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May 4, 2016

NM DOH: Keeping on the move saves you from pain laterLas Cruces Sun News

The New Mexico Department of Health reports arthritis affects an estimated 26 percent of New Mexico residents. May is National Arthritis Awareness Month. It affects the young and old, with age being the leading factor in diagnosis. It’s a problem sure to affect more New Mexicans because our aging population is growing rapidly. By the year 2030, New Mexico will rank third in the nation in percentage of population ages 60 and older; currently it ranks 10th according the New Mexico Department of Aging and Long-Term Services. -- 5/4/2016

 

New Mexico senator defends wilderness designationLas Cruces Sun News

Democratic U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich on Thursday defended a proposal to create two federal wilderness areas in northern New Mexico in response to criticism that the legislation could limit state revenues from timber and mining operations.

New Mexico Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn has strongly objected to wilderness designations at the Rio Grande del Norte Monument that encompass 1,280 acres of state trust land that might otherwise generate state revenues from timber sales and the mining of pumice and molybdenum. Trust lands span 9 million acres in New Mexico and generate funding mainly through oil and natural gas production for public schools, universities and hospitals. -- 5/4/2016

April 28, 2016

Wildlife agency agrees to deadline for wolf recovery plan -- Las Cruces Sun News

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has agreed to a deadline to craft a recovery plan for the endangered Mexican gray wolf after the agency was accused in federal court of dragging its feet for decades.

The settlement filed late Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Arizona still needs to be approved by a judge, and it's expected to be challenged by farm bureaus in three states. It would require a recovery plan to be complete by November 2017 with periodic status updates provided to parties in a lawsuit filed against the Fish and Wildlife Service. -- 4/28/2016

April 21, 2016

New Mexico to sue to block release of wolves -- Albuquerque Journal

New Mexico officials notified the federal government Wednesday they will sue to block the planned release of more Mexican gray wolves without the state’s OK.

The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish called the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s release plan “unpermitted and illegal” and said it will go to court unless the federal agency backs down.

The state department last year denied the federal agency’s application to release wolves into the wild. But the Fish and Wildlife Service recently announced it planned to release a pack of wolves this year and also could place some captive-born pups into wild packs, in a bid to improve genetic diversity. -- 4/21/2016

April 20, 2016

NM: Social media to broadcast lenient DUI sentencesLas Cruces Sun News

Social media feeds will soon tell you if drunken driving offenders are let off too easy, New Mexico officials say. The state will pay staffers from Mothers Against Drunk Driving to monitor court hearings by judges who are routinely lenient in drunken driving cases, Republican Gov. Susana Martinez announced Tuesday. The group will send details about sentences to state officials, who will identify repeat offenders and the judges in tweets. - - 4/20/2016

April 18, 2016

BLM acquires ancient pueblo site south of Santa Fe -- Albuquerque Journal

The federal Bureau of Land Management is purchasing the 365-acre site of an ancient pueblo in the Galisteo Basin south of Santa Fe.

The BLM will use $1.5 million from Land and Water Conservation Fund to buy the Burnt Corn Pueblo site, located east of the village of Galisteo and near the well-known Petroglyph Hill, a mesa topped with thousands of pieces of rock art that is owned by Santa Fe County.

“With this purchase, the entire Burnt Corn Pueblo will be protected for future generations,” said a news release from the members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation. U.S. Sen. Tom Udall said the purchase will open up new land for visitors interested in the Galisteo Basin’s numerous Native American and Spanish ruins, but no details on plans for public access were available Friday. -- 4/15/2018

March 1, 2016

Martinez signs spending bill for next budget year -- Albuquerque Journal

Gov. Susana Martinez signed off Monday on a $6.2 billion spending plan for the coming budget year that relies on one-time fixes, such as diverting money from government accounts and drawing down the state’s cash reserves, to avoid steep budget cuts.

But even with the budgetary tourniquets, overall New Mexico state spending is set to decrease next year for the first time in five years as plummeting oil and natural gas prices take their toll on the state’s economy. -- 2/29/206

February 29, 2016

Some legislative goals achieved despite budget shortfallLas Cruces Sun News

Workers Compensation:

 Senate Bill 214, sponsored by Senator Jacob Candelaria, an Albuquerque Democrat, provides for a percentage reduction in indemnity benefits when a worker’s intoxication contributes to his or her work­ related injury. After five years of efforts, Senate Bill 214 passed this year with overwhelming bipartisan support in both the Senate (38­1) and the House (66­1). This aligns 
New Mexico with 40 other states that have similar statutes and helps assure safe workplace environments. - - 2/29/16

Agriculture:

Senate Bill 72 amends the law to protect established farm operations from nuisance claims. A claim may not be brought by a person if there is a purchase, lease, or rental of property near an existing agricultural operation or facility unless the farm substantially changes its operation. ​The Senate and House worked in bipartisan fashion to pass this bill, sponsored by Senator Stuart Ingle, a Portales Republican, through both chambers. The legislation updates the New Mexico Right to Farm Act to provide protection to modern food production and agricultural operations to ensure the availability of a safe, abundant, and cost ­effective food supply. - - 2/29/16

REAL ID​:

On Jan. 10, the federal government deemed New Mexico to be out of compliance with the Federal REAL ID Act. This meant that the thousands of small businesses and jobs that depend on reliable access to federal facilities were potentially put at risk. The Senate, House and the Governor’s Office worked together diligently to ensure that legislation was passed this year that would bring New Mexico into compliance with the REAL ID Act. House Bill 99, co­sponsored by Paul Pacheco, an Albuquerque Republican, and Andy Nunez a Republican from ­Hatch, passed both chambers with overwhelming bipartisan support. - - 2/29/16