Today's News

  • Running out the clock on New Mexico’s future

    R-Rio Rancho, New Mexico House of Representatives

  • Healthcare change asks hard questions about cost and services

    “In America, we don’t leave people bleeding in the doorway of the emergency room.”  I wrote that line for a presentation I used to give, some 25 years ago, about medical care in workers’ compensation.
    There had been a time when some American hospitals did exactly that. Even in emergencies, patients had to produce an insurance card before they would be treated. A federal law was enacted in 1986 prohibiting hospitals from turning away patients in emergencies.
    The system has been been battling ever since over who pays. The hospital? The taxpayers? The patient with no money? The Affordable Care Act offers one solution by requiring everybody to be insured and providing subsidies.
    The “individual mandate” is one thing many Americans detest about the ACA. So, among the features of the new proposed healthcare law it took Congressional Republicans only six years to draft, the individual mandate is to be repealed. Young healthy people who think they don’t need insurance won’t have to buy it.
    But young healthy people can get sick or injured. What does the proposed law anticipate when a young healthy uninsured person shows up with broken bones from a motorcycle accident? Who will pay the bill? Or will we go back to letting him bleed? That has to be one of our questions.

  • Multi-color fare
  • Hecker: Talk, don’t tweet, to North Korea

    Special to the Monitor

  • 7 arraigned in LA drug raid

    The seven suspects rounded up by police Monday in a drug bust were arraigned in court Thursday.
    The suspects include Nichole Marsh, 36, Nicholas Conner, 35, Amanda Osborne, 32, Anthony Knief, 32, Allan Houle, 29, Kathy Gibbons, 54 and Byron Henderson, 49.
    Thursday was their first appearance, so they did not enter pleas. Their next appearance will be their preliminary hearings.
    Marsh was charged with trafficking in controlled substance, two counts of use or possession of drug paraphernalia, two counts of possession of a controlled substance, and three counts of possession of dangerous drugs.
    She was released without bond on her own recognizance. When asked by Judge Pat Casados why she should be released, Marsh said she has a child to take care of.  When Casados told her she was going to be released on her own recognizance, she expressed her relief by briefly putting her head in her hands.

  • Council asks DPU to rewrite water report

    Council asked the Department of Public Utilities’ on Tuesday to redo it’s Long Range Water Plan, citing faults in wording and the high priority given to acquiring San Juan-Chama water rights.
    The plan forecasts water usage and changes to the county’s water supply over a 40-year-timeline. San Juan-Chama water rights refer to those along the Rio Grande River near White Rock.
    “Earlier today, I sent the utilities department an email asking them to consider correcting the language in the plan that incorrectly identifies the utilities department as the owner of the water rights that are at issue (and related contracts). Is there a problem with doing that?” Councilor Chris Chandler said to Deputy Utilities Manager James Alarid, one of the presenters of the report at the meeting.
    Chandler said the wording suggests the DPU owns the water rights instead of the county. In other places in the report, the moniker used made it sound like the county managed its water supply.

  • Woman faces arraignment in hit-and-run incident at store

    Ashley Garcia left a court appearance March 9 and went to the Los Alamos Bealls department store. Her day would end in the hands of law enforcement again, a suspect in a case of shoplifting and hit-and-run.
    At her arraignment Thursday on charges related to that incident, it was revealed that her March 9 court appearance involved shoplifting charges as well.
    Garcia, 23, of Hernandez, was there for a preliminary hearing, but it was postponed due to a conflict involving her defense attorney, Michael Jones. She also told court officials she had an 11:30 a.m. court appearance scheduled in Española that day.
    “So, even though she was going to be late for that appointment, she still took the time to stop at Bealls here in Los Alamos, committed a new felony shoplifting charge, and strike a pedestrian as she made her escape,” Santa Fe Assistant District Attorney Kent Wahlquist said to the presiding judge, Magistrate Court Judge Pat Casados. “That shows a significant flight risk, a significant inability to comply with court orders.”
    Wahlquist asked Casados to set a $25,000 cash-only bond for Garcia’s release.
    “If she’s able to post that, then I would also request she be placed on electronic monitoring,” Wahlquist said.

  • Martinez to consider bill to combine local elections

    SANTA FE (AP) — A piece of legislation awaiting Gov. Susana Martinez's signature would reshape the political landscape for school boards, cities and other nonpartisan local governments in New Mexico by consolidating elections and putting them before voters in November every other year.
    Currently, such elections draw little attention, with some garnering zero ballots, The Albuquerque Journal reported.
    Political analyst Brian Sanderoff said combining school board and municipal elections could boost turnout significantly. School elections on their own draw maybe 5 percent turnout, but Sanderoff said municipalities attract up to 45 percent.
    "School board candidates are going to have to reach out to a larger proportion of the electorate in order to get their message across and be successful," he said.
    Municipalities would have the option of opting out of the combined elections. Other agencies with taxing authorities could not opt out and would have to consolidate their elections into one in the fall.
    Some cities like Albuquerque and Las Cruces already hold their elections in the fall, meaning shifting over wouldn't be too hard.

  • Today in history 3-23-17
  • New Mexico governor orders hiring freeze to save cash

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez on Thursday ordered a hiring freeze for all agencies under her control, a move designed to save cash pending a political standoff over the funding of state government and public schools.
    The state personnel director outlined the freeze in a memo to cabinet secretaries, citing the need for executive agencies to take immediate action to control spending due to unprecedented budgetary challenges.
    Despite the freeze, some hiring will continue for jobs identified as critical for public safety and health as well as those related to taxation and revenue collections.
    The memo did not mention the governor's disappointment with the outcome of the legislative session that wrapped up more than a week ago. However, she has been outspoken about the Democratic-controlled Legislature sending her a budget built on $350 million in tax increases and fee hikes.
    "The fact is, state government affects every New Mexican, and passing a balanced budget is critical in funding education, public safety and service to protect abused children," she said in a statement.
    She went on to say she repeatedly called on the Senate to pass a balanced budget that didn't raise taxes on families.