Did NM come out ahead? Google pays $1 million as it leaves

After announcing last week that it is moving a Moriarty-based subsidiary to California, Google will pay back New Mexico $1 million for funds that went toward building infrastructure. “Though our Titan team is transitioning to the Bay Area, we entered into an agreement with the City and State in good faith,” Google government affairs manager Angie Wellings wrote in a statement to New Mexico Political Report. “We hope this payment allows the community to better position itself for the next wave of investments in Moriarty and in New Mexico.” The move comes nearly one year after the state Economic Development Department announced it was spending $1 million on infrastructure for a building for Titan Aerospace, the solar-powered drone manufacturer that Google bought in 2014. At the time, Gov. Susana Martinez announced that the investments would create between 200 to 300 new jobs.

A year later, Google leaves and NM wants its money back

In the wake of a surprise announcement that Google is moving a Moriarty drone manufacturer to Silicon Valley, the state is apparently scrambling to get back some of money it gave to aid a promise of 200-300 new jobs. Yesterday the Albuquerque Journal quoted Secretary Jon Barela assuring that the state would seek to enforce clawback provisions on Google and reap back “a very sizable portion” of taxpayer dollars from the tech giant. A spokeswoman with the department has not responded to repeated attempts by New Mexico Political Report seeking comment. What’s still unclear is exactly what type of clawbacks New Mexico is entitled to get back from Google, which purchased Titan Aerospace in 2014 amid much fanfare. On top of the crickets we’re hearing from the Economic Development Department, the governor’s office and Estancia Valley Economic Development Association also aren’t returning our calls on this specific question.

Bill to curtail drone surveillance passes committee

A bill that would bar people from using unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as drones, “to conduct surveillance” without a warrant passed a Senate committee on Tuesday afternoon and is now headed to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill, SB 303, passed the Senate Public Affairs Committee on an 6-2 vote, though committee members warned it had some problems that may trouble the Judiciary Committee. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino, D-Albuquerque, said it was help give some privacy to New Mexico residents. The legislation is cosponsored by Rep. Paul Pacheco, R-Albuquerque, a former police officer. “It’s not just theoretical, this is happening already,” Ortiz y Pino told the committee.