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People Power And Democracy

Credit NMPBS

The People, Power and Democracy project examines ethics, transparency and accountability in state government.

We are a collaborative, multi-media partnership between KUNM, New Mexico PBS, New Mexico In Depth and the New Mexico News Port. 

 

Connect with us on Twitter and Facebook.

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The People, Power and Democracy project is funded by the Thornburg Foundation and by contributions from KUNM listeners. 

Ways to Connect

LISTEN: Governor Sets Record With Vetoes

Apr 12, 2017
geralt via Pixabay / public domain

KUNM Call In Show 4/13 8a: Governor Susana Martinez vetoed a record 51 percent of the bills state lawmakers sent to her desk this year. She vetoed the entire budget for the state Legislature, every dollar for state colleges and universities, a total of $800 million in vetoes. The governor says she plans to call lawmakers back to Santa Fe for a special session. But what will be different? Will any of the bills she vetoed be back on the table? 

What Does Good Government Look Like To You?

Mar 31, 2017
Richie Diesterheft via Flickr / CREATIVE COMMONS

To get a sense of how New Mexicans feel about good government and accountability in advance of our interactive community event on Tuesday April 4, 2017, we sent People, Power, and Democracy reporter Jeremy Zeilik to find out.

Amending New Mexico's Convoluted Constitution

Mar 24, 2017
Internet Archives Book Images / Creative Commons via Flickr

State lawmakers proposed 32 changes to the New Mexico Constitution during this year’s 60-day legislative session. Only two passed – they’ll likely be approved by voters in 2018. But the state constitution is already 4.5 times longer than the federal one. So, what does it mean when a constitution looks more like a user’s manual than a clear, concise list of fundamental rights?

Hannah Colton

Education Secretary Hanna Skandera has been a champion of charter schools, but some lawmakers aren’t so sure. This session they proposed several reforms to New Mexico’s charter school system, which continues to be plagued by a lack of clarity and transparency at the state level.

Ethics And Transparency In The 2017 Legislature

Mar 22, 2017
Richie Diesterheft via Flickr / CREATIVE COMMONS

These are some of the major ethics and transparency measures that flew or floundered during this year's 60-day legislative session.

Arianna Sena/KUNM

KUNM Call In Show 3/23 8a: Call now toll-free 1-877-899-5866.  This year's 60-day legislative session wrapped up last weekend, but lawmakers may soon be called back by Governor Susana Martinez to continue debate on the state budget. We'll look at the latest news from the Roundhouse and we ask you to share what you think would make state government more accessible and accountable to everyday New Mexicans.

EVENT: How Would You Improve State Government?

Mar 17, 2017
NMPBS

Interactive Event Tuesday 4/4 6p: Join the People, Power and Democracy project to share your thoughts on how to improve state government.

Arianna Sena/KUNM

A proposal that would prevent state and local police from detaining or arresting people who are in the U.S. illegally was scheduled to be heard on the Senate floor in Santa Fe this week. 

Openthreads via Flickr / Creative Commons

Gov. Susana Martinez lobbied top Democrats to approve a bill that would have created an exception to regulations about leases for state offices. Now some Democrats are calling for an investigation of what they call pay-to-play.  

Arianna Sena / Creative Commons

Who should investigate or prosecute controversial police use of force and shootings? That’s a problem that comes up in law enforcement departments everywhere. A bill introduced during this legislative session tries to address it, but the measure’s being hamstrung by this year’s budget crunch. 

LISTEN: What's It Cost To Get Tough On Crime?

Mar 6, 2017
https://www.flickr.com/photos/ze_valdi/7556549414/

KUNM Call In Show 3/9 8a: Violent crimes have stolen headlines over the last year, while property crimes remain a persistently unpleasant part of life all over New Mexico. Lawmakers in Santa Fe are debating how to reduce crime—but with little money available to do it. Which ideas could reduce crime and save money? Which sound good but cost a lot and have no guarantee? And which proposals have more to do with politics than anything else? 

Measure Would Take Redistricting From Lawmakers

Mar 3, 2017
New Mexico Legislature mapping tool

The 2020 census is fast approaching and some lawmakers in Santa Fe are pushing for voting districts to be redrawn by an independent commission.

Hannah Colton

 

The Public Education Department has been unwavering in its focus on using standardized tests to “raise the bar” for education in New Mexico.

State Senators recently approved a resolution that proposes a new paradigm of student assessment.

Hannah Colton/KUNM

New Mexico’s teacher evaluation system has seen fierce pushback from teachers unions since it was created by Governor Susana Martinez’ administration back in 2012. It uses student testing for 50 percent of a teacher’s rating; the other half is based on classroom observations, attendance and other measures.

The usefulness of accountability systems like New Mexico’s is in doubt from multiple sides of the education reform debate.

Night Owl City via Flickr / Creative Commons License

KUNM Call In Show 2/23 8a: Public education is one of the largest expenses for the state.  We'll compare out our state’s funding model to other states across the country and debate legislation introduced this year to address school funding. Where do you think the state should invest in education? How would you measure quality in public education? We'd like to hear from you, email callinshow@kunm.org or call in live during the show. 

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