Sept. 17 First News: NM FOG sues for release of HSD audit data. (listen)

Mounting frustration with the Human Services Department cut-off of Medicaid payments to in-state providers of behavioral health services now has seen the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government file a lawsuit. The organization, dedicated to transparency in government, wants release of the audit which set the cut-offs in motion, saying the report is too important to the citizens of New Mexico to be kept from public view. HSD has refused to release its data, saying it would jeopardize the active investigation by the Attorney General’s Office. FOG says the burden is on the AG’s office to substantiate that.

New Mexicans are now hearing about the state's new health insurance exchange preparing for its October first launch. A public awareness campaign targets small businesses and individuals. Officials say that radio ads promoting the initial sign-up for Obamacare will be airing this week and that billboards are also planned. Additionally, TV ads are to air in two weeks. The exchange is targeting small businesses first; individuals will be able to sign up through a federal exchange for the next year.

As expected, Santa Fe's School Board has formally approved changes to Atalaya Elementary School's gymnasium. The gym is part $13 million total renovation of the school's campus and had angered neighborhood residents who said the edifice was too tall and placed in an area where it would block views. Santa Fe Schools agreed to a reconfiguration that will cost about $500,000 to accommodate.

A public forum is being held in Santa Fe today exploring whether it might be advantageous for the city to have its own electric utility. Advocates for such city ownership point out that the practice was common in the early 20th century before municipalities turned to larger, investor-owned utility providers. Today's New Mexican says one of the speakers will be the former vice-president of Austin, Texas' municipally-owned electric concern along with former Santa Fe County Commissioner Paul Campos.  The event is at the Scottish Rite temple at 5:30.

Federal aviation legislation passed by Congress will see the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program provide a combined $7.5 million for projects at Albuquerque’s Sunport and the Santa Fe Municipal Airport. The Sunport gets $5 million for rehabilitation of an existing taxiway while Santa Fe gets $2.5 million for construction of a new one.

The New Mexico Attorney General's Office says there was no discrimination against blacks in the appropriation of public money. The Albuquerque Journal reports that the state Attorney General's office said in a recent letter to the Duke City chapter of the N-Double-A-C-P that it didn't appear discrimination was behind lawmakers not granting a hearing for after-school tutoring programs. The group last spring condemned the failure of the Legislature to pass two million dollars' worth of funding for the tutoring efforts.

Weather for Santa Fe – mostly sunny today with a high of 75 and a 30% chance for late day showers and thunderstorms. Some clouds overnight with lows in the mid 50s. Sunny Thursday with highs in the mid 70s and only a 10% chance for afternoon showers.