New Mexico’s Public Defender’s office has been undergoing changes since voters approved a constitutional amendment creating an independent office last year. A commission made up of 11 members appointed by Governor Susana Martinez and state legislators will select a chief public defender by mid-October, moving the department out of the governor’s authority.
Some critically ill New Mexicans could end up paying more for their health care this year.
Almost 16 hundred New Mexicans are slated to be shifted out of a state high risk medical insurance pool into a new federal health coverage plan on July 1st. That's because the federal government is cutting funding for the state program to just over 12 million dollars.
But the new plan would cost more for the patients, many of whom suffer from HIV/AIDS, cancer, and diabetes -chronic diseases that are often quite expensive to treat.
UPDATE: Exchange board chairman J.R Damron said Monday that New Mexico will focus on having a state-run insurance exchange ready for small businesses this fall and will use a federally operated exchange to offer insurance coverage to individuals for the next year.
He said a "hybrid" approach to the exchange was necessary because the state didn't have enough time to implement its own computer system to serve individuals by a looming federal deadline.
The Mescalero Apache tribe of New Mexico says it is looking to expand it's economy by mining rare earth elements. The elements are highly sought after for their applications in high-tech and green industries.
West Nile virus cases in the Southwest are up from previous years, according to new 2012 statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control. First discovered in New York around 1999, the West Nile virus traveled west, carried by birds and mosquitoes, eventually hitting the Southwest.
States aiming to run their own health insurance exchanges, will be in need of federal grants to get those exchanges launched, and are facing a deadline today. New Mexico's application is in, but there's still a question of whether or not the exchange will be run by the state, federal government, or both.
New Mexico's federal grant request totals about $20-million dollars, and will be used for marketing, public relations, and outreach. With much of the states population living in rural areas, that outreach will be critical to the exchanges survival.
New Mexico continues to be sluggish in its recovery from the recession and according to a new report, the state lacks over 100,000 jobs.
Gerry Bradley is with New Mexico Voices for Children, a nonprofit children’s advocacy group that produced the report. He says the state needs a jobs package to fill the gap caused by job loss and lack of job growth. Bradley says state government has conducted an experiment over the last ten years- cutting taxes for high income people and corporations.