Headlines: Court OKs Pot Question, Digitizing Newspapers At UNM...

Sep 20, 2014

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Poll Shows Strong Disapproval Of Health Care Law - The Albuquerque Journal, The Associated Press

A newspaper's poll found that nearly half of New Mexico voters say the new federal health care law has been a failure.

The poll by the Albuquerque Journal also found that a majority of voters said Gov. Susana Martinez was right to take advantage of law by expanding the number of people eligible for Medicaid.

Forty-nine percent of voters said the law was a failure, while 32 percent believed it was a success. The rest were undecided about whether the law was a success or failure.

The poll was conducted Sept. 9-11 and was based on telephone interviews with 500 people who voted in the 2010 and 2012 elections and who said they would likely vote again this year. The poll's margin of error was 4.4 percentage points.

Albuquerque Workers Want To Halt Pay Raises - KOAT-TV, The Associated Press

More than 2,000 Albuquerque municipal employees say a proposed pay raise by the city would come at the cost of an unapproved contract.

KOAT-TV reports that representatives for more than 2,000 workers have filed a temporary restraining order against the city.

Mayor Richard Berry's administration announced earlier this month a 3 percent pay hike following an impasse with union locals representing workers.

Union representative Rocky Gutierrez says the workers do want raises. He says the city is also going to enforce the rest of a contract that the two parties have not been able to agree on since 2010.

City officials say they are reviewing the restraining order and intend to dispute it.

The pay raise was to take effect with paychecks issued Friday.

Carlsbad Caverns To Stay Closed Due To Flooding - The Associated Press

Carlsbad Caverns will remain closed because of hazardous road conditions caused by recent flooding.

National Park Service officials say crews are working Sunday to clear debris on a road brought in by high water.

The park has been closed since Thursday.

Southeastern New Mexico has been experiencing flooding the last few days as a result of the remnants of Hurricane Odile.

The New Mexico National Guard on Saturday rescued 40 oilfield workers stranded by floodwater on a county road near Artesia.

Authorities say a man was found dead near Loving after his vehicle got stuck in water.

New Mexico Court OKs Marijuana Ballot Questions Barry Massey, The Associated Press

The state Supreme Court is allowing two New Mexico counties to poll voters about lowering marijuana penalties.

The court on Friday ordered Secretary of State Dianna Duran to place the advisory questions on November general election ballots in Bernalillo and Santa Fe counties.

The counties want to survey their voters on whether they support decriminalizing marijuana. Bernalillo County also plans to ask voters about a possible tax levy to finance mental health services.

The counties went to the court after Duran refused to place the measures on the ballot. Duran contended that state law didn't permit nonbinding ballot proposals that only seek to gauge public opinion.

Republicans view the marijuana proposals as an attempt by Democrats to encourage greater turnout among Democratic-leaning younger and liberal voters.

Panel Recommends Voters Keep Most Judges The Associated Press

A nonpartisan panel that evaluates state judges is recommending voters retain 73 of the 85 judges.

The New Mexico Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission said this week that the 73 judges received the panel's approval while two judges earned "Do Not Retain" nods.

To remain on the bench, judges must receive at least 57 percent voter approval under state law.

Denise Torres, chair of JPEC, said the evaluation was an extensive process and included a number of difficult decisions.

The panel says it used an objective standard to make recommendations to voters, and reports its findings in narrative, table and bar graph formats.

UNM Gets Grant For Digitizing Newspapers Effort The Associated Press

The University of New Mexico has received a National Endowment for the Humanities grant to help digitize 100,000 newspaper pages.

The school's College of University Libraries and Learning Sciences said this week the $220,000 award will assist in adding pages to the 200,000 already scanned and available at the Library of Congress website.

The project is part of the National Digital Newspaper Program. The New Mexico newspapers, originally published from 1852 to 1922 in English and Spanish, are fully searchable.

This is the third newspaper digitization grant awarded to the library and the Center for Southwest Research. The New Mexico State Library in Santa Fe is offering use of their newspaper microfilm for this portion of the project, which will increase the options for digitization.

Oilfield Worker Lost In New Mexico Flooding Dies KOB-TV, The Associated Press

An oilfield worker reported missing during flash flooding in Eddy County has been found dead.

KOB-TV reports Eddy County emergency officials said the man died after his vehicle got stuck in water earlier Friday near Loving. Officials say the man and a passenger climbed on top of the car, but they both got caught in the flood.

Authorities say the passenger climbed to safety.

Officials found the oilfield worker's body later Friday. His name has not been released.

The National Guard was preparing Friday to rescue 40 oilfield workers stranded on a county road near Artesia.

About three dozen Eddy County residents were evacuated early Friday because of flooding from the remnants of former Hurricane Odile.