Thursday News Roundup: NM Ed Chief Vows To Push Law On 3rd-Grade Reading

Nov 14, 2013

NM Ed Chief Vows To Push Law On 3rd-Grade Reading - Associated Press and The Santa Fe New Mexican

New Mexico's top education official says Gov. Susana Martinez won't stop pushing for legislation to hold back third-graders who can't read at grade level.

Public Education chief Hanna Skandera vowed that she and Martinez will be "back in full force" to push the proposal in 2014. The Legislature has rejected the plan for the past two years.

Skandera's comments came at the end of a full day of hearings Wednesday by a legislative study committee about best reading practices, remediation, retention and intervention policies for students.

The committee reviews policies and will draft bills for the upcoming legislative session, which opens in January.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports about 22 percent of third-graders in the 2011-2012 class risked being retained if the proposed policies had been in place.

Sportsmen Oppose Gila Diversion Proposals- Associated Press

A coalition of sportsmen is sending a letter to Gov. Susana Martinez in opposition to diverting water from the Gila River.

The New Mexico Wildlife Federation and numerous chapters of Trout Unlimited say proposed diversions stand to harm wildlife and threaten the state's outdoor recreation economy.

The Interstate Stream Commission is reviewing proposals to use funding from the Arizona Water Settlements Act to address water demands in southwestern New Mexico.

The groups argue that a diversion project would be costly and could end up being useless if river flows fall below certain levels. They point to forecasts that call for continued drought.

The Gila is the last main-stem river in New Mexico without a major dam or diversion. It's also home to the federally protected Gila trout.

NM Health Insurance Exchange To Meet In Roswell - Associated Press

The governing board of New Mexico's state-run health insurance marketplace meets in Roswell this week as it faces questions of what can be done to help New Mexicans struggling with a problem-plagued federal exchange website.

Board member Jason Sandel said he expects Friday's meeting to include a discussion of what can be done to deal with the federal exchange that New Mexico is relying on to enroll individuals. The state's exchange handles the enrollment of small businesses.

Sandel said he wants to know whether individuals can use a state-run call center to enroll.

The board is scheduled to meet at the Eastern New Mexico University campus in Roswell starting at 10 a.m.

On Thursday, the exchange is holding a "listening session" in the community to hear from the public.

WIPP Nuke Storage Site Could Operate Until 2055 - Associated Press and The Carlsbad Current-Argus

Officials at a nuclear waste repository near Carlsbad say the facility could continue accepting shipments through 2055 because the nation's need for contaminated materials storage will continue past its planned 2030 shutdown date.

The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant's manager told lawmakers on a panel tasked with overseeing the $1.2 billion plant that it would undergo a five-year decommissioning process when it finally does close.

The plant accepts plutonium-contaminated waste like clothing, tools and other debris from defense projects. The waste is then buried in rooms cut from underground salt beds. The waste includes such things as clothing, tools and other debris.

The Carlsbad Current-Argus reports WIPP manager Farok Sharif says there's no sign Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory is closing by 2030. That means necessity probably would keep it open.