KUNM

2016 Legislature

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For a decade, local nurses lightened the load on the state’s emergency rooms by answering health questions via phone 24/7. But due to a lack of funding, the hotline will go dark on Dec. 31.

Special Session Budget Wrap Up: Cut To The Bone

Oct 7, 2016
401(K) 2012 via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Lawmakers wrapped up a special session this week and passed measures to address a budget deficit of about $600 million. KUNM’s Elaine Baumgartel got some of the details from Matt Reichbach, editor of NMPoliticalReport.com

Priorities For The Special Session

Sep 26, 2016
Gwyneth Doland

KUNM Call In Show 9/29/ 8a: Governor Susana Martinez expected to soon call lawmakers back to Santa Fe for a special session. They must deal with a budget deficit from the last fiscal year and a projected drop in revenue for the current fiscal year. But the governor also wants them to consider her proposal to bring back the death penalty in some cases. New Mexico abolished the death penalty in 2009.

Funding Ends For Five School Clinics

Apr 20, 2016

Five health clinics housed in public schools are set to lose their state funding this summer. Now the state health department is trying to decide where they’ll send students who use the school-based health centers.

Andrew via Flickr / Creative Commons

A new state law that governs ride-booking companies like Uber goes into effect next month. But before it becomes official, state regulators have to write the regulations.

Ethics Enforcement Gap Remains Unaddressed

Mar 9, 2016
Arianna Sena/KUNM

Polls show New Mexicans believe their government is corrupt. State lawmakers say that while there may be a few bad apples, the system we have is working.

But the facts show just the opposite: New Mexico has the widest gap in the country between the laws on the books and the way those laws are actually enforced, according to a 2015 report from the Center for Public Integrity.

Arianna Sena/KUNM

During the 2016 legislative session, the People, Power and Democracy project tracked efforts to address ethics, accountability and money in politics. This year lawmakers met for only 30 days and were charged first and foremost with preparing a state budget. Most of the bills we followed failed, but many sponsors and advocacy groups pledged to return again in the longer 2017 session and try a gain. Here’s a summary of the proposals we watched most closely.

What Passed

House webcasts to be archived

Bid To Raise Gas Tax Stalls Over Politics

Mar 4, 2016
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Over the past few years New Mexico has used short-term solutions to balance the budget without raising taxes. But if oil and gas prices stay low, it will become more and more of a challenge to find the money the state needs to pay the bills.

Raising at least some taxes might not be politically popular, but Sen. John Arthur Smith, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, argues it’s the fiscally conservative thing to do. And he wants to start with the gas tax.

TaxRebate.org.uk via Flickr / Creative Commons License

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas on Monday brought felony charges against a former state senator accused of using his office to make money on a land deal.

Governor Signs Campaign Finance Open Data Bill

Feb 29, 2016
Zack McCarthy via CC

In front of a group of commercial real estate developers, Gov. Susana Martinez signed a bill she said will make the campaign finance system more accurate and transparent, and make it easier for the public to access the information.

DOH To Close Public Health Center

Feb 25, 2016
Darko Stojanovich via Pixabay / Creative Commons

Budget woes at the New Mexico Department of Health are forcing a public health office in Albuquerque to close. 

The Alamosa Public Health clinic in southwest Albuquerque provides immunizations, STD screening, family planning and other services. Clients seeking help there are often low-income or uninsured.

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New Mexico has one of the highest overdose death rates in the country, and recent spikes in the state’s numbers have been linked to the abuse of prescription opiates. But a drug that reverses overdoses is about to become more widely available.

Wrap Up: Public Health In 2016 Legislature

Feb 22, 2016
Credit SalFalko via Flickr, CC

Study Low-Cost Loans To State Employees — PASSED

Zack McCarthy via CC

Behavioral health funding in New Mexico took about a $4 million hit at the end of last week’s legislative session. But the Human Services Department may have asked for even less money than that.

Did Lawmakers Act To Improve Public Trust?

Feb 22, 2016
Gwyneth Doland

KUNM Call In Show Thu. 2/25 8a:  

State legislators passed a budget, created a REAL-ID driver's license fix, cracked down on DWI and child porn and advanced bail reform. But did they do anything to reverse the tide of indicators that New Mexicans have lost faith in state government? We look at what lawmakers did, or didn't do, to restore the public trust. 

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