Jan. 24th First News: LFC Report Shows Fragmented State Approach To Water (Listen)

Jan 24, 2014

The Legislative Finance Committee on Thursday presented a report to the Senate Finance Committee that identifies the need for New Mexico to eliminate fundamental problems that exist amongst the state’s numerous water programs. The report also shows competition between these programs for the same funds, which undermine the state's efforts. This comes as Santa Fe Senator Peter Wirth says there's widespread legislative frustration with Governor Susana Martinez who's announced her intent to allocate the bulk of capital outlay funds for water improvements, but hasn't provided details yet. Wirth, a Democrat says legislators see the Governor making water a political issue during this session.*****0124-Wirth-2  :18*****  Wirth says there was more than one-billion dollars in grants awarded to several water programs  the last 12 years. But he says about 71 million of that had to be returned to the federal government because local governments could not match funds for the grants.


New Mexico Democrats are bickering amongst each other. Published reports indicate Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez took to the Senate floor to blister state party Chairman Sam Bregman for his recent comments about Deming Senator John Arthur Smith. Sanchez said it was “just not right” for Bregman to have publicly suggested that if Senate Finance Committee Chairman John Arthur Smith, of Deming continues to block an early childhood education measure, he should consider becoming a Republican. Bregman also said Smith likely would find himself with a Democratic primary opponent when senators are up for re-election in 2016.


What Santa Fe Police had feared might have been the city's second homicide of the year turned out not be the case. SFPD spokeswoman Celina Westervelt says an autopsy on 51-year Narcisco Gonzales determined he died from either an accident or a medical episode. Westervelt also says police are acting on new information in the investigation of last week's murder of 74- year old Larry Roybal of Santa Fe. *****0124-Westervelt-2  :20***** Westervelt adds the determination that Gonzales' death is not under suspicion means there's no threat to the community.


The recent New Mexico court ruling that terminally ill patients can seek a physician's aid in dying may face an appeal. New Mexico Attorney General Gary King told New Mexican this week that he will likely appeal the district judge's ruling. He said he was thinking of appealing after Santa Fe Archbishop Michael Sheehan urged an appeal during a breakfast with lawmakers. King says the thoughts of the Catholic Church, quote, "are very influential in New Mexico policy." Earlier this month, Second Judicial Judge Nan Nash ruled terminally ill patients had a fundamental right to seek aid in dying. Nash said the New Mexico Constitution prohibits the state from depriving a person from enjoying life and liberty or seeking and obtaining safety and happiness.


The Taos campus of Dallas-based Southern Methodist University will be building a four-million-dollar campus center, thanks to a gift. The Journal North reports the center will feature more classrooms and an open common space for students and faculty with a design that enhances the campus’ mountain location. The gift comes from Texans Carolyn and David Miller. The more than 400-acre Taos SMU campus was founded in 1973.


Santa Fe Weather: Mostly sunny today with. Highs in the 40s. Tonight: Mostly clear. Lows 19 Tomorrow, Mostly sunny and not as cool. Highs in the upper 40s to mid 50s.