Sept. 10 First News: Sen. Heinrich will support Obama request for authorization. (listen)

Senator Martin Heinrich has announced he will support President Obama’s request for authorization of military force against Syria. In a highly nuanced press release, Heinrich first makes clear that he expects his decision to be an unpopular one among constituents. The senator notes that even though the US may be war-weary, the nation has a moral obligation to deter Assad and others from using internationally prohibited weapons. The full text of Heinrich’s comments can be found at heinrich.senate.gov.

Public Regulation Commissioners today consider making changes to the PRC's "Reasonable Cost Threshold" rule, which enforces the state Renewable Energy Act. The Act requires utilities to provide 15 percent of their electricity from renewable energy by 2015 and 20 percent by 2020. The current minimum is 10 percent.  If costs to businesses are higher than the PRC threshold, utilities need not be bound to the standards. Among business interests attending today's meeting in Santa Fe will be Intel, Honeywell, University of New Mexico and the city of Albuquerque.

New Mexico’s Water Quality Control Commission holds an important public hearing today to discuss guidelines recommended by the New Mexico Environment Department designed to improve ground & surface water protection measures around copper mining operations.  In 2009, the state legislature amended the Water Quality Act to require the Water Quality Control Commission to adopt specific rules for the copper mining industry. The purpose is to ensure consistent regulatory compliance rather than determining requirements on a case-by-case basis. The meeting begins at 9AM in Room 307 of the Capitol Building in Santa Fe.

The Office of Superintendent of Insurance has approved rate increases for individually- purchased Blue Cross Blue Shield plans, affecting about 26,000 New Mexicans. The rate hikes, some at 10.4%, others at 9.2%, will kick-in December 1st of this year and run through the end of 2014. 5 to 6 percentage points of the rate increase are due to medical cost inflation.  The remainder is due to new fees imposed on health insurers by the Affordable Care Act.  Blue Cross must still pay at least 80 cents of every premium dollar for medical bills or else must return excess premiums to policyholders.

Santa Fe County Sheriff’s have arrested the two suspects alleged to have stolen some $35,000 in valuable paintings by artist Juan Machinado. Adam and Darla Dimas were located at their residence in Hernandez, NM and were taken into custody without incident. It’s believed the couple stole the artwork from a Pojoaque storage shed and later pawned them a Santa Fe store. They’re being held at the Santa Fe County Adult Detention Center in lieu of a $100,000 cash bond. 

Weather for Santa Fe – get ready for some rain and perhaps plenty of it.  Meteorologist Sean Bennett with the National Weather service says the next 72 hours may be noteworthy…***clip.  A 70% chance for rain today, possibly heavy at times, arriving by early afternoon under partly cloudy skies with highs in the low 70s. Precipitation probability increases to 80% both tomorrow and Thursday.