As Albuquerque Public Schools remains in the thick of scandal, Gov. Susana Martinez is ordering a review of background check policies in all New Mexico school districts. Susana Martinez announced Tuesday that the state Public Safety Department and Public Education Department will conduct a “thorough compliance review” to make sure each district is performing “timely” background checks of its employees. The order follows New Mexico Political Report’s revelation last week that now former APS Deputy Superintendent Jason Martinez was arrested in 2013 in Denver on charges of sexual assault of a child. Jason Martinez, who was also arrested earlier this year on two violent assault charges, is facing trial in Denver this October. A warrant is currently out for Jason Martinez’ arrest for breaking pretrial conditions that bar him from leaving Colorado without court approval.
A district attorney received responses after writing a letter to the Albuquerque Police Department and the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy (NMLEA) about concerns with police training. The overall message: Everything is fine here. Second Judicial District Attorney Kari Brandenburg received responses in return to her letter regarding concerns about police training deficiencies, ultimately linked to a current whistleblower lawsuit. The first letter came from APD Chief Gorden Eden. Eden wrote that any allegations of improper police training are unfounded.
Sharp partisan lines were drawn yet again during further passage of a bill proposing to do away with the state law that allows undocumented immigrants to apply for driver’s licenses. The House Judiciary Committee’s Republican majority voted 7 to 6 in favor of sending HB 32 on for a House floor vote following five hours of debate that frequently circled back to the controversial federal REAL ID Act. A measure sponsored by Bill Rehm, R-Albuquerque, also proposes to not allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses. It was held over until the next committee meeting. Rep. Paul Pacheco, R-Albuquerque, helped craft the House Judiciary Committee’s early-morning substitution for HB 32.