Political News

NMDOH, NMED Issue Smoke Advisory For Most Of State

NMDOH News:
SANTA FE –The New Mexico Department of Health and the New Mexico Environment Department today issue a smoke advisory for the Rio Grande Valley from Taos to Las Cruces and all surrounding communities from 9 p.m. through noon tomorrow, June 19 due to smoke from multiple wildfires burning in Arizona and southwest New Mexico.
Smoke from wildfires may cause people to have more severe reactions if they are infected with COVID-19.
If you have severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing or chest pain, call 911 or go to your nearest hospital. Learn more about how smoke affects those sick with

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Heinrich Statement On Supreme Court DACA Ruling

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

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) released the following statement after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that the Trump administration cannot move forward with its plan to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

“This ruling is a major relief for hundreds of thousands of Dreamers whose lives have been thrown into turmoil since President Trump ordered an end to DACA.

“While today’s decision is a major victory for our American ideals, the Trump administration’s assault on immigrant communities continues.


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New Mexico Flags Lowered To Commemorate Juneteenth, Anniversary Of Ultimate End To Slavery At Sundown Today

STATE News:

SANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has ordered state flags to half-staff in observance of Juneteenth.

State flags will be flown at half-staff beginning sundown Thursday through sundown Saturday.

Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves Jan. 1, 1863, but it was almost 2.5 years later, June 19, 1865, when Union Gen. Gordon Granger read the federal orders in Galveston, Texas, informing enslaved people in Texas that they were free. Juneteenth marks that day.

“Juneteenth is a celebration of human dignity and freedom, but it’s also a reminder of the dark


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New Mexico COVID-19 Cases Now At 10,153 With 4 More Deaths And 4,439 Patients Recovered

STATE News:

SANTA FE – New Mexico state health officials have announced this afternoon 94 additional positive tests for COVID-19.

Los Alamos County remains at 7 cases that have tested positive for COVID-19.

Today’s update includes 4 additional deaths reported in New Mexico related to COVID-19.

The New Mexico Department of Health reported today the most recent cases:

  • 13 new cases in Bernalillo County
  • 2 new cases in Cibola County
  • 5 new cases in Curry County
  • 9 new cases in Doña Ana County
  • 1 new case in Eddy County
  • 1 new case in Lincoln County
  • 12 new cases in Luna County
  • 20 new cases in McKinley County
  • 1

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Sen. Sedillo Lopez Self-isolating After COVID Exposure

By JENS GOULD
SFNM

State Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez was self-isolating at her hotel in Santa Fe Thursday after being exposed to a person who tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Sedillo Lopez, D-Albuquerque, said she received a call from the state Department of Health notifying her she had contact with someone who tested positive.

The senator said she was feeling fine and had no symptoms associated with the virus.

She was given permission to travel to Santa Fe for the special legislative session, but isolated in her office at the Capitol and then moved back to her hotel.

“I came to my hotel


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U.S. Senate Passes Bill For Land & Water Conservation Fund

NMW News:

ALBUQUERUQE — The United States Senate has passed legislation co-sponsored by Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich to fully and fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

S.3422, the Great American Outdoors Act, would also provide funds to address the maintenance backlog for the National Park Service (NPS) and other federal public land agencies.

“The Senate’s passage of this legislation is a bright spot during an otherwise difficult time, as we are now one step closer to realizing the full potential of the nation’s premier conservation program,” said Mark Allison, executive


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Pongratz: ‘These Are The Times That Try Men’s Souls’

By MORRIE PONGRATZ
Former County Councilor

The new year, 2020, has brought forth an oil price war that wrecked the State of New Mexico budget, the COVID-19 virus that threatens our lives, instances of racism that are an affront to our values, and a stock market crash that challenges our financial security. 

On the local front we find that radioactive waste put a hold on plans to build housing on DP Road, we’re surprised to learn that the Mari Mac shopping center will be razed and that we’ve once again asked for land from the feds, we see the future of the Family Strengths Network in jeopardy, two mainstays


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Offensive Phone Calls Disrupt House Rules Committee

By ROBERT NOTT
JENS GOULD
SFNM

A House committee charged with creating rules for running the special session got an earful Wednesday when some telephone callers into the meeting criticized social protests and uttered racial epithets.

The scene, legislators on both sides of the aisle said, pointed to the challenge of running a nontraditional session of the Legislature.

Members of both political parties expressed outrage at the calls, which effectively ended any effort to take public comment by phone during Wednesday’s meeting of the House Rules and Order of Business Committee at the Roundhouse.


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Governor Announces Wide-Ranging Agenda For Session

By JENS GOULD
SFNM

It’s official: The Legislature will tackle much more than just state finances in its special session beginning today.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham released an agenda Wednesday for the emergency gathering that includes a broad array of initiatives from economic measures to voting and criminal justice reform.

“New Mexico families, workers and businesses have been suffering as a result of this pandemic, and it is our duty not merely to shore up the state budget — although that is imperative — but to deliver them whatever immediate relief we can as a state,” Lujan Grisham said.


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Governor Includes Business And Tax Relief, Public Safety Reform, Election Changes, More For 2020 Special Session

STATE News:

SANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham will ask the New Mexico Legislature to consider tax relief for individuals, loans for small businesses and local governments, police reform and election improvements, among other topics, when it meets in a special session beginning Thursday.

Lawmakers will be asked to consider those bills in addition to modifying the state budget that takes effect July 1, the main purpose of the special session.

As a result of the global pandemic, projected state revenues declined steeply following the legislative session earlier this year, leaving a gap


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Udall Calls On White House To Withdraw Nancy Beck Nomination Following Opposition By Republican Senators

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall

From the Office of U.S. Sen. Tom Udall:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) issued the following statement today calling on the White House to withdraw the nomination of Nancy Beck to serve as the chair of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), after two Republican senators indicated that they would oppose her nomination:

“Nancy Beck is the absolute wrong choice to be the nation’s top consumer watchdog, and that is now a bipartisan conclusion. It is becoming clear that Dr. Beck’s nomination faces a likely impossible path in the Senate because she is too extreme


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New Mexico COVID-19 Cases Now At 10,065 With 5 More Deaths And 4,351 Patients Recovered

STATE News:

SANTA FE – New Mexico state health officials have announced this afternoon 138 additional positive tests for COVID-19.

Los Alamos County remains at 7 cases that have tested positive for COVID-19.

Today’s update includes 5 additional deaths reported in New Mexico related to COVID-19.

The New Mexico Department of Health reported today the most recent cases:

  • 20 new cases in Bernalillo County
  • 2 new cases in Chaves County
  • 3 new cases in Curry County
  • 18 new cases in Doña Ana County
  • 6 new cases in Lea County
  • 20 new cases in McKinley County
  • 1 new case in Otero County
  • 2 new cases in Rio Arriba County

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Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham Issues Special Session Agenda

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham today announced the special session agenda, which begins Thursday. Courtesy photo

 

By JENS GOULD
SFNM

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced today the agenda for the Legislature’s special session, calling for lawmakers to tackle a wide array of initiatives, from economic relief to voting and police reform.

The agenda goes far beyond the main reason for calling the emergency session, which is to fix an estimated $2 billion hole in New Mexico’s budget caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The governor is asking lawmakers to take up proposals, sponsored


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Op-Ed: State Economy Needs Investment, Vision

By Liddie Martinez, chairwoman of the Economic Recovery Council’s Subcommittee on Economic Relief
&
Brian O’Leary, chairman of the council’s Subcommittee on Economic Development

As the administration of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham continues to carefully follow through on its plan for gradually reopening the New Mexico economy, it’s time to start focusing our attention further out on the horizon.

The first order of business should be to extend a helping hand to the many homegrown, small businesses struggling to recover from the damage inflicted by COVID-19. Federal aid has been helpful,


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Council Using Zoom For Public Comment At Meeting June 30

COUNTY News:

Los Alamos County Council has a regular session scheduled at 6 p.m. June 30.

The format will be the same used for May meetings to comply with the New Mexico Department of Health’s public emergency order governing mass gathering because of COVID-19. 

Public in-person attendance will not be allowed. All Councilors and County Staff will participate using the Zoom conference platform.

Members of the public interested in watching the meeting can view the agenda and live stream the meeting using the link below and accessing the meeting for the respective dates listed above: http://losalamos.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx


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New Mexico Secretary Of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver Pushes For Temporary Automatic Mail Election

Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver

By MICHAEL GERSTEIN
SFNM

Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver is advocating for legislation during this week’s special session that would extend the deadline for counting absentee ballots in the November general election and allow county clerks to automatically send ballots to all registered voters prior to Election Day, her office said.

At the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Toulouse Oliver and a couple of dozen county clerks in the state had pushed for a mail-only primary election to protect poll workers and voters from risks of contracting


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Democratic Lawmakers Intend To Introduce Police ‘Use Of Force’ Reporting Requirements For Greater Transparency And More Accountability At 2020 Special Session

The 2020 Special Session begins Thursday at the Roundhouse in Santa Fe. LADP/file photo

By MICHAEL GERSTEIN
SFNM

Four Democratic state lawmakers plan to introduce legislation during the special session, which begins Thursday, that they say would offer greater transparency and more accountability when it comes to police use of force.

Amid calls from protesters in New Mexico and nationwide to defund law enforcement agencies and stop insulating officers from possible consequences over excessive and lethal use of force, state Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez and others have asked Gov. Michelle


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Udall, Heinrich Press For Expanded Access To Affordable Health Care In Upcoming COVID-19 Legislation

U.S. SENATE News:

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) joined 35 of their Senate colleagues Tuesday to urge House and Senate leaders to ensure that any upcoming COVID-19 relief bill includes strong provisions to expand access to quality and affordable health care coverage in the wake of the coronavirus public health crisis.

In their letter, the senators called for a bipartisan effort to increase the federal government spending on Medicaid to reduce the burden on state budgets as well as reduce premiums for individuals who are eligible for coverage


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For Some, Hand-Shaking Is On Tap At 2020 Special Session

Rep. Greg Nibert, R-Roswell

By JENS GOULD
SFNM

A House Republican said Tuesday he would likely shake hands with or hug fellow legislators from Southeastern New Mexico during the special session — prompting criticism from House Speaker Brian Egolf, who said he was worried such a practice could jeopardize the health of others later this week.

Rep. Greg Nibert, R-Roswell, said lawmakers from his part of the state plan to wear masks and use hand sanitizer during the upcoming meeting in Santa Fe and would keep their distance from legislators from other areas of New Mexico.

But when it comes to interacting


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