News Clips

Diminishing returns: In the San Juan Basin, small energy companies have an outsized impact

FARMINGTON — On Oct. 21, 1921, residents in Farmington heard a hissing roar as a natural gas well 10 miles upriver blew skyward — the debut of the first commercial well in the coal-bed formation known as the San Juan Basin. This stream of natural gas would transform northwestern New […]

Hundreds protest in Las Cruces for abortion rights 

More than 200 individuals protested the potential “roll back” of abortion rights on Saturday in Las Cruces. The U.S. Supreme Court’s draft decision, leaked in early May, on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization indicated the court will likely overturn the 1973 decision that expanded reproductive rights in the U.S. […]

What the Supreme Court abortion draft opinion means for Indigenous people

Earlier this spring, the need for financial assistance to obtain an abortion caused abortion fund provider Indigenous Women Rising to take a break so the grassroots organization could “catch up” financially. The need was “so intense” IWR almost ran out of money, Rachel Lorenzo (Mescalero Apache/Laguna Pueblo/Xicana), co-founder of IWR, […]

Fish and Wildlife Service releases draft recommended decision for Mexican wolves

A draft recommended decision in the Mexican gray wolf recovery plan would eliminate the population cap and temporarily restrict when a wolf can be killed, but environmental advocates say it still falls short of the reforms needed to ensure genetic diversity. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released the final […]

Student group at New Mexico State University responds to U.S. Supreme Court draft decision

Responding to the U.S. Supreme Court’s draft document that, once leaked in early May, revealed the court appears poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, a new student group at New Mexico State University is taking shape. The U.S. Supreme Court heard Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization last December. The […]

What the court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade could mean to New Mexico’s LGBTQIA+ community

If the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, as is now expected this summer, the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community will be thrown into jeopardy, advocates believe. In the leaked draft opinion that reveals the Supreme Court will likely overturn Roe v. Wade this summer, Supreme Court Justice Samuel […]

NM Congressional Democrats introduce bill to help those impacted by the Hermits Peak Fire

As the Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon fire continues to grow, New Mexico’s Congressional Democrats have introduced legislation to increase the aid available to people who have lost their homes, businesses and other property. The joined fires have now grown to be the largest wildfire in state history at 259,810 […]

Senate blocks effort to codify Roe v. Wade

A vote in the U.S. Senate to end the filibuster on the Women’s Health Protection Act failed on Wednesday. The Senate took up the issue originally in February when Senate Republicans filibustered the bill. To end the filibuster and allow the Senate to vote on the legislation, Senate Democrats needed […]

RECA extension passes House, heads to president’s desk

The U.S. House of Representatives approved an extension to the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act on Wednesday, which means the bill now heads to President Joe Biden’s desk. The extension received unanimous support from the U.S. Senate last week. Without this extension, the program that provides one-time financial support to families […]

Travel nurses see swift change of fortunes as Covid money runs dry

Tiffanie Jones was a few tanks of gas into her drive from Tampa, Florida, to Cheyenne, Wyoming, when she found out her travel nurse contract had been canceled. Jones, who has been a nurse for 17 years, caught up with a Facebook group for travel nurses and saw she wasn’t […]

How much do we know about our watersheds? New study says gaps in knowledge exist because of ‘bias’ in stream gauge placement

Corey Krabbenhoft saw the ebbs and flows of New Mexico’s rivers growing up in Albuquerque. From that experience, she knew how many of the waterways in the state only flow at certain times of the year. As a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Buffalo, she is the lead author […]

‘This is a U.S. problem:’ Families gather in Farmington to raise awareness about MMIWR

Rose Yazzie last spoke to her daughter, Ranelle Rose Bennett, in June of last year. They were talking about a birthday party for Bennett’s daughter, Yazzie’s granddaughter.  Yazzie recalls that her daughter hugged her for longer than usual. Looking back, she wonders if she missed the signs that something was […]

New Mexico’s Clean Car Rule will go into effect July 1

New Mexico car dealerships will soon be required to stock a small percentage of electric vehicles under the state’s newly adopted Clean Car Rule. The Environmental Improvement Board and Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board both approved the new rules upon the conclusion of a two-day meeting this week. The […]

Deputy Interior Secretary discusses water infrastructure during visit to Belen

The New Belen Wasteway is an example of how infrastructure funding can accomplish the shared goals of resiliency and protecting water for both people and the ecosystem, Deputy Secretary of the Interior Tommy Beaudreau said during a tour of the facility this week in Belen. The New Belen Wasteway is […]

Impact of Oklahoma’s six-week abortion ban a precursor of what’s to come

Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains and other providers could be opening up more brick-and-mortar abortion clinics near New Mexico state lines, one official with PPRM said. On the heels of the leaked U.S. Supreme Court document this week, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a bill Tuesday, effectively immediately, that […]

Abortion will remain legal in New Mexico, even after U.S. Supreme Court decision

If the Supreme Court’s leaked draft decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization becomes reality in late June or early July, New Mexico will remain what some have called “a beacon” of legal abortion care. The state legislature passed and the governor signed last year the Respect New Mexico […]

NM expected to pay an estimated $15 million in tax refunds to medical cannabis companies

New Mexico cannabis businesses are expected to pay cannabis excise and gross receipts taxes by the end of this month. But the state’s Taxation and Revenue Department is also expected to issue about $15 million dollars worth of gross receipts refunds to medical cannabis companies that paid those taxes prior […]

NM Cannabis regulators lift cease and desist order from producer

A New Mexico cannabis company that was ordered to cease operations at one of its Santa Fe facilities can now resume its operation.  According to a letter from Cannabis Control Division Director Kristen Thomson to cannabis company Sacred Garden, state regulators lifted a previously issued cease and desist order on […]

Advocates, elected officials and the public respond with rallies and outrage over Supreme Court draft decision on abortion rights

The leaked draft of a U.S. Supreme Court decision on the case that appears poised to overturn Roe v. Wade woke up many on Tuesday to a “shocking” reality which may be imminent. Politico released on Monday a leaked draft document, dated February from the Supreme Court. The document is […]

Silverspot butterfly, found in northern New Mexico, could receive federal protection

A butterfly found in northern New Mexico could soon be added to the list of threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced on Tuesday that it is considering listing a subspecies of the silverspot butterfly, which is found in high elevation areas ranging […]

Lawsuit: State, managed care organizations not providing care to ‘most vulnerable’ children

Disability Rights New Mexico and three families filed a suit against the state and three managed care organizations for allegedly not providing necessary care to medically fragile children. The managed care organizations are New Mexico Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Presbyterian Health Plan and Western Sky Community Care.  Medicaid is […]

Weather station network intended to provide some security for farmers, ranchers

Government programs provide insurance for ranchers if they lose their forage crops due to lack of rain, but the scarcity of rain gauges in New Mexico has limited the usefulness of this insurance, according to legislators who secured funding to build a network of weather stations throughout the state. State […]

Comments sought on SunZia transmission project

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is accepting comments on proposed amendments to the SunZia Southwest Transmission Project that will move electricity from New Mexico across Arizona and into California. The BLM released a 525-page draft Environmental Impact Statement and draft Resource Management Plan amendment on Friday. This came after […]

At the border of the American dream

Fidel Pérez made his way from Durango, Mexico, to Juárez and then to Chaparral, New Mexico, in 1970. He was cleaning yards and working in the agricultural fields of nearby Anthony when border patrol officials arrested him. When they asked why he had come to the United States, he replied, […]

PRC rejects argument that state law requires approval of full decoupling

Asan increasing number of people install solar panels on their houses or make energy efficiency upgrades, the amount of electricity utilities sell may go down. This can impact the utility’s revenue streams, even as costs of maintaining and upgrading infrastructure remain. One way to address this is known as decoupling […]

A NM facility that grows seedlings for reforestation had to evacuate due to wildfire

As fires char tens of thousands of acres of land in New Mexico, the very place tasked with growing seedlings to reforest is now facing the threat of wildfire. New Mexico State University’s John T. Harrington Forest Research Center, located in Mora, was evacuated this week. Owen Burney, the center’s […]

Heinrich pushes for hardrock mining reform

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, a New Mexico Democrat, has once again introduced legislation attempting to reform what he describes as an outdated hardrock mining law.  On Tuesday, Heinrich introduced the Clean Energy Minerals Reform Act, which would strengthen the regulations for hardrock mining. U.S. Sen. Ben Ray Luján, also a […]

Computer modeling can help prescribed burn decisions

Prescribed burns can be a key weapon in preventing catastrophic wildfire, but finding the right window to burn can be challenging and, with dry conditions, prescribed burning in New Mexico has come to a halt. A modeling effort by Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists aims to provide agencies with a […]

Take uranium contamination off our land, Navajos urge federal nuclear officials

The gale-force winds that swept across New Mexico on Friday, driving fires and evacuations, gave Diné residents in a small western New Mexico community an opportunity to demonstrate first hand the danger they live with every day. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) members were in the Red Water Pond Road community, […]

Judge’s ruling on the CDC mask mandate highlights the limits of the agency’s power

The role that the federal government plays in containing future epidemics will hinge on the outcome of an appeal of this week’s court ruling that overturned the mask mandate for travelers on airlines, trains, and the nation’s mass transit systems. A federal court judge in Florida said the Centers for […]

NM Interstate Stream Commission approves cloud seeding application

As New Mexico creeps closer to having 100 percent of the state experiencing some level of drought, cloud seeding may help bring water to counties in the southeastern part of the state. The Interstate Stream Commission approved a weather modification application during its monthly meeting on Thursday. The cloud seeding […]

Albuquerque’s air quality has worsened, according to new State of the Air report

Albuquerque has some of the worst air pollution in the country, according to the State of the Air Report released Thursday by the American Lung Association. The report ranked the city and its surrounding area with the 22nd-worst air pollution in terms of ozone from 2018 through 2020, and Albuquerque […]

Study finds high share of methane emissions from low-producing oil and gas well sites

As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency develops policies for methane emissions from oil and gas production, environmental advocacy groups have a new tool to back their calls for regular leak detection and repair at all sites, including those that produce limited amounts of oil and gas. Scientists with the Environmental […]

Can anti-abortion state laws affect New Mexicans?

Two states are considering laws – one that supports abortion rights and one that doesn’t – that attempt to reach out of their states’ jurisdictions. One bill, California’s AB 1666, protects Californians from Texas SB 8 and other copycat state laws prohibiting “aiding or abetting” an abortion in states where […]

Growing Forward: Cannabis testing takes center stage

The third episode of Growing Forward’s fourth season is out just in time for April 20, or 4/20, the unofficial holiday for many cannabis users.  Growing Forward is a collaborative podcast between New Mexico PBS and NM Political Report, all about cannabis in New Mexico. This week, the podcast examines, […]

Texas has spent billions of dollars on border security. But what taxpayers got in return is a mystery.

In October 2005, Texas Gov. Rick Perry traveled to the border city of Laredo and announced Operation Linebacker, a new initiative that he said would protect the state’s residents from terrorist groups such as al-Qaida.

Without pointing to evidence, Perry said such terrorist groups, along with drug cartels and gangs, were attempting to exploit the U.S.-Mexico border. A press release from the governor’s office said Perry warned that after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, criminal organizations could “import terror, illegal narcotics and weapons of mass destruction.”

Federal appeals court rejects ranchers’ bid to overturn critical habitat designation for endangered mouse

A federal appeals court rejected two cattle groups’ arguments that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service inadequately evaluated the economic implications of designating critical habitat for the meadow jumping mouse in New Mexico. The Northern New Mexico Stockman’s Association and the Otero County Cattleman’s Association sued the Fish and Wildlife […]

Anxiety, emotions and crises surge as NM students return to school

For many students in New Mexico, going back to school after months of online learning was a stormy experiment in resocialization. Reuniting with friends and peers brought joy and relief to most, but the process of reentry could also be jarring and chaotic, especially for those who felt the harshest […]

State board adopts rules regulating emissions from oil, natural gas relating to ozone

After a lengthy discussion, the Environmental Improvement Board adopted ozone precursor rules on Wednesday evening. The weeks-long hearing involved in depth discussions of each section and modifications to the rule. The EIB voted on each individual section and definition. These rules apply to oil and gas production in counties that […]

FWS releases revision to wolf recovery plan addressing poaching

Following a court order, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released its plans to address poaching of Mexican wolves, as well as other human-caused mortalities. An update to the 2017 recovery plan was published in the Federal Register on Thursday, opening up a 30-day public comment period. “Mexican wolves continue […]

NM judge orders cannabis regulators, producer to agree on testing ‘regimen’

A New Mexico cannabis producer asked to halt a majority of its operations by the Cannabis Control Division after reports of mold is still barred from selling its cannabis flower, for at least another week. In a hearing on Wednesday, Santa Fe state district judge Bryan Biedscheid ordered cannabis regulators […]

Water Quality Control Commission hears arguments for Upper Pecos protections

The Upper Pecos watershed is an important water source and members of the communities that rely on it say that it needs to be protected. The Water Quality Control Commission heard arguments for listing the Upper Pecos watershed as Outstanding National Resource Waters during its monthly meeting on Tuesday. ONRW […]

Money for abandoned uranium mine cleanup spurs questions about design, jobs

Uranium mines are personal for Dariel Yazzie. Now head of the Navajo Nation’s Superfund program, Yazzie grew up near Monument Valley, Arizona, where the Vanadium Corporation of America started uranium operations in the 1940s. His childhood home sat a stone’s throw from piles of waste from uranium milling, known as […]

International trade halted at Texas border crossings as truckers protest Greg Abbott’s new inspections

Commercial traffic at a key South Texas border crossing has stopped after Mexican truckers on Monday blocked north- and southbound lanes on the Mexico side of the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge in protest of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to have state troopers inspect northbound commercial vehicles — historically a job done by the federal government.

The bridge connecting Pharr and Reynosa is the busiest trade crossing in the Rio Grande Valley and handles the majority of the produce that crosses into the U.S. from Mexico, including avocados, broccoli, peppers, strawberries and tomatoes. On Monday, with trucks backed up for miles in Reynosa for the fifth day in a row, some produce importers in Texas said they have waited days for their goods to arrive and already had buyers cancel orders.

Game Commission recommends delisting of Gould’s turkey

The New Mexico Game Commission has recommended delisting the Gould’s turkey following a unanimous vote during Monday’s meeting in Santa Fe. The bird, which is found in the southwest corner of the state, was added to the state’s threatened species list in 1974. It is the largest subspecies of the […]

Abortion rights could play a key role in the race for southern New Mexico’s U.S. House seat 

With a Supreme Court decision expected this summer on the Mississippi anti-abortion law most court watchers believe will overturn or gut protections granted by Roe v. Wade, Democrats and Republicans could find abortion playing a large role in the upcoming race for U.S. House representation in southern New Mexico. This […]

Gov. Lujan Grisham signs special session relief bill

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a bill on Friday that will provide New Mexicans with payments up to $1,000.  HB 2, which the Legislature passed earlier this week during a special legislative session, uses $698 million to provide $500 to single tax filers and $1,000 to joint filers. The legislation […]

Conflicting views on when or if NM is headed for a medical cannabis shortage

Cannabis producers in New Mexico have their collective eyes on daily sales numbers to determine what sort of demand there will be moving forward a week after recreational-use sales started.  The New Mexico Cannabis Control Division reported more than $5.2 million in combined medical and recreational-use cannabis sales and more […]

Study finds Native American communities face greater air pollution burdens

A study from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health found that, while air pollution has been decreasing nationally, Native American communities are less likely to see those reductions. The study was published in the American Journal of Public Health. Maggie Li, the lead author, said in an email […]

Recovering America’s Wildlife Act receives Senate committee approval

The federal Recovering America’s Wildlife Act cleared the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on a 15-5 vote Thursday, advancing what proponents call the “most significant wildlife conservation bill in half a century.” This bill, which is sponsored by U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich, a New Mexico Democrat, and Roy […]

Why Black and Hispanic seniors are left with a less powerful flu vaccine

At Whitman-Walker Health, Dr. David Fessler and his staff administer high-dose influenza vaccine to all HIV-positive and senior patients. Although the vaccine is roughly three times as expensive as standard flu vaccine, it seems to do a better job at protecting those with weakened immune systems — a major focus […]

Legislature passes financial relief bill in special session

A bill to provide financial relief to New Mexicans quickly worked its way through the Legislature in a special session on Tuesday. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham called legislators into the special session largely to pass this bill. It took nearly 12 hours for lawmakers to send the legislation to her […]

Rail Runner funding removed from junior spending bill

The Rail Runner will not be receiving $1 million to temporarily reduce fares to riders. A proposal to provide the money to the public transit organization was removed from the “junior” spending bill on Tuesday during the Senate Finance Committee and a later attempt by Sen. Jacob Candelaria, I-Albuquerque, to […]

Lawsuit alleges inmates at a state-run prison were terrorized, sexually humiliated and treated with violence

A group of 14 men transported to the Central New Mexico Correctional Facility in Valencia County in 2020 allege they were terrorized, sexually humiliated and forced to endure violence. The former inmates are suing former CNMCF assistant warden Joe Lytle and eight other corrections officers who were allegedly present or […]

The end of a Trump-era immigration policy potentially in jeopardy

Immigrant advocacy groups raised an alarm on Tuesday about the potential for Title 42, a Donald Trump-era policy that prohibits asylum seekers from crossing the U.S. border, to continue after May 23. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced last week that it would end Title 42 by […]

Judge orders state to allow cannabis producer to sell some products after reports of mold

A legal battle has emerged between a New Mexico cannabis business and the agency tasked with regulating cannabis production and sales after state regulators reportedly found mold in some of the company’s products.  The day before legal adult-use cannabis sales began, cannabis producer Sacred Garden filed a request for a […]

When oil and gas wells stop producing, environmental impacts remain

Throughout New Mexico, there are thousands of oil and gas wells that have not produced in years but remain unplugged. One area with a high concentration of these sites is the Horseshoe Gallup field, located in the Hogback area west of the San Juan Generating Station in San Juan County. […]

‘Litany of broken climate promises’: New report emphasizes need to reduce emissions

Global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions need to be cut in half by 2030, according to a new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report released on Monday. The report focused on the mitigation of climate change. It also provides pathways that could be taken and shows how decisions made today, as […]

Growing Forward: First day of adult-use sales

As expected, many cannabis dispensaries around New Mexico saw lines out the door and one company kicked off the first day of recreational-use cannabis sales at midnight. Customers in New Mexico made more than $5 million in cannabis sales, either medical- or recreational-use, during the first weekend of legal adult-use […]

As lobo genetic diversity declines, ranchers say male wolf once again killed a cow

When Bob Daugherty headed up the canyon behind his house to check on his cows, he said he was not surprised to find two of them dead and to discover they had been killed by wolves. He knew that a wolf that had allegedly killed livestock in another area was […]

First day of NM legal cannabis sales surpasses $2 million

Friday marked the first day of legal, recreational-use cannabis sales in New Mexico, nearly a year after Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed the Cannabis Regulation Act.  Lujan Grisham spoke with reporters in Albuquerque at Everest Apothecary, a cannabis dispensary. She said she was “excited” to see New Mexico finally take […]

CDC announces Trump-era policy prohibiting legal border crossing to end 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Friday that the federal government will end the Trump-era policy that has prevented asylum seekers from entering the U.S. The policy will end May 23. The Trump administration initiated Title 42 in the first few days of the COVID-19 pandemic in […]

Recreational-use cannabis sales start at 12 am in Las Cruces

Amid music, balloons, cheering and a final countdown on the clock, Jeremy Sandoval became the first person in New Mexico to buy legal recreational-use cannabis just a few minutes after 12 a.m. Friday in Las Cruces. Sandoval, who lives in Las Cruces, said he arrived at the R. Greenleaf Organics […]

A new healthcare poll finds that a majority of New Mexicans have put off medical visits due to cost

A new poll found that one in two New Mexicans didn’t seek medical care in the past two years due to the cost. Nearly a quarter of New Mexicans said they’d experienced discomfort or pain because they could not afford the cost. Of the respondents, 36 percent said they skipped […]

Roxy’s Law goes into effect April 1, banning trapping on public lands

A new law banning trapping on public lands goes into effect Friday. Commonly known as Roxy’s Law, the Wildlife Conservation and Public Safety Act passed the state Legislature in 2021. Roxy was a cattle dog who, in 2018, died after being caught in a snare. The law prohibits using traps, […]

PRC approves community solar rule

The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission unanimously approved an order on Wednesday adopting a rule for community solar. The rulemaking process began following the passage of the Community Solar Act last year, which set a deadline of April 1 for the PRC to adopt rules. Community solar allows for developers […]

State expands postpartum Medicaid coverage to 12 months

The New Mexico Human Services Department will expand postpartum Medicaid availability to 12 months of coverage starting Friday. The agency began efforts this past winter to expand postpartum Medicaid coverage to 12 months with a target date of April 1. The state is able to expand the coverage from two […]

Health department recommends booster shot for those who are 50+ or with certain health conditions

The New Mexico Department of Health recommends an additional COVID-19 booster for those who are over 50 years old and for immunocompromised people who are age 12 or older. The recommendation on Wednesday followed the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation earlier in the week and applies to […]

Some Southern NM cannabis producers face conundrum with testing facility locations

Cannabis companies around the state are preparing their storefronts and bolstering their crops for the start of recreational-use cannabis sales, which will start on Friday. And while a majority of storefronts are expected to be in the Albuquerque and Santa Fe metro areas, some businesses in the southern part of […]

New report looks at dairy operations in NM

New Mexico is one of the top dairy producing states and this can have environmental impacts.  A new report released by the group Mapping for Environmental Justice documented locations of 160 operations in New Mexico where cattle are kept in confined areas referred to as concentrated livestock feeding operations, or […]

What to expect on the upcoming first day of cannabis sales in New Mexico

With legal recreational-use cannabis sales scheduled to start this Friday, questions still remain as to whether the state will see a shortage of medical cannabis, and whether those possible shortages will emerge within days, weeks or months after sales begin.  While state regulators have somewhat downplayed the possibility of cannabis […]

NM cannabis regulators recall products tainted with mold

The New Mexico Cannabis Control Division announced on Friday a recall of cannabis products sold by a local medical cannabis company.  According to the announcement, products from Sacred Garden, a company that has retail locations in Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Ruidoso and Santa Fe, were found to have higher than acceptable […]

Groups argue PNM will ‘overcharge’ customers by not issuing bonds when SJGS closes

Western Resource Advocates and Coalition for Clean Affordable Energy say Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) will “unlawfully over-charge its customers $125 million during the next two years.” These overcharges will come from what they describe as a delay in issuing bonds associated with the closure of the San […]

Four projects to receive money from Gold King Mine settlement

The New Mexico Office of the Natural Resources Trustee released a final restoration plan for the Animas and San Juan rivers on Thursday. This restoration plan is intended to improve water quality and economic opportunities following the 2015 Gold King Mine spill.  The office selected four projects for funding: Construction […]

BLM extends comment period for Chaco mineral withdrawal

The Bureau of Land Management announced an extension to the comment period for withdrawal of federal lands around Chaco Culture National Historical Park from mineral leasing. The comment period, initially scheduled to close April 6, will now end on May 6. Additionally, the BLM has scheduled two meetings that will […]

NM signs intergovernmental cannabis agreements with two pueblos

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced on Friday “historic” intergovernmental agreements with two pueblos that will allow the sovereign nations to take part in the state’s newly established recreational-use cannabis industry.  According to the governor’s office announcement, leaders of the Picuris and Pojoaque pueblos each signed an agreement with the state […]

As states impose abortion bans, young doctors struggle — and travel far — to learn the procedure

A barrage of abortion restrictions rippling across the country, from Florida to Texas to Idaho, is shrinking the already limited training options for U.S. medical students and residents who want to learn how to perform abortion procedures. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends standardized training on abortion care […]

The war in Ukraine has put Los Alamos National Lab’s nuclear-weapons mission in the spotlight

LOS ALAMOS — Los Alamos began as an “instant city,” springing from the Pajarito Plateau in 1943 at the dawn of the Atomic Age. More than 8,000 people flocked here to work for Los Alamos National Laboratory and related industries during the last years of World War II. Now the […]

Advocates call for end to Trump-era policy that prevents asylum seekers from crossing border

Monday marked the two-year anniversary of a policy by former President Donald Trump aimed to prevent asylum seekers from crossing the border during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some migrant advocates marked the anniversary by calling for President Joe Biden to end the policy. New Mexico Dream Team Co-Director Felipe Rodriguez told […]

Growing Forward launches fourth season

Growing Forward, the collaborative cannabis podcast between NM Political Report and New Mexico PBS, launched its fourth season on Tuesday.  With the first legal adult-use sales slated to begin on April 1, Growing Forward checked in with Kristen Thomson, the state’s Cannabis Control Division director, about a failed cannabis bill […]

End of moratorium on evictions could lead to crisis, say family advocates

With the New Mexico Supreme Court’s pandemic-era inspired moratorium on evictions about to end, the court announced it will phase-in a statewide program to help tenants access money starting in April. But family advocates have said that approximately 80,000 renter households are at risk in the state for eviction. Divya […]

Environmental Protection Division director to retire at end of month

The New Mexico Environment Department’s Environmental Protection Division director announced on Monday that she will be retiring, effective at the end of the month. Sandra Ely has led the division for three years and has worked for NMED in various capacities since 1994, with a short break from 2015 until […]

New report looks at water quality 50 years after the Clean Water Act passed

Half a century after the Clean Water Act became law, the United States is still far from the goal of having all of its waters clean enough that people can fish and swim in them. A new report released by the Environmental Integrity Project found that half of the rivers […]

New government report details reportedly unsafe and unsanitary conditions at Torrance County Detention Facility

The federal Department of Homeland Security and the Office of Inspector General issued an alert this week to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to recommend that all individuals housed at the Torrance County Detention Facility be relocated due to reportedly unsanitary and unsafe conditions. The 19-page report issued on […]

Special session for economic relief coming in April

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced an upcoming special session beginning on April 5 after an agreement with legislative leaders. At issue is a “junior” spending bill, which Lujan Grisham pocket vetoed. The governor said legislators would bring up a “revised” spending bill. She also indicated that she will ask the […]

EMNRD officials say eminent domain will not be part of 30×30

Amid criticisms that an initiative to conserve 30 percent of the lands and watersheds in New Mexico by 2030 is a land grab, officials from the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department told San Juan County lawmakers that eminent domain will not be used. Eminent domain is a tool that […]

Congress announces investigation into Otero County election canvass

Congressional Democrats announced on Thursday that they have launched an investigation into an election “canvass” taking place in a southern New Mexico county, saying it is run by “conspiracy theorists” who believe the “Big Lie” that the 2020 election was invalid. The effort in Otero County, which has been called […]

Study: New Mexico has among highest rates for parental deaths due to COVID-19

New Mexico ranks as one of the states with the highest rates for parental deaths caused by the disease, with 341 children per 100,000 who have lost a caregiver due to COVID-19, according to a study  A group called the Covid Collaborative, made up of experts in health and other […]

PNM contracts for helicopter flights to inspect infrastructure for wildfire mitigation

The state’s largest electric utility entered a contract with a company to perform aerial surveys of transmission and distribution systems as part of a wildfire mitigation effort. This comes after several large, catastrophic wildfires in the western United States have been linked to electric utility infrastructure. Public Service Company of […]

Pandemic medical innovations leave behind people with disabilities

Divya Goel, a 35-year-old deaf-blind woman in Orlando, Florida, has had two telemedicine doctors’ appointments during the pandemic. Each time, she was denied an interpreter. Her doctors told her she would have to get insurance to pay for an interpreter, which is incorrect: Under federal law, it is the physician’s […]

Arizona regulators ask NM PRC to join discussions about coal-impacted communities

Arizona regulators have asked the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission for input during policy discussions about coal-impacted communities, PRC Utility Division Director John Reynolds told commissioners during a Tuesday meeting. Arizona utilities, including Arizona Public Service Company and Tucson Electric Power, have received power from coal-fired generating stations in northwest […]

Unanswered questions over hospital debt despite policy changes

When Adriann Barboa’s 14-year-old daughter, Amarisa, needed surgery after contracting appendicitis eight years ago, Barboa wasn’t too concerned about the cost. She had a good job by New Mexico standards, and she had health insurance. So after Presbyterian Hospital rescheduled Amarisa’s surgery for the following morning and suggested that the […]

Study finds flaring can impact the health of people 60 miles away

A new paper looking at the health impacts of flaring in the Bakken area of North Dakota found that people 60 miles away can experience respiratory distress because of flaring. The impacts have significant economic effects that should be considered in regulatory policy, the researchers said. The lead author, Wesley […]

Texas sues to prevent losing federal funds over its investigations of trans children’s families

Texas is worried it could lose over a billion dollars in federal funding over Gov. Greg Abbott’s directive requiring medical professionals to report transgender children receiving gender-affirming health care as potential child abuse. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton amended an existing lawsuit suing the Biden administration Wednesday, attempting to void […]

Guv signs omnibus crime bill 

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed an  omnibus crime bill into law on Wednesday, which officials say will reduce crime. Lujan Grisham, a Democrat seeking reelection in November, pushed a “tough on crime” agenda during the 2022 Legislative session. Lawmakers rolled several crime bills into one to create the omnibus bill, […]

San Juan is one of five phase three CarbonSAFE projects, but questions of viability remain

The United States will need to inject about a billion metric tons of carbon dioxide annually into underground reservoirs by 2050 to meet the zero emissions goals, according to Darin Damiani, carbon storage program manager for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Fuels and Carbon Management. He said […]

Upcoming short film highlights importance of Chaco

Archaeology Southwest plans to release a short film later this month to raise awareness about the importance of protecting the Greater Chaco landscape. This video comes as the federal Bureau of Land Management is accepting public comments regarding the withdrawal of federal lands around Chaco Culture National Historical Park from […]

NM Supreme Court rules citizen grand juries on state emergency orders are invalid

The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled on Monday that a handful of citizen-initiated grand jury petitions filed against Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in response to her public emergency orders are “facially invalid.”  In the order directing several lower courts to dismiss the citizen-initiated grand jury petitions, Chief Justice Michael Vigil […]

A small Texas-based group urges New Mexico counties to oppose 30×30

It didn’t take long for a small group founded by the daughter of a couple involved in the 1990s Sagebrush Rebellion to mobilize after President Joe Biden released an executive order in January 2021 that called for conserving 30 percent of the country’s lands and water by 2030. Since then, […]

U.S. Supreme Court in ruling against abortion access in Kentucky could lead to bigger repercussions, say legal experts

A U.S. Supreme Court decision this week on an abortion issue has larger repercussions for constitutional rights, advocates say. In an 8-1 decision, the court ruled in favor of allowing Republican Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron to readdress a Kentucky abortion ban already resolved under Democrat Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear’s […]

Indigenous New Mexicans speak to Congress about missing and murdered Native women

Two New Mexico Native women spoke before a U.S. Congress subcommittee on Thursday about the problems that contribute to the high numbers of missing and murdered Indigenous women and relatives. Angel Charley, of the Laguna Pueblo and executive director of the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women, testified before […]

Luján makes return to U.S. Senate

Thursday morning, during a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing, committee chair Senator Maria Cantwell stopped mid-sentence when she saw someone walk into the room. U.S. Sen. Ben Ray Luján, wearing a black face mask, made his return to the U.S. Senate, weeks after suffering a stroke. Members and […]

AG, SOS issue warning over Otero County ‘vigilante audit’

The state’s top elections official and top lawyer issued a warning over an election “audit” taking place in Otero County, telling residents they are under no obligation to participate in the audit or provide any information. Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, in a call with media members on Wednesday, […]

Russia/Ukraine war puts pressure on governments for more wind, solar

In recent years, New Mexico has tried to move away from its historical role as an oil and gas hub, and the crisis in Ukraine could have major implications. Russia’s invasion of its neighboring country has caused oil prices to surge. Reilly White, associate professor of finance at the University of New […]

Oil boom feeds NM budget, but environmental agencies left wanting

A boom in the oil and gas industry helped deliver a record-breaking $8.5 billion budget to New Mexico this year. Despite the windfall, lawmakers declined to give needed funds to the agencies responsible for regulating the increased pollution that such booms create. The state’s two primary environmental agencies, the New Mexico […]

NM Supreme Court rules non-navigable water rule is unconstitutional

The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Tuesday in favor of recreation groups who sued over access to waterways running through private property. In 2020, a trio of groups including Adobe Whitewater Club, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers and the New Mexico Wildlife Federation challenged the New Mexico Game Commission’s […]

Women’s Health Protection Act stalls in U.S. Senate

The Women’s Health Protection Act did not advance in the U.S. Senate on Monday. The bill would have protected the legal right to an abortion by federal statute. According to national media, Senate Republicans, who widely oppose abortion rights, were expected to filibuster the bill. An effort to end discussion […]

IPCC report leads to calls for passage of Build Back Better Act

In light of the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was released Monday, advocacy groups say Congress needs to pass the Build Back Better Act to address emissions. Representatives from several organizations including National Wildlife Federation, Third Way, BlueGreen Alliance, Clean Air Task Force, Data for […]

Governor signs MMIWR bills

Geraldine Toya has two reasons to be hopeful.  First, she’s in the process of requesting that the Albuquerque Police Department reopen the case involving her daughter Shawna’s death. “I feel relief that something is getting done, you know; we’re wanting to still look for justice, answers,” she  said. Second, Toya […]

With limited funding, New Mexico sexual assault programming looks ahead 

With federal funding cuts expected by the next fiscal year, New Mexico sexual assault programming is considering how the shortage could impact the future. The New Mexico Crime Victims Reparation Commission receives $4 million in recurring funding from the state to provide money to local sexual assault services. This year, […]

BLM director: Comments on Chaco buffer are ‘just the beginning of the process’

When it comes to protecting the Greater Chaco region, the answers are not always simple, as demonstrated by the ongoing public comment period regarding withdrawing federal lands around Chaco Culture National Historical Park from mineral leasing for two decades. The oil-rich section of the San Juan Basin has been at […]

New Mexico joins three other states in effort to create a hydrogen hub

New Mexico is teaming up with three other western states in an attempt to attract federal investment in the form of a hydrogen hub. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, colloquially referred to as the bipartisan infrastructure package, included $8 billion for the development of four hydrogen hubs. A new […]

PRC says PNM has the authority to continue operations of San Juan Generating Station

The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission has agreed that Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) can continue operating unit four of the San Juan Generating Station after July 1 in an effort to prevent power shortages during the summer peak. The PRC unanimously approved an order on Wednesday that […]

NM Supreme Court tosses cannabis tax case

The New Mexico Supreme Court effectively ended a years-long legal battle over medical cannabis and taxes.  In an order filed on Wednesday morning, the court wrote that a previous decision from the New Mexico Court of Appeals that medical cannabis was exempt from gross receipts taxes prior to June 2021 […]

Lobbyist accuses Dem senator of sexual harassment, calls for his removal

A New Mexico lobbyist and policy advocate in an open letter issued on Tuesday accused a Democratic state senator of sexual assault and harassment and has called for him to resign from the Legislature.  Marianna Anaya, who lobbied during the 2022 legislative session, including for a voting coalition made up […]

‘A matter of life and death.’ New poll shows concern about environment among Latino voters

The majority of Latino voters in the western United States are concerned about climate change, access to public lands and other environment-related topics, according to the 12th annual Conservation in the West Poll. Colorado College’s State of the Rockies Project released the results of the poll last week and a […]

Congressional bill would increase prepartum and postpartum Medicaid coverage 

A bill before the U.S. House of Representatives would increase the rates of federal government reimbursement for Medicaid coverage for women during both prepartum and postpartum care. U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury, a Democrat representing New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District, is a cosponsor on the bill and introduced the legislation in […]

Legislative session sees few wins for environment, energy bills

While a variety of energy and environment bills were introduced during the Legislative session, few managed to make it to the governor’s desk. The Green Amendment, which would have allowed voters to decide if the state’s Constitution’s Bill of Rights should be amended to include environmental rights, was tabled in […]

Funding for sexual assault programs passes during legislative session

With relatively few reproductive healthcare bills before the 2022 legislative session, only one made it through intact. HB 32, sponsored by state Rep. Christine Trujillo, D-Albuquerque, which eliminates gross receipts tax, sometimes referred to as a sales tax, on feminine hygiene products, was grafted into HB 2, the general appropriation […]

What passed, what failed in the legislative session

Here’s what happened with notable legislation during the 30-day session that ended Thursday. Budget: Lawmakers got the job done with about a day to spare. They approved a nearly $8.5 billion spending plan for fiscal year 2023 — a 14 percent increase over the current fiscal year, with raises for […]

What the failed cannabis clean up bill means

Largely overshadowed by legislation addressing crime and voting rights during this year’s 30-day Legislative session, a cannabis law clean-up bill failed to make its way to the governor’s desk.  SB 100, sponsored by Sen. Linda Lopez, D-Albuquerque, would have made a series of changes to the Cannabis Regulation Act, which […]

Series of bombshells at the end of Legislature’s 30-day session

This year’s 30-day legislative session ended with a surprise. Or, more accurately, a series of bombshells. As the Legislature concluded its business at noon Thursday, House Speaker Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe — considered a key architect of the Democratic Party’s progressive wing and one of its most influential players — announced he is […]

Senate Republicans kill omnibus voting rights bill in final hours of session

The omnibus voting rights bill, SB 144, which would have expanded voting rights to many formerly disenfranchised and given protections to election workers passed the House in the final hours of the legislature but the bill ultimately failed after a filibuster by Senate Republicans . After a nearly 24-hour House […]

Governor announces immediate end to mask mandate

In her post-session press conference, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that New Mexico would no longer have an indoor mask mandate in public settings, effective immediately. Lujan Grisham spoke while flanked by Lt. Gov. Howie Morales and Democratic leaders from both the House and Senate following the end of the […]

PNM asks to continue San Juan Generating Station operations through September

Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) plans to continue operations of unit four of the San Juan Generating Station through Sept. 30 to avoid power shortages this summer. The state’s largest utility announced its plans on Thursday and is seeking approval from the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission. In […]

Omnibus crime bill heads to governor’s desk

Midway through Rep. Meredith Dixon’s introduction to an omnibus crime bill put together by the Senate, Speaker of the House Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe, stopped her. At 4 a.m., he explained, the server for the legislative webcasts resets every morning and they would stand in place while that took place. […]

House deadlocks on Clean Fuel Standard Act, which fails on tie vote

With the clock ticking down to the end of the Legislative session, the House of Representatives rejected a bill on a tie vote during the early morning hours on Thursday aimed at reducing the carbon intensity of transportation fuels. The House voted 33-33 for the Clean Fuel Standard Act following […]

House, Senate resolve budget disputes; nearly $8.5B plan moves to governor

After an eleventh-hour dispute between the House and Senate, New Mexico’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2023 — the largest on record — is back on track. A conference committee made up of three members from each chamber brokered a compromise over spending disagreements during a Wednesday morning meeting that […]

Senate considers crime package

The state Senate late Wednesday debated a sweeping crime bill that includes stiffer penalties for violent offenders and recruitment and retention stipends for police officers — all part of a larger effort to combat a wave of lawlessness that has been plaguing New Mexico. The push to aggressively fight a […]

Federal judge: Cowboys for Trump must disclose donors

A Donald Trump-supporting political group run by a controversial New Mexico county commissioner must disclose its donors, a federal appeals court judge ruled Tuesday, affirming a lower court’s previous decision. The judge ruled in a case where Cowboys for Trump challenged the constitutionality of New Mexico’s Campaign Reporting Act, after […]

House votes no on state budget amendments adopted by Senate

As the clock on the legislative session continued winding down to the noon Thursday deadline, a battle over New Mexico’s proposed $8.48 billion budget blew up. The House of Representatives on Tuesday voted against a motion to concur with amendments adopted by the Senate. “I urge the body to vote […]

Acequia Association, state water office hope to see changes to cannabis clean-up bill in the final hours of legislative session

After nearly an hour-long debate Monday night about water rights and cannabis, the New Mexico Senate removed a water right verification provision from what has been presented as a cannabis law clean-up bill. Even with compromise language regarding legal water access added on the Senate floor, one water advocacy group […]

House committee passes ‘comprehensive’ voting bill that includes voting rights provisions

The House Judiciary Committee passed an omnibus voting bill, SB 144, that includes provisions of two other voting bills, SB 8 and SB 6, on a party line vote of 9-3 Tuesday evening. After Senate Republicans blocked a Senate floor debate and vote on SB 8 over the weekend, House […]

Low-income energy efficiency bill passes Senate, heads to Governor’s desk

A bill intended to lower how much low-income residents pay in utility bills passed the Senate on Tuesday on a 26-14 party-line vote. HB 37, the Community Energy Efficiency Development Block Grant, would allow communities to apply for funding to help lower-income areas with energy efficiency upgrades such as weatherization […]

Teacher pay increases head to governor

Advocates calling for teacher pay raises have reason to celebrate.  The House of Representatives voted unanimously late Monday night to approve Senate Bill 1, which would increase the minimum pay at each level of the state’s three-tiered teacher licensing system by $10,000. The measure is one strategy aimed at addressing […]

Senate passes cannabis law changes, adds new water rights language

The New Mexico Senate approved a bill late Monday night that aims to clean up language of the state’s Cannabis Regulation Act, increase production limits for small cannabis companies and allow those smaller companies to wholesale cannabis to and from other cannabis businesses.  The most significant changes SB 100 proposes […]

Joint Senate committee advances broad crime reform bill to floor

With just a few days to go before the end of this year’s legislative session, members of both the Senate Finance Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously voted to approve a broad crime reform bill — though it isn’t keeping critics from lambasting Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. But rather than […]

Controversial ‘hydrogen hub’ bill is dead

One of the most contentious bills in this year’s legislative session is dead. House Speaker Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe, on Monday announced he was moving House Bill 228 — aimed to help New Mexico become a hub of clean hydrogen energy — to the “Speaker’s Table,” where it will remain […]

Bill to end life sentences without parole for youth pulled amid pushback

The so-called Second Chance bill will have no chance during this year’s legislative session. Sponsors of Senate Bill 43, which would’ve banned life without the possibility of parole as a sentencing option for juveniles convicted of first-degree murder, have pulled the proposed piece of legislation from consideration. “In the final […]

Albuquerque Democratic lawmaker booked into jail on charge of aggravated DWI

State Rep. Georgene Louis, a prominent Democrat from Albuquerque, is the latest lawmaker to face drunken-driving allegations in recent years. She was booked into the Santa Fe County jail early Monday morning on suspicion of aggravated DWI and other charges. Louis, who has been a member of the New Mexico […]

Key legislative committee endorses revised $8.4 billion spending plan

The Senate Finance Committee put its stamp of approval Sunday on an amended $8.4 billion spending plan for the state of New Mexico that includes additional funding for criminal justice initiatives, road projects and a school of public health. The overall budget proposal, which the committee advanced to the full […]

Senate committee approves cannabis law changes

The New Mexico Senate Judiciary Committee on Sunday moved a cannabis clean-up bill forward with a 6-3 vote.  SB 100 aims to amend the Cannabis Regulation Act by doing several things, including increasing production limits for cannabis microbusinesses from 200 to 1,000 and allowing microbusinesses to wholesale products.  During the […]

Proposal to increase pay of governor and other elected officials clears legislative committee

A proposal to give the governor and other statewide elected officials hefty raises while state employees are poised to receive average 7 percent pay increases under New Mexico’s proposed budget touched off a spirited debate Sunday at the Capitol. The Senate Finance Committee advanced Senate Bill 202 on a 7-4 […]

Republicans block debate on Voting Rights Act

Senate Republicans pulled a legislative maneuver Saturday to successfully block debate on a governor-backed bill advocates say will expand voting rights in New Mexico but opponents contend Democrats are using for political gain. The procedure, a stall tactic known as a “call of the Senate,” requires every member of the […]

Clean Future Act heads to House floor

The Clean Future Act moved out of the House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee on Saturday after lengthy discussions that began the previous day. The committee voted 6-3 to pass a committee substitute for HB 6. The vote fell on party lines after Chairwoman Georgene Louis, D-Albuquerque, limited the […]

Lujan Grisham gets a victory for tough-on-crime agenda

In many ways, it felt like high noon on the House floor for Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. Lawmakers on Friday debated one of the governor’s favored pieces of legislation — a crime reform bill that would do away with the six-year statute of limitations on second-degree murder charges. Moving the […]

Controversial hydrogen hub bill heads to House floor

A controversial bill that would help make New Mexico a center of hydrogen production as an energy source is on its way to the House floor for consideration. Members of the House Commerce and Economic Development Committee voted 7-3 to approve House Bill 228, which would create a framework for […]

Green amendment tabled in House Judiciary Committee

The “Green Amendment” failed to make it out of House Judiciary Committee on Friday. The committee voted 9-3 in favor of tabling House Joint Resolution 2, which would have allowed voters to decide whether to amend the state’s Bill of Rights to include environmental rights. This essentially means the proposal […]

Senate committee backs tax cuts supported by governor

In a bipartisan vote, a Senate committee late Thursday endorsed an omnibus tax bill that would free most seniors from New Mexico’s income tax on Social Security benefits and would reduce the gross receipts tax rate by a quarter percent. While the bill still faces other hurdles in the final […]

Senate approves bill easing access to rainy day funds

A bill that would make it easier for the Legislature to tap into rainy day funds cleared the Senate on Thursday over the objections of Republicans who accused Democrats of being fiscally irresponsible. Senate Bill 135, which passed 24-15 after an hourlong debate, changes transfers between the more restrictive Tax […]

Bill would require courts to assess ability to pay when imposing fines

A bill that would require courts to consider people’s ability to pay when imposing fines and fees and allow more ways for defendants to settle court debts has cleared the House of Representatives and is headed to the Senate for discussion. House Bill 81 would require courts to assess a […]

Voters’ Rights Provisions bill headed to Senate floor

The Senate Finance Committee passed the Voters’ Rights Provisions bill by a narrow vote of 6-5 on Thursday after a tie vote failed to strike a $20 million allocation into a state election fund. State Sen. George Muñoz, D-Gallup, sided with Republicans to vote against the bill. This was the […]

Shooting of unbranded cattle in the Gila National Forest draws ire

The U.S. Forest Service has been dealing with the problem of unbranded cattle roaming and damaging the Gila National Forest since the 1990s, with contracts awarded on a semi-regular basis dating back to 1998 to remove the animals. But a current plan to use helicopters to shoot the cattle resulted […]

‘Second chance’ passes House committee on narrow vote

The House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee passed a bill on a party line vote that would prohibit life without parole for children in New Mexico on Thursday. The members passed the bill on a 3 to 2 vote. SB 43 would end the sentencing possibility of life without parole […]

Changing qualifications for state engineer tabled in House committee

The House Agriculture, Acequias and Water Resources Committee voted 7-1 to table a bill that would have broadened the qualifications required for a person to be appointed as the state engineer. HB 83, sponsored by Rep. Andrea Romero, D-Santa Fe, would have expanded the qualifications to include geohydrologists, hydrologists, geologists […]

Sexual assault nurse examiner shortage impacts victims and families

When the sun comes up, a sexual assault nurse examiner could be coming home from investigating a case after getting a call in the early hours of the morning. Autumn Skinner, a Portales-based sexual assault nurse examiner, has had to drive outside of the seven-county region she serves due to […]

Senate committee passes Voters’ Rights Provisions bill, but strips it further

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted to pass a committee substitute to the Voters’ Rights Provisions bill that strikes back end automatic voter registration. The 6-3 vote came along party lines. The Democrats voted in favor of the SB 8’s committee substitute, introduced by state Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto, D-Albuquerque. The Republicans […]

Frustrations rise for some as ‘tough on crime’ measures stall

Less than a month after Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham held a news conference to say she was going to push a “tough on crime” agenda in this year’s legislative session, district attorneys, Republican lawmakers and crime victims held their own gathering Wednesday to deliver a very different message.  The governor’s crime […]

Guv: Legislature’s inability to tackle crime ‘defies explanation’

A day after the mother of a teenage murder victim cried at the Capitol as lawmakers approved a bill said to be lenient on criminals, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham embarked on a public relations campaign that shifted the blame for lack of action on her “tough-on-crime” agenda to the Legislature. […]

New Mexico Senate confirms Bowie as public safety secretary

The state Senate on Wednesday unanimously confirmed the appointment of Jason Bowie, the former deputy chief of the Rio Rancho Police Department, as secretary of the New Mexico Department of Public Safety. During a morning committee hearing on his confirmation, Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe, said Bowie comes […]

Senate passes bill to end life without possibility of parole for juvenile offenders

The New Mexico Senate  passed SB 43, which prohibits life without the possibility of parole for a juvenile offender, along party lines with a vote of 23 to 15. Sponsored by state Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, D-Albuquerque, SB 43 allows a parole board to consider granting release after 15 years […]

After failure of previous efforts, ‘baby hydrogen bill’ emerges

One day after a controversial bill to make New Mexico a hub of hydrogen activity died in the Legislature, another — deemed a “baby hydrogen bill” by its sponsor — sprung to life. But the new legislation, House Bill 228, sponsored by Rep. Patty Lundstrom, D-Gallup, includes significant changes from two […]

Proposal to study public utilities failing to gain traction so far

A proposed study of publicly owned electric utilities seems to have shorted out in the Public Regulation Commission, but it might have some juice left in the Legislature. The Public Regulation Commission sent a letter late last week to legislative leaders, indicating overseeing the study should be the Legislature’s responsibility. […]

Senate committee tables bill to declare hydrogen a renewable resource

The Senate Conservation Committee tabled a bill that would amend the Renewable Energy Act to include hydrogen produced from methane gas as a renewable energy source on a 7-2 vote Tuesday. This comes as the state looks for ways to transition away from electricity produced by fossil fuels. On one […]

Hydrogen Hub Act on hold after Egolf puts it on ‘Speaker’s Table’

State Rep. Patty Lundstrom’s effort to jump-start what Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and other proponents call a clean hydrogen economy might be blocked again — this time by House Speaker Brian Egolf. Egolf, a Santa Fe Democrat, announced Monday he was putting Lundstrom’s second bill calling for a Hydrogen Hub […]

ABQ cannabis sales approval process causes confusion

In about seven weeks, adult-use cannabis retail shops are expected to open for the first time in New Mexico. But local ordinances and permitting processes in the state’s most populous city are causing confusion for some that are hoping to be among those businesses that start selling non-medical cannabis on […]

Senate committee passes bill to fully fund sexual assault services

By a vote of 7-0, the Senate Health and Public Affairs Committee unanimously passed SB 197, which, if passed and signed by the governor, would provide the full $5 million request for sexual assault services across the state which advocates have said is crucial. State Sen. Siah Correa Hemphill, D-Silver […]

Pretrial detention measure tabled by Senate committee

A key “tough-on-crime” initiative supported by Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham hit a roadblock Monday. Members of the Senate Health and Public Affairs Committee voted 5-3 to table Senate Bill 189, which would make a major change to the state’s pretrial detention process for defendants suspected of certain violent crimes. […]

Pilot project to study guaranteed basic income impacts on immigrant and mixed status families starts in March

A group of 330 undocumented and mixed status families living in 13 counties in New Mexico will participate in a pilot project starting in March that will study the impact of those families receiving a guaranteed basic income for 12 months. The families will receive $500 a month for 12 […]

Voting rights expansion clears first hurdle

The Voting Rights Provisions bill, which would expand voting rights and access in New Mexico, passed the Senate Rules Committee hearing by party line vote of 7-4 Monday morning after a contentious, nearly nine hour hearing on Friday. SB 8, sponsored by Majority Leader Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe, would expand […]

New Mexico eligible for $2.4 million for clean up of abandoned mines

The U.S. Department of the Interior announced on Monday that New Mexico is eligible for approximately $2.4 million in federal funding through the abandoned mine land section of a bipartisan infrastructure package that was signed into law in November. This funding is intended to help create jobs and economic opportunities […]

New Mexico grapples with health care staffing shortage

Angela Cravens, a longtime employee in the microbiology lab at the Department of Veterans Affairs’ medical center in Albuquerque, hears about the state’s crisis-level nursing shortage nearly every day. “You read the stories,” she said. “… They need help.” Cravens wants to help. She is studying at the University of […]

Green Amendment passes House committee on second try

A House joint resolution that would allow voters to decide whether to amend the New Mexico constitution’s Bill of Rights section to include environmental rights received a do pass recommendation on Saturday from the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee. This came after it failed on a 5-5 vote […]

New Mexico Senate approves $10K increase of minimum teacher pay at each tier of licensing system

Some teachers in New Mexico can’t afford a washer or dryer. Others live with their parents to save money. A bill the state Senate unanimously approved Saturday that increases the starting salaries of public school teachers from $40,000 to $50,000 is designed to improve their quality of life and help […]

Lundstrom revives plan for hydrogen hub with new House bill

Conservation groups are unhappy with the revival of a controversial bill to make New Mexico a hub of “blue hydrogen” production. State Rep. Patty Lundstrom, D-Gallup, who introduced the initial hydrogen hub legislation, House Bill 4, has reintroduced the plan through a substitute measure, House Bill 227. Like HB 4, it […]

After long debate, lawmakers strike 16-year-olds from voting rights bill

Lawmakers spent 7½ hours Friday listening to testimony and debating a complex and controversial bill supporters say would expand voter access but opponents contend would lead to election fraud. The Senate Rules Committee approved an amendment striking a provision from Senate Bill 8 that would have allowed 16-year-olds to vote. […]

Native families hope session brings justice for missing and murdered kin

Pepita Redhair’s family hasn’t seen her since March 2020, when she left her mother’s home in Crownpoint on the Navajo Nation to visit her boyfriend in Albuquerque. Her older sister, Shelda Livingston, 41, said their mother has left Redhair’s room in Crownpoint untouched, awaiting the skateboard-loving 29-year-old’s return. She said […]

Bill would fund cybersecurity program for New Mexico schools

Public school officials say the problem is becoming almost as prevalent as bullying on the playground: cyberattacks. In early January, a ransomware attack on Finalsite, an internet software company that runs websites for thousands of public schools across the nation, led to a computer system blackout for about 5,000 schools. […]

House approves ‘transformative’ $8.47B budget

A record-high $8.47 billion budget that would boost state government spending in New Mexico by nearly 14 percent in the upcoming fiscal year passed the House on a 56-13 vote Thursday after a three-hour debate that largely focused on whether the unprecedented level of spending is sustainable. The proposed budget, […]

Senate committee approves cannabis law fix

The New Mexico Senate Tax, Business and Transportation Committee on Thursday approved a proposal that would make some minor changes to the state’s Cannabis Regulation Act, the law which legalized adult-use cannabis.  SB 100, which the committee approved by a 7-3 vote, would most significantly increase production limits for cannabis […]

Bill funding statewide weather station network moves forward

Weather stations in New Mexico tend to be located at airports, which leaves some rural parts of the state without good weather monitoring. That impacts agricultural producers who need weather data to apply for federal disaster relief through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other agencies. House Bill 108, sponsored […]

Bill to ban spent nuclear fuel storage in New Mexico passes committee

A bill clearly aimed at blocking Holtec International from building an underground storage site for spent nuclear fuel in southeastern New Mexico is moving forward. The House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee voted 5-4 to advance a bill that would ban the storage or disposal of spent nuclear fuel […]

Clean Fuel Standards Act passes NM Senate

A bill that would require decreased carbon intensity for transportation fuels which are blended, refined or imported in New Mexico passed the state Senate on a 25-16 vote, with Sen. George Muñoz, D-Gallup, breaking with his party to vote against the measure. Senate Bill 14, sponsored by Sen. Mimi Stewart, […]

Senate confirms appointment of public education secretary after GOP grilling

Newly confirmed Public Education Secretary Kurt Steinhaus received a firsthand lesson Wednesday on the cantankerous nature of New Mexico politics. No one questioned Steinhaus’ credentials as a longtime educator and administrator during two separate hearings on his confirmation, which the Senate ultimately passed 37-4. Rather, some Republicans zeroed in on […]

Supporters of voting rights legislation hold virtual rallies

New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver said she is optimistic the bill aiming to expand voting rights will be passed and signed during this legislative session. SB 8, sponsored by state Sen. Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe, would expand voting rights in the state in a number of ways, […]

Clean Fuel Standard Act heads to Senate floor

A bill aimed at reducing emissions from motor vehicles received a do pass recommendation on Wednesday from the Senate Finance Committee on a 6-4, party-line vote. The Clean Fuel Standard Act, Senate Bill 14, now heads to the Senate floor. Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque, sponsored the bill. Stewart also brought the […]

Redistricting legislation gets first hearing

A proposed constitutional amendment that would remove the New Mexico Legislature from the controversial process of drawing new election districts for legislative and congressional seats wasn’t quite ready for its first vote, lawmakers decided Wednesday. Some members of the House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee sought changes to House […]

Governor appoints Hamman as State Engineer

Mike Hamman, the state’s water advisor, has been appointed to fill the vacant state engineer position. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced the appointment on Wednesday. “Mike Hamman is a consummate expert in his field and a homegrown New Mexico professional widely respected across the state,” she said in a press […]

House panel advances record $8.47 billion budget bill

Lawmakers have described the budget-making process in state government as a nightmare when times are lean. But with projections of record revenues, due in part to expected growth in taxes, rebounding oil and gas markets and federal pandemic relief, one legislator likened New Mexico’s proposed spending plan for fiscal year […]

A memorial to study paid family medical leave impacts goes to House floor next 

A memorial that is part of a longer strategy to introduce a bill in next year’s legislature for paid family and medical leave passed 7-2 largely along party lines in the House Labor, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee. House Memorial 3, sponsored by state House Rep. Linda Serrato, D-Santa Fe, […]

Senate conservation committee hears update to 50 year water plan

Rolf Schmidt-Petersen said the trees tell the story. Drought, climate change and low precipitation, he noted, are leaving their mark on New Mexico’s vegetation and fragile ecosystems. “Dying trees in the watersheds and habitats,” the director of the Interstate Stream Commission told members of the Senate Conservation Committee Tuesday. “That’s the […]

Luján recovering after stroke, surgery

U.S. Sen. Ben Ray Luján’s office announced on Tuesday that the senator was hospitalized after suffering a stroke. He is expected to make a full recovery. The statement from Carlos Sanchez, Luján’s chief of staff, said the 49-year-old senator experienced dizziness and fatigue Thursday morning and checked himself into Christus […]

Bills to address Yazzie/Martinez court ruling advance

The House Education Committee approved a trio of bills to fund programs to help Native American students succeed in school. The three bills, sponsored by Rep. Derrick Lente, D-Sandia Pueblo, are in response to the historic 2018 Yazzie/Martinez court ruling that said New Mexico has denied several groups of students, including […]

NM eligible for $43.7 million to address orphaned wells

New Mexico is eligible for $43.7 million in federal funding to pay for cleaning up orphaned oil and natural gas wells. The U.S. Department of the Interior announced on Monday that $1.5 billion of funding is available to states that sent in notices of intent to apply for funding made […]

‘Rust’ shooting prompts bill requiring actors to take gun safety training

Actors and other personnel who handle firearms on film sets in New Mexico would be required to take a gun safety course from the state Department of Game and Fish before the cameras start rolling under a bill introduced Monday. A film production company with workers who fail to comply […]

Bill would prosecute parents for allowing kids access to guns

The August shooting death of an Albuquerque 13-year-old by one of his schoolmates has prompted a bill before the Legislature aimed at holding gun owners accountable if their weapons fall into the hands of children.  The Bennie Hargrove Gun Safety Act, named after the student killed in the shooting at […]

Three crime-related bills make it through committee

The House Consumer & Public Affairs Committee on Saturday approved three crime-reduction bills aimed in part at bolstering penalties, protecting judges and expanding access to grants. Crime has been a key focus this session; Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham earlier unveiled a series of proposals aimed at fighting it. Legislators in both parties […]

New Mexico governor runs into tough start at session

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is off to a tough start two weeks into the 30-day legislative session. Her signature piece of legislation — a bill to turn New Mexico into a hub of hydrogen production — stalled in a House committee Thursday after a six-hour virtual hearing that drew hundreds of people, the […]

Senate Judiciary committee hears crime presentation

Incarcerating more people won’t cut down on the state’s rising rate of violent crime, a longtime New Mexico trial lawyer told legislators looking for a solution.  Randi McGinn of Albuquerque, who has worked as both a prosecuting attorney and public defender for over 40 years, spoke to the Senate Judiciary Committee on […]

Congresswoman visits dairy contaminated by PFAS

Looking at the cows at Highland Dairy, U.S. Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez said there’s no visible sign that anything is wrong with them.  That’s part of what she called the “insidious nature” of PFAS chemicals, which have been linked to cancers and low-birth weights. Leger Fernandez visited the eastern New […]

Bill to end life in prison without parole for juveniles clears committee

The Senate Health and Public Affairs Committee, with some members absent, voted 5-to-1 to pass SB 43, which would eliminate the possibility of a child being sentenced to life in prison without parole. Republican state Sen. Gregg Schemedes of Tijeras voted against the bill. State Sens. Jacob Candelaria, I-Albuquerque, David […]

Hydrogen Hub Development Act tabled in first committee

The Hydrogen Hub Development Act was tabled on Thursday by a 6-4 vote during its first committee hearing after about six hours of discussion. The bill, which is backed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, would create tax incentives for hydrogen projects in New Mexico as well as laying the groundwork […]

Proposed fund aims at move away from fossil fuel dependency

New Mexico’s economy is tightly tied to the oil and gas industries and state Sen. George Muñoz, D-Gallup, says that has to stop. “New Mexico has always ridden the roller coaster of oil and gas,” he said. Last week, Munoz introduced SB 122, which would create an economic diversification and climate […]

Health officials warn of nursing shortage

Nursing and hospital leaders repeatedly used the word “crisis” Thursday to describe New Mexico’s shortage of nurses. They spoke to the Senate Finance Committee to request additional money to train more nurses and expand nursing faculty positions at the state’s colleges and universities to accommodate more students. A University of […]

Governor appoints first infrastructure director

Bianca Ortiz-Wertheim, who has served as secretary of the state Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management since May 2020, is stepping into a new role. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Thursday she tapped Ortiz-Wertheim to serve in the newly created position of director of infrastructure and implementation. “Bianca has […]

Focus turns to rural water projects

In the eyes of some lawmakers, rural New Mexico often is neglected by state government and the big-city politicians who rule the Roundhouse. A push to address the state’s myriad water infrastructure needs — part of a larger effort to prepare for the effects of a warming climate — could […]

Early Childhood Education and Care Department details fiscal plan and hopes for next four years

The New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department released its first four-year fiscal plan, detailing what the department needs in order to deliver high-quality early childhood education and services. The ECECD held a virtual press conference on Wednesday to detail the new plan. Some of the highlights include increasing […]

Report shows low voter confidence for national election results, but more confidence in state and county elections

A new report from the University of New Mexico’s Department of Political Science indicates that voter confidence is higher in state and county elections while voters are more polarized in national elections. This and other findings were discussed during a virtual press conference on 2020 voting information. New Mexico Secretary […]

Bill to increase teacher pay in New Mexico clears first hurdle

As a first-year teacher in New Mexico earning $32,000 annually before taxes and deductions, Whitney Holland lived in a tiny apartment with a roommate and worked a second job as a nanny on weekends to make ends meet. “It was really, really hard,” said Holland, now president of the American […]

Despite efforts, NM’s Rio Grande water debt grows

New Mexico now owes 125,000 to 130,000 acre feet of water to Texas under the Rio Grande Compact, according to Interstate Stream Commission Director Rolf Schmidt-Peterson.  Despite the efforts to increase water deliveries to Elephant Butte Reservoir in 2021, the state still fell short by 31,000 acre-feet, he said on […]

NM Supreme Court to hear oral arguments in medical cannabis tax case

The New Mexico Supreme Court this week scheduled oral arguments for a case regarding medical cannabis sales and gross receipts taxes.  Lawyers for the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office and two medical cannabis businesses will have an opportunity to make their respective arguments on Feb. 28 as to whether or […]

Advocates hopeful voting rights legislation will help break down barriers for the formerly incarcerated

Justin Allen, a community organizer, was eligible to vote in 2017 but he could not register until his third try, he said. And even at the third try, he required help from another organizer to convince the county clerk to allow him to register. Allen’s story is not unique, he […]

Legislators seek to remove statute of limitations in child sex abuse cases

Another try at lifting the statute of limitations in child sexual abuse cases sits in limbo in the Legislature. A bill introduced by Sen. Katy Duhigg, D-Albuquerque, would remove restrictions on how long a victim of such abuse has to file a civil lawsuit. Many experts say statutes that narrowly […]

Hydrogen Hub Development Act introduced in NM House of Representatives

Since New Mexico regulators released a discussion draft of the Hydrogen Hub Development Act in November, about a dozen companies have contacted the state about locating new hydrogen operations in various areas, according to New Mexico Environment Department Secretary James Kenney. “I think that kind of speaks volumes in terms […]

Reforestation center legislation passes first committee unanimously

With forest fires destroying millions of acres annually in the western United States, reforestation efforts are critical to help restore the landscapes and protect water resources, according to experts who spoke during the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday. The committee unanimously passed a substituted version of […]

Debate heats up over pretrial detention

Jennifer Burrill, a public defender in Santa Fe, said she represented a client in recent years who was jailed for 11 months on a charge of attempted armed robbery until his trial — when jurors acquitted him. “He’s out 11 months of his life,” she said in an interview Monday. “He […]

Forest Service seeks to protect caves in Eddy County from mineral extraction

Mining and extractive industries were banned on more than 27,000 acres of land around a fragile cave system in Eddy County for two decades, but that protection expired last year. Now the U.S. Forest Service is asking the U.S. Department of the Interior to once again remove the national forest […]

Committee advances salary proposal for lawmakers

A proposed constitutional amendment that would task the State Ethics Commission with setting the salaries for all state elected officials — from the governor to lawmakers, who are now unpaid — cleared its first committee hearing Monday. The legislation, Senate Joint Resolution 8, also would change how commission members are […]

New regional Planned Parenthood head announces expanded medication abortion care

A Planned Parenthood clinic in Albuquerque added medication abortion care to its options this month, creating a sixth clinic in New Mexico to offer some level of abortion care in the state. Adrienne Mansanares, the new president and chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, told NM […]

State agencies, national labs team up in zero-carbon hydrogen effort

Hydrogen will be a key energy source in meeting the state’s goals of net zero by 2050 and at least 45 percent reduction from 2005 levels by 2030, according to New Mexico Environment Department Secretary James Kenney. Kenney spoke to NM Political Report after his agency, as well as the […]

New Mexico educators demand changes in classrooms

About 500 teachers and education activists marched Sunday outside the Roundhouse to demand better pay, smaller class sizes and better classroom results. Participants carried placards that read “Teachers Need Good Pay to Stay” and “No Teachers No Future” at the noon rally, organized by the American Federation of Teachers New […]

Teaching profession faces a crossroads: Will more pay result in more stability?

Joshua Acuña sees his chosen profession — education — as a calling. He says he’s not in it for the economic reward, but the 30-year-old is making less than $20,000 as a full-time educational assistant at Santa Fe Public Schools, even after more than a decade in the field. Acuña went […]

New data shows massive climate-warming leaks by New Mexico oil and gas operators

In New Mexico, new state rules sparked a dramatic increase in reported incidents of vented and flared natural gas in 2021 — and reveal that the oil and gas industry has been losing vastly more of the climate-change-driving fossil fuel than previously reported. “The state’s updated reporting requirements were long overdue,” […]

Study: New Mexico public defenders office need 67% more lawyers to be ‘effective’

The state agency that provides legal representation for indigent defendants is drastically understaffed, according to a recently released study which says the Law Offices of the Public Defender needs 67 percent more lawyers that it has to provide “reasonably effective assistance of counsel” as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. That’s […]

Bill would require state departments to help those who don’t speak English

Advocates for New Mexicans who know little to no English say a bill passed by a committee Friday is needed help such residents access medical aid, child welfare services and other resources. Lawmakers on the House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs committee approved House Bill 22 on a 6-3 vote. […]

Republicans file lawsuit over congressional redistricting

The Republican Party of New Mexico and six other plaintiffs filed a lawsuit Friday in the 5th Judicial District Court alleging a new map of the state’s three congressional districts, approved last month by the heavily Democratic Legislature, is “a political gerrymander” that weakens the voting power of residents in […]

Ethics watchdog issues report on payday loan industry lobbying

It has become a cycle of despair for low-income residents with poor credit scores: They take out a high-interest installment loan to tide them over in tough times and soon accumulate an unmanageable load. They pay off old debt with new loans at rates of up 175 percent. For years, […]

Gov. Lujan Grisham gives OK for legislature to make some cannabis law changes

In addition to high-profile efforts to improve public safety and education, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has called on lawmakers to address cannabis during the 30-day legislative session.  Lujan Grisham issued a message on Thursday afternoon, authorizing lawmakers to add changes to the Cannabis Regulation Act to the legislative agenda.  The […]

Effort to eliminate Social Security tax gains momentum

The push to eliminate New Mexico’s income tax on Social Security benefits is gaining traction at the Roundhouse. Two senators, Democrat Michael Padilla of Albuquerque and Republican David Gallegos of Eunice, introduced separate bills Thursday that would eliminate the tax on Social Security income. Sen. Bill Tallman, D-Albuquerque, previously introduced […]

2021 Kids Count Data Book indicates positives but also continued challenges

The advocacy group New Mexico Voices for Children released the 2021 Kids Count Data Book on Wednesday and said that, according to the data, New Mexico saw 20,000 additional children enrolled in Medicaid in 2021. Emily Wildau, the New Mexico Kids Count Data Book coordinator, said that data was one […]

Senate adopts rules for legislative session amid mask debate

Lawmakers gathered in Santa Fe for a 30-day legislative session meant to deal with budget and tax issues are supposed to be fighting on New Mexicans’ behalf. But on the second day of the session Wednesday, members of the state Senate continued to fight over face masks. The Senate eventually […]

Dow seeks ban on teaching critical race theory in schools

By Robert NottThe Santa Fe New Mexican A leading Republican lawmaker and gubernatorial hopeful has introduced a bill to prohibit the state from including critical race theory — a controversial and often-misunderstood concept that is seen by some as a potential electoral wedge issue — in New Mexico’s school curriculum.  […]

LFC report fleshes out crime surge

Lawmakers looking to push through an array of “tough on crime” bills got some legislative ammunition to support their cause this week. The Legislative Finance Committee released a memo to Rep. Patti Lundstrom,  chair of the committee, saying violent crime rates are going up, and not just in Albuquerque.  The memo […]

In State of the State, governor asks legislators to think big

Saying the state has “unimaginable financial resources” at its disposal, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham challenged lawmakers Tuesday to think big and be aggressive on New Mexicans’ behalf during the 30-day legislative session. “Dating back decades, a timid mindset has afflicted people in this Capitol building, a pessimism that can be […]

First day of session marked by demonstrations, protests

There were sure signs a sense of normalcy had returned to the state Capitol: Protests and demonstrations. As the 2022 legislative session got underway Tuesday in a Roundhouse open to visitors who provided proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 — including a booster — activists gathered both inside and outside […]

Republicans react to governor’s State of the State address

State Rep. Jim Townsend, the House minority leader, said for a second he thought the governor “almost became a Republican.” In a news conference Tuesday at the Roundhouse after Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s State of the State address, the Artesia Republican said the most “heartening” part of her 25-minute speech was the […]

The governor’s 2022 State of the State, annotated

Once again, NM Political Report joined New Mexico PBS and other news outlets in annotating Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s State of the State speech (as prepared for delivery). Our reporter Andy Lyman joined journalists from other outlets in the state to provide context and fact check comments made by the […]

WATCH: The 2022 State of the State Address

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham delivered her annual State of the State address on Tuesday. Because of the recent increase in COVID-19 cases, Lujan Grisham delivered the address remotely from her office. The video of the address is available below, courtesy of New Mexico PBS.

Legislative session to start amid COVID surge

If you plan to attend this year’s 30-day legislative session at the state Capitol, here’s a piece of advice: Don’t forget a mask or proof of vaccination and a booster shot. The Roundhouse will be open to the public when the Legislature convenes Tuesday, but with safeguards designed to prevent the […]

Green amendment once again goes before legislature

Several Democratic state legislators are looking to amend the New Mexico Constitution to guarantee future generations the right to a clean environment.  Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, D-Albuquerque, and Rep. Joanne Ferrary, D-Las Cruces, are the lead sponsors on a joint resolution that nearly two dozen of their colleagues have already […]

Free college tuition proposal could get a second chance

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s plan to offer free tuition to all New Mexico residents attending in-state colleges might get a second chance. A new proposal backed by two Democratic lawmakers and the state Higher Education Department would cover tuition for up to 35,000 eligible students — regardless of their income […]

NM cannabis regulators temporarily increase production limits in an attempt to avoid shortages

With a little more than two months before recreational-use cannabis sales are expected to start, the New Mexico Cannabis Control Division issued an emergency rule change that doubles plant limits for cultivators.  The emergency rule change, which went into effect last Thursday, increases the maximum amount of mature cannabis plants […]

2022 Legislative session preview

Budget? What budget? Though 30-day sessions are specifically designed for lawmakers to create and approve a financial blueprint for the next fiscal year, the state’s growing crime problem, public education woes and continuing efforts to battle the pandemic likely will take center stage when the New Mexico Legislature goes into […]

NMED pushes for funding for climate bureau

Sandra Ely, director of the New Mexico Environment Department’s Environmental Protection Division, says this is a “decisive decade” in terms of climate change. Ely is one of the “key architects” of a proposed climate bureau within NMED, according to Secretary James Kenney. Ely and Kenney spoke to NM Political Report […]

State senator seeks funding for Dryland Resiliency Center

New Mexico is in an ideal location for research into dryland resiliency, including best irrigation methods and drought-tolerant crop varieties, according to state Sen. William Soules, D-Las Cruces, who has sponsored legislation to fund a dryland resiliency center. The legislative session starts Tuesday and the funding for the dryland resiliency […]

Legislation aims to limit executive emergency powers

Thirty-day legislative sessions in New Mexico are typically reserved for budget issues, along with any special issues the governor asks lawmakers to consider. This year, besides the budget, legislators are expected to debate and vote on bills regarding public safety and education. But two lawmakers are hoping that at least […]

Stansbury speaks in support of renewing the federal Child Tax Credit

U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury called renewing the federal Child Tax Credit an equity issue during a press conference on Thursday. The federal Child Tax Credit, which provided $3,000 per child between ages 6 and 17 and $3,600 per child under 6 the last six months of 2021, was a measure […]

Poll shows Hispanic families hit hard by pandemic

A poll of 1,000 New Mexico Hispanic families indicates that Hispanic families have struggled financially because of the COVID-19 pandemic. BSP Research released a statewide survey Thursday done on behalf of several organizations detailing the economic hardships those polled said they faced. Some of the key findings include that the […]

State to get COVID help from federal medical teams

New Mexico will get a boost in medical personnel from the federal government amid the ongoing COVID-19 surge. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham acknowledged that New Mexico is one of a handful of states that will receive federal medical teams. New Mexico had a large increase in cases in December, before […]

Supply chain challenges impact New Mexico utilities

Utilities across New Mexico are struggling to acquire equipment in a timely manner and major projects have been delayed amid problems with a sluggish global supply chain. The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission is concerned that this could impact the utilities’ ability to maintain and repair utility infrastructure and provide […]

Medicaid coverage could be extended to 12 months for postpartum care

New Mexico could expand Medicaid coverage for postpartum care from two months to a full year starting this spring. The New Mexico Human Services Department is working to have the new rules in place by April 1, Nicole Comeaux, Human Services Department Medicaid director, told NM Political Report. The federal […]

Supreme Court weighs Biden’s workplace vaccine requirements

The Supreme Court on Friday took up one of the most contentious issues of the covid-19 pandemic, hearing a series of cases challenging the Biden administration’s authority to require workers to get a covid vaccine or be tested for the virus regularly. The issue in the cases, which challenge rules […]

Pressure mounts to protect Mexican Gray Wolves

Last year, advocates for the Mexican gray wolf cheered when a judge ruled the problem of poaching was not adequately addressed in a management plan by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Those same groups now want the agency to address sustainability goals. Mary Katherine Ray, wildlife chair for the Sierra Club […]

State Supreme Court rejects constitutional challenge to Energy Transition Act

The New Mexico Supreme Court rejected a constitutional challenge to the landmark Energy Transition Act, the state law that provided utilities with the ability to refinance past investments into coal-fired power plants using low-interest bonds to facilitate closing the generating facilities. The case came to the state Supreme Court in […]

Legislators, coalition seek funding to address ‘crisis’ of sexual assault

The New Mexico Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs announced its support for Affirmative Consent legislation and the need for $5 million in funding on Monday. State Rep. Liz Thomson, D-Albuquerque, is sponsoring HB 44, Affirmative Consent Policies in Schools. Alexandria Taylor, deputy director of New Mexico Sexual Assault Programs, said […]

A high-risk medical device didn’t meet federal standards. The government paid millions for more.

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox. Series: HeartWare Deadly Malfunctions, FDA Inaction and Vulnerable Patients In 2014, when the Food and Drug Administration found serious problems with a life-sustaining heart pump, its warning […]

Amber Wallin replaces James Jimenez to lead New Mexico Voices for Children

Amber Wallin has replaced James Jimenez as Executive Director of New Mexico Voices for Children, a nonprofit children’s advocacy and research organization. NMVC announced the change this week. Jimenez retired at the first of the year but will continue to serve as executive director for New Mexico Pediatric Society, a […]

State prisons outsource personal mail to inmates to Florida firm, causing concern for some

For Jessica Brown, whose husband Michael is an inmate at Northeast New Mexico Correctional Facility in Clayton, sending letters to her spouse is one of the primary ways she communicates with him. But starting Feb. 1, Jessica will have to send letters to her husband to a private corporation in […]

BLM hosts roundtable discussion about federal funding for orphaned wells

Randy Pacheco, the chief executive officer of the San Juan Basin-based A-Plus Well Service, said the state’s workforce needs to be built up to address the orphaned oil and natural gas wells that dot the landscape in many states including New Mexico.  Pacheco was one of the panelists who participated […]

Governor, SOS announce voting rights expansion package

New Mexico’s governor along with the state’s top elections official announced support for legislation that would protect and expand voting rights in the state. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver announced their backing on Thursday, less than two weeks before the start of the state’s […]

Group of legislators request study about creating government-run electric utilities

A group of 16 state legislators have asked the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission to study what it would take for governments to acquire electric utilities, but PRC officials say that may not be within the regulatory agency’s authority. The PRC issued an order on Jan. 5 asking the legislators […]

Former Spaceport Authority financial officer takes on state officials in whistleblower suit

A former financial officer for the New Mexico Spaceport Authority filed a sweeping lawsuit this week against Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and 20 other state officials, alleging fraud and embezzlement, along with a variety of other accusations.  Certified public accountant and former Chief Financial Officer for the Spaceport Authority Zach […]

Utilities appeal PRC decisions to the state Supreme Court

As utilities race to meet renewable energy targets set forth in the Energy Transition Act, two of the state’s investor-owned utilities have asked the New Mexico Supreme Court to review decisions the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission has made in cases that they say will impact their transition. The Public […]

Crisis pregnancy centers are a public health danger, according to a report

Crisis pregnancy centers, which have proliferated in recent years, could be a public health danger to pregnant individuals, according to a recent report. A national coalition of reproductive health experts called The Alliance: State Advocates for Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, produced a report in the fall of 2021 detailing […]

New Mexico landlords tried to evict nearly 200 households whose rental assistance applications were pending

In early 2021, Albuquerque’s medical clinics were so overwhelmed by the pandemic that Deidra Alldredge couldn’t book a doctor’s appointment to renew a prescription for insulin. Her diabetes got worse. She grew dizzy and nauseous, and could barely see or think straight. Unable to clock in at her job as […]

2021 Top Stories #1: NM repeals abortion ban

See our entire countdown of 2021 top stories here. New Mexico was one of very few states in 2021 to pass legislation supporting abortion rights. In a year called “hostile” by reproductive rights advocates because of the more than 100 anti-abortion laws passed in other states in 2021, the New […]

New Mexico congressional delegation seeking approval for state’s constitutional amendment

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich announced bicameral legislation last week to seek federal approval for the state’s proposed constitutional amendment that, if approved by voters, would tap an additional 1.25 percent from the Land Grant Permanent Fund. Heinrich and U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbuy, both Democrats, introduced the legislation. U.S. Senator Ben […]

2021 Top Stories #2: COVID continues

See our entire countdown of 2021 top stories, to date, here. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues throughout the country, one thing changed from 2020, when much of the world was first impacted, into 2021: Variants. Scientists kept close track of mutations made to COVID-19 and which variants were considered of concern.  […]

Growing Forward: End of the year and looking onward

It’s been nearly eight months since New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed the Cannabis Regulation Act and cannabis sales are expected to start in about four more months.  Throughout this year, Growing Forward, the collaborative podcast between NM Political Report and New Mexico PBS, has been following the progress […]

2021 Top Stories #3: Cannabis legalized

See our entire countdown of 2021 top stories, to date, here. One of the most notable things that happened in 2021 was the legalization of recreational-use cannabis.  The use of medical cannabis has been legal in New Mexico for more than a decade, but full legalization did not become a reality […]

2021 Top Stories #4: Drought continues

See our entire countdown of 2021 top stories, to date, here. Gripped by decades-long drought, water managers in New Mexico faced tough choices this year, including ending the irrigation season early. The year’s water woes began in the winter, when below average snowpack, warm temperatures and dry soil conditions limited the […]

2021 Top Stories #5: Deb Haaland becomes Interior Secretary

See our entire countdown of 2021 top stories, to date, here. A Native American woman took the helm of the Department of the Interior, which oversees the Bureau of Indian Affairs, for the first time ever in March after being nominated for the post by President Joe Biden. The U.S. Senate […]

2021 Top Stories: 10-6

Note: Every year, we count down the top ten stories of the year, as voted on by NM Political Report staffers. See our entire countdown of 2021 top stories, to date, here. 10. SCOTUS Supreme Court hearings  The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in early December on a Mississippi case that challenges Roe v. Wade. Dobbs v. […]

Study: Warming climate leads to more bark beetles killing trees than drought alone

A team of researchers using Los Alamos National Laboratory’s supercomputers developed a model for projecting tree kills by bark beetles as the climate warms . Looking at forests in California, the team of researchers found that western pine beetle infestations killed 30 percent more trees due to warmer temperatures than […]

NM cannabis regulators to hold hearing on packaging, ad rules

The New Mexico Cannabis Control Division will hold a public rulemaking hearing next week regarding rules and regulations for labeling and marketing cannabis products, as well as health and safety protocols for packaging edible and topical cannabis products.  The hearing will take place on Dec. 30 and the division has […]

Dairy farmers facing PFAS contamination now eligible for payment for their cattle

A dairy farmer from the Clovis area whose cattle consumed PFAS-contaminated water is now able to get paid for his livestock. Art Schaap, owner of Highland Dairy, received national attention when firefighting foam used in training exercises at the nearby Cannon Air Force Base contaminated the water his cows rely […]

Texas abortion patients flew to Albuquerque for a one-day clinic visit

A New Mexico abortion fund provider planned a coordinated effort to fly in more than 10 Texas abortion patients for one day of abortion care at an Albuquerque clinic last week. The effort is in response to Texas SB 8, which bans abortion after six weeks for people in Texas. […]

NM special session ends with approval of Senate redistricting map

New Mexico’s latest special legislative session, mostly devoted to redistricting, came to an end on Friday after the state House approved two pieces of legislation. The state Senate adjourned the night before after approving its own new district map, a House redistricting proposal and a House bill that cleaned up […]

NM judge rules patient cannabis purchase limits consistent with state law

A New Mexico state judge ruled on Thursday that medical cannabis patients cannot purchase the same amount as non-patients when recreational-use sales begin.  Second Judicial District Court Judge Benjamin Chavez, in his written ruling, dismissed a claim from a medical cannabis patient that medical cannabis patients should be afforded the […]

After heated debate over race, NM Senate approves its own redistricting map

The New Mexico state Senate approved a proposal to redraw its own districts on Thursday by a 25-13 vote. SB 2, sponsored by Sens. Linda Lopez and Daniel Ivey-Soto, both Albuquerque Democrats, would redraw the state Senate districts and also adopt a Native American consensus map that tribes and pueblos […]

Called ‘a victory’ by advocates, FDA lifts restrictions on abortion medication

The Federal Drug Administration ruled on Thursday that it would permanently lift restrictions around abortion patients receiving medication abortion by mail. This means, for instance, that abortion patients who live in places such as rural New Mexico can receive mifepristone, the first of the two-drug abortion regime, by mail. The […]

NM Senate approves House map, heads to governor’s desk

The New Mexico state Senate approved a bill that would redraw state House maps on a 24-13 vote. HB 8 is one of four proposals that would draw state political districts in the current special legislative session.  The Senate floor debate for HB 8 came just after the Senate spent […]

PRC denies PNM’s application to transfer power plant ownership to NTEC

New Mexico Public Regulation Commission Chairman Stephen Fischmann said more information is needed before the agency can approve an application from Public Service Company of New Mexico to transfer its 13 percent ownership share of the Four Corners Power Plant to Navajo Transitional Energy Company and to refinance past investments […]

Legislature sends spending bill to Governor’s desk (Updated)

Updated: The House concurred on HB 2 as amended by the state Senate by a voice vote on Thursday. This sends the legislation to the Governor’s desk for signature. HB 2 appropriates $478 million of the ARPA funds into various projects, such as road work, broadband expansion and conservation projects. […]

Bernalillo County passes ordinance banning outdoor cannabis consumption areas

The Bernalillo County Commission unanimously approved an ordinance on Tuesday that bans outdoor cannabis consumption areas in parts of the county not already governed by the City of Albuquerque.  An earlier version of the proposal would have made a distinction between medical and recreational-use cannabis consumption areas as well as […]

NM Department of Game and Fish considers stocking hybrid striped bass

Anglers in New Mexico may soon have another fish to catch in a lake near Carlsbad. The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish is considering stocking Caballo Reservoir with hybrid striped bass, also known as wipers. These bass are a mix between white bass and striped bass and grow […]

NM detects its first confirmed Omicron case

State health officials announced the first confirmed case of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, which has been called a variant of concern by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The case of Omicron is from a female adult in Bernalillo County who reported travel to another state that […]

Senate Dems at odds with Native American governments over Senate redistricting

The New Mexico Senate Judiciary Committee voted 7-2 on Sunday to change a bill aimed at redrawing its own Senate districts, despite pleas from numerous Native American pueblos and tribes not to do so.  The original proposal, SB 2, adopted a Native American consensus plan that was recommended to the […]

Senate Finance Committee passes amended appropriation bill, reducing allocation to $478 million

The Senate Finance Committee approved an amended version of a bill to allocate some of the American Rescue Plan Act immediately to various agencies. The amendment to HB 2, which passed unanimously, removed $26 million appropriated for broadband and reduced the overall funding package to about $478 million. The vote […]

New congressional map heads to governor’s desk

The New Mexico state House advanced a proposal on Saturday that would redraw the state’s congressional districts to group a sizable portion of the urban Albuquerque area with rural areas in the south with a 44-24 along party lines. The map proposal now heads to the governor’s desk for approval. […]

Senate committee tables bill to appropriate $335 million in relief funds on public health

The Senate Finance Committee tabled a bill request to spend $335 million of the $1.1 billion in America Rescue Plan Act money to the state on public health issues on a 6 to 1 vote, but committee members advised the bill sponsors to bring the bill back to the regular […]

Congressional map proposal approved by NM Senate, heads to House

The New Mexico state Senate approved a proposal to redraw the state’s congressional districts by a 25-15 vote on Friday evening. All Republican members voted against the measure, with independent Sen. Jacob Candelaria of Albuquerque joining Republicans.  SB 1, sponsored by Sen. Joseph Cervantes, D-Las Cruces, and Rep. Georgene Louis, […]

U.S. Supreme Court decision on Texas abortion law impacts New Mexico abortion providers, patients and funds

In a narrow ruling that leads to a limited way forward in the fight to stop Texas SB 8, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against one lawsuit, parsed the other and denied the Biden administration’s request to put Texas SB 8 law on hold. The Supreme Court heard two separate […]

State House passes redistricting map supported by Indigenous communities

The New Mexico House of Representatives passed a bill Friday night adopting a redistricting map based on a consensus from Native American communities including Navajo Nation and the Pueblos.  House Bill 8, which passed the chamber on a 43-23 vote, draws new lines for House districts and aims to correct […]

House passes bill to appropriate $504 million in federal relief funds

An amended version of a spending bill passed both the full House and the House Appropriations and Finance Committee Friday which, if passed by the state Senate and signed by the governor, will appropriate $504 million of the $1.1 billion provided by the American Rescue Plan Act into state relief funds, […]

NM Senate committees advance two redistricting maps

Two New Mexico state Senate committees advanced two redistricting maps on Thursday, one for Congress and one for the state Senate. A New Mexico Senate bill that would redraw the state’s congressional districts inched closer to a full Senate vote on Thursday after the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the bill […]