Santa Fe New Mexican reports that leaders of the Democratic-led Senate and the Republican-controlled House hope to reach an agreement.

Jean-Rémy Duboc via CC

  LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — Another Arizona-based nonprofit has confirmed it plans to cease providing Medicaid-funded mental health services in southern New Mexico.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that Tucson-based La Frontera plans a staggered transition to phase out its operations in Doña Ana County and several counties in southwestern New Mexico.

John Hartman via Flickr / Creative Commons License

New Mexico state representatives voted Thursday to repeal a state law that allows people to get New Mexico driver’s licenses even if they’re in the country illegally.  Some observers see this as a political battle in which winning the war isn’t as important as fighting the battle.

Pointing to several examples of fraud, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez asked state lawmakers again this year to stop allowing immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally to get driver’s licenses here.

Tax Credits via Flickr

Creating jobs is one of lawmakers’ top priorities this legislative session and dozens of proposals have already been introduced. Many of them will require the state to spend some money, either by giving up tax revenue or by investing directly.

House Minority Leader Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe, said Wednesday that he wants to create a Small Business Development Fund that would partner with community banks to lend money to in-state firms.

Human Services Secretary Sidonie Squier is stepping down from her cabinet-level job in Gov. Susana Martinez's administration running one of the state's largest agencies.

Squier's resignation is effective Dec. 1.

The governor said in a statement Thursday that Squier's "leadership has been valuable and important" during a time when New Mexico expanded and overhauled its Medicaid program, which provides health care to lower income New Mexicans.

Marisa Demarco

Republican Gov. Susana Martinez secured a second term last night, beating her Democratic challenger Gary King handily. Martinez emphasized bipartisanship during her acceptance speech at the Marriott in Albuquerque, which was packed with Republicans from around the state.

As Economic Development Secretary Jon Barela introduced Gov. Martinez late Tuesday night, he focused on her heart—perhaps a nod to opponent Gary King’s maligned comment about the governor’s not being Latino enough. 

Dr. Randal J. Schoepp via Army Medicine / Creative Commons

 

Gov. Susana Martinez has directed the state Department of Health to coordinate an Ebola preparedness plan in case the disease is diagnosed in any New Mexico patients.

Martinez's office says the Health Department will work with other state agencies, local governments and hospitals across New Mexico to ensure officials are prepared.

Martinez says that despite the low risk, she wants to reassure residents that the state would be able to respond quickly if an Ebola case emerges.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gary King returned to the airwaves last week, while a political action committee made a documentary case against GOP Gov. Susana Martinez.

Political advertising in New Mexico topped $9 million in contracts through Oct. 10. Aired back-to-back, those ads would take up nearly 8.5 days of viewing, a New Mexico In Depth analysis shows. The analysis is based on contracts filed by TV stations with the Federal Elections Commission. It doesn’t include cable or satellite TV buys or radio advertising.

Will Work For Food?: SNAP And Work Requirements

Sep 16, 2014
AlishaV via Flickr

KUNM Call In Show Thu. 9/18 8a: New Mexico is in what has been termed a "double-dip recession."  We are at or near the top of lists of states where food insecurity impacts the greatest percentage of residents, and our job growth is among the worst in the U.S.

beatplusmelody via flickr

Democratic gubernatorial challenger Gary King's campaign manager has resigned after holding the job about two months.

Keith Breitbach was King's third campaign manager.

King announced the resignation on Monday and in a statement thanked Breitbach for the "positive impact" he had on the campaign.

Breitbach said in an interview he had "no hard feelings with Gary or anyone on the campaign."

He acknowledged that King's campaign faced difficulty because it's struggled to raise money and has been outspent 4-to-1 by Susana Martinez since July.

Robin Zielinski / Las Cruces Sun-News

Two news organizations are asking the N.M. Court of Appeals to overturn a ruling allowing last year’s audit of 15 health organizations to remain secret.

Gov. Martinez Has Sizeable Lead Over King

Aug 18, 2014
Pad Kirsch via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Gov. Susana Martinez has a sizeable lead over Democrat Gary King in her re-election campaign, according to a new poll.

Results from an Albuquerque Journal poll released Sunday show that about 50 percent of voters surveyed say they plan to vote for the Republican governor. About 41 percent say they would vote for Attorney General King. Nine percent remain undecided.

Overall, Martinez leads King in most regions of the state.

Martinez also has backing from one in five Democrats polled and leads among independent voters.