2/16/14 — Audio Saucepan: “The Shiatsu Overdose Episode” includes the poems “The Best Seven Minutes of My Life” by Lorna Dee Cervantes (from Sueño, Wings Press); “The Pilgrim is Bridled and Bespectacled” by Bridget Lowe (from At The Autopsy of Vaslav Nijinsky, Carnegie Mellon University Press); and “May the Word Run Swiftly” by Tania Runyan (from Second Sky, Cascade Books).
The House is sending a six-billion dollar state budget proposal back to the House Appropriations and Finance Committee for it to try to break a stalemate over state education spending. The budget failed last week, with Republicans contending that it shortchanged Governor Susana Martinez's school proposals. An item on the table is a possible shift of 17-million dollars to fund educational programs overseen by the Public Education Department.
A proposed constitutional amendment to raise New Mexico's minimum wage to eight-dollars, thirty-cents an hour and provide for annual inflation increases rate has cleared a Senate panel. The Rules Committee voted 6-4 along party lines Friday to forward the measure to another panel for consideration. If approved by the Legislature, the minimum wage proposal would be placed on the November general election ballot for voters to decide. The current minimum wage is seven-fifty an hour and hasn't been adjusted in five years.
2/9/14 — Audio Saucepan: “The Episode Disguised as a Gentleman” includes poems by Barbara Tran (from In the Mynah Bird’s Own Words, Tupelo Press) and “Aunt Lillian” by Bart Schneider (from Morning Opera, Kelly’s Cove Press), and “How the Water Feels to the Fishes,” a flash fiction piece by Dave Eggers (from One Hundred and Forty Five Stories in a Small Box, McSweeney’s)
Incumbent Third-District Congressman Ben Ray Lujan will have an opponent in this year’s Democratic primary. The Journal North reports Albuquerque Assistant District Attorney Robert Blanch filed as a Democratic candidate for the Congressional seat, as did Lujan. Republican rancher Jefferson Byrd of Tucumcari—who lost to Lujan two years ago--also filed to run for the post again this year.
Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez says while New Mexico needs to be very careful about what we put in the State Constitution, he favors at least two Senate Joint Resolutions introduced during the current legislative session. Sanchez, a Democrat from Belen, says voters should decide on a proposal regarding early-childhood education. *****020414-Sanchez-2 :23***** Sanchez also favors a proposed amendment calling for annual adjustments to the state's minimum wage. Twenty-one Senate Joint Resolutions have been introduced this legislative session.