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Today's News

  • UC grilled over LANL safety issues

    Three university systems went before the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities Friday to tell the coalition once again why they would be the best candidate to take on the job of operating and managing the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    The University of California, Texas A&M  made full presentations while the University of Texas System gave a short statement at the end of the meeting during the public comment portion.

    All three systems submitted bids to the National Nuclear Security Administration before the administration’s deadline.
    UC Vice President for National Laboratories Kim Budil faced some tough questions before the coalition from Coalition Chairman and Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales.

    The University of California has been a partner in the lab’s operation since it’s inception in 1943.

    “Clearly there were a lot of mistakes made of the last couple of years in Los Alamos that led to the shut down of WIPP (Waste Isolation Pilot Plant) and the threat that ultimately posed to the community for those mistakes,” Gonzales said. “I’m interested in how the University of California during that time and what levels of assurance as communities we would get, if you were selected, that it wouldn’t happen again.”

  • 2018 State Legislature: Mimi Stewart elected Senate majority whip

    By Steve Terrell The New Mexican State Sen. Mimi Stewart will replace fellow Albuquerque Democrat Michael Padilla, D-Albuquerque, as Senate majority whip, elevating her to a leadership position for the first time after 23 years in the New Mexico Legislature.

    Senate Democrats, meeting behind closed doors Monday, chose Stewart to replace Padilla, who Senate Democrats voted to remove from the post because of an old sexual harassment case that took place before he was elected to the Senate. Stewart, a retired educator, said she believes she was chosen because of hard work.

    "You know I'm a teacher by trade," she said. "I told my students, `I have eyes in the back of my head.' ... I'm able to juggle things."

    She was among eight legislators who this month helped rewrite the Legislature's anti-harassment policy after fallout from the national uproar over sexual harassment hit the Capitol.

    It's not clear whether the vote for whip was contested. At least two other senators, Linda Lopez and Jacob Candelaria, both D-Albuquerque, had expressed interest in the post.

  • Roundhouse prepares for session

    It’s about 1 p.m. on Friday at the Roundhouse in Santa Fe and Assistant Sergeant at Arms Richard Sena was quiety placing books behind nametags inside the Senate Chamber.

    Food Service Manager Terry Bell was doing paperwork inside her office.

    It was the calm before the storm. Tuesday, thousands of people will start flowing in and out of the Capitol for the next 30 days as the session gets underway.

    Legislators will start the fight to get their bills through committees, special interests, activisits and lobbyists will be looking to help or hinder. Hundreds if not thousands of tourists, students and media will come to watch the show.

    If those people are lucky, they will stop to eat Bell’s famous chile, which has been a well-kept, delicious secret at the Roundhouse for 30 years. It’s rumored her green chile cheeseburgers are apparently amazing.

    Before each session, at least six members of Bell’s crew come in a week before to get everything up and running. Unlike a typical restaurant that opens everyday, people come to the Roundhouse from all over the state, and from different jobs, to fire up the kitchens and get the food ready. 

    “We pull out all of our equipment out of the walk-in freezer, get everything washed and divided between the two kitchens,” she said.

  • Terrell's Tips for Roundhouse rookies

    By Steve Terrell
    The New Mexican

    Here are 20 things you'll need to know if you want to follow the state Legislature.

    1. When you walk into the Roundhouse, you are on the second floor. The first floor actually is the basement. The House and Senate galleries, where the public can watch, are on the second floor. Downstairs are the House and Senate floors. The third floor is where the committees meet. The fourth floor is where the governor's office and the Legislative Council Services are located. If you hear someone talk about the "fifth floor," that refers to Gov. Susana Martinez's political consultant, Jay McCleskey. But he's not really a floor. He's more of a state of mind.

    2. Probably the easiest place to get lost is the third floor. One way to stay oriented is to remember that the large mixed-media buffalo head sculpture (you can't miss it) is to the north.

    3. You can pick up a fresh copy of the House and Senate calendars and committee agendas every morning in the mail room on the first floor or online at www.nmlegis.gov/Calendar/Session.

  • Cherokee Nation honors MLK while dealing with slavery issue

    By RUSSELL CONTRERAS and FELICIA FONSECA, Associated Press

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Cherokee Nation leaders marked Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday by acknowledging the tribe needs to come to terms with its treatment of former slaves, known as Freedmen.

    The tribe — one of the country's largest — recognized the King holiday for the first time with participation in a King parade and a visit to the Martin Luther King Community Center in Muskogee, Oklahoma.

    Cherokee Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said Principal Chief Bill John Baker decided the tribe should honor the King holiday this year because of ongoing racial tensions nationwide and because the tribe is seeking to make amends with slavery.

    King's writings spoke of injustices against Native Americans and colonization, but Hoskin Jr. said the tribe had its own form of internal oppression and dispossession.

    "The time is now to deal with it and talk about it," said Hoskin. "It's been a positive thing for our country to reconcile that during Dr. King's era, and it's going to be a positive thing for Cherokee to talk about that history as part of reconciling our history with slavery."

  • Education-funding suit hangs over session

    By Robert Nott

    The New Mexican

    If state Sen. Bill Soules had his way, New Mexico would invest an extra $375 million in public schools right now.

    Where the cash-strapped state would find that money is another matter altogether.

    Soules, a Las Cruces Democrat, has once again introduced legislation calling for the state to follow the recommendation of a decadeold study and funnel hundreds of millions of dollars more into its public education system – one that generally ranks at or near the bottom in most national reports.

    But Soules' bill doesn't have a chance in the upcoming legislative session. And he knows it.

    "Every year I put that in there," he said. "I know there's not enough money for it, and I know it's not going to get funded. But it's to remind people how we are underfunding education year after year after year."

    If Soules' bill is a muffled drumbeat that barely registers, then a still-undecided lawsuit asking a state court to force New Mexico to increase investments in its per-student funding formula to meet constitutional mandates may serve as the cymbal crash that makes both the governor and Legislature act on the matter.

  • Lawmakers tackle crime as New Mexico state finances improve

    BY MORGAN LEE
    Associated Press

    SANTA FE — New Mexico lawmakers and Republican Gov. Susana Martinez are preparing to boost spending on public schools, early childhood education programs and law enforcement as state government climbs out of a financial crisis linked to fluctuations in energy markets.

    Strategies for reducing property crime and violence, particularly in New Mexico’s largest city, also are at the top of the agenda, as lawmakers convene Tuesday for a 30-day session.

    New Mexico government income for the coming fiscal year is expected to surpass annual spending obligations by $199 million – new money that lawmakers in the Democrat-led Legislature want to direct toward public schools, early childhood education programs and the judiciary.

    The governor wants to raise an additional $99 million to further bolster public education, prisons, business incentives and state spending reserves. Both spending proposals emphasize investments in early childhood education.

    The fiscal scenario marks a dramatic turnaround from a year ago, when lawmakers scrambled to fill a budget hole and address a credit-rating downgrade amid a sustained slump in oil and natural gas sectors. The state resorted to tapping severance tax notes, spending cuts at several state agencies and a hiring freeze.

  • My guns or my ganja? Firearm-owning pot fans face a choice

    By MARK SCOLFORO, Associated Press HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The federal government says grass and guns don't mix, and that is putting gun owners who use marijuana – and the strongly pro-gun-rights administration of President Donald Trump – in a potentially uncomfortable position.

    As gun-loving Pennsylvania becomes the latest state to operate a medical marijuana program, with the first dispensary on track to begin sales next month, authorities are warning patients that federal law bars marijuana users from having guns or ammunition.

    "They're going to have to make a choice," said John T. Adams, president of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association. "They can have their guns or their marijuana, but not both."

    That's the official line, but the reality of how the policy might be enforced in Pennsylvania and other states is a little muddier. That includes the question of whether people who already own guns might have to surrender them, instead of just being prohibited from making new purchases.

    The political sensitivity was underscored Friday when Pennsylvania regulators reversed themselves and announced its registry of medical-pot patients will not be available, as was previously planned, through the state's law enforcement computer network.

  • Republican attorney to run for sec. of state

    Republican attorney JoHanna Cox, of Albuquerque, announced her candidacy Friday for New Mexico Secretary of State.
    Cox, 36, said she is prepared to take her prosecutorial experience to the Secretary of State’s office and take politics out of the decision-making process.

    “Running a clean, transparent, and fair election is not the job of a political organizer, but rather an attorney who understands the law and the role of the position in which she will be elected,” she said in a release.

    “As one of the highest elected officers in New Mexico state government, the secretary of state should not be playing partisan politics with every decision,” she said. “If I am elected, every voter in New Mexico will be able to trust the duties of the office are being conducted with the highest regard to the law.”

    Born in Colorado, Cox completed her undergraduate work at Colorado State University with a bachelor’s degree in finance and law school at the University of North Dakota.  After law school, she moved to New Mexico.

  • Police Beat 1-14-18

    Police Beat items are compiled from public information contained in Los Alamos Police Department Records. Charges or citations listed in Police Beat do not imply innocence or guilt. The Los Alamos Police Department uses the term “arrest” to define anyone who has been physically arrested, served a court summons, or issued a citation.
    Jan. 1
    10:45 p.m. – Los Alamos police investigated a disturbance.

    Jan. 2
    9:34 p.m. – Los Alamos Police investigated a public nuisance.

    Jan. 3
    1:20 a.m. – Los Alamos Police arrested an individual for simple battery

    2:24 a.m. – Steven Stock, 40, of Los Alamos was arrested and booked into the Los Alamos County Detention Center for aggravated battery against a household member. He was later released.

    7:18 a.m. – Los Alamos Police arrested an individual for driving with a suspended license at the Los Alamos Middle School. The individual also had a warrant for their arrest.

    8:06 a.m. – Veronica A. Padilla, 35, of Hernandez was arrested and booked into the Los Alamos Detention Center on a misdemeanor warrant from another jurisdiction. She was later released on a $161 bond.