Colorado

After a failed attempt last year, Colorado lawmakers have passed a bill that would make it harder to get a vaccine exemption for school children. 

At a hearing last weekend about a Colorado bill on vaccination, Dr. Reginald Washington had originally planned to make several urgent points in support of the bill. 

First, that diseases like measles are resurging, and they’re serious. (He’d know. He’s treated patients with complications from measles and pertussis.) Second, due to COVID-19, children are missing well-child visits and skipping vaccinations, putting them at risk of outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases. 

There was the hiker who broke his leg, then refused to put on a mask before the alpine rescue team helped him down the mountain. There were the snowboarders and skiers packing together into cars to drive up to a closed ski area. Or the people howling at the full moon, over open flames.

Bruce Snelling, undersheriff with Clear Creek County in Colorado, said all of these incidents have happened in recent weeks. And until Saturday, there wasn’t too much he could do about it. But now, the county’s public health order lays out some harsh penalties for non-residents using county roads to get to the backcountry: a fine of up to $5,000 or up to 18 months in the county jail.  

John Miller via Pixabay / Creative Commons

A bill that would legalize recreational marijuana in New Mexico stalled in the Senate last year. Over the summer, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham convened a work group to study the issue and gather public comment, and the group released recommendations for legalization that—among other things—prioritized equity for people who have been disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs. Rep. Javier Martínez, one of the sponsors of this year’s bill, spoke with KUNM about this year’s proposal, which passed out of the Senate Public Affairs Committee on a 4-3 party-line vote Tuesday, Jan. 28. 

Hannah Colton / KUNM

Recreational marijuana is legal in 11 states. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who released her priorities this week for the upcoming legislative session, is pushing for New Mexico to be next.

In Deep Water

Jan 10, 2018
Laura Paskus

As severe drought returns to New Mexico, farmers and skiers alike fret over the state’s lack of snow. Meanwhile, on a cold, cloudy Monday morning in Washington, DC, attorneys for New Mexico, Texas, Colorado and the United States government grappled over the muddy waters of the Rio Grande.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

It’s been almost two years since an Environmental Protection Agency contractor released millions of gallons of acid mine drainage into the Animas and San Juan Rivers. A plume of contaminants and heavy metals stained the rivers yellow and flowed from Colorado into New Mexico and the Navajo Nation.

Laura Paskus

Last month, citizens, local officials and state regulators from New Mexico and Colorado gathered in Farmington, N.M. to learn more about the methane anomaly over the Four Corners that is being studied by scientists across the nation.

Photo via www.delta-co.purzuit.com / Creative Commons

Mexico and the United States are working toward a broad package deal that would help revive the Colorado River Delta.  Laurel Morales reports for the Fronteras Changing America Desk.