August 27 First News: Bernalillo is now the 3rd county to recognize marriage equality. (listen)

This morning, the Bernalillo County Clerk will begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Late Tuesday afternoon, a state district court judge in Albuquerque ruled that not recognizing marriage equality for gay couples is unconstitutional. With that, Bernalillo County now joins two other counties in their legal recognition of same-sex marriage. Doña Ana County began the practice last Wednesday, followed by Santa Fe on Friday.

When Santa Fe City Council meets tonight, they'll hear public comment on the proposal to ban the use of plastic bags by city retailers. The ordinance would place a fee on single-use paper bags and encourage merchants to offer re-usable bags.

Also to be discussed is putting recommended changes to the City's charter before voters in a special election to take place concurrent with the March 2014 municipal election. Among suggestions covering campaign contributions and governance, the Charter Review Commission recommends making the mayoral post a fulltime position with commensurate pay and prohibiting other employment. The mayor would also have expanded hiring and firing powers and would vote on all matters before city council. 

Democratic state senator Linda Lopez of Bernalillo is criticizing Governor Martinez over $2.8 million dedicated to the Developmental Disabilities Support Program that went unspent in fiscal year 2013. Lopez says that inaction denied government assistance to 130 developmentally disabled New Mexicans.  Law required that the unspent allocation be returned to the General Fund. Lopez notes that for the current fiscal year, lawmakers have allocated some $4.3 million for the program.  Lopez urges the governor to make sure the monies are used as intended to aid some 230 developmentally disabled people currently on a waiting list for state assistance.

Garrett's Desert Inn in downtown Santa Fe is the subject of $2.8 million foreclosure debt lawsuit. That amount represents the outstanding principal on a $3.9 million loan the owners acquired back in 2007. The foreclosure suit also references some $51,000 owed to the City of Santa Fe for unpaid lodger's taxes.  The City filed a lien on the property last year. RiverSource Life Insurance Company of New York is the holder of the Inn's note and wants a court-ordered sale of the property to satisfy the debt.

Weather for Santa Fe – mostly sunny over the next few days with highs in the low 80s.  Just a slight chance for an isolated late day shower today, increasing to 30% tomorrow.