July 16 First News: Santa Fe ban on single-use plastic bags moves forward. (listen)

Santa Fe’s Finance Committee has endorsed that proposed ban within city limits of single use, plastic bags. Merchants would be permitted to use paper bags albeit at a minimum cost of ten cents each. The measure has the support of Mayor Coss and seven of eight city councilors with District 4’s Ron Trujillo not officially onboard. The proposed ban is headed for public hearing at City Hall in late August.

Santa Fe's Public Safety Committee meets tonight and on their agenda is discussion of an ordinance that would permit sale and consumption of beer at ballgames at Fort Marcy Park beyond the currently designated small beer garden some have referred to as a “beer jail.” Supporters hope to allow game-goers less-restricted access still in accordance with state and local laws and regulations.

State auditor Hector Balderas is leveling criticism at Public Education Secretary designate Hanna Skandera, saying her department has done a poor job of financial oversight. That, he says, imperils federal funding for special education here in our state. It's alleged that the PED did not reveal that the federal government had voiced concerns some years ago that state funding for Special Ed was below the amount needed to secure federal assistance. Now, some $34 million from Washington may be withheld.

New Mexico Senator Tom Udall is urging his Senate colleagues to stand firm on the Farm Bill now being considered to help protect seniors, children and families who are struggling to put food on the table. Udall expressed concern over last week's action in the US House, where the Republican majority voted to cut nutrition programs, including food stamps, from its version of the Farm Bill. Udall says those cuts would have far-reaching economic effects in New Mexico, where 20 percent of people participate in the food-stamp program known as SNAP.

Three New Mexico nonprofit organizations will receive a combined $1.9 million in federal grant funding to provide services to veterans who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. The lion's share of those monies will go to Goodwill Industries of New Mexico for veterans in 26 counties and tribal lands. The funds can be used to assist veterans with time-limited payments for rent, utilities, moving expenses and child care among other needs.  According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, nearly 90 percent of the veterans who received assistance in 2012 have successfully transitioned to permanent housing.

International Folk Art Market organizers are estimating this year's event drew some 20,000 attendees spending a record-breaking $2.7 million. That is revenue some 8% higher than last year's Market. The Journal Santa Fe notes that official final attendance figures are not yet available but in 2012, 19,500 people showed up at the 3-day event on Museum Hill.

Weather for Santa Fe – partly sunny today and Wednesday with highs in the mid 70s and a 30% chance for scattered afternoon and evening thundershowers.  Overnight lows in the mid 50s.