Feb. 19 First News: Santa Fe's School Board Approves Property-Tax Hike (Listen)

Feb 19, 2014

Using authority extended by the state, the Santa Fe school board voted 3-2 on Tuesday to impose a property tax increase to generate up to 55-million dollars without asking voters. The tax hike will cover costs of the school district's digital learning plan, which upgrades technology at all 32 of the district's schools. State law gives school districts the authority to increase property taxes for technological upgrades without putting the question to voters.

A six-point-two billion dollar spending proposal for New Mexico state government operations next fiscal year unanimously cleared the Senate Tuesday and now heads to the House for consideration. The Senate spending plan would provide three-percent pay raises next year for government workers and educators and also contains funding for Governor Susana Martinez's education reforms. Deming Democrat John Arthur Smith is the Senate Finance Committee's chair: *****021914-Smith-3 :16***** The House is expected to debate the budget measure today.

New Mexico's minimum wage of seven-dollars-fifty-cents would increase to eight-thirty an hour if the House approves a proposed constitutional amendment to be decided on by voters in November. Espanola Senator Richard Martinez sponsored the amendment that now goes to the House floor for a vote.*****021914-SenatorMartinez-3 :30***** Martinez says if voters approve, the state's minimum wage would be adjusted annually, not to exceed four-percent a year.


Santa Fe Senator Peter Wirth has been trying for two years to get a bill banning texting and driving to the Governor's office. Tuesday, the Democrat achieved his goal, after the House approved his measure on a vote of 62-to-one. Governor Susana Martinez has indicated she will sign the legislation, which makes New Mexico the 42nd state in the country with such a ban. Once signed, the measure will impose fines on texting drivers totaling 25-dollars for a first violation and 50 dollars after that.


The New Mexico State Senate Tuesday confirmed Ryan Flynn as Secretary of the New Mexico Environment Department by a vote of 30-11. Flynn has come under fire from environmentalists and the attorney general over his support of rules that may allow copper mines to pollute ground water.


Santa Fe Weather: Partly sunny and breezy with a high near 63. Partly cloudy tonight, with a low around 24. Tomorrow-Sunny, with a high near 45. Currently, it's ____.