Has the moment for environmental justice been lost?

Given how President Donald Trump has taken aim at the Environmental Protection Agency with regulatory rollbacks and deep proposed budget cuts, it may come as no surprise that the Office of Environmental Justice is on the chopping block. This tiny corner of the EPA was established 24 years ago to advocate for minorities and the poor, populations most likely to face the consequences of pollution and least able to advocate for themselves. It does so by acting as a middleman, connecting vulnerable communities with those who can help them. It heads a group that advises EPA officials about injustices and another that brings together representatives from other federal agencies and the White House to swap proposals. When it works, all the talk leads to grants, policies and programs that change lives.

Dems: Popular vote should determine presidential winner

New Mexico’s five electoral college votes would be awarded to the presidential candidate who received the most popular votes nationally, under a bill that state senators approved Monday in a party-line decision. All 26 Democratic senators voted for the measure and all 16 Republicans opposed it, perhaps a predictable outcome three months after Republican Donald Trump lost the popular vote but handily won the presidency in the electoral college. The sponsor of the bill, Sen. Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque, said the electoral college allows presidential candidates to ignore most voters because it largely functions as a winner-take-all system in individual states. “Candidates have no reason to pay attention to states where they are comfortably ahead or hopelessly behind,” Stewart said. In addition, she said, minority-party voters in heavily Republican or overwhelmingly Democratic states believe that their votes don’t matter because the electoral college takes precedence over the popular vote.

Balderas, 14 other AGs back suit against travel ban

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas joined attorneys general from 13 other states and the District of Columbia to file a brief arguing against a ban on travel from seven Muslim-majority countries. This amicus brief is in support of the lawsuit filed by Washington Attorney General Bob Refguson. Because of the Washington lawsuit, a federal judge issued a stay on the executive order signed by President Donald Trump. That means the travel ban is not currently in place. “New Mexico has welcomed hundreds of students, scholars, doctors, and other lawful visa-holders from countries affected by this unlawful order,” Balderas said.

Heinrich explains why he supports the Iran deal

Without the nuclear deal with Iran, the Middle Eastern country would be able to have enough enriched material to build a nuclear weapon within months, while the deal means the country would not be able to build any nuclear weapons according to Senator Martin Heinrich. And the only “concrete alternative” to the deal would be a military strike and another war in the troubled region, Heinrich said. this would lead to a nuclear-armed Iran in “just a few years.” “This agreement represents the best chance to make sure Iran never obtains a weapon and the best chance for Congress to support American diplomacy—without taking any options off the table for this or future presidents,” he said. Heinrich spoke on Wednesday about his support for the deal negotiated by Secretary of State John Kerry on the Senate floor.

Congressman who was on hijacked flight wants fugitive returned from Cuba

A congressman wants the extradition of all United States fugitives, including one man wanted for the killing of a New Mexico State Police officer, and he has a very personal reason. Charlie Hill and two others fled after the killing of Officer Robert Rosenbloom during a traffic stop in 1971. The three eventually hijacked a plane and fled to Cuba, where they were welcomed by then-President Fidel Castro. A college student named Jerry McNerney, now a Democratic congressman from California, was on that plane and took an unexpected trip to Florida. He was born in Albuquerque and graduated from the University of New Mexico.