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July 7, 2015

Code Specialists Oppose U.S. and British Government Access to Encrypted Communication -- The New York Times

An elite group of code makers and code breakers is taking American and British intelligence and law enforcement agencies to task in a new paper that evaluates government proposals to maintain special access to encrypted digital communications.

On Tuesday, the group — 13 of the world’s pre-eminent cryptographers, computer scientists and security specialists — released the paper, which concludes there is no viable technical solution that would allow the American and British governments to gain “exceptional access” to encrypted communications without putting the world’s most confidential data and critical infrastructure in danger. -- 7/7/2015


New Mexico Lawmakers Discuss Drone Regulations -- KUNM / Associated Press

New Mexico failed to pass legislation during the regular session that would have taken a first step toward regulating the use of drones in the state, but the discussion is far from over.

The legislative Science, Technology and Telecommunications Committee met Monday in Albuquerque to hear about the advancement of the technology as well as privacy concerns. -- 7/7/2015


Could Unspent Funds Shorten Wait List For Disability Services? -- KUNM / Associated Press

New Mexico’s auditor identified more than $4.5 billion in unspent state funds earlier this year. Now a national agency wants to see some of that money go to a program for people with disabilities.

It’s known as the DD Waiver, and it’s a program that helps folks with developmental disabilities get services. But the waiting list is up to 10 years long.

The American Counseling Association sent a letter to the state Department of Health asking that $125 million unspent dollars be put towards shortening that waiting list. --7/7/2015


New Mexico ranked 7th in nation for adults living in economically depressed areas -- Santa Fe New Mexican

More than 1 in 5 adults in New Mexico live in communities or neighborhoods that can be considered “economically distressed,” according to a study released Monday by a Washington, D.C., bipartisan think tank.

The Economic Innovation Group ranked New Mexico seventh in the nation for residents who live in such areas, the latest in a series of state-by-state statistical comparisons over the years that have highlighted New Mexico’s low average income levels, educational achievement gaps and other social challenges.

July 6, 2015

Civil forfeiture law protects public, cuts into law enforcement budgets -- The Daily Times

A state law intended to prevent police from seizing money or assets from people unless they're convicted of a crime took effect this month, and law enforcement officials say it's going to cut deeply into their budgets.

Before House Bill 560 became law, most police departments and other local law enforcement agencies in New Mexico could auction items they had seized and use the revenue to pay for training or equipment. -- 7/4/2015


Civil Forfeiture Now Requires A Criminal Conviction in Montana and New Mexico -- Forbes

Starting July 1, two major reforms from Montana and New Mexico will go into effect.

New Mexico abolished civil forfeiture outright. Law enforcement can only forfeit property after a criminal conviction. Crucially, this new law requires that all forfeiture money be deposited in the general fund, preventing it from becoming a police slush fund. Without a single vote cast against it, Gov. Susana Martinez (and a former prosecutor) signed this landmark reform on April 10. -- 7/2/2015

June 29, 2015

SpaceX supply rocket to Space Station blows up after liftoffLas Cruces Sun News

An unmanned SpaceX rocket carrying supplies and a first-of-its-kind docking port to the International Space Station broke apart Sunday shortly after liftoff. It was a severe blow to NASA, still reeling from previous failed shipments.

The accident happened about 2 1/2 minutes into the flight from Cape Canaveral, Florida. A billowing white cloud emerged in the sky, growing bigger and bigger, then fiery plumes shot out of where the rocket was supposed to be, and pieces could be seen falling into the Atlantic. More than 5,200 pounds of space station cargo were on board, including the first docking port designed for future commercial crew capsules. -- 6/29/2015


WSMR Wellness Program promotes healthier lifestylesLas Cruces Sun News

White Sands Missile Range's Wellness Program, which officially kicked off April 20, is in full swing with well over 60 participants signed up and participating in not only physical activities but health and wellness courses as well.

The six-month program has just reached its second month. The goal of the program is to provide participants with the tools to lead an all-around healthier lifestyle even after the program is over. The program is assisted by a NMSU exercise science intern who monitors the participant's progress throughout the program. Participants are required to take two resiliency classes a month to help reduce stress in their lives. The classes range from spiritual courses, arts and crafts courses, and wellness program courses. -- 6/29/2015

July 2, 2015

Deming bear relocated to GilaLas Cruces Sun News

Department of Game and Fish officers captured a young bear found eating trash on the front porch of a home near Deming on Monday and released it, unharmed, into the Gila Wilderness.

"This is a good reminder to everyone that no matter where you live in New Mexico, you're in bear country," said Public Information Officer Jeremy Lane. "Please keep all trash and other attractants away from your house to avoid bringing unwanted wildlife into it." -- 7/1/2015


New Mexico aims to make clearinghouse for farmer marketsLas Cruces Sun News

The state agriculture department is looking for people across New Mexico who can take a few notes about the prices of fruits and vegetables, eggs and specialty items such as honey and mushrooms that are being sold at their local markets.

Agriculture Secretary Jeff Witte says some growers shy away from selling their produce at local markets because they simply don't know how to price their items, while consumers think farmers' markets are more expensive than going to the grocery store. -- 7/1/2015


NMSU to inspect Elephant Butte Dam using droneLas Cruces Sun News

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation gave NMSU $35,000 for a project to inspect Elephant Butte Dam in New Mexico using an unmanned aircraft system.

The research project will gather information with unmanned aircraft systems as a tool for infrastructure inspection in the future using light detection, ranging, infrared, photogrammetry and HD video.

It should help determine issues and damages in infrastructure, including cracks, spalls and other subsurface defects such as unwanted moisture, erosion or other surface changes to the dam and spillway. -- 7/1/2015

June 26, 2015

Supreme Court Declares Same-Sex Marriage Legal In All 50 States -- NPR

States cannot keep same-sex couples from marrying and must recognize their unions, the Supreme Court says in a ruling that for months has been the focus of speculation. The decision was 5-4.

Comparing the ruling to other landmark decisions, NPR's Nina Totenberg says, "This is probably right up there with Brown v. Board of Education, and Roe v. Wade — if you like it or hate it — and today, Obergefell v. Hodges. This was a historic moment."


States Turn to Tech for Tracking Marijuana -- GCN

States with legal marijuana industries need technology to track plants from seed to sale and from doctors to patients.  The state of Washington now uses and New Mexico will soon use a system based on pharmaceutical distribution – BioTrackTHC.  BioTrackTHC is a marijuana traceability software, which is based on parent company Bio-Tech Medical Software’s products for tracking pharmaceuticals and preventing abuses.  The system uses barcodes to enable plant traceability with a quick scan.  The New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program issued a request for proposal last October, which included a requirement for the “ability to capture and maintain information on its Licensed Non-Profit Producers including seed-to-sale, inventory, cannabis-derived product tracking and dispensary history.”  In April, New Mexico signed a contract to implement the BioTrackTHC system for monitoring medical marijuana. -- May 26, 2015