August 18, 2016

Martinez to call special legislative session -- Santa Fe New Mexico

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez says she will call a special legislative session to address a budget crunch stemming from dwindling revenues.

While the exact timing is uncertain, Martinez said it will likely happen in September.

Legislative analysts are expected to release an updated revenue forecast next week. They have said the state general fund was short an estimated $150 million for the budget year that ended in June and faces potentially greater shortfalls this year. -- 8/18/2016


Justice Department says it will end use of private prisons -- Washington Post

The Justice Department plans to end its use of private prisons after officials concluded the facilities are both less safe and less effective at providing correctional services than those run by the government.

Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates announced the decision on Thursday in a memo that instructs officials to either decline to renew the contracts for private prison operators when they expire or “substantially reduce” the contracts’ scope. The goal, Yates wrote, is “reducing — and ultimately ending — our use of privately operated prisons.”

Yates noted that the Bureau of Prisons was “already taking steps” to make her order a reality. Three weeks ago, she wrote, the bureau declined to renew a contract for 1,200 beds at the Cibola County Correctional Center in New Mexico. -- 8/18/2016


Study: Most of methane hot spot comes from natural gas leaksLas Cruces Sun News

A puzzling concentration of the greenhouse gas methane over the Southwestern United States appears to come mostly from leaks in natural gas production, scientists said Monday. According to researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology, they identified more than 250 sources of a methane hot spot over the Four Corners region of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. They include gas wells, storage tanks, pipelines and processing plants. - - 8/18/2016