New Mexico News Plus
April 7, 2015
Valles Caldera Trust Plans Prescribed Burn for Valle Grande -- Valles Caldera Trust News Release
The Valles Caldera Trust is looking for an opportunity to conduct a prescribed burn project on the Valles Caldera National Preserve in April or early May. The project will last for 1 - 3 days. The prescribed burn will target up to 1471 acres of grass land in the Valle Grande, adjacent to NM Highway 4 near mile marker 3 9.2 . If conditions are suitable to implement the burn, some traffic delays may occur during the ignition phases of the burn but road closures are not expected . If conditions p ermit, burn operations will occur during midday in order to minimize impacts to morning and afternoon commuter traffic on NM Hwy. 4 . The regularly scheduled Preserve activities are not expected to be impacted.-- 4/7/2015
Law will roll back default speed limit on NM county roads– Las Cruces Sun News
Starting next year, you won't be able to drive more than 55 mph on New Mexico county roads where there's no speed limit posted. Gov. Susana Martinez signed legislation Monday for SB 125 that makes 55 mph the default speed limit on county roads. - - 4/7/15
Rio Grande Trail closer to reality as governor signs bill – Santa Fe New Mexican
Richard Meltz of Santa Fe walks Thursday along a trail near the Rio Grande off Old Buckman Road that might one day be part of a 500-mile recreational path along the river. Gov. Susana Martinez has signed the Rio Grande Trail bill, creating a commission to study a possible route.
April 1, 2015
Martinez signs child prostitution crackdown bill- Las Cruces Sun News
Gov. Susana Martinez signed three public safety bills Tuesday, including one that cracks down on those who seek to sell or solicit children for sex. The bill aimed at curbing child prostitution makes it a second-degree felony to hire or offer any child younger than 16 for sex.
The House Bill 101, fixes what the governor's office had called a "glaring loophole" in state law since there had been no prostitution penalty for such offenses involving children younger than 13. Previously, suspects had been charged with other sex crimes against minors. – 4/1/15
March 26, 2015
Payday Loan Rules Proposed by Consumer Protection Agency -- The New York Times
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the fledgling agency created in the aftermath of the financial crisis, outlined on Thursday the first draft of regulations to rein in payday loans, the short-term form of credit that can come with interest rates soaring beyond 400 percent.
The proposed rules could sharply reduce the number of unaffordable loans that lenders can make each year to Americans desperate for cash. The proposal covers a wide swath of credit, including certain loans backed by car titles and some installment loans that stretch longer than 45 days. -- 3/26/2015
Hobbs sees growth, but exodus from New Mexico continues -- The Albuquerque Journal
A portion of southeastern New Mexico’s oil patch is again among the top 10 fastest growing areas in the nation, according to new data released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Aside from highlighting the growth in southeastern New Mexico’s oil and gas country, the latest figures suggest a continued trend of New Mexico losing population.
Census figures that take into account the number of births and deaths between 2013 and 2014 show eight New Mexico counties gained population, including Lea County. More than a dozen others saw a population drain. -- 3/26/2015
March 31, 2015
Feds extend NM No Child waiver for four years -- Albuquerque Journal
The federal government extended New Mexico’s waiver from No Child Left Behind today through the next four school years.
With waivers, states can are not held to the law’s proficiency requirements.
States received the waivers in exchange for enacting certain policies, like teacher and school ratings based in part on test scores. -- 3/31/2015
Gov. Martinez has no plans to call a special session -- Albuquerque Journal
Gov. Susana Martinez said Monday she has no plans to hold a special session of the state Legislature to address the absence of a capital improvements budget unless Democratic Senate leadership is willing to work with her ahead of time on key points. -- 3/31/2015
March 23, 2015
BLM’s new fracking rules strike middle ground – High Country News
After four years of study and 1.5 million public comments, the U.S. Department of Interior on March 20 unveiled new rules governing hydraulic fracturing of oil and natural gas resources overseen by the Bureau of Land Management. While the first official draft was fairly protective and a second was significantly weakened, this final version appears to be squarely between the two – predictably falling short of what many environmental groups hoped for, and going beyond what industry groups seem willing to live with. -- 3/20/2015
Sportsmen’s bill aims to open inaccessible public lands – High Country News
Senator Martin Heinrich, D-New Mexico, was hunting Barbary sheep in the southeastern part of his state a few weeks ago, and had a stark reminder of a problem he’s trying to fix with a bipartisan sportsmen’s bill.
He and his friends had finished hunting one swath of public land, and scanned a BLM map for the kind of terrain the sheep like—rough arid landscapes like that of their native North Africa, with lots of small canyons, nooks and crannies. The men found a place that looked to be accessible by road.
But when they arrived, there was a gate across the road and a “No Trespassing” sign.
“The landowner closed off what used to be public access and now you can’t get to the public land,” Heinrich told me in a recent interview in his office in the Hart Senate Office Building in D.C., where hunting trophies—including Barbary sheep skulls and horns—share wall space with photos of gorgeous New Mexico scenery “That is not unusual. If you talk to sportsmen, particularly in the West, access is the number one issue: You hear it over and over again.” -- 3/14/2015