Khalil Ekulona

Your N.M. Government Producer, Host
The Seafarer via Flickr CC

The illness of racism was here long before Covid-19, but the pandemic brought it out into a brighter focus. It is too blinding not to see it. It is too loud to be silent in its presence. So we are going to make some noise of our own—the kind of noise you can dance to. On Episode 26, we highlight the dialogues we’ve had over the past year with anti-racist educators and leaders. As the country loops back through a national call to self-destruct on Sunday, April 11, NoMoNo spins remixes of conversations and wall-to-wall beats.

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CARES Act money was distributed last year to keep businesses open during the pandemic, to help people pay rent, and even to help local governments stay afloat. But for the country’s indiginous tribes, who are among the most vulnerable, getting those dollars took extra work and more time. KUNM’s Khalil Ekulona recently asked Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez what it took to get their stimulus and disaster relief payments and how they’re using the money to help people on the reservation. 

Vanessa Bowen

2020 was a long year. We don't have to tell you. It was a constant barrage of reality-shaping events, and it hasn’t stopped. What is different for us now that we are on the verge of—maybe, knock on wood—coming out of the pandemic? How are the leaders we elected approaching their duties now? How are activists applying what they’ve learned to push their causes forward? How are the people who experienced hardship pre-pandemic adapting to a possible post-pandemic life? No More Normal reflects on last year while keeping our focus on the future.

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New Mexico is one of the fastest-warming states in the country, according to a 2016 report issued by the Union Of Concerned Scientists. In this year’s legislative session several bills addressing climate change were introduced by lawmakers. Not all of the measures were rejected. They didn’t all pass, either.  KUNM caught up with environmental reporter Laura Paskus from New Mexico PBS about the urgency of climate change problems in our state and how local elected officials are responding .

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Storefront lenders offering payday loans or title loans are a quick way to get money for people who are often in dire straits financially. And it can be a slippery slope when the interest rate on these loans can be as high as 175 percent in New Mexico. Around the country, other states have passed laws to make those rates lower. But a bill that would have capped that rate at 36 percent here didn’t make it through the legislative session. KUNM’s Khalil Ekulona spoke to Fred Nathan, a proponent of the bill and the executive director of Think New Mexico.

New Mexico PBS

After months of protests against racism and police brutality, legislators passed a bill late Tuesday night that ends qualified immunity in state court, allowing police officers and other local elected officials to be prosecuted for civil rights violations. The state Senate voted in favor of the New Mexico Civil Rights Act shortly after midnight, and if amendments are approved by the House, it will head to the governor for signature. KUNM’s Khalil Ekulona spoke to Jeff Proctor of the Santa Fe Reporter about this and other measures aimed at police reform.

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Things are definitely moving fast and furious in the Roundhouse, as you would expect with only 4 and half days left in this year's session. 

New Mexico PBS

A busy weekend in the Roundhouse, capped off by yes votes for Medical Aid in Dying and Mandatory Paid Sick Leave measures. But, the big news of the weekend was the lack of action on cannabis legalization, as both of the remaining bills did not come up for discussion in the Senate Judiciary Committee. One of those bills was actually pulled from consideration just minutes before the meeting. And, of course, all of the proposed measures are up against the clock, with time set to run out on this year's session at noon on Saturday.

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 Twelve months ago, team NoMoNo was busy having conversations about how we were going to make a show that covered the response to a global pandemic. What did we want to talk about? What was not being talked about? What was the vital info? What were the nuances? What life-and-death decisions were being made by public officials. Who needed help—and where is the help? We’ve worked hard over the last year to provide those answers. 

New Mexico PBS

 

If you are interested in the most inner workings of state government, today's Your NM Government update is just for you! The work Wednesday in the Roundhouse was somewhat overshadowed by technical problems with the virtual proceedings. But a lot of the business that was considered had to do with how the sausage is made, so to speak. Here's a quick rundown of what we talked about in today's update:

New Mexico PBS

 

 

And then there were 2 --- cannabis legalization bills. At least that's the way things seem to be shaping up in this 2021 Legislative Session. 

New Mexico PBS

Every 10 years after the census, the New Mexico state Legislature redraws its districts. While redistricting is always a contentious and often partisan task, this year, the drama is being felt by both parties. On Saturday, a compromise was reached: An independent committee would offer three to five maps that lawmakers choose from—and can change—before sending one to the governor. This clears the way for the bill to hit the Senate floor. KUNM spoke with Gwyneth Doland of New Mexico PBS to get a breakdown of the situation.

New Mexico PBS

 

 

New Mexico PBS

 

 

Another busy week in store for the session, and today also marks the second to last Monday of the 2021 Legislative Session. Lawmakers will definitely have their hands full in these last days, with plenty of high profile measures still to decide.

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Where do you get your news? Rather, where do you get your stories? Even more: how do stories shape us? And who are the people crafting these stories—what’s their story? For our second episode on black history, we are looking into storytelling and the people who craft the narrative, offering us insights we may have passed by. 

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.

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.

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.

Mr.TinDC / Flickr

 

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.

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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Stephanie Fitzgerald / Creative Commons

Today, Your NM Government launches daily updates on the 2021 Legislative session, now in the home stretch. 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?

Cannabis Tours via Wikimedia / Creative Commons https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en

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.

"boombox" by A.rex is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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. 

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.

Office of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham

About 100,000 New Mexicans are receiving unemployment benefits right now. Many of those people lost their jobs due to the pandemic, and some of those jobs may not come back. But there are employment areas that are growing. New Mexico’s Department of Workforce Solutions Secretary Bill McCamley told KUNM’s Khalil Ekulona about these growing areas, and said now is the time to plan for what work will look like in the future.

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