Pandemic Upends Preparations For Legislative Session - Associated Press
State lawmakers are sparring over whether to delay a legislative session that traditionally starts in mid-January, potentially deferring Democratic initiatives on cannabis, abortion rights, education funding and more. Republican House minority leader Jim Townsend of Artesia on Thursday advocated for a delay of the 2021 legislative session until spring on the grounds that direct public participation might be limited amid health risks. The Legislature is considering precautions that move committee meetings to a spacious convention center to allow greater social distancing and accommodate public participation. Democratic House speaker Brian Egolf said it's crucial for the Legislature to meet on time about pandemic relief efforts.
Governor Lujan Grisham Reshuffles Office As She Advises Biden - Associated Press
An attorney who successfully defended the governor’s emergency health orders from legal challenges has been promoted to chief of staff byGov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. Matthew Garcia was named chief of staff Thursday to succeed John Bingaman as he departs state government for the private sector. Lujan Grisham spokeswoman Nora Sackett said Bingaman continues to advise the governor on a volunteer basis in her role as co-chair to the transition team for President-elect Joe Biden. Garcia, as general counsel to the governor’s office, made a series of appearances before the state Supreme Court regarding the state’s pandemic response, the governor’s emergency powers and voting procedures.
State Marks Highest Daily Count Of COVID-19 Cases - Associated Press
New Mexico has marked its highest daily count of confirmed COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began. Health officials on Thursday reported an additional 1,753 cases to push the statewide tally to more than 60,770. Eighteen deaths also were reported. The state has been struggling with uncontrollable spread in recent weeks and health care administrators have warned that many hospitals are at or near capacity. In Albuquerque, an alternate care overflow facility designed to house coronavirus patients has remained locked and unused. The state is considering a federal request for Department of Defense military personnel to staff the facility.
Experts: Neglect Prevention Key To Better Childhood Outcomes - Associated Press
Any efforts in New Mexico to build a successful early childhood education system will depend on the state's ability to prevent child neglect and abuse. Members of a task force focused on child well-being relayed their findings to a panel of state lawmakers Thursday. Dr. Andrew Hsi of the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center says it has been difficult to organize state leadership around the issue of prevention despite troubling statistics. The team of experts pointed to data suggesting 1 out of 2 New Mexico children have at least one adverse experience by the time they are 3.