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TUES: NM Secretary of State announces new absentee ballot tracking system, + More

An absentee ballot is dropped off at a polling site.
Nash Jones
An absentee ballot is dropped off at a polling site.

NM Secretary of State announces new absentee ballot tracking system KUNM News

New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver Tuesday announced the launch of a new online system that allows voters to track their absentee ballots, and receive email and text updates.

Absentee ballots can be filled out at home over time, as opposed to voting at the polls. Any qualified New Mexico voter can use one, no reason or excuse needs to be given. Once completed, voters can submit their absentee ballot by mailing it back or dropping it off at any voting location or ballot drop box.

Toulouse Oliver said in a statement that the new Ballot Scout system improves upon the state’s existing tracking system by, “offering more information to voters about where exactly their absentee ballot is in the mailing process.”

To use it, first a voter has to request their absentee ballot. That can be done using the state’s online portal or a county clerk’s paper application. Some clerks’ offices also allow voters to call or email their request.

Voters can then go to the ballot tracker on the Secretary of State's website to sign up for email or text notifications about their ballot’s whereabouts.

The deadline to request one for the primary election is next Tuesday, May 21. Completed ballots must be received by 7 p.m. on primary Election Day, June 4.

Learn more about absentee ballots and how to request one on Instagram @KUNMNews

Movie armorer appeals conviction in fatal shooting of cinematographer by Alec Baldwin - Associated Press

A movie weapons armorer is appealing her conviction for involuntary manslaughter in the fatal shooting of a cinematographer by Alec Baldwin on the set of the Western film "Rust," according to court documents released Tuesday.

A defense attorney filed the shortly worded appeal notice as Hannah Gutierrez-Reed serves an 18-month sentence at a New Mexico penitentiary for women. Her attorneys have 30 days to submit detailed arguments.

Prosecutors blame Gutierrez-Reed for unwittingly bringing live ammunition onto the set of "Rust," where it was expressly prohibited, and for failing to follow basic gun-safety protocols. A jury convicted her in state court in March.

Baldwin, the lead actor and co-producer of the film, was pointing a gun at cinematographer Halyna Hutchins during a rehearsal when the gun went off, killing her and wounding director Joel Souza.

Baldwin has pleaded not guilty to a charge of involuntary manslaughter and says he pulled back the hammer — but not the trigger — and the gun fired. His trial is scheduled for July.

Gutierrez-Reed was acquitted of an evidence tampering charge at trial, and still confronts separate court proceedings on allegations she carried a firearm into a bar in downtown Santa Fe.

A New Mexico judge last month found that Gutierrez-Reed's recklessness on the "Rust" set amounted to a serious violent offense, noting few indications of genuine remorse in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

Gutierrez-Reed said at a sentencing hearing she had tried to do her best on the set despite not having "proper time, resources and staffing," and that she was not the monster that people have made her out to be. Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer said the maximum sentence was appropriate.

New Mexico judge halts state mandate for school districts to adopt calendars with more school days - By Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press

A new mandate that requires school districts across New Mexico to adopt calendars that consist of at least 180 days was put on hold by a judge on Monday while he considers the change's legality.

Dozens of school districts and superintendents have been challenging the state Public Education Department over the change. Teacher unions and Republican lawmakers also have raised concerns about the rule.

In granting the school districts' request for a preliminary injunction, Judge Dustin Hunter said the rule undermines the Legislature's intent when it adopted legislation in 2023 that called for extending the number of hours children spend in the classroom and the time teachers have for professional development.

"If the Legislature had intended to expand the number of days with all the accompanying costs — such as transportation and food and specialty providers such as special education and everything else — it necessarily would have provided the funding or given clear guidance as to why it was unable to," Hunter said.

The plaintiffs had argued that the requirement would result in budget shortfalls, particularly for districts that have operated on four-day weeks for decades.

"There are 89 different stories in 89 different districts and 89 different ways of getting good education to kids," testified Stan Rounds, executive director of the New Mexico Coalition of Education Leaders. "They are very different. One size does not fit all."

State officials contend the change will ultimately improve educational outcomes.

Holly Agajanian, the chief general counsel for Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, argued that the school districts would not be harmed if the state is allowed to move forward with implementing the mandate pending a ruling on the merits of the case.

She said the districts could submit budgets with two alternative calendars — one complying with the 180-day rule and one assuming the school does not need to meet the mandate if the districts win their case.

Agajanian told the court that although there have been substantial comments about the rule, the court "should not view it as the opinion of the public, especially when balancing harms."

Attorneys for the school districts said 98% of the thousands of public comments were against the rule.

Hunter acknowledged that the state has created a Catch-22 in that it is requiring districts to submit budgets and schedules and apply for waivers even though they won't have the student performance data needed to determine if they are eligible for an exemption.

The courtroom in Roswell was packed Monday, and dozens of school officials, lawmakers and district attorneys tuned into the livestream.

Consideration of the 180-day rule began last year, spurring much opposition. It wasn't until this year's legislative session wrapped up that the Public Education Department announced it would be implementing the rule that would take effect July 1.

Public Education Secretary Arsenio Romero told reporters in March that the change was just one of many things his agency was implementing as it works to pull New Mexico up from the bottom of national education rankings. He pointed to structured literacy programs in kindergarten and earlier grades, technical education and internship opportunities for older students and summer programs that can help keep students on track.

Romero had said the agency listened to those who spoke out during a public comment period and that flexibility was built in to allow for four-day weeks — as long as districts could show increases in academic performance.

As for the legislation passed in 2023, New Mexico increased the number of hours students needed to be in school from roughly 1,000 hours to 1,140 hours. The change meant several districts around the state had to lengthen the school day or add more days to meet the requirement. The legislation also allowed space for professional development for teachers within a normal school day.

In the community of Logan, Superintendent Dennis Roch testified that the new rule will result in "astronomical" costs for the tiny district to add 33 days to its calendar to come into compliance. He said the additional cost for teacher salaries, not including any support staff, would total around $388,000 — which exceeds what the district pays to heat, cool and power its buildings.

"It's just unworkable," he said of absorbing the costs.

New Mexico forges rule for treatment and reuse of oil-industry fracking water amid protests - By Morgan Lee, Associated Press

Environmental officials in New Mexico took initial steps Monday toward regulating the treatment and reuse of oil industry fracking water as the state grapples with scarce water supplies and fossil fuel producers confront shrinking opportunities for wastewater disposal.

A state water quality commission opened a weeklong series of hearings as the nation's No. 2 state for petroleum production begins to build out a series of rules that initially prohibit the release after treatment of so-called produced water from oil and gas production while still opening the way for pilot projects.

"The rule is prohibitive when it comes to any type of release of any type of produced water, whether treated or untreated," said Andrew Knight, assistant general counsel to the state Environment Department, in opening statements. "At this point, we couldn't even tell you what testing would be needed to determine that a certain treatment technology or combination of technologies would be protective."

He said the agency's initial rule would be "as protective as possible while still allowing the science to advance through pilot and then demonstration projects."

The proposal is generating public protests that give voice to fears of undisclosed contaminants used in the oil- and gas-drilling process. At the same time, oil producers and at least one water service provider say the regulations don't provide specific water quality standards that might help effective treatment projects move forward.

The Environment Department "apparently wants a regulation to be able to deny a permit based on the source of the water, not its quality," said Liz Newlin Taylor, an attorney for Select Water Solutions, a Houston-based water-management company for energy producers with operations in Carlsbad. "New Mexico certainly needs additional sources of water, and treated produced water could be part of this solution. These proposed regulations, however, failed."

Several environmental groups are urging the Environment Department to strike definitions that refer to the reuse of treated water in agriculture, recreational fields, rangeland and potable water.

"The public, understandably, is concerned that the rule allows land application of produced water, and that produced water will infiltrate and pollute groundwater," said Tannis Fox, an attorney representing environmental groups Amigos Bravos and The Sierra Club. "This is not what the rule says, but it is what members of the public are concerned about."

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has pitched plans for the state to underwrite a strategic new source of water by buying and selling treated water that originates from the used, salty byproducts of oil and natural gas drilling. Related legislation stalled at the Legislature in February without a House or Senate floor vote, but the governor has said she'll persist.

Several dozen protesters gathered last week outside the state Capitol to condemn the oil wastewater rule. They included the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit alleging the state has failed to meet constitutional provisions for protecting against oil and gas pollution.

Another protester, Reyes DeVore, of Jemez Pueblo and the Native American environmental rights group Pueblo Action Alliance, said, "We collectively stand in opposition to the reuse of toxic oil and gas wastewater outside of the oil field."

"The strategic water supply that Gov. Grisham announced, it's not a real solution," she said.

Expert testimony submitted by the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association paints a dire portrait of competition in New Mexico for water resources among cities, farms, industry and wildlife — even as oil-industry water demands grow for fracking.

"Over the next 50 years, New Mexico will have approximately 25% less water available in rivers and aquifers," said John D'Antonio, who previously served as New Mexico's top water regulator — the state engineer. "It impacts everything from municipal planning to population growth to economic activity."

Other expert testimony from the association notes that oil companies have more and more produced water to dispose of as they increase drilling activity — with decreasing capacity for disposal because of concerns including earthquakes linked to high-pressure injection wells. The industry generates four or five barrels of wastewater for every barrel of oil produced, said Robert Balch of the Petroleum Research Recovery Center at New Mexico Tech in Socorro.


This story has been corrected to indicate Andrew Knight is assistant general counsel for the New Mexico Environment Department, not general counsel.

ABQ City Council hears potential change to ‘immigrant-friendly’ ordinance - Albuquerque Journal, KUNM news

Several immigrant rights groups and advocates gathered to give public comment during Monday night’s Albuquerque City Council meeting to a proposed change to the city’s ‘immigrant-friendly’ ordinance.

As the Albuquerque Journal reports, originally, the ordinance prohibited the use of city resources to enforce federal immigration laws and kept ICE agents out of city property.

Now, a proposed amendment set forth by city councilors Brook Bassan and Renée Grout would create an exception specifically for people charged with a violent felony and human or narcotics trafficking.

Councilors say their aim is to improve safety.

Opponents of the amendment claim that, if approved, the changes would violate due process and encourage racial discrimination.

The amendment, which was heard by the Committee of Finance and Government Operations, voted 3-2 to send the resolution to the full Council for a final vote.

Proposed settlement is first step in securing Colorado River water for 3 Native American tribes - By Felicia Fonseca, Associated Press

A proposed water rights settlement for three Native American tribes that carries a price tag larger than any such agreement enacted by Congress took a significant step forward late Monday with introduction in the Navajo Nation Council.

The Navajo Nation has one of the largest single outstanding claims in the Colorado River basin and will vote soon on the measure in a special session. It's the first of many approvals — ending with Congress — that's needed to finalize the deal.

Climate change, the coronavirus pandemic and demands on the river like those that have allowed Phoenix, Las Vegas and other desert cities to thrive pushed the tribes into settlement talks. The Navajo, Hopi and San Juan Southern Paiute tribes are hoping to close the deal quickly under a Democratic administration in Arizona and with Joe Biden as president.

A landmark 1922 agreement divided the Colorado River basin water among seven western states but left out tribes. The tribes are seeking water from a mix of sources: the Colorado River, the Little Colorado River, aquifers and washes on tribal lands in northeastern Arizona.

Nearly one-third of homes on the Navajo Nation, which stretches across 27,000 square miles (70,000 square kilometers) of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, don't have running water. Many homes on Hopi are similarly situated.

San Juan Southern Paiute will vote on the settlement within weeks, tribal President Robbin Preston Jr. said in an email. Along with guaranteed water deliveries, the tribe is asking Congress to approve a treaty it signed with the Navajo Nation in 2000 to establish an 8.4 square-mile (21.8 square-kilometer) reservation within the Navajo reservation.

"We will have economic opportunities that our tribal members have never seen before, and which will give hope and pride to our people," Preston said.

Without a settlement, the tribes would be at the mercy of courts. Already, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the federal government is not bound by treaties with the Navajo Nation to secure water for the tribe. Navajo has the largest land base of any of the 574 federally recognized tribes and is second in population with more than 400,000 citizens.

A separate case that has played out over decades in Arizona over the Little Colorado River basin likely will result in far less water than the Navajo Nation says it needs because the tribe has to prove it has historically used the water. That's hard to do when the tribe hasn't had access to much of it, Navajo Attorney General Ethel Branch said.

Congress has enacted nearly three dozen tribal water rights settlements across the U.S. since 1978. Federal negotiation teams are working on another 22 settlements involving 34 tribes in nine states, the Interior Department said.

The costliest one enacted by Congress was for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes in Montana at $1.9 billion. The Navajo, Hopi and San Juan Southern Paiute tribes are seeking more than $5 billion in their settlement.

About $1.75 billion of that would fund a pipeline from Lake Powell, one of the two largest reservoirs in the Colorado River system, on the Arizona-Utah border. The settlement would require the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to complete it by the end of 2040.

From there, water would be delivered to dozens of tribal communities in remote areas.

"Whatever funding we walk away with is funding we don't otherwise have," Branch said. "It will be a challenge."

The Navajo Nation has settled its claims to the Colorado River basin in New Mexico and Utah. It's separately pursuing two other much smaller settlements in New Mexico.

Arizona — situated in the Colorado River's Lower Basin with California, Nevada and Mexico — is unique in that it also has an allocation in the Upper Basin. Under the settlement terms, Navajo and Hopi would get about 47,000 acre-feet in the Upper Basin — nearly the entire amount that was set aside for use at the Navajo Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant that shut down in late 2019. Navajo previously had agreed not to seek that water for the 50 years prior to 2019.

The proposal also includes a combined 9,500 acre-feet per year of water from the Colorado River's Lower Basin for Navajo and Hopi. Navajo additionally would have the right to draw 40,780 acre-feet from the Little Colorado River — about one-third of what's estimated to reach the reservation annually.

An acre-foot of water is roughly enough to serve two to three U.S. households annually.

Arizona, in turn, gets certainty in the amount of water available throughout the state as it's forced to cut back as the overall supply diminishes. Navajo and Hopi, like other Arizona tribes, could be part of that solution if they secure the right to lease water within the state that could be delivered through a canal system that already serves metropolitan Tucson and Phoenix.

The two tribes came close to reaching a pact to settle water rights in Arizona in 2012, but the tentative deal fell through. This time around, Navajo officials launched a public education campaign.

They held lengthy community meetings with translations in Navajo — "tó bee há haz' a" meaning "water right," for example — and described water's role in the tribe's creation story and in ceremonies. They explained complicated water law, past attempts to settle and what's at stake if the settlement fails.

In Leupp, the audience mostly asked about immediate needs: fixing the electricity on the water pump, improving roads and drilling wells.

Marlene Yazzie recalled her mother hitchhiking more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) to pressure tribal officials for electricity and water — which never came. Yazzie herself relies on water hauled to her home in nearby Birdsprings for washing, drinking and for her livestock.

"How many more years do we have to wait?" she asked.

After nine years of court oversight, Albuquerque Police now in full compliance with reforms - Associated Press

The Albuquerque Police Department is now in full compliance with reforms ordered by the U.S. Department of Justice and that paves the way for the end of nine years of court oversight, authorities said Monday.

The assessment came from a court-appointed, independent monitor who been overseeing compliance with the Justice Department decree since 21015.

The DOJ released findings of its Albuquerque police investigation in 2014, the same year the department came under intense scrutiny for use of force and the number of officer-involved shootings.

But over the past nine years, authorities said Albuquerque's police force made major strides toward achieving compliance with all officers equipped with body-worn cameras, increased crisis intervention training and a new policing reform office.

The city and the police department will now enter a two-year period during which they must demonstrate their ability to sustain the reforms mandated by the agreement.

Police officials said the department can start monitoring itself as long as it sustains compliance with the requirements.

"The road to get here has not been easy, but we never gave up," Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller said in a statement. "We believed that real reform was possible."

Officials with the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico emphasized the crucial need for continued vigilance by Albuquerque police to safeguard the protection of community members' rights and safety.

Keller and police Chief Harold Medina plan to hold a news conference Friday to discuss the DOJ settlement agreement and the city's next steps for reform.


This story has been corrected to show an independent monitor was court-appointed and not hired by the city.

State Supreme Court rules in favor of PNM in 'revenue decoupling' case - Santa Fe New Mexican, KUNM News

The New Mexico Supreme Court on Monday ruled in favor of the state's largest electric utility in its interpretation of a 2020 amendment to the state's Efficient Use of Energy Act.

As the Santa Fe New Mexican reports, the court ruled unanimously the law allows for "full revenue decoupling." That's complete separation of a utility’s revenues from its sales of electricity or natural gas, as a way to encourage utilities to promote energy efficiency.

Justice Michael E. Vigil wrote in a 36-page opinion a full revenue decoupling mechanism was the "clearly expressed legislative intention" of the 2020 amendment to state law.

The ruling represents the first decisive victory for PNM in the state Supreme Court in years.

The court ruled against PNM last year in an appeal concerning the closure of the coal-fired Four Corners Power Plant. An appeal of the Public Regulation Commission's rejection of a merger with Connecticut-based energy company Avangrid was pending when Avangrid backed out of the deal early this year.

Wildfire potential ‘above normal’ through much of NM’s central mountains this summer - By Patrick Lohmann,Source New Mexico

Forecasters with the National Interagency Fire Center are expecting wildfire risk to be above normal for much of the state this summer, citing ongoing drought and a potential transition this summer from El Niño to La Niña conditions.

Significant wildfires are burning in Mexico and Canada. Several small fires have started and burned so far this year in New Mexico, though fire activity is far less active than this time two years ago.

Two years ago today, the Black Fire started in the Gila Wilderness before going on to become the second-biggest wildfire in New Mexico history. The biggest-ever state fire, the Hermits-Peak Calf Canyon Fire, also started two years ago in April.

A forecast released earlier this month shows fire risk to steadily increase throughout July, with New Mexico the potential hotspot throughout the Southwest for wildfires.

The elevated fire risk will cover much of New Mexico’s central mountain chain by June and then increase across most of the state by July, according to risk maps produced by the National Interagency Fire Center.

Forecasters there said drought conditions in New Mexico are expected to persist at least through the end of July, which heightens the risk. Another factor is that April precipitation varied between 0% and 70% of normal across the state, according to the forecast.

One wildcard that could make conditions in New Mexico even more ripe for wildfire is a potential transition from El Niño to La Niña later this summer, which would mean a higher likelihood of warmer, drier weather patterns across the Southwest.

Forecasters with the Climate Prediction Center say there’s a 60% chance of La Niña being in full-swing between June and August this summer.

Researchers found a history of cooler temperatures and more precipitation in seasons where the transition between El Niño and La Niña occurred, especially in the northwestern part of the Southwest.

That finding could mean some areas of the Southwest – excluding the central mountains of New Mexico and southern deserts of Arizona – are at normal fire risk throughout the summer, according to the forecast.

Read the forecast here.

Jicarilla Apache Nation President Edward Velarde dies - Alice Fordham, KUNM News

The president of the Jicarilla Apache Nation, Edward Velarde, has died.

In a statement, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham called him a committed and effective leader who sought to strengthen state and tribal relations.

She said that he worked to improve rural economic development in the nation in northwestern New Mexico which is home to about 2,500 people.

In a statement posted to social media, the tribe said that Velarde's "kindness, wisdom and dedication touched the lives of all who knew him".

The statement said that Velarde was a veteran of the Vietnam war, who served with courage and commitment.

He had been president of the tribe since 2019, before which he was vice president.

Congress is sending families less help for day care costs. So states are stepping in

By Moriah Balingit, Susan Montoya Bryan and Dylan Lovan of the Associated Press and Daniel Beekman of the Seattle Times

Across the country, the story for families is virtually the same: Child care is unaffordable for many, hard to find for those who can pay, and financially precarious for day care operators and their employees.

The Biden administration and Congress tried to alleviate some of these problems when the pandemic crippled the child care industry. But as the record $52.5 billion in relief winds down, many states have stepped in with their own solutions.

States have expanded free preschool and early education and helped more families pay for child care, making it low-cost or even free for many. Recognizing that a federal solution is unlikely to materialize anytime soon, policymakers have come up with novel ways to pay for their plans, creating permanent funding sources that will make new programs sustainable.

New Mexico, for instance, has tapped into its petroleum revenue, Washington state put a new tax on investment profits, and Kentucky is incentivizing parents to become child care workers.

And while the largest investments in child care have come from Democrats, Republican state lawmakers across the country are embracing plans to support child care — citing the importance to the economy.


After she gave birth, Marisshia Sigala put on hold plans to start her real estate career. She and her husband — a personal trainer — lived on one paycheck for about two years and realized the cost of child care would be out of reach even if both were working.

Then, in 2022, New Mexico made child care free for nearly all the state's families, amending the constitution to fund early childhood initiatives with money from leasing state land to oil and gas companies.

The change will bring in an estimated $150 million a year for the early education of children like Mateo. Sigala and her husband qualify because they earn less than 400% of the federal poverty rate, currently about $120,000 a year for a family of four. Mateo is one of more than 21,000 children now benefitting from the subsidies.

Now Sigala, 32, is back at work while Mateo attends Koala Children's Academy, which specializes in bilingual education.

"Being entrepreneurs, it's a lot more challenging, and we have to rely on ourselves. We don't have a paycheck coming in every week," Sigala said. "It's been a blessing for us."

Expanding free child care for families is "making a difference for families in such a profound way," said Elizabeth Groginsky, New Mexico's early childhood education secretary. And, she said, it's helping the people who care for and educate young kids, too.

Groginsky and other state leaders are hoping the massive investment will help blunt the effects of poverty.

"It's just a really incredible opportunity we have here," she said.


Washington state is aiming to offer free preschool to all low-income families, and child care vouchers to all low- and moderate-income families by the end of the decade, along with high-quality care for infants and toddlers with developmental concerns.

The state is expanding its programs with help from a new 7% tax on profits made from residents' financial investments — a levy intended to fall on wealthier people.

When Zaneta Billyzone-Jatta's daughter Zakiah was born prematurely in 2021, her mother hired a nanny to watch the baby three days a week. A clinical manager for a hospital network, Billyzone-Jatta, 42, had to work while keeping an eye on her daughter the other two days. She felt like she couldn't give her toddler enough attention, much less address the girl's developmental concerns like a professional could.

Through a state program for low-income families and kids with challenges like Zakiah, she now sends her daughter to a child care center near her Seattle-area home, free of cost. There, three teachers supervise seven children in Zakiah's class and diligently document her progress. Occupational and speech therapists see Zakiah at the school and work closely with the teachers.

Billyzone-Jatta said Zakiah has made huge strides at the school. She talks about her days in detail and refers to classmates by name. She has learned to interact with other students, drink from an open cup and share.

"Being a working mother and being able to know that you're bringing your child to an environment where they're loved and cared for gives you so much peace," she said.

But the program helping infants and toddlers like Zakiah is still small, serving fewer than 200 kids statewide. And in November, Washington voters will have a chance to weigh in on the tax in a referendum that could lead to its repeal, endangering the progress the state has made, child care advocates say.

"It would be catastrophic," said Jon Gould, of Akin, the nonprofit that operates Zakiah's state-supported child care center.


Rylee Monn, 24, was working at Baptist Health Child Development Center in Lexington when she had her second child, doubling what she paid for her children to attend the same center.

She thought about quitting and getting a night-shift job so she could stay home and care for her children during the day.

"All of my paycheck was going to child care," Monn said.

Then, in 2023, Kentucky started a program to cover or reduce the cost of day care for parents who work in the child care industry. The program was meant to tackle two challenges at once. Policymakers hoped it would draw more workers into the child care industry, addressing a shortage. And they wanted to provide more low-cost child care for all families.

Now, more than a dozen states are considering or have already adopted policies modeled after the one in Kentucky, according to EdSurge, a publication that focuses on education.

The program has helped the state's child care industry recruit workers who might otherwise be working in service jobs.

Delaney Griffin, 30, was working in a pizza restaurant last year and pondering her next move with her young family. Her child care costs consumed all but $100 of her biweekly check.

After learning about the child care benefit, she took a job in December with Baptist Health Child Development Center. She now pays about $5 a week. Her older child is in a preschool program.

"The free child care part was like the biggest reason that I actually got to start in child care," Griffin said.


This series on how the child care crisis affects working parents — with a focus on solutions — is produced by the Education Reporting Collaborative, a coalition of eight newsrooms, including AL.com, The Associated Press, The Christian Science Monitor, The Dallas Morning News, The Hechinger Report, Idaho Education News, The Post & Courier, and The Seattle Times.