Nov. 1 First News: Senator Udall Calls for Senate Rules Reform. (Listen)

Nov 1, 2013

  Following Thursday's Senate filibuster blocking confirmation votes for presidential nominees, Senator Tom Udall is again calling for reform of Senate Rules. Noting that Republicans had agreed earlier this year to filibuster nominees only under ‘extraordinary circumstances,’ Udall says the GOP pattern of obstruct and delay is again the norm, and he intends to press for reforms to end what he calls “the tyranny of the minority.” Failing to get 60 votes for approval was an Obama nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and Rep. Melvin Watt to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

The Attorney General’s Office is studying “E-cigarettes” and consulting with state agencies, lawmakers and others to consider recommendations on how New Mexico can address risks the products pose to the public. That word from Assistant A-G Ari Biernoff, who tells KSFR that   E-cigarettes are currently not regulated by the state: *****Biernoff   :12***** Biernoff says tobacco firms are fighting meaningful legislation at the state level.  He expects the A-G’s recommendations in time for the 2014 legislative session.

New Mexico Gas Company crews were busy through last night, restoring service to Airport Road area residents.  Service was disrupted mid-day Thursday when construction crews pierced a gas line.  That prompted evacuations for the Vista Alegre Apartments and the nearby Chamisa Center. Crews spent much of last night going door-to-door to re-light pilot lights.

A 'heads up" to Santa Fe motorists today on the eastside of town as Cerro Gordo Road is closed from 9AM to 4PM.  City crews need to excavate a water leak for repairs.  The only detour is via Canyon Road. Drivers can expect delays in the area are asked to seek alternate routes.

New Mexico Senator Martin Heinrich has voted against the federal FISA Improvements Act bill, saying it does not go far enough in in protecting the privacy rights of law-abiding citizens. He says tough reforms must be enacted to prevent the wholesale collection of the daily telephone activity of millions of innocent Americans.  Heinrich is a co-sponsor of the USA FREEDOM Act introduced this week that would end such practices by intelligence agencies. FISA—the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978—has been amended regularly since the 9-11 attacks.

The Santa Fe County Health Policy and Planning Commission will hear a presentation today on “Right Turns,” a new web application for people with drug and alcohol problems.  Dr. Reid Hester is research director at Albuquerque’s Behavior Therapy Associates, which developed the software: *****Hester   :08** Dr. Hester says development of “Right Turns” and his firm’s other apps is funded by the National Institutes of Health. He adds that follow-up studies have confirmed their success.

The Navajo Transitional Energy Company and BHP Billiton on Thursday signed a purchase agreement for Navajo Mine. The Farmington Daily News reports that BHP worked with the Navajo Nation to secure—quote—“the future of the mine and the benefits it provides to the Navajo Nation, employees, communities and other stakeholders," end quote. The 34-thousand-acre surface mine is located on the Navajo Nation in New Mexico and is the sole supplier of coal for the Four Corners Power Plant.

Weather for Santa Fe – Today and Saturday will be sunny and dry with high temperatures in the mid-to-upper 50s.  Overnight lows in the upper 20s-to-low 30s. Partly sunny Sunday, highs in the upper 50s and a 10% chance for showers.