News Clips

Analysis: Don’t want a vaccine? Be prepared to pay more for insurance.

America’s covid-19 vaccination rate is around 60% for ages 12 and up. That’s not enough to reach so-called herd immunity, and in states like Missouri — where a number of counties have vaccination rates under 25% — hospitals are overwhelmed by serious outbreaks of the more contagious delta variant. The vaccine resisters offer all kinds of […]

Uranium remediation could create jobs for impacted communities

State Rep. D. Wonda Johnson, D-Gallup, teared up as she told her colleagues on the interim legislative Indian Affairs Committee and the Rural Economic Opportunities Task Force about the Church Rock uranium spill of 1979. Johnson was a member of a panel presenting to the committees about the economic development […]

New Mexico renters protected under state supreme court eviction stay

Renters in New Mexico who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic are still protected under the New Mexico Supreme Court’s stay on evictions, said a court official. Barry Massey, public information officer for the Administrative Office of the Courts, told NM Political Report that the state supreme court’s […]

State seeks to reduce risk of abandoned mines

Last year in the area near Orogrande in Otero County, a motorcyclist was killed when he ended up in an abandoned mine, according to Jerry Schoeppner, the Mining and Minerals Division director for the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department. Abandoned hard rock mine sites throughout the state […]

Growing Forward: New Mexico’s Green Rush Part 2

About a month after New Mexico legalized cannabis use and possession, and about eight months until sanctioned sales are expected to start, there is little doubt that many New Mexican’s are eager to get a foothold in the state’s newest industry.  The state’s Regulation and Licensing Department is still in […]

Burn scars can have lasting impacts on communities for years after wildfire

Cimarron District Forester Arnie Friedt remembers the Ute Park Fire of 2018 and how crews worked to prevent any residences from being destroyed. Then the rain came and flooding from the burn scar damaged more than 26 homes. “So actually the flooding was more damaging than the fire to property,” […]

Monsoon moisture brings drought relief, but New Mexico may see a dry winter

The monsoon moisture has brought welcome relief to the drought that has strained water resources in New Mexico. At the start of 2021, the entire state was experiencing some degree of drought conditions and more than half the state was in exceptional drought category, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. […]

Sheryl Williams Stapleton resigns

Embattled House Majority Leader Sheryl Williams Stapleton resigned from her position in the state legislature amid state and federal investigations into alleged corruption related to her role in Albuquerque Public Schools. Earlier this week, state investigators raided Williams Stapleton’s house and Friday the Albuquerque Journal reported APS received a federal […]

Restoration project proposals sought for rivers impacted by Gold King Mine spill

As the sixth anniversary of the Gold King Mine spill approaches, the New Mexico Office of the Natural Resources Trustee is seeking proposals for restoration projects along the impacted river system in the northwest part of the state. The office hosted a webinar on Wednesday to provide groups interested in […]

State to require vaccinations or regular tests for state employees

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed an executive order on Thursday that will require all state employees to be either vaccinated or undergo regular COVID-19 testing. The move, which starts on August 2, comes as vaccine cases statewide grow and as the state recommends all New Mexicans wear masks in public […]

COVID-19 cases grow as officials urge New Mexicans to mask up

Top state health officials spoke about the threat of the Delta variant of COVID-19 in New Mexico and nationwide and encouraged New Mexicans to wear masks, following federal health guidelines. The health officials came into the meeting with masks on. “This is not like throwback baseball uniforms,” Dr. David Scrase, […]

AG raids House Majority Leader’s home

State investigators served search warrants at the Albuquerque home of House Majority Leader Sheryl Williams Stapleton according to multiple media reports. The Albuquerque Journal, Santa Fe New Mexican and other outlets reported the warrants from the Attorney General’s office were in regard to investigations into ties to Robotics Management Learning […]

New Mexico’s climate may lead to a smaller carbon footprint when growing cannabis

When the New Mexico Legislature was considering a bill that eventually became the Cannabis Regulation Act, one of the major topics of concern was water use. Ultimately, lawmakers agreed to require cannabis growers to prove they had legal access to water. But one issue that was not addressed, at least […]

State orders Las Cruces store to stop ‘gifting’ cannabis

In what could end up being the first test case of illicit cannabis operations in a post-legalization New Mexico, a business “gifting” cannabis has caught the attention of state regulators.  According to KVIA-TV, the state’s Cannabis Control Division sent a cease and desist letter to a Las Cruces business called […]

Climate change places some of New Mexico’s unique species at risk

As climate change leads to warmer, drier conditions, some high altitude species found only in small areas of New Mexico may see their habitat vanish and have nowhere to go. This is a concern for an orange, brown and white butterfly found only in a small area of the Sacramento […]

Growing Forward: Green Rush Part 1

By law, the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department has about a month before it has to start accepting applications from businesses looking to enter the new, non-medical cannabis industry. The state’s Cannabis Regulation Act, which was signed into law in April, legalized the adult-use and possession of cannabis as […]

For families of color, climate change in New Mexico is already here, say experts

Climate change isn’t in the future for New Mexico—it’s already here and impacting families of color, according to climate change experts. From Navajo leaving their land due to dwindling resources, hotter wildfires altering landscapes, an increase of climate change refugees crossing outside ports of entry and wells running dry in […]

The stench of climate change

“Oh my gosh. It is just cranking.” Nathalie Eddy, a field advocate for Earthworks, the environmental monitoring group, is sitting in her Jeep next to an oil well southwest of Loving, New Mexico, in the Permian Basin. A tangle of well pumping equipment is on one side of the quarter-acre […]

CYFD employees say they were reprimanded, fired for asking questions about major software contract

In late 2019, Jackson Williams, manager of a data unit at the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department, raised his hand at a work meeting to ask about a massive computer system upgrade at the agency — one that could potentially cost $45 million over the next decade. Led […]

Restaurant jobs abound. But many in NM want something better to come back to.

SANTA FE —  More than 71 percent of New Mexico residents have had at least one dose of the vaccine. Thousands of restaurant jobs are vacant statewide, and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has even offered up to a $1,000 cash payment for workers to come back in July. But according […]

Legislators told of possible low-emission cement production at Escalante Power Plant

Beyond coal plants, carbon capture and sequestration may help with cement manufacturing and create new industry in New Mexico, according to a presentation at the Legislative Finance Committee on Thursday. Others, however, remain skeptical of the industry’s viability. Wiley Rhodes, co-founder of Escalante H2 Power, said a retrofit of the […]

New Mexico begins clean car standards rulemaking process

In a few years, new cars being sold in New Mexico may be required to meet more stringent emission requirements, similar to those in place in California. The City of Albuquerque and the New Mexico Environment Department kicked off the rulemaking process to adopt California’s clean car standards with a […]

Early childhood education expansion could empower New Mexico women, advocates say

On August 1, New Mexico will expand early child care assistance to allow a family of four with a  nearly $93,000 yearly income eligible for assistance from the state, among other early childcare changes. Some have said the expansions to early childcare could empower women in New Mexico. Gov. Michelle […]

U.S. House passes PFAS Action Act

The U.S. House of Representatives voted 241-182 in favor of legislation that would regulate PFAS. The PFAS Action Act would require federal regulators to establish national drinking water standards for per-and-polyfluoroalkyl substances. The legislation would further designate PFAS as hazardous, thus allowing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to clean up […]

Democrat Manny Gonzales wants to be mayor. Republicans run his campaign.

Eight years ago, Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry, a Republican, cruised to re-election with almost 70% of the vote. Yet this year, with just three weeks left for a candidate to produce the 3,000 petition signatures necessary to get on the ballot, it seems likely there won’t be a registered Republican […]

Heinrich, Blunt introduce legislation to fund wildlife conservation

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich described wildlife conservation as a topic that can bring people together—something that he said is highlighted by a bipartisan Senate bill.. “Whether you grew up in New Mexico or you grew up in Missouri, you remember the first fish you ever catch, you remember the butterflies […]

Border wall map reveals damage to landscape, migration routes

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A newly-released map identifies portions of the U.S.-Mexico border wall built by the Trump administration, and for conservation groups and wildlife advocates, it is alarming. The Biden administration halted construction, and said it will use federal funds to assess damage caused by the new, higher walls. Myles Traphagen, borderlands program coordinator for […]

Abortion care providers prepare for Texas gestational ban

Abortion care providers in New Mexico expect an increase in patients if a court allows Texas’ six-week gestational ban to take effect in September. A group of Texas abortion fund and clinic providers filed suit in a Texas state court last week to stop the state’s new law from going […]

In rural New Mexico, water systems need funding and support

As state Rep. Susan Herrera, D-Embudo, listened to discussions about drought in New Mexico during a legislative Water and Natural Resources Committee meeting, she thought about the rural water systems in her district in Rio Arriba County, where she said four utilities have required temporary backup water as infrastructure failed. […]

Report documents PFAS use in fracking in New Mexico

A report indicating that PFAS chemicals have been used in hydraulic fracturing operations in New Mexico “emphasizes how important it is for regulators to know what is in the industrial wastewater,” Maddy Hayden, a spokesperson for the New Mexico Environment Department told NM Political Report in an email. Physicians for […]

PRC plans to open official inquiry into San Juan cooling tower collapse

The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission plans to open an investigation into a cooling tower collapse that happened in late June at the San Juan Generating Station. “We had a major baseload component of our power system go down and we were in the dark about it,” said Commission Chairman […]

Enchant Energy pushes for legislation clarifying pore space ownership

Enchant Energy is asking New Mexico lawmakers to introduce legislation that would clarify who owns the rights to the small cavities in geological formations that carbon dioxide can be injected into. These cavities are known as pore space. Enchant Energy is hoping to take ownership of the San Juan Generating […]

AHA: LGBTQ at greater risk for cardiovascular events and risks

Growing evidence indicates that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer adults experience worse cardiovascular health than their cisgender heterosexual peers according to the American Heart Association. For instance, transgender men are twice as likely to have a heart attack than cisgender men and four times as likely than cisgender women, […]

Top NM cannabis regulator on rule changes: Substantive changes require a new hearing

There are less than two months left before the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department is required by law to start accepting recreational-use cannabis business applications. But before the department can do that, it needs to finalize rules that outline its own standards and requirements for cannabis businesses.  The department […]

USDA may buy cows from dairy farm contaminated with PFAS

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is working on regulations that would allow the government to buy the cattle from a dairy farm in Clovis where groundwater was contaminated by PFAS related to training at a nearby Air Force base, U.S. Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez said during a virtual press conference […]

State Oil Conservation Division can issue fines for spills

Soon the state’s Oil Conservation Division will have the ability to issue civil fines when oil and natural gas industry spills occur. The Oil Conservation Commission approved a final order to amend the state’s release rule during a meeting on Thursday. This unanimous vote came approximately one month after it […]

Old oil fields may be ideal for carbon sequestration

When looking for places to sequester carbon, old oil fields may be a promising choice, according to a new study published in the journal Geology. Geophysicists from Stanford University analyzed the Delaware Basin – a sub-basin of the Permian Basin in western Texas and southeastern New Mexico – and found […]

San Juan Generating Station taken offline after cooling tower collapse

Unit one of the San Juan Generating Station was taken off line last week after a cooling tower collapsed, sources familiar with the incident told NM Political Report. The cooling tower is necessary to operate the unit and, unless it is repaired, the unit will not be able to produce […]

Paid sick leave law will go into effect in 2022

On Thursday most bills that Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed into law earlier this year went into effect but the one that did not yet is the Healthy Workplaces Act. The Healthy Workplaces Act, or paid sick leave, provides all private sector employees up to 64 hours of paid time […]

Coalition of Native women urge the public to keep wearing masks

On Thursday the state ended COVID-19 restrictions, including mask mandates, but Indigenous leaders with the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women urge the public to keep wearing the mask. Angel Charley, Laguna and executive director of CSVANW, said this is a safety precaution. “It requires a lot of sacrifice […]

Advocates: SCOTUS decision emphasizes need for more LGBTQ protections

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Fulton v. the City of Philadelphia is not likely to a impact the New Mexico LGBTQ community, legal experts and advocates have said. Fulton v. the City of Philadelphia asked the Supreme Court to decide if Catholic Social Services (CSS) could continue its contract […]

OCD has issued 23 complaints resulting in fines against oil and gas companies

The Oil Conservation Division of the state’s Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department regained the ability to fine oil and gas companies that were not complying with state laws a little more than a year ago, and officials say this has paid off. Since February of 2020, the OCD has […]

NM expands early childcare subsidies

For the next two years, New Mexico will raise the income eligibility for childcare assistance from 200 percent of the federal poverty level to 350 percent of the federal poverty level with a phase out at 400 percent of the federal poverty level, officials announced Thursday. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, […]

Survey: Half of New Mexicans approve of governor’s job performance

A poll conducted by SurveyUSA for KOB-TV showed that half of New Mexico adults approve of how Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is doing her job. The poll showed that 50 percent of those polled approved of her job performance, while 32 percent disapproved and 18 percent were not sure. Lujan […]

As water levels drop in Elephant Butte, Reclamation prepares for conditions not seen since the 1950s

Recent rains have brought some relief to Elephant Butte reservoir in southern New Mexico, but the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is still preparing for low levels that have not been seen since the 1950s. Mary Carlson, a spokesperson for the BOR, said three decades of drought conditions where dry years […]

Lujan Grisham says she wants NM to have the best cannabis in the region

Hundreds of people vying to be a part of New Mexico’s newest legal industry gathered in downtown Albuquerque on Wednesday, a day after recreational-use cannabis became legal in the state.  Dozens of vendor booths that included marketing professionals, cultivation suppliers and cannabis educators attended the first day of the two-day […]

New Mexico lifts pandemic restrictions

The state’s pandemic restrictions ended on Thursday, marking the end of restrictions that have been in place for over 470 days. The state first put occupancy rules in place last March, when the state recorded its first cases of COVID-19. Since then, the state has reported 205,542 confirmed cases of […]

State takes first steps to establish adult-use cannabis regulations

On the first day of legalized, recreational-use cannabis in New Mexico the department set to oversee the new industry held a rulemaking hearing.  During the hearing, held by the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department and its Cannabis Control Division, a long list of stakeholders shared their concerns about water […]

New Mexico’s first day of legal adult-use cannabis

Today marks the first official day of adult-use cannabis legalization in New Mexico. But legal sales for those without authorization to purchase and use medical cannabis will not begin until sometime early next year.  The New Mexico Legislature passed the Cannabis Regulation Act earlier this year during a special session […]

Federal court of appeals sends solar standby fee case back to lower court

The federal Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a lower court’s ruling on a case centered around whether a utility can charge an extra rate to customers with solar panels.  The court remanded the case to the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico on Monday after judges […]

NM Department of Game and Fish considers river otter reintroduction into the Gila River

While various environmental advocacy groups are pushing for river otter reintroduction in the Gila River basin of New Mexico, biologists say this could impact several sensitive fish species that the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish has been working to protect and recover. These fish once coexisted with the […]

Former inmate sues Corrections Department for negligence

A former inmate is suing the New Mexico Corrections Department and some of its employees for allegedly endangering the man’s life while transporting him and others in an unair-conditioned vehicle in 2019. Lawrence Lamb, 61, filed the suit last week in Santa Fe state district court. The suit alleges that […]

Revenue diversification needed as NM looks to transition away from fossil fuels

As New Mexico looks at an inevitable end to oil and gas extraction, some environmental advocates say no new leases should be issued and the United States should work to phase out fossil fuels. This would not have a huge immediate impact on the state, but could result in less […]

House votes to restore Obama-era methane rules

The U.S. House of Representatives voted 229 to 191 on Friday to reinstate methane regulations implemented under President Barack Obama’s administration and rolled back by former President Donald Trump. The House’s vote comes after the U.S. Senate voted in late April in favor of the measure, which is intended to […]

With shelter beds available in New Mexico, asylum seekers wait across the border in dangerous conditions because of a Trump-imposed policy

Hundreds of available shelter beds in New Mexico are empty while families, including a Honduran mother and her child, seek asylum in the U.S. are forced to wait across the border with Mexico in Ciudad Juárez. Advocates have said there is a humanitarian crisis happening along the border. The Donald […]

High-level officials accuse CYFD of retaliation

A husband and wife who blew the whistle on the state’s destruction of official records have filed a lawsuit against the New Mexico Children, Youth, and Families Department, claiming they were fired from their jobs in retaliation.  The lawsuit was jointly filed Tuesday by Cliff W. Gilmore, the former head […]

Iberdrola executives named in criminal espionage investigation

Public Service Company of New Mexico and Avangrid have informed the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission of a criminal investigation in Spain that names several executives of Avangrid’s parent company, Iberdrola. This comes as the PRC is weighing a merger case that would allow Avangrid to acquire PNM. A document […]

As liquor law changes go into effect on July 1, delivery will have to wait on rulemaking

On July 1, a number of bills signed into law by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham will go into effect. Among those bills is one that makes significant changes to New Mexico’s liquor laws. But some of those significant changes, like delivery of alcohol, are also dependent on administrative rules and […]

NM hits 60 percent vaccination mark

The state of New Mexico reached two milestones in its vaccination efforts this week: over 1 million people fully vaccinated and 60 percent of all residents age 16 or older fully vaccinated. The numbers came as the state announced it would fully reopen businesses to maximum capacity on July 1, […]

Governor petitions EPA to list PFAS as hazardous waste

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham filed a petition with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday, to list per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS, as hazardous waste under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. “PFAS chemicals present an imminent and substantial endangerment to human health and the environment,” […]

Social justice advocate Pamelya Herndon appointed new HD 28 representative

The Bernalillo County Commission appointed social justice advocate and lawyer Pamelya Herndon to the state House to replace U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury, on Tuesday. The Bernalillo County Commissioners voted 4 to 0 in favor of Herndon with one, Commissioner Debbie O’Malley, absent. Herndon vied for the job against seven other […]

War of words over New Mexico’s oil fields

In mid-June, a federal judge in Louisiana blocked the Biden administration’s 5-month-old pause on new oil and gas lease sales on federal lands and waters. But in New Mexico, where the state’s Democratic governor had requested an exemption to the pause, the tension over leases highlights how tricky it is for […]

Former legislator seeks appointment to vacant state House seat

Idalia Lechuga-Tena announced on Friday she is seeking appointment to House District 28 amidst a growing list of women interested in the seat vacated by U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury. Bernalillo County Commissioners meet at 4 p.m. Tuesday in a special meeting to decide who will replace Stansbury. Bernalillo County Commissioners […]

BLM releases draft environmental assessment for potash mine clay settlement facility

The federal Bureau of Land Management has released a draft environmental assessment regarding Mosaic Potash Carlsbad’s plans to use a nearly 1,000 acre natural playa as a clay settlement facility. The playa, known as Laguna Uno, has previously been used by the mine and, if approved, the mining company will […]

The great disconnect

On May 18, a judge overseeing the historic Yazzie-Martinez case ordered the New Mexico Public Education Department to take stock of the massive digital divide in the state and finally identify the roughly 76,000 students who lacked Internet connections they desperately needed for school.  One of PED’s responses was to […]

State to allow 100 percent capacity for businesses on July 1

Capacity-based restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic will end in New Mexico on July 1, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced on Friday, which means all companies will be able to open at 100 percent capacity. “The simple fact is: We are beating this pandemic,” the governor said. The opening is […]

ABQ city council rejects most of mayor’s cannabis zoning proposals

The Albuquerque City Council made zoning restrictions and allowances for recreational-use cannabis official Thursday night after a six hour meeting to approve the city’s updated Integrated Development Ordinance.  For weeks, both those in the medical cannabis industry and those hoping to be a part of the recreational-use cannabis industry have […]

New Mexicans weigh in on methane as EPA considers new rules

Dozens of New Mexicans issued warnings about the current and future impacts of climate change this week as they urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to adopt a new rule that would lead to significant methane emission reductions from the oil and gas sector. The comments happened as part of […]

EMNRD launches interactive climate change map

The state Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department launched an interactive map that will help New Mexicans see how climate change is anticipated to impact their communities. The department  created the map in collaboration with The University of New Mexico’s Earth Data Analysis Center. In addition to showing how climate […]

PED: Pandemic impacts will affect schooling going forward

During the first twelve months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the academic school year was like no other. From March 2020 until April 2021, students in New Mexico public schools learned either remotely or through a hybrid model that included some in-person learning. Remote learning nationwide, on average, put more stress […]

PRC says community solar projects cannot be approved until rules are completed

While the Community Solar Act does not go into effect until June 18, investor-owned utilities have been receiving applications, and at least one of the utilities has expressed uncertainty about how to process such applications because rules regarding such projects will not be completed until next year. The New Mexico […]

Health officials continue push for New Mexicans to become vaccinated

While over two-thirds of New Mexicans age 16 or older have received at least one COVID-19 vaccination shot, the number who are fully vaccinated remains below the state’s 60 percent goal. As of Wednesday’s update, Department of Health Secretary Dr. Tracie Collins said 67.6 percent of all New Mexicans age […]

New Mexico birders have the opportunity to participate in a community science project

A group of researchers chose a mountain peak in New Mexico as a location where birders can help with breeding bird counts. The Mountain Bird Network selected Deception Peak, which can be accessed from the Ski Santa Fe area, in New Mexico as one of three locations to start the […]

Army veteran seeks House seat

An Army veteran has announced she is seeking the appointment to House District 28. Michelle Peacock, who served tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan as an Army Nurse Corps Officer, has joined the list of two other women who are seeking to replace U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury for her […]

PRC receives first grid modernization application

The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission has received its first grid modernization application since the state Legislature passed the Energy Grid Modernization Roadmap during the 2020 session. Southwestern Public Service Company filed an application for grid modernization on June 4 and, during the Tuesday PRC meeting, the commission’s counsel Judith […]

Study: Pneumatic controllers, wellbore liquids unloading make Hilcorp the top methane emitter

Hilcorp Energy, a prominent oil and gas company that operates in the San Juan Basin, has the highest reported methane emissions in the country, according to a report released this month by the Clean Air Task Force in collaboration with Ceres. The report, which was authored by the advisory group […]

Activist announces she is seeking appointment to HD 28

Long time community activist Pamelya Herndon announced on Monday that she is seeking appointment to state House District 28 to replace U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury. Herndon moved to the district in 1982, where she and her husband raised their three children. She said she thinks she is the best person […]

LNG proponents say exports could reduce emissions, but critics call it a bridge to nowhere

Touting natural gas as a bridge fuel to help address global climate change, a study released by the Western States and Tribal Nations Natural Gas Initiative (WSTN) states that replacing coal-fired generation in several Asian countries with liquefied natural gas from Rocky Mountain states could reduce net life cycle emissions […]

Stansbury to resign from state House, be sworn into U.S. House

New Mexico state Representative Melanie Stansbury announced her resignation from the state House. The resignation will be effective Monday, the same day Stansbury will be sworn into the U.S. House after a landslide special election victory earlier this month. “Serving in the New Mexico House of Representatives has been one […]

How a federal abortion bill could impact New Mexico

This week members of Congress introduced legislation into both chambers that would codify Roe v. Wade into law if it passes. HR 3755, more commonly known as the Women’s Health Protection Act, would protect a person’s ability to terminate a pregnancy and would protect a provider’s ability to provide abortion […]

A broken system: Why the number of American Indian and Alaska Natives who have died during the coronavirus pandemic may never be known

This story is produced by the Indigenous Investigative Collective, a project of the Native American Journalists Association in partnership with High Country News, Indian Country Today, National Native News and Searchlight New Mexico. It was produced in partnership with MuckRock with the support of JSK-Big Local News. In May of […]

NMED secretary says federal regulations are needed for PFAS

Toxic chemicals that do not break down in the environment have been threatening water sources nationwide, witnesses told the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works during a hearing on Wednesday. Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, better known as PFAS, have received attention in New Mexico and nationwide as they were […]

Dispute over wolf cross-fostering in Catron County

After learning about a plan to place captive-born Mexican wolves in a den of wild wolves in Catron County, Rep. Yvette Herrell, a Republican from New Mexico, wrote a letter to State Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard urging her to reconsider the move. “These activities are occurring less than two […]

NM Senate leadership clears senator of ethics violation allegation

A dust-up between an outspoken New Mexico state senator and a state cabinet secretary over ethics related to cannabis legislation has come to a resolution, at least temporarily.  According to a letter from Senate leadership last month, sent to New Mexico Department of Health Secretary Tracie Collins, there will be […]

A group of inmates sue state and Corrections Department over medical grievance system

A group of state prisoners alleged a corrupt medical grievance system violates their constitutional rights and has contributed to a bone epidemic in New Mexico prisons in a lawsuit. The 18 prisoners filed a lawsuit last month in state district court against the state, the New Mexico Corrections Department and […]

Members of redistricting committee chosen

The seven members of the state’s redistricting committee are set, as the state prepares to do its decennial redistricting process. The Legislature passed a bill to set up a redistricting commission earlier this year.  Legislative leaders and the state ethics commission selected the members of the redistricting committee. The ethics […]

New Mexico Supreme Court: State not required to compensate businesses for public health closures

Businesses that were ordered to close during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic do not have a claim for government compensation, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled.   The unanimous opinion, written by Justice Shannon Bacon, states that public health orders from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and the state Department […]

Citizen lawmakers find work in new cannabis industry

Cannabis legalization in New Mexico was sold as, amongst other things, a job creator. Those who are eyeing the new industry are navigating proposed rules and regulations and making plans for real space, how many plants they will be able to grow and how to get their applications approved by […]

NMED investigates size of PFAS plumes

The New Mexico Environment Department is investigating the size of the PFAS plumes in eastern New Mexico. PFAS, or per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, are chemicals that were used in firefighting foam at two air force bases in the state. The chemicals can impact human health and are known as “forever […]

Scientists say dire climate change scenarios should be taken into account in Colorado River Basin water management

Climate change threatens the availability of water in the Colorado River basin and water managers need to take steps now to prepare, the director of the Water Resources Program at the University of New Mexico John Fleck and Brad Udall, the senior water and climate research scientist at the Colorado […]

Lujan Grisham announces reelection campaign

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham made it official on Thursday: She is running for a second term in office. At an event in Old Town New Mexico, she announced that she would run for a second term. No New Mexico governor has lost a reelection campaign since 1994 when incumbent Bruce […]

All counties are turquoise as 60 percent fully vaccinated nears

Every county in New Mexico is now at the turquoise level, the least restrictive level of restrictions. “Given the state’s vaccination progress and continued positive outlook with respect to new virus cases, counties will remain at the turquoise level barring exceptional circumstances,” Department of Health Secretary Dr. Tracie Collins said. […]

Stansbury wins special election

New Mexico state Rep. Melanie Stansbury will soon officially become a U.S. Representative.  Stansbury won easily on Tuesday over three other opponents on the ballot in a special election: Republican Mark Moores, Libertarian Chris Manning and independent candidate Aubrey Dunn.  The special election was held in order to replace former […]

Vaccinated New Mexicans eligible for sweepstakes with $5 million grand prize

New Mexicans who are vaccinated and part of the state’s vaccinenm.org registration system will be entered in a sweepstakes with a chance to win part of a $10 million prize pool—including a $5 million grand prize. The Vax 2 the Max Sweepstakes is New Mexico’s version of an effort by […]

IEEFA report: Carbon capture project lacks investors, has an unrealistic timeframe

Enchant Energy faces “insurmountable” obstacles as it works to acquire the San Juan Generating Station and retrofit it with carbon capture technology, according to David Schissel, director of resource planning analysis for the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. Schissel authored a report released on Thursday looking at the […]

Cannabis providers try to navigate a new industry

While the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department scrambles to fully implement regulations for non-medical cannabis, those who plan to get into the new industry as well as those already in the medical cannabis industry are already trying to navigate proposed rules.  With an April 2022 deadline to have a […]

In Anthony, NM, a border community and its farmworkers find solidarity in the pandemic

ANTHONY, N.M. — Josh Jasso stood among mounds of greenery in an otherwise parched expanse, squinting at the fields of La Semilla Community Farm. “We’re feeling smaller and smaller in our fractured landscape,” said Jasso, the farm manager at La Semilla, which is located on a stretch of highway in […]

House Natural Resources Committee passes bill addressing orphaned oil and gas wells

A bill that would help states plug and clean up orphaned oil and gas wells passed the House Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday on a 22 to 17 vote. The Orphaned Well Clean Up and Jobs Act is sponsored by Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández, a Democrat from New Mexico. “Orphaned […]

Environmental groups say an EIS is needed for the San Juan carbon capture project

A group of nine environmental organizations sent a letter to the Department of Energy secretary requesting the initiation of a multi-agency environmental impact statement looking at Enchant Energy’s proposal to retrofit the San Juan Generating Station with carbon capture technology. If an EIS is required, it would delay the project […]

Lesser prairie chicken in New Mexico could be listed as endangered

Two populations of the lesser prairie chicken could receive federal species protections amid concerns about loss of habitat. The southern population would be listed as endangered while the northern population would receive protections as a threatened species, according to a press release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The […]

Where does New Mexico stand in the path to net zero emissions by 2050

The state of New Mexico has emerged in recent years as a leader in policies aimed at reducing emissions amid the climate crisis, but at the same time it has seen an increase in oil and gas production in the southern part of the state and faces challenges with inequitable […]

Incarcerated woman challenges New Mexico Corrections Department’s methadone policy

An incarcerated woman in New Mexico filed suit last month against the state Department of Corrections after officials allegedly discontinued her prescription for methadone. The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico filed an emergency injunctive relief on Monday in federal court for a plaintiff known as “S.B.” who suffers from […]

Recent storms have brought moisture, but fire danger remains

Recent rain and snow in parts of New Mexico have brought a temporary reprieve from the high fire dangers, but officials warn that the vegetation can dry out quickly and that precautions should be taken to prevent and prepare for wildfire. “My biggest concern and concern from fire management is […]

Two CYFD employees who raised concerns over deleted records were later fired

The New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department has fired two high-level employees who raised concerns about the agency’s practice of encrypting and summarily destroying records. A Searchlight New Mexico investigation has found that over the past year, the CYFD used the secure text messaging app Signal to discuss a […]

The future of reproductive healthcare in NM if Roe v. Wade is overturned

If the U.S. Supreme Court overturns or guts Roe v. Wade next year when it hears the case involving a Mississippi law that would ban abortion after 15 weeks, New Mexico could face a fight and increased harassment at clinics, according to reproductive rights experts. The U.S. Supreme Court announced […]

Analysis finds $8.1 billion gap in New Mexico bonding requirements, clean up costs for oil and gas

Oil and gas infrastructure could leave the state with a hefty price tag for cleanup  if companies go bankrupt, according to a new analysis completed by the Center for Applied Research. The analysis found an $8.18 billion difference between the bonds for the infrastructure in the state and the cost […]

NM Tax and Revenue: Lawmakers didn’t intend for cannabis tax breaks

The issue of whether taxes on medical cannabis sales in New Mexico should have been deductible prior to this year is one step closer to being heard by the state’s supreme court.  The state Attorney General’s office filed a brief on Monday with the New Mexico Supreme Court on behalf […]

Secretary of State and state Libertarian Party, argue legal ballot challenge lacks merit

Despite a special congressional election well underway, with many absentee ballots already returned and early in-person votes cast, the New Mexico Supreme Court may consider a case that challenges the validity of one of the candidates whose name is on the ballot.  In April, a state district judge dismissed a […]

Chaparral residents seek alternative to new El Paso Electric natural gas unit

When Ida Garcia looks out the kitchen window during cool mornings, plumes billowing from a power plant less than a mile away in Texas obscure her view of the broad Chihuahuan desert skies and expansive vistas. During hot summer days the plumes disappear but she still worries.  “We see that […]

Medical cannabis patient asks judge to rule on purchase limits

A New Mexico medical cannabis patient is challenging state rules for medical cannabis purchase limits.  Jason Barker, a medical cannabis patient and advocate, filed a request in Santa Fe’s First Judicial District Court earlier this month, asking a judge to compel the state’s Medical Cannabis Program and Cannabis Control Division […]

New Mexico utilities prepare for electric vehicles

While there may not be a lot of electric vehicles on the roads today, Kit Carson Electric Cooperative CEO Luis Reyes said his utility is taking steps to prepare for this to change in the upcoming years. Hundreds of electric vehicle charging stations have been installed around the state and […]

Heinrich requests protecting Chaco from oil and gas leasing

Sen. Martin Heinrich sent a letter to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland requesting an area surrounding Chaco Culture National Historical Park be protected from future oil and gas development. Heinrich, a New Mexico Democrat, asked Haaland to administratively withdraw the federal minerals within a 10-mile radius of the park from leasing. […]

Lawsuit against alleges civil rights violations by private prison company, Torrance County

Nine migrants who were detained in Torrance County Detention Facility and a nonprofit called the Santa Fe Dreamers Project are suing the operator of the facility and Torrance County for an alleged incident when guards pepper sprayed the detainees to disrupt a hunger strike last year. The nine individual plaintiffs […]

High density of rooftop solar can create challenges on the grid

With rooftop solar growing in demand, there are some places in New Mexico where residents are being told they cannot install solar panels due to capacity limitations. For example, Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) placed 178 applications for interconnection on hold in 2019 and 2020 because of capacity […]

Masks no longer required for those who are vaccinated (in most situations)

Those who are fully vaccinated can now go without masks in most situations in New Mexico—indoors or outdoors. The state Department of Health followed federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance in making sweeping changes to its suggested mask use. Getting vaccinated is the ticket to a safe and […]

Inhumane conditions and alleged sexual assault at NM women’s prisons

Many incarcerated women, often already traumatized from gender violence, potentially face re-traumatization once imprisoned in New Mexico through inhumane conditions and sexual assault, according to attorneys. Lalita Moskowitz, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico, said the inhumane conditions run the gamut in New Mexico prisons—from […]

Heinrich to introduce legislation to provide a ‘glide path’ for energy producing states

Sen. Martin Heinrich announced Thursday plans to introduce legislation that would help areas that depend on revenue from fossil fuels maintain balanced government and education budgets as the country moves toward a clean energy economy. Known as the Schools and State Budgets Certainty Act, the bill would provide funding to […]

Viva Las Vegas: The town is getting a pandemic revival thanks to local teens

LAS VEGAS, N.M. — A loud bass beat vibrated through the air in the kitchen of The Skillet, but line cook Kyle Conway worked in silence. The 18-year-old, a big kid with the suggestion of a mustache, spiralized potatoes into ribbon fries, dumped breaded green chile into bubbling oil and […]

Some energy transition funding project proposals include fossil fuels

As the northwest corner of New Mexico prepares for the closure of the San Juan Generating Station, at least one proposed project to help displaced workers could lead to increased natural gas extraction. Last year, the Energy Transition Act committee sent out a request for information on projects that could […]

New study looks at jaguar reintroduction possibilities

A big cat, largely absent from the United States since the 1960s after living in the southwest for thousands of years, could make a return to the area. Conservationists are now exploring reintroducing the jaguar to New Mexico and Arizona. A study published on Tuesday in the journal Conservation Science […]

Navajo-Gallup water delay spurs problem solving in arid Southwest

Early this year, five of Gallup, New Mexico’s 16 water wells stopped producing water, including two of its biggest. After a few days of maintenance, two worked. The other three were out of commission for more than a month. Had it happened in summer, the city might have asked residents […]

U.S. Health and Human Services stays restrictions on mifepristone

The U.S. Health and Human Services Department and the American Civil Liberties Union agreed to put a lawsuit on hold late last week that could have longer term implications for the abortion medication mifepristone. On Friday the HHS, which oversees the Food and Drug Administration, filed in Hawaii district court […]

Study finds high levels of methane emissions on Navajo Nation lands

Carol Davis, the director of the environmental advocacy group Diné CARE, recalled spending a few days camping near Counselor, New Mexico with other members of the advocacy group a few years ago and feeling sick from the emissions related to oil and gas production. “For me, being in a region […]

NMED releases ozone precursor rules

Following concerns from members of the environmental community, the New Mexico Environment Department removed the exemptions from the oil and gas sector ozone precursor rule for stripper and marginal wells. The department released the ozone precursor rule Thursday and filed a petition with the Environmental Improvement Board to review it. […]

‘America the Beautiful’ report outlines path toward 30 percent conservation by 2030

President Joe Biden has called for preserving 30 percent of the lands and waters in the United States by 2030 and, on Thursday, his administration released a report outlining how this could be accomplished. The report released on Thursday, called Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful 2021, states that three […]

Most of state is at turquoise level as vaccinations still grow

Nearly every county in New Mexico, including the state’s most populous counties, are set to be in the turquoise tier, which has the least capacity restrictions. “It’s exciting what’s happening to the color of the state,” Human Services Department Secretary Dr. David Scrase said, referring to the restrictions by county. […]

State agencies confirm medical cannabis purchase limits will not increase anytime soon

Two New Mexico state agencies confirmed on Wednesday in a letter that medical cannabis purchase limits will not increase, as it was previously suggested last month by a group of medical cannabis producers.  Related: NM medical cannabis patients should not expect increased purchase limits any time soon In an official […]

Heinrich touts transmission, agriculture and hydrogen as ways to address the climate crisis

Sen. Martin Heinrich said this week reinstating methane regulations that former President Donald Trump rolled back will buy time to take the next steps to addressing the climate crisis.  The Senate approved revoking the rollback of the methane regulations about a week ago and the House of Representatives, where the […]

Fungus that causes white-nose syndrome is found on bats in New Mexico caves

A fungus that causes the often-fatal white-nose syndrome in bats has been found in two caves in eastern New Mexico. These caves are located within the Bureau of Land Management’s Roswell Field Office in De Baca and Lincoln counties. BLM Wildlife Biologist Marikay Ramsey said New Mexico has not had […]

Children sentenced as adults are disproportionately children of color

When Carissa McGee was 16 years old, she was sentenced to 21 years in an adult correctional facility for stabbing two members of her family. McGee told NM Political Report she was mentally ill at the time, but the judge still sentenced her to more than two decades in prison. […]

Existing cannabis producers get an extension on licensing deadline

New Mexico medical cannabis producers that intend to continue doing business after commercial cannabis sales begin next year will not be required to renew their license this summer, according to state officials.  The state’s Department of Health and the Regulation and Licensing Department said in a letter that current medical […]

NM Political Report wins nine regional awards

NM Political Report won nine awards at the regional Society of Professional Journalists Region 9 “Top of the Rockies” contest, including four first place awards. The annual awards include journalists from Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. NM Political Report competed in the small newsroom group, except for in the […]

As outdoor recreation increases, OHVs departing from trails leave a noticeable impact

When it comes to outdoor recreation, departing from designated trails can have negative impacts on the areas. Axie Navas, the director of the state’s Outdoor Recreation Division, said mountain bicycles, hikers and off-highway vehicles can all leave their tracks across the landscapes. But when the driver of an off-highway vehicle, […]

Transgender woman to seek legislative seat

On Thursday, one of the first openly transgender people to seek a New Mexico legislative seat, Bunnie Benton Cruse, announced her intent to replace Rep. Melanie Stansbury for the state House. Stansbury is the Democratic nominee in the June 1 special election for the state’s 1st Congressional District, a seat […]

Amid drought, Interstate Stream Commission seeks federal support

As much of New Mexico faces exceptional drought conditions, the Interstate Stream Commission authorized its chairman to ask the Department of Interior for financial support. The commission approved delegating that authority to commission chairman during its meeting on Friday. The chairman will work with State Engineer John D’Antonio to request […]

NM medical cannabis patients should not expect increased purchase limits any time soon

The head of the department tasked with regulating recreational-use cannabis in New Mexico said medical cannabis patients should not expect purchase limits to be expanded, despite a letter from a group of New Mexico medical cannabis producers suggesting otherwise.   Last week, during an interview for the collaborative podcast Growing Forward, […]

Medical cannabis producer loses license

The New Mexico Department of Health has officially revoked the license to grow and manufacture medical cannabis from a Santa Fe-based company that experienced an explosion last year, resulting in injuries.   In an official determination signed by DOH Secretary Tracie Collins on Monday, the department officially revoked the license for […]

Citing millions in waste, ACLU calls for closure of 39 ICE facilities, including Otero County Processing Center

Citing $1 million a day of wasted federal dollars, the American Civil Liberties Union called on President Joe Biden’s administration on Wednesday to close 39 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facilities across the U.S., including the Otero County Processing Center in Chaparral. The federal government has been paying for […]

State accelerates reopening, could fully reopen by end of June

If all goes according to plan, the state will fully reopen by the end of June—and in the meantime, much of the state will be on the least restrictive, turquoise level after newly announced changes. “We are conquering COVID,” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said in a press conference on Wednesday […]

Senate votes to reverse Trump’s rollback of methane regulations

The U.S. Senate voted on Wednesday to restore methane regulations that were instituted under President Barack Obama and rolled back under President Donald Trump. The Senate used the Congressional Review Act to push for the repeal of Trump’s rollbacks of the Environmental Protection Agency methane reduction rule. The Congressional Review […]

WATCH: COVID-19 press conference with governor, health officials

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and health officials held a press conference on the state’s COVID-19 response on Wednesday. The remote press conference was webcast on the governor’s Facebook page. The video below is from the page.

In the state department charged with child welfare, leadership and staff avoid a paper trail with encrypted messaging.

Since last year, the department tasked with overseeing foster care and child welfare in New Mexico has been encrypting and routinely deleting its communications, making much of its work essentially untraceable.   The leadership of the Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) has directed staff to use Signal, a secure communication […]

Two transmission line projects in NM are listed in ‘ready to go’ report

A report released Tuesday by Americans for a Clean Energy Grid includes two New Mexico transmission projects that it says could move from advanced planning to construction if certain policies are changed. The report concludes that federal policy reform is needed in three areas: permitting, financing and planning. There are […]

Trust for Public Lands seeks to donate nearly 9,900 acres to expand Sabinoso Wilderness Area

A donation of nearly 9,900 acres of land in San Miguel County for the expansion of Sabinoso Wilderness could increase access to the remote landscape. The Trust for Public Lands is in the process of donating 9,855 acres known as Cañon Ciruela to the Bureau of Land Management. Public comments […]

New Mexico’s fight to escape the grasp of Big Oil and Gas

Antoinette Sedillo Lopez quickly learned the harsh reality of New Mexico politics after she was appointed to fill an empty seat in the state senate two years ago. One of the first bills she pushed sought a four-year pause on new fracking permits on state lands, taking that time to […]

Fisheries rule update may open remote creek for fishing

As the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish works to update its fisheries rule, a remote stream in the Gila wilderness could be opened for angling. Fishing has not been allowed in McKenna Creek in Catron County in an effort to protect a small Gila trout population. For decades, […]

Important dates in special congressional election

New Mexico’s special election for Congressional District 1 has an expedited timeline compared to other elections.  State law dictates that the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office holds an election within 90 days after a congressional seat is left vacant. That means a whole election cycle was crammed into a […]

Critics say PNM, Avangrid merger could hurt ratepayers, environment

Government entities, utilities and watchdog groups say a merger between Public Service Company of New Mexico and Avangrid could harm both ratepayers and the environment unless protections are included. These entities filed testimony in a New Mexico Public Regulation Commission case evaluating the merger. This merger is subject to the […]

Gov. Lujan Grisham: NM can lead the way in cannabis innovation

Recreational-use cannabis sales are a year away in New Mexico, but Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is already considering ways for the state to lead the market in innovation.  One idea, which she said she co-opted from her communications director, is some sort of fusion of cannabis and chile.  “It is […]

State unveils new red-to-green map, fewer counties in turquoise

A top state health official said he believed all counties in New Mexico could be at the green or turquoise level by the end of May. “Maybe I shouldn’t even say that, but my way of thinking, we will be an almost completely green and turquoise state by the end […]

PRC orders PNM to address past use of Palo Verde as it seeks to end its leases at the facility

State regulators asked the state’s largest utility to defend a past decision to continue leasing shares of a nuclear power plant as it now asks regulators to approve replacing that electricity with renewable sources. Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) has filed to replace the energy it gets from […]

American Lung Association releases State of the Air report

Bernalillo, Santa Fe and Taos counties received “A” grades from the American Lung Association in terms of particle pollution, however ozone pollution remains a problem. Bernalillo County received an “F” for the number of high ozone days while Santa Fe County received a “C.” Data was not available to evaluate […]

NM congressional candidates take part in the New Mexico Black Voters Collaborative forum

Three candidates running in the race to fill the 1st Congressional district vacancy fielded questions on Tuesday night in the election’s first public forum. The New Mexico Black Voters Collaborative organized and moderated the forum, which took place just hours after a Minnesota jury found former Minneapolis police officer Derek […]

FDA reverses decision on abortion medication mifepristone

After a year of legal fighting over mifepristone, the Food and Drug Administration has reversed itself, allowing the abortion medication to be prescribed during the COVID-19 pandemic through telehealth. The FDA, under the Donald Trump administration, would not allow mifepristone to be prescribed through telehealth, citing safety concerns, during the […]

The retired Escalante Power Plant may be converted into a hydrogen plant

When Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc. announced the closure of the Escalante Power Plant in 2020, McKinley and Cibola counties braced for the economic impacts of losing a major employer. But a possible new owner is hoping to breathe life back into the closed coal-fired generating station through a […]

State land commissioner says the office is nearing her goal for renewable energy development

When Stephanie Garcia Richard took the office of State Land Commissioner following the 2018 elections, she had the goal of tripling renewable energy development on state lands. “We are very rapidly closing in on that goal two years later,” Garcia Richard told NM Political Report. There were 453 megawatts of […]

Conflicting views on medical cannabis as a prescription

Amid a pending New Mexico Supreme Court case concerning medical cannabis taxes, one state cabinet official seems to have a different view on whether medical cannabis recommendations from medical professionals are the same as traditional prescriptions, at least when it comes to COVID-19 vaccine priority.  According to an email from […]

Federal lawmakers seek funds to plug orphaned oil and gas wells

Even though they aren’t actively producing oil or gas, orphaned wells can still spew climate-changing gases into the atmosphere and threaten water sources. U.S. Sen. Ben Ray Luján, a Democrat from New Mexico, said plugging these wells is an important step to protecting communities and can help put people back […]

Reversal of Trump gag rule on Title X funding proposed by the Biden administration

This week, the Joe Biden administration proposed to reverse a Donald Trump administration gag rule that affects how some family planning clinics provide abortion care information. Title X is a federal grant program that enables clinics to offer family planning services and preventive reproductive health care, primarily to low-income families […]

Court throws out challenge of Libertarian congressional candidate

A New Mexico state district judge ruled on Thursday that a Libertarian candidate for Congress will remain on the ballot for the June 1 special election to fill a 1st Congressional District vacancy.  Santa Fe judge Glenn Ellington ruled from the bench that claims challenging the validity of the Libertarian […]

Habitat Stamp Project funding requests range from riparian restoration to protecting elk habitat

Beaver once swam in Big Bear Creek in the Lincoln National Forest and built their dams in the area, which improved the ecosystem. But the semi-aquatic rodents have since abandoned that part of their range amid habitat loss. “We’ve lost a lot of the riparian vegetation, the biomass and species […]

With fewer people getting tested in clinics, Planned Parenthood expands at-home STI testing

Planned Parenthood clinics in New Mexico are expanding telehealth medicine to include testing for sexually transmitted infections at home. Adrienne Mansanares, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains chief experience officer, said that since the COVID-19 pandemic, Planned Parenthood clinics are seeing fewer patients getting tested for sexually transmitted infections (STI). […]

NM’s congressional race is on a tight deadline

In about three weeks, registered voters in the 1st Congressional District can start casting ballots to fill the vacant seat. The rushed and non-traditional nature of this election could prove difficult for the candidates.  Complicating issues, the state is still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic that emerged last year, meaning […]

Medical cannabis producers call for increased plant limits

Just days after New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a recreational-use cannabis bill into law and less than 90 days before the law goes into effect, some in the existing medical cannabis industry want state officials to immediately increase the amount of cannabis they can grow.  A group of […]

Environmental group reaches settlement with Wildlife Services suit over animal killing policies

A federal agency kills thousands of wild animals annually through contracts aimed at protecting livestock and agriculture interests, but a conservation advocacy group hopes a new legal settlement will reduce the number of animals killed in New Mexico. The settlement comes after WildEarth Guardians sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s […]

Feds, state pause Johnson & Johnson vaccine administration

The state of New Mexico paused its distribution of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after reports of possibly related, very rare blood clots. The state made the announcement on Tuesday after recommendations by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the federal Food and Drug Administration citing […]

The two hospitals have similar infant death rates — until you look at extremely premature babies

It was morning shift change at Lovelace Women’s Hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In the neonatal intensive care unit, the lights were dimmed, as usual. People spoke in hushed tones typical of the NICU. But an arriving clinician knew immediately that something had gone wrong.

A “crash cart” carrying resuscitation equipment was positioned next to a newborn incubator, the enclosed cribs that keep preterm babies warm. Nurses stood nearby with grim expressions.

The incubator light illuminated an infant’s swollen, discolored belly.

Governor signs cannabis legalization into law

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Monday signed two bills that, together, legalize the use and possession of cannabis and expunge previous cannabis related criminal records.  “This legislation is a major, major step forward for our state,” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said in a statement. “Legalized adult-use cannabis is […]

NM medical cannabis revocation hearings blocked from the public

Last October, the Santa Fe Fire Department responded to an explosion at a well-known medical cannabis manufacturing facility. Besides being an early medical cannabis producer and manufacturer, the company, New Mexicann, experienced a similar explosion in 2015. Both instances reportedly resulted in employee injuries, but the latest explosion also resulted […]

New Mexico is experiencing climate change in the form of drought

Hydrologist Katrina Bennett describes extreme weather events like droughts and floods as the way that human societies experience climate change. These events are immediately noticeable and can have rippling impacts, including economic repercussions. These events will become more frequent and intense amid climate change, according to a paper Bennett published […]

Youth activists plan protest as oil and gas industry group presents award to Lujan Grisham (Retracted)

When following up on this story after the supposed award, NM Political Report learned that Youth United for Climate Crisis Action invented the fake award as a “creative hook” according to a spokesperson for the group. The governor’s office was not aware of the non-existent award from the non-existent group. […]

Guv signs two health-related bills that advance equity, say advocates

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed two health-related bills Wednesday that will advance equity, advocates have said. Lujan Grisham signed the Healthy Workplaces Act.  HB 20, whose lead sponsor was Rep. Christine Chandler, D-Albuquerque, mandates that all private sector employers must provide up to 64 hours of paid sick leave a […]

Leger Fernandez visits Cerro de la Olla amid push to designate it as a wilderness area

Some places are so special that they deserve the highest level of protection, said U.S. Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez, a Democrat who represents northern New Mexico. Cerro de la Olla is one of those places, she said. The dome-shaped caldera already has some protections as part of the Rio Grande […]

Half of New Mexico adults have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose

New Mexico has now given at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine to half of its population age 16 or older, according to the state’s Health Secretary. Dr. Tracie Collins, the secretary of the state Department of Health, said that in addition to the nearly 50 percent of people […]

Governor signs Environmental Database Act

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed legislation Wednesday that will make it easier for the public to access environmental data. HB 51, the Environmental Database Act, will lead to the creation of a map-based database hosted and managed by Natural Heritage New Mexico, which is a division of the Museum of […]

Guv signs New Mexico Civil Rights Act into law, ends qualified immunity

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed the New Mexico Civil Rights Act, which ends qualified immunity as a legal defense, into law on Wednesday. Advocates have said the law will bring greater equity to New Mexico as it also enables individuals whose state constitutional rights have been violated to bring a […]

Officials say plugging orphaned wells protects public health and environment

At the end of their useful life, every oil and gas well must be plugged to prevent future contamination as the infrastructure ages and to return the site back to its original state. For the most part, this is done by the operator. However, sometimes bankruptcies lead to wells becoming […]

Tax bill that advocates say will bring greater equity signed into law

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a bill on Tuesday that child welfare advocates have said will be a game changer in New Mexico. HB 291 expands tax credits for families. Rep. Javier Martinez, D-Albuquerque, was the lead sponsor of the bill. The new law makes the tax code more equitable […]

New Mexico one of few states to pass pro-reproductive rights legislation this year

With more than 500 pieces of anti-abortion legislation under consideration in state legislatures around the country, New Mexico’s passage of SB 10, which decriminalized abortion, bucked the nationwide trend. Only one other state passed abortion rights legislation this year. Because the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to consider and rule […]

Guv signs bills that protect against discrimination for hair and hairstyles

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed two companion bills into law on Monday that will protect against discrimination for natural hair, hairstyles or cultural or religious headdress in schools and workplaces. The signings came amid a flurry of bill-signings, where the governor signed over 50 pieces of legislation on Monday, days […]

Gov. Lujan Grisham signs community solar, trapping ban, Gila Diversion bills

Mayane Barudin, a self-described solar nerd, would like solar energy. However, as a renter, she is unable to place the panels on the roof of the Albuquerque home that she rents. Barudin, who works as the interior west director and tribal liaison for Vote Solar, hopes a new law will […]

A nearly 300-megawatt wind farm is in the works in Quay and Curry counties

The developer of a nearly 300-megawatt wind farm is seeking location approval from the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission. The Grady Martin Wind Project would encompass more than 37,000 acres of land in Quay and Curry counties just north of the Village of Grady.  The PRC unanimously approved a schedule […]

Gary Johnson reacts to Legislature passing cannabis legalization bill

Pending a signature from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, New Mexico is set to become the latest state to fully legalize cannabis. And while the state has received an abundance of national attention for the feat, some may have forgotten or overlooked the national attention a former governor garnered more than […]

PNM’s plans for the future include reduced baseload power and increased renewable energy

New Mexico’s largest electric utility is planning to reduce its baseload power while increasing power generated by renewable sources and possibly adding natural gas generation with turbines capable of producing power from hydrogen. Baseload generation provides a relatively steady supply of power. Currently, Public Service Company of New Mexico, or […]

Albuquerque Domestic Violence Prevention Task Force recommends ways to better address domestic violence

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller’s Domestic Violence Prevention Task Force recommended that the city develop a permanent line-item in the city budget to address domestic violence, sexual assault and intimate partner violence. According to the report, which the Domestic Violence Prevention Task Force provided to Keller this week, domestic violence programs […]

Recap of New Mexico COVID-19 news (4/2/21 edition)

This morning recap of COVID-19 news from New Mexico is available in a free email every Friday. Sign up here. See all of our COVID-19 coverage here. As of Thursday, the state Department of Health reported 191,945 total cases of COVID-19 and 3,942 deaths related to the disease. As of Thursday, […]

New Mexico approves landmark recreational-use cannabis bill

New Mexico is slated to be the 18th state to legalize recreational-use cannabis and the fifth state to do so legislatively.  HB 2, sponsored by Rep. Javier Martínez, D-Albuquerque, Rep. Andrea Romero, D-Albuquerque and three other legislators, sped through multiple committee hearings and Senate and House Floor debates in less […]

Democrats pick Stansbury as candidate for CD1 race

Albuquerque State Rep. Melanie Stansbury emerged from a two-day, two-round process to become the Democratic nominee for the 1st Congressional District special election in June. Stansbury narrowly defeated State Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, also from Albuquerque, in the second round, with 103 votes from the party’s central committee members in […]

Legislature sends expungement bill to governor’s desk

A bill to expunge cannabis-related criminal offenses that would no longer be illegal if cannabis is legalized is headed to the governor’s desk. The effort began with 11 amendments in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, which the committee later adopted as a committee substitute, and another on the Senate […]

NM to open vaccines to all residents age 16+ on Monday

Beginning on Monday, April 5, all New Mexicans over the age of 16 will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, entering the “phase 2” of the state’s vaccine distribution plan. This comes as New Mexico remains the leader on COVID-19 vaccine administration. As of Tuesday’s vaccination numbers, 44.2 percent […]

House cannabis legalization bill passes two committees, heads to the floor

A cannabis legalization bill passed two committees, one on Tuesday afternoon and the other during the early hours of Wednesday morning. It’s slated for a floor debate next  HB 2, sponsored by Rep. Javier Martínez, D-Albuquerque, and Rep. Andrea Romero, D-Santa Fe, along with three other lawmakers, first passed the […]

Expungement bill passes Senate committee

A Senate committee passed a heavily amended piece of legislation to expunge the criminal records of those convicted of cannabis-related crimes that would no longer be crimes under the proposed cannabis legalization bill working its way through the special session. The bill would provide for automatic expungement of cannabis related […]

Gov. signs bill to eliminate fines for juvenile offenders

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Tuesday signed a bill into law that will eliminate certain fines and fees for juvenile offenders, “aligning with the juvenile justice reform efforts of the Children, Youth and Families Department,” the Governor’s Office said in a news release. Juveniles convicted of possession of marijuana will […]

NM Ethics Commission dismisses ethics complaint by DOH secretary against state senator

The New Mexico Ethics Commission effectively dismissed a complaint filed by a state cabinet secretary against a state senator.  In a letter to New Mexico Department of Health Secretary Tracie Collins, the commission’s executive director Jeremy Farris wrote that the commission would not consider Collins’ complaint against Democratic Sen. Jacob […]

More contentious debates over cannabis legalization expected during the special session

The New Mexico Legislature is slated to start a special session Tuesday to address economic development and full cannabis legalization. But there is still a question of how much support cannabis legalization will garner from both Republicans and Democrats.  About an hour after the regular 2021 legislative session ended, Gov. […]

New Mexico sues, argues interim nuclear storage facility could put environment, economy at risk

Concerns that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has not properly vetted a proposal to locate a nuclear waste storage facility in Lea and Eddy counties led New Mexico to file a lawsuit on Monday in U.S. District Court. Holtec International, a New Jersey-based company, filed an application in 2017 for […]

2021 legislative session historic for LGBTQ causes

With six openly queer legislators participating in the 2021 New Mexico legislative session, many in the LGBTQ community said this past session was important in the advancement of equal rights. But also, legislation that would repeal the state’s ban on abortion, remove qualified immunity as a legal defense and enable […]

Environmental Database Act aims to increase transparency for publicly-available state data

A transparency bill that would make it easier for the public to access environmental data is awaiting the governor’s signature. HB 51, the Environmental Database Act, aims to make data that is already available through state agencies easily accessible at a single location. While the information that would be included […]

Republicans name Moores as CD1 nominee

Republicans picked State Sen. Mark Moores as the party’s candidate for the upcoming special election to fill the 1st Congressional District vacancy. Moores, a Republican from Albuquerque, announced his entry into the race in mid-March. Moores owns a laboratory that, over the last year, collected samples of COVID-19 testing. The […]

Criminal cannabis operations that took root in Navajo Nation could pop up in other Indigenous communities

Last year, Dineh Benally, the former president of San Juan River Farm Board in the Navajo Nation, oversaw the transformation of 400 acres of cropland into illegal marijuana farms across the Shiprock chapter in the northeast corner of the reservation. Despite a state, federal and tribal crackdown on the operation, […]

Special session for cannabis legalization to start March 30

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced on Friday that she will call the state Legislature back for a special session on Tuesday, March 30.  The special session will start just ten days after the end of the state’s regular, 60-day session. At the end of the regular session, Lujan […]

State and federal child tax credits improve equity for children of color in the state

Tax credits that recently passed the New Mexico Legislature and the U.S. Congress will improve child poverty and equity issues, according to child welfare advocates. The New Mexico Legislature passed HB 291, a bill that will raise revenue by about $5 million annually, said James Jimenez, executive director of New […]

Environmental advocates praise adoption of final methane waste rule

Mario Atencio, an activist from the Greater Chaco region of New Mexico, said the methane waste rule adopted by the Oil Conservation Commission on Thursday will set energy production in New Mexico on a path trending toward fairness. Atencio’s community in the Counselor Chapter of Navajo Nation is among the […]

Rural community stakeholders want lawmakers to address equity in cannabis legalization

New Mexico lawmakers are gearing up for a special legislative session, that will at least be mostly focused on legalizing adult-use cannabis. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced her intention to call a special session just after this year’s regular legislative session, but didn’t specify the exact date when it would […]

NM has no ‘red’ tier counties; most of state turquoise or green

New Mexico hit a new milestone during the COVID-19 pandemic: No counties are currently in the “red” tier of restrictions, the most restrictive conditions.  With Wednesday’s updates, which uses data from the previous two weeks to show which level of restrictions each county sits in, 13 counties are in the […]

Democrats eye Medicare negotiations to lower drug prices

Democrats, newly in control of Congress and the White House, are united behind an idea that Republican lawmakers and major drugmakers fiercely oppose: empowering the Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate the prices of brand-name drugs covered by Medicare. This story also ran on Fortune. It can be […]

Feds move forward with New Mexico drilling plan despite community outcry

For nine years, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has wrangled through an update to oil and gas permitting procedures for the San Juan Basin in northwestern New Mexico. The update was sparked by decades old changes in drilling technology already used in an area that gained notoriety for having one […]

So you’re vaccinated against COVID. Now what?

n March 22, 2021 As you surely know, this country’s covid vaccination effort has been plagued by major birth pangs: registration snafus, poor communication, faulty data and a scant supply of vaccine — all exacerbated by inequitable allocation, alleged political favoritism and unseemly jockeying for shots. Still, as of Friday, […]

The 2021 Legislature called ‘historic’ and ‘extraordinary’ by reproductive justice advocates

With the passage of legislation to repeal the state’s outdated abortion ban and the New Mexico Civil Rights Act, many in the reproductive justice community called the 2021 Legislative session “extraordinary.” All reproductive rights groups NM Political Report spoke with cited the passage of the Respect New Mexico Women and […]

Legislature shines light on itself

The Legislature concluded Saturday, which also happened to be the final day of Sunshine Week, so it’s only fitting that we review a couple of transparency measures taken up by the Legislature.  In short: it’s a mixed bag. One prominent measure five years in the making passed, and if the governor […]

A dramatic finish to New Mexico’s legislative session

New Mexico’s 2021 legislative session had ended only about an hour before the governor said she plans to bring lawmakers back to the Capitol in coming days. Talk of a special session to wrap up a cannabis bill — a high priority for Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and many Democratic […]

After dustup, accusations of bullying, senators will undergo sensitivity training

After a floor confrontation in the final days of the legislative session that some lawmakers described as “abusive” and “demeaning,” Senate President Pro Tem Mimi Stewart said Saturday members of the typically civil chamber will have to undergo sensitivity training from now on. “We’ve all seen what’s happened when we […]

What passed, what didn’t during the legislative session

What prevailed State budget: Near the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, state economists projected a nearly $1 billion budget shortfall in the fiscal year that starts July 1. Thanks to an infusion of federal pandemic relief money and much more optimistic revenue projections from oil and gas, the state government will […]

Governor, legislators speak about end of session

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and legislators spoke about legislative successes and what they expect to happen with bills that didn’t cross the finish line, including a pending special session to pass recreational cannabis.  Lujan Grisham said she was proud of how much work was done in a session marred by […]

Cannabis legalization runs out of time, governor will call for a special session

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham confirmed on Saturday that she plans to call a special legislative session aimed at fully legalizing cannabis and said it will begin “on or about” March 31.  In a post-legislative session press conference, Lujan Grisham said the work lawmakers did to try and come […]

Paid sick leave bill heads to Guv’s desk

The House voted 41 to 26 to agree with Senate changes to the paid sick leave bill on the final morning of the Legislature on Saturday.   HB 20, whose lead sponsor was Rep. Christine Chandler, a Democrat from Los Alamos, would mandate that all private employers provide up to 64 […]

State expands COVID-19 vaccine to nearly all residents

The state of New Mexico announced on Friday that it would expand who is eligible to receive a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to phases 1B and 1C, which includes virtually all New Mexicans ages 16 or older.  The new eligibility includes frontline essential workers, residents of congregate care facilities, […]

Paid sick leave passes Senate after lengthy, acrimonious debate including a filibuster

The state Senate passed the Healthy Workplaces bill 25 to 16 after a lengthy debate that stretched into the early hours of Friday during which Democrats sparred against each other on the chamber floor over the treatment of the bill’s sponsor, while Republicans railed against the bill and one even […]

In landmark vote, effort to increase early childhood education, K-12 funds passes Senate

State Rep. Moe Maestas sat quietly on a metal folding chair, his hands clasped together, as he watched the three-hour debate play out around him on the Senate floor. At stake was hundreds of millions of dollars for early childhood and public education programs.  As the call to vote came around […]

Ban on trapping on public lands narrowly heads to governor’s desk

A renewed effort to ban trapping on public land in New Mexico moved through the House of Representatives by a close vote of 35-34 and is now on its way to the governor’s desk for a signature. In addition to outlawing the use of traps, Senate Bill 32 would prohibit […]

House-backed cannabis legalization bill heads to Senate Floor

After a series of successful and attempted amendments and three hours of debate, a House-backed legalization effort passed its last Senate committee by a 5-4 vote and is now headed to the chamber’s floor.  The Senate Judiciary Committee debate started Wednesday night and ended early Thursday morning, though Chairman Joseph […]

Senate sends amended $7.4 billion budget proposal to House

A $7.4 billion budget that would increase state government spending by 4.8 percent in the upcoming fiscal year cleared the New Mexico Senate along a mostly party-line vote Wednesday after an hourslong debate riddled with political potshots and last-minute amendments. “Not everybody’s going to like what’s in the budget,” said […]

Lawmakers upset at Senate Judiciary bottleneck

In the sometimes Byzantine world of the New Mexico Legislature, there might be nothing that rankles a lawmaker more than when their bill lingers in a committee, waiting days or even weeks for a hearing. Many delays are caused by the sheer number of bills lawmakers consider in a legislative […]

Gov. Lujan Grisham signs liquor law change

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Wednesday signed into law what evolved into a sweeping change of state liquor laws.  HB 255, sponsored by Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas, D-Albuquerque, was originally intended to allow alcohol deliveries and add a new type of liquor dispensing license. But through a series […]

Limitations on medical cannabis reciprocity heads to House floor

While two efforts to legalize and regulate recreational-use cannabis are coming down to the wire, legislation aimed at limiting medical cannabis reciprocity appears to be on a fast track to the governor’s desk.  SB 340, sponsored by Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino, D-Albuquerque, passed the House Judiciary Committee unanimously on […]

Special election to fill CD1 vacancy set for June 1

The special election to fill the now-vacant 1st Congressional District will take place on June 1. Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver announced the date and said she would formally issue the special election proclamation on Thursday. The seat, which is centered in the Albuquerque area, is now vacant because […]

Civil rights bill passes Senate but must return to House (Updated)

The New Mexico Civil Rights bill passed the state Senate 26 to 15 but with only three-and-a-half days until the end of the legislative session, the bill must return to the House floor for concurrence because the Senate amended the bill. Update: On Wednesday afternoon, the House concurred with the […]

Bill to tap land grant permanent fund for early childhood education clears hurdle

Advocates behind a years-long effort to draw more money for early childhood programs from a multibillion-dollar state investment fund celebrated a major triumph Tuesday. Legislation is headed to the Senate floor for the first time following a 7-4 vote of approval by the Senate Finance Committee — known for stalling […]

Paid Sick Leave bill passes Senate Judiciary by slim margin

After a lengthy debate around some of the language and regulatory details of the Healthy Workplaces bill, the Senate Judiciary passed the paid sick leave proposal on a 5 to 4 vote. HB 20 would enable all private employees to accrue up to 64 hours of paid sick leave per […]

Senate Judiciary Chair awaiting changes to cannabis legalization bill

The chairman of a New Mexico Senate committee that is key to getting a House-backed cannabis legalization effort to the Senate floor said he is still waiting on expected changes before scheduling a hearing.  Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Joseph Cervantes said he was told by Senate leadership that HB 12, […]

Deb Haaland resigns as she takes over reins of Interior Department

Deb Haaland delivered her final speech in Congress on Tuesday. Haaland resigned from her congressional seat a day after her confirmation as Secretary of the Department of the Interior. “I thought I would have more time here, but we are called to service in different ways. Though I’m excited to […]

Aid-in-dying bill poised to become law in New Mexico

The New Mexico Senate passed a controversial bill Monday that would allow terminally ill patients who are of sound mind to take their own lives with the aid of a physician. The bill will soon head to the desk of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who is expected to sign the […]

What’s next for the First Congressional District seat

With U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland’s confirmation as Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, her replacement in Congress will be chosen through a special election that will be held later this year. State law says the Secretary of State must declare a special election within ten days of a […]

Senate approves effort to clarify medical cannabis reciprocity

The New Mexico Senate approved on Monday a bill that would more narrowly define medical cannabis reciprocity by a 28-10 vote.  Sponsored by Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino, D-Albuquerque, SB 340 would specify that reciprocal cannabis patients in New Mexico cannot be a local resident and that reciprocal patients must […]

New Mexico not changing time change this year

Still feeling fatigued and cranky after this past weekend’s change to daylight saving time? Get used to it. A bill that would have led to the possibility of New Mexico staying on a single time year-round is dead. Members of the House Commerce and Economic Development Committee voted 7-3 to […]

Haaland confirmed as Interior Secretary

The U.S. Senate voted to confirm Deb Haaland as Secretary of the Interior on a 51-40 vote Monday afternoon. With the vote, Haaland, an enrolled member of the Laguna Pueblo, became the first Native American cabinet-level official in U.S. history and put her in charge of a sprawling department with […]

Senate committee advances paid sick leave bill

Private employers in New Mexico may no longer get to decide whether paid sick leave is a benefit they want to offer their workers. A bill that would ensure employees in the state have access to paid time off when they’re sick cleared the Senate Tax, Business and Transportation Committee […]

Medical cannabis reciprocity bill heads to the Senate floor

A state Senate committee narrowly advanced a bill Sunday that would prevent New Mexico residents from becoming reciprocal cannabis patients by a 3-2 vote.  Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino, D-Albuquerque, the sponsor of SB 340, said the law change is necessary to ensure integrity of the state’s Medical Cannabis Program. […]

Legislative roundup on bills that advance equity

Three bills passed the state Senate Sunday night that will, if they become law, advance equity for the LGBTQ community and people of color. SB 213, called the panic defense bill, passed by a vote of 41 to 0 with no debate. Sponsored by state Sen. Jacob Candelaria, D-Albuquerque, the […]

Senate Judiciary Committee approves aid-in-dying bill

A controversial bill that would allow terminally ill patients who are of sound mind to ask a physician to prescribe drugs to help them die is moving to the Senate floor. The Senate Judiciary Committee on Sunday voted 5-3 to support the Elizabeth Whitefield End-of-Life Options Act. The committee’s three […]

Working to get the word out from the New Mexico Senate

Chris Nordstrum was in third or fourth grade when he was called to the Governor’s Office for the first time.  He wasn’t in trouble. He had won a school poster contest through the Secretary of State’s Office and went to the Roundhouse to claim his award.  “I remember being in complete […]

House committee advances proposal to alter legislative session lengths

The New Mexico House Judiciary Committee advanced on Saturday a proposal to change a fundamental piece of how the state Legislature operates, although some committee members signaled that it will likely die before Saturday when the session ends.  House Joint Resolution 13, is a bipartisan proposal that aims to change […]

Environment protections bill passes New Mexico Senate

A bill that would allow the state of New Mexico to adopt air quality and hazardous waste rules more stringent than federal regulations survived a challenge Friday from Senate Republicans, who had previously stalled the measure with a procedural maneuver that kept it in limbo for days. Sponsored by Senate […]

New Mexico ethics commission likely to dismiss 2 of 3 complaints against Egolf

The New Mexico State Ethics Commission will “likely” dismiss two of three complaints filed by a retired judge against House Speaker Brian Egolf, according to a letter the commission sent to the complainant Friday. But the third charge — that Egolf failed to communicate a potential conflict of interest — is […]

Time grows thin for two redistricting bills for New Mexico

The legislative challenge to choose a process for redistricting still hasn’t been settled. Lawmakers have just one week to get the job done.  On Friday, members of the House Judiciary Committee voted to advance two bills that each would create an independent commission to redraw election district boundaries for congressional […]

Legislation to fund early childhood education from Land Grant Permanent Fund gets hearing

In some ways, it was a historic legislative moment. The Senate Finance Committee — renowned as being the morgue for repeated efforts to draw permanent fund money for early childhood education — held a hearing Thursday to discuss that proposal, known as House Joint Resolution 1. But the committee did […]

Senate passes clean fuel bill despite concerns about higher gas prices

A proposal to reduce New Mexico’s carbon footprint by going after greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector fueled a spirited debate Thursday in the state Senate. At issue is whether Senate Bill 11, which would create a statewide clean fuel standard, would lead to higher prices at the gas […]

Some look to improve independent redistricting proposal

With just over a week to go before this year’s legislative session ends, the prospect of lawmakers coming through with an independent redistricting plan is looking more likely. But some involved in the process still have concerns about Senate Bill 15, which the Senate unanimously approved Wednesday. The measure would […]

Senate passes bill protecting hair and hair styles in schools and workplace

A bill to protect people in school or the workplace from discrimination based on their hair or hairstyles passed 37 to 0 in the Senate Thursday. SB 80 would amend the New Mexico Human Rights Act to prevent discrimination based on cultural or religious headdresses and protective hairstyles and would […]

Recap of New Mexico COVID-19 news (3/12/21 edition): NM came close to rationing care

In case you didn’t see the past two days: The COVID-19 recap will be moving to a weekly format next week.  Thursday was the one-year anniversary of the first case of COVID-19 in New Mexico and the anniversary of the first public health emergency. While the tone of a press […]

One year of COVID-19 in New Mexico

Shortly before noon on March 11, 2020, the New Mexico Department of Health announced a public health emergency for the growing spread of COVID-19. The same day, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a  pandemic. In New Mexico, the governor and health officials held an in-person press conference in […]

State gets improved revenue projections

The prospect of additional state funds brought welcome news for New Mexico’s college students Wednesday. Based on an improved revenue outlook, New Mexico will have an additional $373 million to spend, bringing the state budget to $7.436 billion, financial experts said during a Senate Finance Committee hearing.  The extra money […]

Civil Rights bill heads to Senate floor

A bill that would end qualified immunity as a defense for claims under the state’s Civil Rights Act passed the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday night with a tie-breaking vote from the chairman of the committee. Sen. Joseph Cervantes, D-Las Cruces, broke the tie on HB 4, the New Mexico Civil […]

Bill expanding New Mexico’s ‘red-flag’ gun law fizzles

A controversial bill to expand New Mexico’s so-called red-flag gun law appears to be a victim of more pressing priorities in this year’s 60-day legislative session. “For all intents and purposes, it’s gone, unless something really radical changes,” one of the sponsors, Rep. Daymon Ely, D-Corrales, said Wednesday. “But there are […]

Recap of New Mexico COVID-19 news (3/11/21 edition)

See all of our COVID-19 coverage here. We began the COVID-19 recap at NM Political Report on March 11 of last year. Since then, we have published hundreds of editions of the recap, including seven days a week for several weeks, then for most weekdays following. In recent weeks, the […]

Liquor law overhaul heads to governor

After extensive changes through a series of amendments, the New Mexico Senate on Tuesday approved a bill aimed at allowing alcohol delivery and making other significant changes to the state’s liquor laws by a 29-11 vote.  Shortly after the Senate passed HB 255, the House voted to concur with the […]

Two cannabis legalization bills move forward

The two remaining cannabis legalization bills in the New Mexico Legislature each passed a Senate committee on Tuesday. Both bills now head to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is the last stop for one bill before its likely last floor debate.  The Senate Tax, Business and Transportation Committee passed HB […]

Independent redistricting commission bill clears Senate unanimously

Efforts to ensure New Mexico has an independent redistricting commission plan — once seen as an uphill climb at best — are now moving with momentum. The Senate voted 39-0 to approve a compromise bill that, if enacted into law, would play a major role in setting boundaries for Congress, the […]

Recap of New Mexico COVID-19 news (3/10/21 edition)

This morning recap of COVID-19 news from New Mexico is available in a free email every weekday. Sign up here. See all of our COVID-19 coverage here. We began the COVID-19 recap at NM Political Report on March 11 of last year. Since then, we have published hundreds of editions of […]

New Mexico’s coming megadrought highlights farmers’ control of water

High above south-central New Mexico, satellite imagery shows a brown sea in arid Socorro County, broken up only by the Rio Grande, which splits the county and the state down the middle. Here in the northern reaches of the Chihuahuan Desert, it rains maybe 10 inches annually and the sun shines […]

Bill to lower insurance premiums for some heads to Senate

A bill that backers have said would lower insurance premiums and provide subsidies to help individuals and small businesses with health care cost passed the House 43 to 25 Monday. HB 122, sponsored by House Rep. Debbie Armstrong, D-Albuquerque, will place a surtax on insurance companies if it passes. The […]

Senate Republicans stall environmental protections

A bill that would allow the state and certain local authorities to enact environmental protections more stringent than federal regulations stalled Monday when Republicans pulled a legislative maneuver that requires every member of the chamber to be physically present in the Roundhouse. “We’re gonna roll over this bill,” said Senate […]

Senate redistricting proposal heads to the Senate floor

After a slow, bumpy and contentious start, a bill that would create an independent redistricting commission is on its way to the Senate floor. Senate Bill 15, a compromise bill sponsored by Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto, D-Albuquerque, and hammered out in the Senate Rules Committee less than a week ago, earned a […]

Bill to amend the New Mexico Human Rights Act passes House

A bill that would amend the New Mexico Human Rights Act to include public agencies passed the House 52 to 14. HB 192, sponsored by Rep. Brittany Barreras, D-Albuquerque, had a quick debate during the Saturday House floor session. The bill would amend the state’s Human Rights Act to clarify […]

House bill calls for a commission to reduce hunger in New Mexico

The best thing about being a farmer, said Donne Gonzales of Chamisal, is rising every morning to hear the world wake up. The 26-year-old New Mexico native loves the morning songs of the birds and the rush of water in the acequias. To her, these sounds speak to the land’s power […]

Doctors urge lawmakers to pass Healthy Workplaces bill

During a press conference on Friday, two New Mexico doctors urged the state senate and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to support the Healthy Workplaces bill during a press conference on Friday. HB 20 passed the House 36 to 33 after a three-hour debate on Sunday. Republicans, all of whom voted […]

Bill to keep NM on daylight saving time clears Senate

New Mexicans might no longer have to change their clocks twice a year. An ongoing effort to keep New Mexico on daylight saving time year-round passed the Senate on a 22-18 vote Friday. But it’s far from a done deal. Not only does Senate Bill 102 still need approval from […]

Gas tax increase aims to help state’s subpar roads

New Mexico’s roadways are in terrible shape, and they’re costing the average driver $767 annually in additional vehicle operating costs, according to a new report. But motorists don’t need to read a narrative to understand the condition of New Mexico’s interstates, highways and roads. “All you have to do is […]

Bill to end new contracts on private prisons passes House committee

A bill to impose a moratorium on new contracts for private prison facilities passed the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee 3 to 2. Rep. Angelica Rubio, D-Las Cruces, and a co-sponsor of HB 352, described it as “a newer version” of HB 40, which stalled at the House Appropriations […]

Community solar bill heads to the House

A bill that would allow communities to subscribe to local solar facilities passed the Senate floor Thursday.  SB 84, sponsored by Democratic Senators Liz Stefanics of Cerrillos and Linda Lopez of Albuquerque, would direct the Public Regulation Commission to evaluate existing community solar programs and develop and adopt rules for […]

Recap of New Mexico COVID-19 news (3/5/21 edition)

This morning recap of COVID-19 news from New Mexico is available in a free email every weekday. Sign up here. See all of our COVID-19 coverage here. The state Department of Health reported 259 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday according to raw data and 16 additional deaths related to the […]

Haaland nomination to head Interior heads to full Senate

The U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted to advance U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland’s nomination to lead the Interior Department. The committee voted 11-9, with Republican Lisa Murkowski of Alaska voting along with Democrats, to send the nomination to the full Senate. U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico […]

Liquor law overhaul headed to Senate floor

A sweeping liquor license reform bill is on its way to the Senate floor after the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 5-4 to move it forward Wednesday. But the committee approved a number of amendments that changed some aspects of the bill.  Gone is a provision that would have given a […]

Legislation to curb governor’s power during emergency moves forward

Legislation that would let voters decide whether to curb the governor’s authority over emergency orders slipped past its second hurdle Wednesday when the House State Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee voted to move it forward. Committee members, who were divided on House Joint Resolution 6, initially stalled it on […]

Health officials talk about vaccination efforts, as NM receives more doses

Health officials spoke on Wednesday during a press conference about the rollout of the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine, a new emphasis on certain areas of the state for new doses and even the decision by Texas’ governor to end that state’s mask mandate and capacity restrictions. This came ahead […]

Senate passes bill creating state division to upgrade broadband system

Schoolchildren are still sitting in cars to access Wi-Fi hotspots to take part in virtual lessons, a leading Democratic senator told his colleagues Wednesday. That’s one reason Sen. George Muñoz, D-Gallup and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, urged the Senate to support Senate Bill 93, which would create a central […]

Recap of New Mexico COVID-19 news (3/4/21 edition)

This morning recap of COVID-19 news from New Mexico is available in a free email every weekday. Sign up here. See all of our COVID-19 coverage here. The state reported 359 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, including 37 at the Lea County Correctional Facility. The state also reported 13 additional […]

Another key Senator signals support for Haaland’s nomination to head Interior

In another sign that U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland will be confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Joe Biden’s Secretary of the Interior, a Republican announced she would vote in favor of confirmation. Maine’s Susan Collins told HuffPost that she would vote for the confirmation. “After examining Representative Deb Haaland’s qualifications, […]

Some liquor sellers leery of booze tax to fund license overhaul

As J.R. Palermo sees it, the year has been bad enough for restaurants, bars and patrons. He’s none too happy with a proposed 2 percent excise tax the state could impose on alcohol sales as part of a sweeping liquor law reform bill. Palermo, the owner of Tiny’s Restaurant & […]

New Mexico Senate passes bill to reduce cap on small-loan interest rates

Legislation aimed to rein in what critics call predatory lending passed the state Senate after a tense two-hour debate Monday that sparked accusations of untruths and assertions the bill’s sponsors are oblivious to the tough realities confronted by people who live paycheck to paycheck. Opponents contended Senate Bill 66, which […]

Workers and organizers rally for paid sick leave bill

Organizers held a virtual rally Tuesday evening in support of a bill that would enable workers statewide to earn paid sick leave to care for themselves or a loved one. HB 20 passed the House chamber by a vote of 36 to 33 on Sunday. The rally organizers, a group […]

New Mexico state employee accuses Governor’s Office staffer of ethics breach

A former Public Employees Retirement Association trustee has filed an ethics complaint against Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s chief operating officer, claiming Teresa Casados pressured her into voting for a pension reform bill she opposed.  Claudia Armijo, an attorney, claims Casados last year prodded her to take part in voting to […]

Recap of New Mexico COVID-19 news (3/3/21 edition)

This morning recap of COVID-19 news from New Mexico is available in a free email every weekday. Sign up here. See all of our COVID-19 coverage here. The state of New Mexico reported 247 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, and 11 additional deaths related to the disease. The number of […]

Compromise redistricting bill advances unanimously from Senate committee

Lawmakers on the Senate Rules Committee came to a quick compromise Monday on a measure they hope will set the state’s sometimes controversial redistricting process on a smooth path via an independent, bipartisan panel of people to redraw voting district boundaries. A substitute bill introduced by Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto, an […]

Democrats say Otero County official threatened House speaker

Democrats in the House of Representatives voiced outrage over an email from an Otero County official they claim contains a threat against Speaker Brian Egolf. Democrats contend Otero County Assessor Steve Boyd, who also serves as president of New Mexico Counties, a group that advocates for counties’ needs statewide, wrote […]

Recap of New Mexico COVID-19 news (3/2/21 edition)

This morning recap of COVID-19 news from New Mexico is available in a free email every weekday. Sign up here. See all of our COVID-19 coverage here. The state Department of Health reported just 166 new cases on Monday, with 13 additional deaths related to the disease. While it was with […]

Tempers flare in New Mexico Senate after lawmaker stalls bill

Tensions boiled over on the normally cordial Senate floor Monday after an Albuquerque Democrat used a legislative maneuver to stall a bill he opposes. Sen. Jacob Candelaria said his move prompted the typically mild-mannered majority leader Peter Wirth to drop an F-bomb. Wirth, a Santa Fe Democrat known for his […]

DOH reports 166 new cases, 13 additional deaths

The state Department of Health reported the fewest newly reported number of COVID-19 cases in months, with 166 new cases on Monday. The department also reported 13 additional deaths related to the disease. The last time the state reported fewer than 166 cases was on Oct. 5, when the state […]

Bill to mandate paid sick leave passes House

After a three-hour debate in the House of Representatives late Sunday, the Healthy Workplaces bill passed 36 to 33 and will head to the Senate. HB 20 would allow all private employees working in the state to accrue up to eight days of paid sick leave per year. If passed, […]

Recap of New Mexico COVID-19 news (3/1/21 edition)

This morning recap of COVID-19 news from New Mexico is available in a free email every weekday. Sign up here. See all of our COVID-19 coverage here. This weekend, the state of New Mexico reported 275 new cases and 15 additional deaths on Saturday and 245 new cases and 16 additional […]

Senate committee signals House cannabis legalization effort as the likely preferred option

Even after a nearly four hour Senate committee meeting on Saturday, none of the four cannabis legalization bills the panel discussed advanced. But with encouragement from the Senate majority leader and the committee’s chair, the sponsors said they work to come up with a unified approach before another meeting next […]

Bill to overhaul hunting, wildlife management hits roadblock in committee

Legislation to reform hunting regulations and wildlife management in New Mexico stalled in the Senate Conservation Committee on Saturday. Senate Bill 312 appears doomed for this session after members tied 4-4 on a vote to reconsider debate and vote on the legislation in the absence of Sen. Joe Cervantes, a […]

House passes cannabis legalization effort, sends it to the Senate

A House proposal to legalize and regulate cannabis passed the chamber on a 39-31 vote, with six Democrats breaking rank to vote against the measure.  HB 12, sponsored by Democratic Reps. Javier Martínez of Albuquerque and Andrea Romero of Santa Fe, would fully legalize the sale and production of cannabis […]

New Mexico House speaker draws bipartisan ire over redistricting stance

New Mexico House Speaker Brian Egolf is facing sharp criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike over his opposition to having an independent commission oversee the state’s redistricting process. In particular, members of both parties were thrown by comments the Santa Fe Democrat made during a Zoom conference last week with […]

House Speaker Egolf files motion to dismiss ethics complaint

Attorneys for House Speaker Brian Egolf submitted a motion Friday to dismiss an ethics complaint filed by a retired judge who claimed the Santa Fe Democrat stands to benefit if the New Mexico Civil Rights Act becomes law. Egolf’s 24-page motion argues the complaint — filed earlier this month with the […]

Bill that would end qualified immunity heads to Senate Judiciary Committee

A bill that would end qualified immunity as a defense in civil rights cases advanced from the Senate Health and Public Affairs Committee. HB 4, known as the New Mexico Civil Rights Act, passed without recommendation in a 5 to 3 vote along party lines. State Sen. Gerald Ortiz y […]

DOH reports 659 new COVID-19 cases, 14 additional deaths

The streak of days with 500 or fewer newly reported cases of COVID-19 was ended on Friday after nearly two weeks, when the state reported 659 new cases, along with 14 additional deaths. The new increase of cases came largely with 209 new cases in Bernalillo County and 191 at […]

Governor signs bill repealing abortion ban into law: ‘a woman has the right to make decisions about her own body’

Called historic, New Mexico decriminalized abortion on Friday when Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed the Respect New Mexico Women and Families Act into law, after years of efforts by abortion rights supporters. SB 10 repeals the 1969 statute that criminalized abortion by banning it with very few exceptions.  Lujan Grisham […]

Governor: NM ‘on the road to recovery’

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and top state health officials had optimistic news related to the state’s COVID-19 response and vaccine distribution, during a remote press conference on Thursday. The press conference came just a day after the state eased restrictions for counties in the yellow and green levels as well […]

House sends business relief bill to governor

A bill extending financial relief opportunities to those hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic is on its way to the governor’s desk for a signature. The House of Representatives on Thursday voted 51-17 to approve Senate Bill 3, which offers long-term, low-interest loans up to $150,000 to eligible New Mexico […]

Community solar bill heads to Senate floor

A bill that