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IRS Announces 2018 Pension Plan Limitations; 401(k) Contribution Limit Increases To $18,500 For 2018

on October 25, 2017 - 6:09am
IRS News:
 
PHOENIX  The Internal Revenue Service today announced cost‑of‑living adjustments affecting dollar limitations for pension plans and other retirement-related items for tax year 2018.  The IRS today issued technical guidance detailing these items in Notice 2017-64.
 
Highlights of Changes for 2018
 
The contribution limit for employees who participate in 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans, and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan is increased from $18,000 to $18,500.
 
The income ranges for determining eligibility to make deductible contributions to traditional
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Heinrich: FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act Lacks Privacy Reforms

on October 25, 2017 - 5:22am

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich

From the Office of U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich:

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, voted Tuesday against advancing the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017. The bill passed the committee by a vote of 12-3.

"I strongly support the use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and specifically section 702 to gather intelligence on foreign targets. That is exactly why FISA was written in the first place and collecting the communications of foreign targets is without controversy.

U. S. Senators Udall, Heinrich Cosponsor USA RIGHTS Act To Reform Secretive Warrantless Spy Program

on October 24, 2017 - 3:46pm

U.S. SENATE News:
  • Bill Reforms FISA Sec. 702 to Protect Americans' Security and Liberties, Reduce Secret Law and Focus Spy Program on Foreign Threats

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) announced bipartisan legislation they are cosponsoring that reforms a sweeping, secretive government spying program to protect the constitutional rights of Americans, while giving intelligence agencies authority to target foreign terrorists, criminals, and other overseas intelligence targets.

The USA RIGHTS Act reforms Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence

In 2018, Some Tax Benefits Increase Slightly Due To Inflation Adjustments, Others Unchanged

on October 24, 2017 - 2:27pm
IRS News:
 
PHOENIX  The Internal Revenue Service today announced the tax year 2018 annual inflation adjustments for more than 50 tax provisions, including the tax rate schedules and other tax changes. 
 
Revenue Procedure 2017-58provides details about these annual adjustments. The tax year 2018 adjustments generally are used on tax returns filed in 2019.
 
The tax items for tax year 2018 of greatest interest to most taxpayers include the following dollar amounts:
  • The standard deduction for married filing jointly rises to $13,000 for tax year 2018, up $300 from the prior year.
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Study: 2017’s Best Places For Halloween

on October 24, 2017 - 8:54am
WALLETHUB News:
 
With Halloween just around the corner and total spending on related expenses to reach a record $9.1 billion this year, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its 2017’s Best Places for Halloween report, along with fun and interesting stats about the holiday in its Halloween Facts: Tricks & Treats By the Numbers infographic.

To help Americans decide where to spend the most spook-tacular time of year without frightening their bank accounts, WalletHub’s data crunchers compared the 100 largest U.S. cities across 18 key metrics.
 
They range from candy and
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VIDEO: Udall Speaks Out Against Efforts To Open Arctic National Wildlife Refuge To Drilling

on October 24, 2017 - 7:38am
U.S. Sen. Tom Udall
 
From the Office of U.S. Sen. Tom Udall:
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Tom Udall spoke Oct. 18 on the Senate floor in strong opposition to a provision slipped in the Republicans’ Fiscal Year 2018 budget resolution that would pay for tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy in part through oil and gas development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
 
A longtime champion of protection for the Arctic refuge, Udall called for the removal of any language in the budget that would open to drilling the refuge’s coastal plain, known as the 10-02 area. 
 
VIDEO: 

Senate Passes Udall-Heinrich Amendment Directing Congress To Provide Mandatory Full Funding For PILT

on October 23, 2017 - 4:05pm
U.S. SENATE News:
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Senate approved an amendment by U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich Oct. 19 that directs Congress to fully and permanently fund the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program, which helps local governments in New Mexico and across the West pay for critical services like schools, police, and roads.
 
The amendment to the Republicans’ Fiscal Year 2018 budget resolution passed 58 to 41 and was the only amendment offered by a Democrat to pass on a roll-call vote.
 
New Mexico is the third-highest recipient of PILT payments in the

IRS: Taxpayers Who Are Victims Of Domestic Abuse Should Know Their Rights

on October 23, 2017 - 3:42pm
IRS News:
 
PHOENIX  Domestic abuse (https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p3865.pdf) often includes control over finances. An important part of managing finances is understanding one’s tax rights. Taxpayers have the right to expect the IRS to consider facts and circumstances that might affect the individual’s taxes.
 
Taxpayers have the right to:
  • File a separate return even if they’re married;
  • Review the entire tax return before signing a joint return;
  • Review supporting documents for a joint return;
  • Refuse to sign a joint return;
  • Request more time to file their tax return;
  • Get copies of prior

Rotary: Los Alamos Students Get Pinkies Painted Purple To Eradicate Polio ... Tuesday Is World Polio Day

on October 23, 2017 - 11:34am
Ty Morris of Pinon Elementary School participates in the Purple Pinkie event recently hosted by the Rotary Club of Los Alamos to bring awareness to polio and its eradication. Photo by Oliver Morris
Kaya Loy, right, and a friend show their purple pinkies during a special even hosted  by the Rotary Club of Los Alamos to bring awareness to polio eradication. Photo by Laura Loy
Aspen Elementary teacher Stacy Martin and Rotarian Alison Pannell support the eradication of polio through a recent Purple Pinkie event. Photo by Mary Beth Maassen

ROTARY News:

In recognition of World Polio Day, Oct.

Study: Noncompliance Hobbles Comprehensive Background Check Policy For Private Gun Sales

on October 23, 2017 - 10:40am

Courtesy/gunlocker.com

HSNW News:

Of the three states that recently expanded comprehensive background check (CBC) policies to include all gun transfers, including those among private parties, only Delaware showed an overall increase in firearm background checks. Washington and Colorado had no changes, which the study authors say suggests that compliance and enforcement were incomplete.

The study, which posted online in Injury Prevention, is believed to be the first to assess the association between CBC policy enactment and changes in background-check rates.

Senate Budget Plan Allows For $1.5 Trillion Added To National Debt

on October 23, 2017 - 10:10am
Maya MacGuineas, president
Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget
 
CRFB News:
 
The Senate passed its Fiscal Year 2018 budget Oct. 19 containing reconciliation instructions for tax reform. The following is a statement from Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget:
 
There was a time not long ago when many Congressional Republicans demanded a budget that balanced within 10 years.
 
Today, with their vote, the Senate GOP has turned away from this goal, sprinting in the other direction and instead approving a plan that allows for $1.5 trillion in

National Red Ribbon Week Oct. 23-31

on October 23, 2017 - 5:20am

COUNTY News:

The Los Alamos DWI Planning Council would like to remind the community that Oct. 23 through 31 is National Red Ribbon Week.

Community members can support the effort to bring attention to putting an end to alcohol and drug use by wearing red or a red ribbon.

Heinrich Warns Of Public Health Crisis In Puerto Rico, Urges Health Department To Take Action

on October 23, 2017 - 5:06am
U.S. SENATE News:
 
WASHINGTON, D.C.  U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) is calling on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to provide additional resources and better coordinate efforts on the ground in the face of a growing public health crisis in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands following Hurricanes Irma and Maria to ensure the more than 3.5 million American citizens living there can safely access the quality health care they need. 
 
Heinrich joined U.S.

IRS: Security Summit Partners Mark Progress In Identity Theft Battle; Prepare For 2018 Tax Season

on October 23, 2017 - 4:43am
IRS News:
 
PHOENIX  The IRS, state tax agencies and private-sector industry leaders have detailed their continued progress against tax-related identity theft and prepared additional safeguards for the 2018 filing season to curb refund fraud.
 
The latest IRS data continued to show significant improvements as fewer identity theft returns entered the tax system, fewer fraudulent refunds were issued and fewer taxpayers were reporting themselves as victims of identity theft.
 
The progress also underscored that the Security Summit partnership created in March 2015 has led to stronger

Study: 2017’s Most & Least Energy-Efficient States

on October 22, 2017 - 5:43am
WALLETHUB News:
 
Happy National Energy Awareness Month! With New York City recently announcing its three-year plan to uphold the Paris climate accord, the first among nearly 250 U.S. cities that pledged to do so, the personal-finance website WalletHub conducted an in-depth analysis of 2017’s Most & Least Energy-Efficient States.

To gauge the financial impact of doing more with less energy — the average American household spends at least $2,000 per year on utilities and another $1,900 on motor fuel and oil — WalletHub’s analysts compared the auto- and home-energy efficiency in 48 U.S.

NNSA: Production Of W76-1/Mk4A Arming Fuzing Subsystem Completed On Time And Budget

on October 21, 2017 - 10:53am
NNSA News:
 
WASHINGTON, D.C.  The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) has completed production of the U.S. Navy-sponsored Arming Fuzing Subsystem in support of the W76-1/Mk4A Life Extension Program (LEP) on time and on budget.
 
The subsystem is a key component of the W76-1 LEP that will extend the original warhead service life from 20 to 60 years.
 
“Completing this subsystem is a major achievement for NNSA and the many gifted engineers, scientists and technicians dedicated to serving our vital national security mission through stockpile

Equifax Breach Follow-Up: How Vulnerable Is NM?

on October 21, 2017 - 10:36am
WALLETHUB News:
 
With Equifax losing its $7 million anti-fraud contract with the IRS after a major data breach at the credit bureau exposed the confidential information of more than 145 million American consumers, the free credit-monitoring website WalletHub today released its in-depth analysis identifying 2017’s States Most Vulnerable to Identity Theft & Fraud.

To determine where Americans are most susceptible to such crimes, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across eight key metrics.

History Helping Students Thrive

on October 21, 2017 - 7:58am
Courtesy photo
 
NHD News:
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. — For thousands of students around the world, this is the start of another chance to win history gold with the National History Day Contest (NHD). Students enter their projects in local level contests, with the top entries advancing to regional, state/affiliate, and finally, the National Contest in June 2018.
 
Along the way, students compete for the gold medal in their category as well as honors, awards, and thousands of dollars in prizes and scholarships.
 
Guided by an annual theme, students are encouraged to choose a topic that

New Mexico House Republicans To Jeff Bezos: We Stand Ready To Partner With Amazon!

on October 20, 2017 - 6:05pm

Minority Floor Leader Nate Gentry

NM HOUSE GOP News:

SANTA FE – Nineteen New Mexico House Republican representatives sent a letter today to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to promote Albuquerque’s bid to host Am

azon’s new North American headquarters.

In their letter, the representatives cited New Mexico’s location, cultural and recreational opportunities, and the presence of two national laboratories as key assets. They also pledged their willingness to work on business-friendly policies, including tax reform, as well as continued support for important state incentive programs such as the Local

ISA And Honeywell To Co-Host Web Seminar

on October 20, 2017 - 8:16am
ISA News:

 

The International Society of Automation (ISA) and its Corporate Partner, Honeywell Process Solutions, will co-host a free webinar Nov. 3 on how to address cybersecurity concerns in gas metering and data management.
 
The webinar, which is noon to 1:30 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time, will feature two automation experts: Pierre Dufour, Global Product Marketing Manager at Honeywell Process Solutions; and Steve Mustard, automation consultant.
 
“In today's highly connected world, with increasingly sophisticated electronic threats, it is unrealistic to assume natural gas delivery systems

PED Tweaks Proposed Science Education Standards

on October 19, 2017 - 5:12pm
Public Education Secretary Christopher Ruszkowski addresses the crowd during a reception Oct. 10 at the LAPS School Board Meeting Room. Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/ladailypost.com
 
By BONNIE J. GORDON
Los Alamos Daily Post

The New Mexico Public Education Department (PED) appeared to backpedal Tuesday on proposed changes to the New Mexico Science Education Standards, which are at odds with the Next Generation Science Standards developed by a consortium of states and the National Academy of Sciences.

New Mexico would be the 19th state to adopt the Standards.

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LANL Scientists, Engineers Receive 2017 Fellows Prizes

on October 19, 2017 - 11:26am

Laboratory Fellows Prize recipients from top left,Tess Light, Nikolai Sinitsyn and Harshini Mukundan. Bottom, from left: Eric Flynn and Brian Albright. Courtesy/LANL

LANL News:

  • Flynn, Mukundan, Sinitsyn, Albright and Light honored for outstanding research, leadership

Five Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists have been awarded the Laboratory’s prestigious Fellows Prize in the areas of science or engineering research and leadership: Eric Flynn, Harshini Mukundan and Nikolai Sinitsyn were awarded the Fellows’ Prize for Outstanding Research, and Brian Albright and Tess Light were awarded

New Mexico Democrats Recommend National Labs To Help Rebuild Puerto Rico

on October 19, 2017 - 11:05am

CONGRESSIONAL News:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Reps. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Ben Ray Luján, joined by Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, sent a letter today urging the Administration to utilize programs run by national labs in New Mexico to help with the reconstruction of Puerto Rico’s infrastructure.

The members of the New Mexico delegation are asking the Departments of Energy and Homeland Security to leverage the unique expertise and resources at the labs, including Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories, to help Puerto Rico rebuild.

“The scale of the devastation in Puerto Rico

DOJ: First Ever Indictments Against Designated Chinese Manufacturers Of Deadly Fentanyl And Other Opiates

on October 19, 2017 - 10:50am
DEA News:
 
WASHINGTON, D.C.  The Justice Department announced today that federal grand juries in the Southern District of Mississippi and the District of North Dakota returned indictments, unsealed Oct. 17, against two Chinese nationals and their North American based traffickers and distributors for separate conspiracies to distribute large quantities of fentanyl and fentanyl analogues and other opiate substances in the United States. 
 
The Chinese nationals are the first manufacturers and distributors of fentanyl and other opiate substances to be designated as Consolidated Priority

LANL’s Aditya Mohite Receives 2017 Resnick Award

on October 19, 2017 - 6:51am

Resnick Institute Director Jonas Peters, left, presents the 2017 Resnick Award to LANL’s Aditya Mohite. Courtesy photo 

Caltech’s Director of Sustainability Programs John Onderdonk with Symposium Speakers Scott Jasechko and LANL’s Aditya Mohite. Courtesy photo

 

By CAROL A. CLARK
Los Alamos Daily Post

Aditya Mohite of Los Alamos National Laboratory received the 2017 Resonate Award at a special reception following the 2017 Resnick Young Investigators Symposium at Caltech.

“I am flattered with this honor that has been bestowed upon me and want to thank my

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