For more than a year now, this show has been keeping pace with changes large and small, noting them and documenting them. It’s about looking closely and creating a record of this historic year in human history. It’s also been an unusual time for journalists themselves. Today, we’re talking about the behind-the-scenes thinking and decision-making that goes into telling stories.
Young people in the last decades have had to study more than academics—they’ve had to learn what to do when a person shows up to your school with a gun and starts shooting. And unfortunately those types of skills could help you anywhere these days—even on Capitol Hill. As the American pandemic of gun violence grows, so do the arguments about what can be done about it. Often those arguments are about the Second Amendment, but do we have the right to bear arms ... right? Or are we arguing about it wrong? NoMoNo hits part two of our look at gun violence.
As of Friday, May 14, there have been nearly 16,000 deaths due to guns so far this year in the United States, according to data from Gun Violence Archive. Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic, protests about racial equity, and the general election dominated our attention, but that doesn’t mean that other serious matters like gun violence disappeared. Data from the archive shows that nearly 20,000 Americans died by guns last year—the highest total number of deaths in at least the last two decades. The problem didn’t go away. Our attention did. In episode 29 we take a look at the problem of gun violence in America, where we stand and what can be done about it.
Humans are peculiar. We are capable thoughts, feelings, and expressions ranging from unconditional love to insidious hate. It begs the question: where do we learn those concepts? And then: How do we unlearn them? Here is a good one: How does someone who has been a member of a group that professes hatred of other humans leave that community and ideology behind? What are the steps? What’s the process like? Who are the people that can help them?
After many attempts over what seems like forever, New Mexico has finally passed a law making recreational cannabis use legal for adults. But the rollout is not as simple as lighting a match as special considerations for how this new law will impact New Mexicans must be addressed. It raises a lot of questions: What happens to people with prior cannabis convictions? Who will have access to the emerging industry? How will equity be enacted? And how will this affect you if you don’t have citizenship status?
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.
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.
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.
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 .
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.