Nov. 26 First News: Legislative Panel Begins Re-do of State Criminal Code. (Listen)

  Providing stiffer penalties for violent crime will be the focus of the State Legislature’s Criminal Justice subcommittee, which holds a meeting today at the Roundhouse to begin an update of New Mexico’s criminal code. That word from committee co-chair, State Representative Antonio Maestas of Albuquerque, who also says the process will take some time: *****Nov. 26 Maestas-1  :14***** Maestas, a former prosecutor, points out that under the state’s current criminal code, crimes such as aggravated battery impose less prison time than non-violent offenses, such as distributing small amounts of drugs.

Attorney General Gary King has issued an advisory opinion stating Governor Susana Martinez can't withhold money for legislatively approved capital improvements. King's non-binding legal opinion concluded the Governor’s executive order mandating local governments receiving the money to have audits on file, and to correct issues noted in the audits, is invalid because the Legislature didn't authorize restrictions.  A dozen state senate Democrats requested the A-G’s opinion earlier this summer.

Santa Clara Pueblo and FEMA—the Federal Emergency Management Agency--signed an agreement Monday allowing the tribe to request federal disaster relief without going through the state. The New Mexican reports that the agreement will speed the receipt of federal funds after major storms and fire on pueblo lands. Santa Clara was hit by two major floods this year, exacerbating damage because of the burn scars from 2011 Las Conchas fire, which burned 17-thousand acres of pueblo land, including the watershed. FEMA is still assessing the latest damage, and the pueblo has been paying for cleanup out of its own funds.

Congresswoman Michelle Lujan-Grisham is participating in the national "Fast for Families" to draw attention to what she calls the “moral crisis and suffering” being caused by the nation’s broken immigration system. The first-district Democrat says the fast laments the vacancies at many immigrant families’ Thanksgiving tables because they’ve lost relatives to deportation: *****Nov. 26 MLG-1  :13***** Lujan-Grisham says there are numerous House Republicans supporting immigration reform, and she’s hoping the fast will prompt action by the chamber’s GOP leadership.

There's a new director of the New Mexico Workers' Compensation Administration--Governor Martinez Monday announced the selection of Darin Childers to the post. Childers has been working as the agency’s attorney since 2011. A news release says he'd previously practiced law in Albuquerque focusing on workers' compensation issues as well as personal injury litigation. He starts his new job next week.

Santa Fe Police are looking for the man who robbed the Del Norte Credit Union on North Guadalupe Street in Santa Fe was robbed yesterday morning. Santa Fe police said they the suspect was armed with a black gun and wearing a bandanna and a jacket with a fur-covered hood and made off with an undisclosed amount of cash.

 Thanks to the weekend snow storm, Ski Santa Fe has announced that it will open up on Thanksgiving Day for the first time since 2002.  The storm brought 15 inches of new snowfall and a 27 inch base.  A news release from Ski Santa Fe says 90-percent of the mountain and all of the ski area’s lifts will be open with great skiing and snowboarding on powder and packed powder.

Santa Fe Weather: Mostly sunny today, with a high near 38. Tonight: Mostly clear, but areas of freezing fog will form after 2am., tonight’s low around 21. Tomorrow: Areas of freezing fog before 8am, otherwise sunny, with a high near 42. Currently, it’s ____.