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Local News

  • Legislative Roundup 1-28-17

    The New Mexican

  • 2017 State Legislature: Senate panel kills bill to end concealed guns rule

    BY STEVE TERRELL
    The New Mexican

  • Health officials promote flu shot ahead of peak flu season

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Health officials are urging New Mexico residents to get the flu shot as flu cases are on the rise.

    Based on the rising number of clinic visits and hospital admissions for flu-like symptoms, health officials believe flu season will peak in New Mexico in the coming weeks, The Albuquerque Journal reported.

    The state tracks the number of patients hospitalized for the flu in seven New Mexico counties. Between Jan. 8 and Jan. 14, about 40 people were hospitalized for flu, about twice the number reported in the previous week. No flu deaths have been reported this season in New Mexico.

    During the 2015-2016 flu season, flu killed 30 adults and one child in New Mexico.

    On average each year, flu kills 36,000 and hospitalizes 200,000 in the U.S.

    University of New Mexico pediatrician Dr. Randall Knott said flu season runs October through May but typically peaks in February, making this year's spike in cases right on schedule.

    "I think that we will be submerged in flu in the next two or three weeks," Knott, a member of the New Mexico Immunization Coalition said.

  • Today in history Jan. 27
  • Nation's only Latina gov not criticizing Trump's border wall

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The nation's only Latina governor is avoiding criticizing President Donald Trump on his executive action pushing a border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

    A spokesman for New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez said Friday the Republican governor "supports strengthening our border and giving the federal government a variety of tools" to protect residents.

    Martinez spokesman Michael Lonergan says the governor endorses putting more agents along the border as called for by the executive action. But the governor's office refused to comment on Trump's push for the border wall.

    Martinez told the Associated Press last year that building fences could impact the U.S. economy and relationship with trading partners in Mexico and farther south.

    The Republican governor criticized Trump during the campaign for his comments on Mexican immigrants and women.

  • 2017 State Legislature: Report: New Mexicans want ethics reforms to prevent corruption

    By Justin Horwath

    The New Mexican

    The vast majority of New Mexicans reject the notion that political corruption in state government cannot be reversed through legislative action, according to the results of a new University of New Mexico poll.

    But many of the people surveyed said they don't feel they have the power to influence government decision-making, according to the report, released this week as lawmakers are considering proposals to create a statewide ethics commission.

    The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Center for Health Policy at UNM published the report, which says 72 percent of the 1,505 adult state residents surveyed believe "the state's political leaders should implement reforms such as an independent ethics commission." Roughly half of the people responded to survey questions by telephone, and the other half responded online in September.

    According to the report, 1 in 5 of those surveyed said they never trust state government to do what is right, while only 3 percent said state government can always be trusted to do what is right. Nearly 40 percent said they believe they have no sway over state government policies, and 38 percent said they have little influence.

  • 2017 State Legislature: Measure to create new ethics commission clears first hurdle

    By Andrew Oxford

    The New Mexican

    With the state wracked by successive corruption scandals involving top officials, several lawmakers seem to agree that this is the year for ethics reform in New Mexico.

    A committee of the state House of Representatives gave a boost to those hopes Thursday by advancing a bipartisan proposal to establish an independent ethics commission through a constitutional amendment. The commission would have the power to investigate complaints of misconduct by public officials, candidates, lobbyists and contractors. The complaints would be public, and the commission's opinions could be appealed to the state courts.

    Campaign finance reform advocates and good government groups have fought for years to create such a body. But similar measures passed by the House in the recent past have floundered in the Senate, making Thursday's 8-1 vote by the House State Government, Indian and Veterans Affairs Committee just the first step in what will likely be a much longer process.

    "We've been talking about this idea a long time," Democratic state Sen. Jeff Steinborn of Las Cruces, one of the sponsors of the measure, told the House committee. New Mexico is currently one of only eight states without such a commission, he said. "I think this is the time that we do this."

  • 2017 State Legislature: Dems offer jobs plan, few details

    By Steve Terrell

    The New Mexican

    Democrats in the state Legislature on Thursday outlined a six-point jobs plan, including a raise in the minimum wage and spending on public works projects, that they said would be their focus for the remaining 50 days of the legislative session.

    But Democrats were unable to project how many jobs would be created by the plan or provide details on how some parts of the plan would work. Still, they promised to deliver for a state still trying to find its economic footing more than seven years after the end of the Great Recession.

    "Today, families and young people in our state are confronted with poor prospects for getting a job," Sen. Clemente Sanchez, D-Grants, said at a news conference on the Senate floor. "Far too many residents are living in real economic distress, and anxious about the future for themselves and their children. Democrats in the Legislature will take action to restore their hopes and dreams."

    New Mexico's unemployment rate was 6.6 percent last month; only Alaska had a worse jobless rate.

    In addition to a raise in the minimum wage -- it has been $7.50 an hour for several years – the jobs plan includes spending $63 million on infrastructure projects around the state.

  • 2017 State Legislature: New Mexico tourism chief: No funds to grow ad campaign

    By Bruce Krasnow

    The New Mexican

    The "New Mexico True" campaign that has won raves for its advertisements spotlighting the state's culture, people and natural resources cannot expand into new markets because of the same budget woes afflicting government agencies across the board, Tourism Secretary Rebecca Latham told lawmakers Thursday.

    Latham said her agency is continuing to spend more than ever to promote the state, but that has come by reducing employees and consolidating services.

    New Mexico True promotes the state on airport billboards, print and social media in Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, Denver, San Diego, Chicago and most recently Austin. The next logical market is San Francisco, but Latham said the state does not have to money to grow into that market in the coming year.

    "We still firmly believe San Francisco is the next great market," she said. "It would cost us a minimum of $3.5 million to get into it."

  • PEEC to host special screening

    The Pajarito Environmental Education Center and SunPower by Positive Energy Solar are bringing the National Geographic Film “Before the Flood” to the Los Alamos Nature Center planetarium at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 7.
    Created by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Fisher Stevens along with Academy Award-winning actor, environmental activist, and U.N. Messenger of Peace, Leonardo DiCaprio, “Before the Flood” shows changes happening around the world in response to our changing climate, and discusses solutions and actions individuals and our society can take to allow us to pass on a livable planet to the future generations.
    “Before the Flood” follows Leonardo DiCaprio around the world as he seeks answers about the reality of global warming. Along his journey, he interviews scientists, world leaders, activists, and others to learn more about climate change and investigate possible solutions.
    This event is free thanks to support from SunPower by Positive Energy Solar, New Mexico’s leading residential and commercial solar installer.
    An employee-owned company, SunPower by Positive Energy Solar is the largest certified Benefits Corporation (B Corp) in New Mexico.
    For more information about Before the Flood screening and other PEEC programs, visit peecnature.org, email 662-0460.