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June 13, 2017

Analysis: Tax overhaul would slash revenue -- Albuquerque Journal

A new analysis of a proposal to reshape New Mexico’s tax code suggests bill – as written – would have cost the state $30 million to $44 million in basic operating revenue next year.

But a few wording fixes could have brought the proposal much closer to breaking even, with just $3 million to $16 million in lost revenue, according to a new legislative report. -- 6/13/2017

 

Zinke Recommends Reducing Bears Ears National Monument -- Outside Magazine

On Monday, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke recommended that President Trump reduce the size of the controversial Bears Ears National Monument in southeast Utah, which Barack Obama created in December during the final days of his presidency. If Trump acts on the recommendation, the move to reduce the monument will almost certainly end up in court.

According to a memorandum released June 12, Secretary Zinke’s review “shows that rather than designating an area encompassing almost 1.5 million acres as a national monument, it would have been more appropriate to identify and separate the areas that have significant objects to be protected to meet the purposes of the Act, including that the area reserved be limited to the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects.” -- 6/13/2017

June 6, 2017

Top-Secret NSA Report Details Russian Hacking Effort Days Before 2016 Election -- The Intercept

Russian military intelligence executed a cyberattack on at least one U.S. voting software supplier and sent spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials just days before last November’s presidential election, according to a highly classified intelligence report obtained by The Intercept.

The top-secret National Security Agency document, which was provided anonymously to The Intercept and independently authenticated, analyzes intelligence very recently acquired by the agency about a months-long Russian intelligence cyber effort against elements of the U.S. election and voting infrastructure. The report, dated May 5, 2017, is the most detailed U.S. government account of Russian interference in the election that has yet come to light. -- 6/5/2017

 

Trump Backs Air Traffic Control Privatization -- The New York Times

President Trump endorsed a proposal on Monday to privatize air traffic control, seizing on a decades-old idea as proof that he is advancing the ambitious infrastructure rebuilding plan he promised during his campaign but is still months from delivering.

At an East Room event that was choreographed like the elaborate ceremonies for enacting major legislation, Mr. Trump signed a memo and letter to Congress outlining his principles for overhauling the nation’s air traffic control system. He handed out pens to lawmakers who had been invited to attend, and reveled in several rounds of applause. -- 6/5/2017

 

May 23, 2017

 
President Donald Trump's team released its first full budget proposal on Tuesday, and while lawmakers are likely to dismiss most of it -- as they traditionally do with most White House wishlists -- the document provides fresh insight into the administration's priorities.
 
While the overall proposed spending is about on par with last year, at $4.1 trillion for 2018, the budget is notable for the knife it takes to domestic programs focused on science and research, the arts and, most notably, social welfare programs. -- 5/23/2017
 

May 30, 2017

NMSU research reveals best mosquito repellentsLas Cruces Sun News

Just as the first mosquitoes of the season are making an appearance, New Mexico State University researchers are sharing results of six months of testing on 11 different mosquito repellent products.

The New Mexico Department of Health announced on May 17 that the yellow fever mosquitoes already have been identified in Doña Ana County. Last summer, this type of mosquito, which can carry Zika and other viruses, was found in Doña Ana, Eddy, Sierra, Lea, Chaves and Roosevelt counties. - - 05/30/2017

 

Martinez signs bill restoring university funds, vetoes taxes- Las Cruces Sun News

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez on Friday vetoed a string of tax increases proposed by the Democratic-led Legislature and also signed legislation that restores funding to all state colleges and universities.

The spending bill reinstates $745 million in general fund dollars to institutions of higher education including university hospitals, medical research facilities, agricultural programs and schools for the blind and deaf.

The bill also restores funding for the upcoming fiscal year for the Legislature that the two-term Republican governor had vetoed earlier amid a standoff with lawmakers over how to resolve the state’s budget crisis. -- 05/30/2017

May 18, 2017

Some urge more public input as Bears Ears’ fate looms -- The Salt Lake City Tribune

The 15-day window for public comment on Utah's Bears Ears National Monument is closing fast, prompting calls on the Department of Interior to expand the comment period beyond May 26 and to add ways for interested residents to weigh in on the controversial designation and 26 other large monuments.

Interior officials are soliciting input on the matter online through the federal website www.regulations.gov, despite the lack of internet access among some American Indians affiliated with the tribes that either proposed or support the 1.3-million-acre monument, recently designated in San Juan County's Cedar Mesa and surrounding canyon country west of Blanding.

Monument advocates say they were largely excluded from engaging with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke during his four-day swing through Utah last week on a "listening tour" organized by Utah Gov. Gary Herbert's staff. Zinke assured the media that everyone can make their views known through the website, but New Mexico's Sen. Martin Heinrich contends language and digital barriers will prevent many American Indians from participating.

"Internet access is far from universal in Indian Country," the Democratic lawmaker wrote in a letter last week to Zinke, asking for public hearings and a 45-day comment extension. "Across vast reaches of the Navajo Nation, even cell service is hard to come by." -- last updated 5/17/2017