July 23 First News: AG Gary King says ban on gay marriage unconstitutional.

  New Mexico Attorney General Gary King has advised the state Supreme Court that blocking gay marriage is unconstitutional.  The Attorney General noted that state law neither permits nor denies same-sex marriage and banning it flies in the face of equal protection guarantees. The high court had solicited King's advisement in light of a lawsuit by two Santa Fe men denied a marriage license by the county clerk. However, that suit, says King, was improperly filed and the court does not have the authority to order a county official to take a specific action.

The state Human Services Department failed to meet a judge’s Monday deadline to hand over documents to the state auditor in the ongoing investigation of possible Medicaid fraud by providers of mental health and substance abuse services. Human Services Secretary Sidonie Squier has maintained that delivery of the documents could jeopardize an investigation being conducted by the Attorney General’s office.  State Auditor Hector Balderas has challenged her position, saying it’s his duty to examine the financial affairs of the state agency that spent $3.2 million on the audit. More in today’s New Mexican.

Credit rating agency, Moody's Investors Service, may be on the verge of downgrading Santa Fe's bond rating. Today's Journal Santa Fe reports the agency's review is still underway while they also look at Santa Fe County and Las Vegas.  Moody's says the City of Santa Fe has a troubling ratio of pension liabilities in relation to operating revenues. Santa Fe's Finance Director says their calculations are skewered as Moody's has only considered general fund revenues and not the entire operating budget and all revenue sources.

The Santa Fe New Mexican has a new editor in Ray Rivera.  He's replacing the just-retired Rob Dean who stepped down after 21 years. Rivera takes over the post after his most recent stint as an investigative reporter for the New York Times. Along with work for other publications across the country, Rivera has prior experience with the New Mexican, working for the paper in the mid 90s.

Santa Fe Police have charged  52-year-old Sevedeo Lujan with rape after the man confessed to having sexual contact with at least two underage female victims. Lujan has served as a youth basketball coach in Santa Fe as well as a youth football coach in Pecos. He's being held on a $100,000 cash only bond at the Santa Fe County Jail.  As police continue their investigation, other possible victims have come forward with more charges expected against Lujan.

Weather for Santa Fe – partly sunny and warm the next few days with highs in the mid-to-upper 80s. An active monsoonal pattern across the state brings a 40% chance for afternoon and evening thundershowers. Where storms do occur, they will be capable of producing bouts of heavy rain.