Your New Mexico Government

New Mexico PBS

 

 

Another busy week in store for the session, and today also marks the second to last Monday of the 2021 Legislative Session. Lawmakers will definitely have their hands full in these last days, with plenty of high profile measures still to decide.

Naybeel Sayed

 

One of the big stories to come out of the Roundhouse yesterday actually involves Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. State Auditor Brian Colon announced that he was moving ahead with a special audit of the Governor's discretionary fund, after local reporting discovered more than $13,000 in groceries, liquor purchases and dry cleaning over a six-month period in 2020. A group of Republican lawmakers also requested the audit in a letter to Auditor Colon. The Governor's office has said the purchases were appropriate but may have been excessive at times.

New Mexico PBS

Thanks for joining us again for this short legislative update, coming to you straight from my garage! We're working on our floors right now, so the usual spot in the closet was taken today. Another busy day in the Roundhouse, including another long night in the House. That will likely continue for the rest of the session as the pattern now is to start the daily House Floor sessions at 4:30pm. The Senate Floor sessions are happening starting around 11am. And, of course, committee meetings are still in play throughout the day as well.

New Mexico PBS

A definite potpourri of legislative topics for you today, starting with an update on proposals to deal with the learning loss caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We also talk about some movement regarding predatory lending practices in New Mexico, which spurred several hours of debate yesterday in the Roundhouse.

Mr.TinDC / Flickr

 

For 109 years since the Legislature was founded, New Mexico has not had an African American State Senator. In 2021, that changed when Harold Pope Jr. of Albuquerque took his seat representing the 23rd District. KUNM caught up with the freshman Senator and Air Force veteran to ask about what motivated a life of service and where he sees New Mexico's future.

New Mexico PBS

The week started off with some legislative drama, both on the Senate Floor and in committee. We run down some of the big news, including a potential compromise on efforts to reform how the state handles the once a decade process of redistricting. NMPBS Executive Producer Kevin McDonald runs down some of the key highlights from Monday and previews some of the scheduled committee discussions for today. How is the session going for you this year? What do you think of how both chambers are handling public comment. We want to hear from you!

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Stephanie Fitzgerald / Creative Commons

Today, Your NM Government launches daily updates on the 2021 Legislative session, now in the home stretch. The week started off with some legislative drama, both on the Senate Floor and in committee. We run down some of the big news, including a potential compromise on efforts to reform how the state handles the once a decade process of redistricting. NMPBS Executive Producer Kevin McDonald runs down some of the key highlights from Monday and previews some of the scheduled committee discussions for today. How is the session going for you this year?

Cannabis Tours via Wikimedia / Creative Commons https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en

Cannabis is the topic. As part of the continuing coverage from Your New Mexico Government it is time for an update on the legislative session at the Roundhouse. To discover more about the Cannabis legislation under debate at the state Capital, KUNM's Khalil Ekulona sat down with Juile Ann Grimm, editor for The Santa Fe Reporter.

NASA Global Climate Change / Public Domain

As much of the country suffers from the polar vortex that has brought record lows and winter storms, legislators at the Roundhouse are examining the Climate Solutions Act. House Bill 9 looks at New Mexico’s issues with climate change while implementing economic reform in addressing the state’s energy consumption. For Your New Mexico Government’s continuing coverage of the legislative session KUNM’s Khalil Ekulona spoke with Laura Paskus from New Mexico PBS.

Laura Paskus / NM PBS

Your New Mexico Government is continuing its coverage of everything that happens at the Roundhouse with an interview of Laura Paskus from New Mexico PBS. Paskus talks about the Clean Water Act, SB 86, which proposes regulations on oil & gas companies in regards to produced water. And she tells us all about the Climate Solutions Act, HB 9, which looks to find solutions to the climate change issues New Mexico is facing, while using those efforts to boost the state's economy.

Eva Avenue


We get into what money really is. We take a dive into a bill that looks to create a public bank. We talk with a member of a financial innovation group about how universal basic income has helped businesses during the pandemic. We grapple with student loans. We hear the journey of how difficult it is to start a business as a pandemic is raging. And we have a talk with the secretary of workforce solutions about where the jobs are going to be.

Arianna Sena / KUNM


Coronavirus has infiltrated the Roundhouse, where New Mexico’s legislators are in the early weeks of a 60-day session. Since mid-January when the session began, at least three people in the capital have tested positive for the virus, including one GOP lawmaker. On Friday, Democratic House Speaker Brian Egolf announced new rules, restricting participation in committee meetings to Zoom, and closing the House floor to most lawmakers. KUNM spoke with Matt Grubs from New Mexico PBS.

taberandrew via Flickr CC

Small, fast loans often lead to a cycle of ever-deepening debt, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Lawmakers in New Mexico are considering whether to regulate the industry here further during the 2021 legislative session. Senate Bill 66 would cap the rates and fees so that they're in line with national averages with the aim of helping people in jeopardy avoid a pit of debt they can't climb out of. KUNM caught up with reporter Jeff Proctor to talk about the effort.

Felicia Montoya, Markus Wall, Kema

Millions of people around the U.S. have already voted early. Simultaneously many people are preparing to fill out their ballots, but are concerned with how they will deliver them, and, more importantly, if their vote will be counted. So many questions. Here at NoMoNo, we are going to dig deep to find answers for you. Episode 11 is all about preserving and exercising your right to vote. We talk with New Mexico's secretary of state, the president of the Albuquerque chapter of the American Postal Workers Union, a national election law expert, activists who protecting voting rights for underserved communities—and voters.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

The crew at NoMoNo headquarters takes a look at where we’ve been since the pandemic started, reflecting a little—hard to find time to do it when we’re all stuck in an unending news cycle. But hopefully, this is a pleasant look back if you’ve been hanging in there with us. We want to thank all of you who listened to the show when it was Your New Mexico Government back in March—you know, 1,000 years ago.

Megan Kamerick / KUNM

New Mexico is among the ten states with the highest increase in unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning many people have lost health insurance coverage as well. The state says no one should have to pay for testing and treatment related to the coronavirus, but some people are still being charged for that care. KUNM’s Khalil Ekulona spoke with New Mexico Superintendent of Insurance Russell Toal about how the state is trying to help.

Glenn Ford

Let's Talk New Mexico 5/7, 8a: Behind each coronavirus-related death is a human who was loved, who lived a complex life, and who leaves behind a unique legacy for their family, friends and community. This week on Let's Talk New Mexico, we're taking time to memorialize four New Mexicans who died from COVID-19. We'll hear about their joys, their hobbies, their contributions, and how they'll be remembered by their loved ones. How are you dealing with the overwhelming human impact of the pandemic? What brings you comfort amidst the daily flood of case numbers and outbreak data? If you want to share, email LetsTalk@kunm.org or call in during the show at (505) 277-5866. 

Elvert Barnes via Wikimedia Commons CC

In Episode 57, we talk about the dangers that domestic violence survivors face during shelter-in-place orders when home isn’t a safe place. We hear what advocates, agencies, and the government are doing to help survivors of abuse stay safe, and how they’re keeping services running during social distancing.  

Pixnio

Hospital workers around the U.S. have been speaking up about concerns over working conditions and the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE). Former UNM Hospital nurse Hunter Marshall says he was threatened with discipline after speaking to the media about staff concerns at the hospital. So he decided to resign, he says, and look for another hospital to work in during the pandemic. Your New Mexico Government spoke with a nurse, a union representatives and doctors at UNMH about PPE and workers' rights to speak out.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

Episode 48 dives back into how the pandemic is affecting people experiencing homelessness. KUNM's Hannah Colton goes further into the story of the city breaking up encampments, despite the CDC advising against it during this time, and she brings us the perspective of Cypher Johnson, who's passing through Albuquerque and spending time on the streets. We talk to people who work with unsheltered folks around the state about what an outbreak at a shelter would mean for the whole community, about what needs to change right now—and what needs to change in the future. We also hear from the Albuquerque Police Department and the Las Cruces Police Department about how coronavirus has changed things for them philosophically and practically. 

Liam DeBonis / The Daily Lobo

UPDATE, 4/22/20, 2:00 p.m.: Steve Pearce, chairman of the New Mexico Republican Party, says the party was not contacted by O’Rion Perry and did not participate in or endorse Take Back New Mexico’s call for businesses to violate the shutdown order.

Pearce said Wednesday Perry is, “putting words into our mouth.” KUNM did reach out to the Republican Party several times on Monday and Tuesday about whether the state’s GOP was backing the effort, as Perry told KUNM in an interview. Pearce’s spokesperson canceled a Monday interview at the last minute.

Courtesy of Sayrah Namaste

Faith-based organizations across the county are providing various community services amid the coronavirus pandemic. Here in New Mexico, the Quaker organization American Friends Service Committee has started a “Farm to Food Bank” project to help local pantries, farmers, and community members – each facing their own challenges around food during this health crisis. Director Sayrah Namaste spoke with KUNM about the program and how it came about.  

pexels.com via CC

News outlets around the country are struggling to stay afloat as the pandemic debilitates businesses they depend on for ad revenue. The Santa Fe New Mexican and the Santa Fe Reporter have announced layoffs and salary cuts, and the Gallup Independent is moving its entire staff to part-time. On Monday, President Trump once again attacked the news media in a campaign-style video during a press briefing. Meanwhile, U.S. Senator Tom Udall is calling for the next federal relief package to include funding for local news outlets. 

Reva G via Flickr

In New Mexico and across the country, emissions from the oil and gas industry are closely monitored and drinking water is regularly tested to make sure it is safe. Now, the Environmental Protection Agency is rolling back some of the regulations that ensure such protections – a move that went unnoticed by many as communities respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

Screenshot of Facebook Live feed / KUNM

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller showcased a homemade mask in a video briefing on Monday afternoon, April 6, about the city’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. He said their Environmental Health Department has reached out to over 150 nursing facilities to give infection control guidance and remind them of public health orders like halting group activities and dining. KUNM spoke with Mayor Keller over the weekend about other ways the city is working to support residents through the crisis.