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Naybeel Sayed

 

One of the big stories to come out of the Roundhouse yesterday actually involves Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. State Auditor Brian Colon announced that he was moving ahead with a special audit of the Governor's discretionary fund, after local reporting discovered more than $13,000 in groceries, liquor purchases and dry cleaning over a six-month period in 2020. A group of Republican lawmakers also requested the audit in a letter to Auditor Colon. The Governor's office has said the purchases were appropriate but may have been excessive at times.

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Bill Advances To Exempt New Mexico From Time Changes - By Morgan Lee, Associated Press

New Mexico would eliminate twice-annual seasonal time changes under a bill endorsed Friday by the New Mexico state Senate.

New Mexico PBS

Thanks for joining us again for this short legislative update, coming to you straight from my garage! We're working on our floors right now, so the usual spot in the closet was taken today. Another busy day in the Roundhouse, including another long night in the House. That will likely continue for the rest of the session as the pattern now is to start the daily House Floor sessions at 4:30pm. The Senate Floor sessions are happening starting around 11am. And, of course, committee meetings are still in play throughout the day as well.

Marisa Demarco

  

Senate Energy Panel Backs Haaland For Interior Secretary - By Matthew Daly, Associated Press

A key Senate committee on Thursday approved the nomination of New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland to be interior secretary, clearing the way for a Senate vote that is likely to make her the first Native American to lead a Cabinet agency.

New Mexico PBS

A definite potpourri of legislative topics for you today, starting with an update on proposals to deal with the learning loss caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We also talk about some movement regarding predatory lending practices in New Mexico, which spurred several hours of debate yesterday in the Roundhouse.

When host Khalil Ekulona thinks about his purpose in life, he often thinks of his family. Family is where we get our first lessons and introduction to the world. On Episode 22, Khalil enters conversations with his family about the meaning and purpose of familial love, support, and collective dedication to passing those lessons along.

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For 109 years since the Legislature was founded, New Mexico has not had an African American State Senator. In 2021, that changed when Harold Pope Jr. of Albuquerque took his seat representing the 23rd District. KUNM caught up with the freshman Senator and Air Force veteran to ask about what motivated a life of service and where he sees New Mexico's future.

Albuquerque Journal pool photo

  

New Mexico Governor Signs Pandemic Relief Bills - By Morgan Lee, Associated Press

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has signed economic relief legislation that provides $600 rebates to low-income workers and a tax holiday for restaurants that have been hobbled by aggressive pandemic health restrictions.

New Mexico PBS

The week started off with some legislative drama, both on the Senate Floor and in committee. We run down some of the big news, including a potential compromise on efforts to reform how the state handles the once a decade process of redistricting. NMPBS Executive Producer Kevin McDonald runs down some of the key highlights from Monday and previews some of the scheduled committee discussions for today. How is the session going for you this year? What do you think of how both chambers are handling public comment. We want to hear from you!

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New Mexico Governor Touts Progress On Virus, Draws Criticism - By Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is touting her administration's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, saying the state stepped up last year with direct economic aid and is looking to provide more relief through pending legislation.

Nash Jones / KUNM


New Mexico says it is among the top states for getting COVID-19 vaccines into people's arms, but until more vaccine becomes available there are still more arms waiting than there are shots to give. Unmet demand has people looking for ways to get vaccinated sooner – like driving to other states or hanging around pharmacies at the end of the day. However, the New Mexico Department of Health published an order Monday creating penalties for healthcare providers who give shots out of turn and for people who are untruthful on their vaccine registrations.

FreeABQImages.com

  

New Mexico To Resume Horse Racing As Virus Restrictions Ease - By Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press

The commission that oversees horse racing in New Mexico says live racing is set to resume in April now that public health restrictions are being eased.

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Albuquerque Public Schools announced a new policy to make school more accessible for students who don’t go by their legal name by providing the option to use a chosen first name instead. APS says many students previously had to use their legal name in school settings, which became even more challenging with online classes, where names are often displayed. This can be particularly hard on trans students. 

C-SPAN/ C-SPAN.org

 

U.S. Representative for New Mexico Deb Haaland faced questioning this week during her confirmation hearing for secretary of the interior. While questions ranged from her stance on climate to whether she supported fossil fuel development, Senator Martin Heinrich included questions on the outdoor recreation economy and what improvements need to be made to education on tribal lands. 

Felipe Esquivel Reed via Wikimedia / Wikimedia Commons

Infections Among Inmates Boost New Mexico's COVID Case TotalAssociated Press

New Mexico health officials confirmed an additional 659 COVID-19 infections Friday — marking the highest daily case total in more than three weeks.

U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland / Twitter

 

Jazmine Wildcat is a star student in Riverton, Wyoming. Not the type to skip class. But on Tuesday morning, a piece of history was unfolding that the 17-year-old just couldn't miss: A congressional hearing to consider the confirmation of Deb Haaland as the first Indigenous secretary of the Interior.

"It is just super monumental and so inspiring, not only to just me, but probably other Native women," Jazmine said.

Alexander Schimmeck via Unsplash / Unsplash License

 

 

New Mexico AG Opens Inquiry Into Utility Costs During Freeze - By Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press

New Mexico's top prosecutor has opened an inquiry into utility costs during a winter blast that plunged New Mexico and other states into a deep freeze.

NMDOH COVID Dashboard https://cvprovider.nmhealth.org/public-dashboard.html

  

New Mexico Adds Least-Restrictive COVID-19 Tier - By Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press

New Mexico is revising its color-coded risk system by adding a new color that signifies when counties can ease even more pandemic-related restrictions.

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Overdose deaths have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the CDC, and many people are delaying or avoiding medical care due to concerns about the virus. The New Mexico Crisis and Access Line decided to partner with Digital Therapeutics Group LLC so those living with addictions can get support online. Launched in November with funding from the Department of Human Services Behavioral Health Division, the 5-Actions Program is free and anonymous. KUNM’s Nash Jones spoke with the app’s creator, John Fitzgerald, to learn more about the program.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

  

Interior Nominee Haaland Questioned On Drilling, Pipelines - By Matthew Daly, Associated Press

President Joe Biden's nominee to head the Interior Department  faced sharp questions from Republicans Tuesday over what several called her "radical" ideas that include opposition to fracking and the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

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Cannabis is the topic. As part of the continuing coverage from Your New Mexico Government it is time for an update on the legislative session at the Roundhouse. To discover more about the Cannabis legislation under debate at the state Capital, KUNM's Khalil Ekulona sat down with Juile Ann Grimm, editor for The Santa Fe Reporter.

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Visitation Restrictions Eased At Some New Mexico Hospitals - By Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press

Citing downward trends in new COVID-19 cases, top administrators with some of the largest health care networks in New Mexico said Monday that visitation restrictions at some hospitals were being eased for non-coronavirus patients.

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It's the return of our Old-School Shoutout Show on Episode 21. The first one, we did back in May. Now, as the pandemic wears on, we wanted to hear from callers: Who do you love? Who do you miss? Who do you want to celebrate or honor? We did the episode live this year. 

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New Mexico Legislature Moves To Preserve Abortion Rights - By Morgan Lee, Associated Press

A bill to shore up abortion rights in New Mexico by overturning a dormant 1969 ban on most abortion procedures has been approved by the Legislature, which is led by Democrats.

Nash Jones / KUNM

Let’s Talk New Mexico, Thursday, 2/25, 8a: February is Black History Month, and after a year that centered criticism of America’s racist past and present, many New Mexicans are paying attention to the role of race in our everyday lives. 

On the next Let’s Talk New Mexico, we’ll be discussing the 10th anniversary of the New Mexico Black History Festival, and also examining the American race narrative. And we want to hear from you! How did this summer's Black Lives Matter demonstrations change your view of race in the United States? What stories of Black History in New Mexico do you want to share? And how can we use the lessons of our history to make a more equitable state, country and world? Email us at LetsTalk@KUNM.org, or call in live during the show.

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New Mexico Schools Make Plans For Virtual, Hybrid Learning - By Cedar Attanasio Associated Press / Report For America

Albuquerque Public Schools officials are defending their decision to keep the state's largest school district in remote learning.

QuinceCreative / Pixabay

 

Early last month, President Biden extended a repayment pause for student loans until October 2021. In the meantime, college seniors graduating in the midst of this pandemic are also dealing with the stresses of a weak economy and fewer job opportunities. Patrick Watson from Mauldin Economics sat down with reporter Taylor Velazquez to talk about the likelihood of student loan forgiveness and the future of the job market.

 

Megan Kamerick

New Mexico Ramps Up Vaccine Distribution, Awaits SuppliesAssociated Press

Top health officials in New Mexico say the state has boosted the number of vaccines given daily by more than 20% over the past two weeks.

NASA Global Climate Change / Public Domain

As much of the country suffers from the polar vortex that has brought record lows and winter storms, legislators at the Roundhouse are examining the Climate Solutions Act. House Bill 9 looks at New Mexico’s issues with climate change while implementing economic reform in addressing the state’s energy consumption. For Your New Mexico Government’s continuing coverage of the legislative session KUNM’s Khalil Ekulona spoke with Laura Paskus from New Mexico PBS.

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Gathering Of Nations Powwow Canceled For 2nd Year In A RowAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

The world's largest powwow has been canceled for a second consecutive year because of the pandemic.

The Albuquerque Journal reported Monday that the Gathering of Nations Powwow, typically held in Albuquerque, will be entirely online.

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