Supreme Court rejects Ten Commandments monument appeal

The case of a statue of the Ten Commandments in Bloomfield came to an end Monday, as the U.S. Supreme Court denied statue supporters’ an appeal to the high court. The city of Bloomfield was ordered by a federal district court to remove the monument in 2014, citing the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, which says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that ruling two years later, leaving the city’s final option to push for a U.S. Supreme Court hearing. The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico announced Monday that the attempted appeal was rejected. “This is a victory for the religious liberty of people everywhere,” ACLU of New Mexico Executive Director Peter Simonson said in a statement. “The Supreme Court’s decision to let the rulings against the monument stand sends a strong message that the government should not be in the business of picking and choosing which sets of religious beliefs enjoy special favor in the community.

APS joins backlash against PED’s science standards changes

The state’s largest school district criticized new proposed science standards by the Public Education Department. The Albuquerque Public School board voted 5-1 to send a letter disapproving of the changes, which included removing specific references to increasing global temperatures and the Earth’s age, to the state Public Education Department. At issue are the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). So far, 18 states and the District of Columbia have adopted the 2013 standards. PED proposed adopting most of the standards—but with some key changes.

APS board member resigns amid embezzlement, fraud allegations

Embattled Albuquerque Public Schools board member Analee Maestas resigned Tuesday. Maestas is facing charges for alleged fraud and embezzlement from a charter school she founded. This comes two weeks after Attorney General Hector Balderas formally demanded that Maestas resign. “I am pleased that that she responded to our legal demand by resigning and our office will continue to use our legal resources to protect the school children of New Mexico,” Balderas said in a statement. The questions came after KRQE-TV looked into an alleged doctored receipt for a relatively small amount of money.

Poll: Trump’s approval rating underwater in NM

President Donald Trump’s approval rating in New Mexico is underwater, a big drop from when  he first entered office in January and more New Mexicans approved of his job performance. Those numbers come from Morning Consult, which released the presidential approval ratings for each of the 50 states Tuesday. In January, 52 percent of voters approved of Trump, while 35 percent disapproved. In September, that number saw a big shift, with 52 percent disapproving of his job performance and 43 percent approving. New Mexico’s equaled nationwide numbers with 52 percent disapproving and 43 percent approving of Trump’s job performance in September.

Lujan Grisham, Pearce raise seven-figures for guv race

With a big gubernatorial race on tap in 13 months, two high-profile candidates reported Monday each bringing in more than $1 million in contributions in the last six months. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced raising nearly $1.4 million since her last campaign finance report in April. The campaign finance period was between between April 4 and October 2. Lujan Grisham’s campaign reported these came from nearly 6,500 contributors. Lujan Grisham’s campaign reported these came from nearly 6,500 contributors.

Poll: Keller almost at 50 percent in ABQ mayoral runoff

A new poll shows Tim Keller is in position to be Albuquerque’s next mayor. The poll by Carroll Strategies, an Albuquerque-based public relations firm, shows Keller, the state auditor, at 49 percent with Albuquerque City Councilor Dan Lewis at 39 percent. KOB-TV first reported on the poll. The results of the poll were provided to NM Political Report on Friday afternoon. The poll shows 47 percent believe Keller was the best person to address the crime problem in Albuquerque, while 35 percent preferred Lewis, with 18 percent undecided.

Hopes and fears: One DACA recipient’s story

Off to the side of Highway 10, somewhere in between Las Cruces and El Paso, Michel Nieves lives in a house with his parents and four siblings. Nieves, 20, and two older siblings have protection under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. His 16-year-old sister is awaiting approval. His 5-year-old sister is the only U.S. citizen in the household. This story originally appeared at New Mexico In Depth and is reprinted with permission.

Boisterous meeting over right-to-work in Sandoval County

A Sandoval County Commission meeting attracted a boisterous crowd Thursday night, as passions ran high over a proposed right-to-work ordinance. The capacity crowd remained mostly respectful, at least until after public comment and once the commissioners began speaking. One commissioner compared unions to the mafia and then singled out a teacher who commented earlier and blamed teachers unions for poor education of students. Right-to-work laws, which are in place in more than half the states in the country, bar unions from imposing mandatory fees on workers. The proposed ordinance would not apply to current companies and unions in the county.

ABQ voter turnout higher than recent elections

Albuquerque voters came out in numbers not seen in a decade for Tuesday’s election. A total of 97,419 voters, or 29.01 percent of registered voters, cast ballots in the election that saw Tim Keller and Dan Lewis head to a runoff and defeated  the Healthy Workforce Ordinance in  a razor-thin vote. Four incumbent city councilors won reelection, while a fifth district will find out its next councilor in a runoff election on Nov. 14, the same day as the mayoral runoff. Just under 97,000 people voted in the mayoral election this year.

Sandoval County to consider right-to-work proposal

A big, vocal crowd is expected at a Sandoval County Commission meeting Thursday night to discuss an issue usually raised at a state level: Right-to-work. Republicans raised right to work proposals at the New Mexico State Legislature in 2015 and 2016, but were unable to pass any laws stopping unions from imposing mandatory fees on workers. Now, advocates are pushing for it at the county level. And Sandoval County is poised to be the first salvo in a bruising battle that will likely end up in the courts. Advocates like Americans for Prosperity raised the issue in Sandoval County and commissioners are expected to start the process toward passing the ordinance on Tuesday.