Sept. 20 First News: NM's 3 House members vote along party lines on food stamps cuts. (listen)

  New Mexico’s three house members have voted along party lines on cuts to food stamps. Ben Ray Luján voted against the republican sponsored bill that would cut $39 billion from SNAP, the supplemental nutritional assistance program. The national program helps 179,000 households here in New Mexico. Congressman Luján took to the floor of the House to speak against the cuts. *** District One’s Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham also voted against the cuts. Congressman Steve Pearce joined fellow republicans in support of the cuts, which passed on a 217-210 vote.

The Army continues to criticize a portion of the proposed Sun Zia Transmission Line that would traverse a 40-mile segment of the White Sands Missile Range. Today's Albuquerque Journal reports that the Range's commanding general expects the line to have negative impacts for some of White Sands' national defense missions. Within weeks, the Bureau of land management is expected to issue final approvals of Sun Zia's proposed 550 mile route across southern New Mexico and Arizona. The project's manager has previously said that any change now for the $1.2 billion enterprise would effectively kill it.

The City of Rio Rancho has two high-profile job openings: Police Chief and Mayor. Robert Boone, who's been the City's top cop for nine years, announced yesterday that he's retiring. And Mayor Tom Swisstack will not seek re-election. Swisstack, who  was elected in 2008 to serve out the last two years of former Rio Rancho Mayor Kevin Jackson’s term. The Democrat was re-elected in 2010 by a wide margin.

Santa Fe skiers and outdoor enthusiasts might soon have the option of taking a bus to the Santa Fe Ski Area. City Councilor Patti Bushee is calling for bus service via the North Regional Transit District. Bushee is the city's representative on the Transit District's Board and is planning a formal request for such bus service.  The councilor notes that Los Alamos and Taos provide transportation to their respective ski areas and she thinks Santa Fe can and should as well. More in today’s New Mexican.

The newest report from the US Drought Monitor indicates that recent rains have significantly reduced drought conditions across New Mexico. Categorization of severe drought or worse now covers less than half of the state. Just last week that figure was over 75% and 3 months ago almost the entire state was affected.  Much of Santa Fe County, however, is still listed as being in severe drought with the southeastern corner rated as extreme.

Weather for Santa Fe – More tranquil weather expected today and through the weekend. Mostly sunny days with highs in the mid 70s and just a slight chance for isolated late day showers.  A cold front passing through Sunday –the first day of autumn--likely to bring our first night of the season with lows in the 40s.