Will 2017 be the year marijuana is legalized in New Mexico?

Rep. Bill McCamley of Las Cruces is hoping that the fourth time is the charm when it comes to legalizing marijuana for recreational use in New Mexico. “On the house side, Republicans have controlled the House of Representatives for the last two years and they’ve killed this. I mean, they’ve not let this out for discussion. I’ve introduced this three separate times.” McCamley said today in a press conference in Las Cruces.

Rape kit backlog (finally) gets a lot more attention as legislative session nears

“With policies to overcome troubling long-held attitudes about victims, support for service providers and adequate funding, New Mexico can help lead the way by taking a concrete stand against sexual assault.”

— Tim Keller, New Mexico State Auditor

New Mexico has struggled over the last year to come to terms with a horrifying reality. Victims of sexual assault who submitted evidence from their attacks have waited years (sometimes over a decade) to see that evidence processed; often the first step in a long and difficult road to seek justice, or at the very least closure. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZdJF8KMIiY
This problem exists across the county, but like so many things, New Mexico ranks at the bottom of all states in per capita untested kits.  

Public Health New Mexico reported some of the first articles on the rape kit testing crisis back in July of this year. In a series of stories, KUNM brought the subject to the forefront again.

Doña Ana County passes progressive new vision for development

On Tuesday, the Doña Ana County Commission passed the Unified Development Code yesterday, installing a more progressive vision for our future – thanks to progressives who showed up to add their support during public comment! You can learn more about why the UDC is a big deal by clicking here. No matter what the issue is, ProgressNow New Mexico is dedicated to helping get the word out when it comes to getting involved in issues that matter to our state. As one of our strongest supporters said after the vote was announced,
“Thanks again for your good work on this! We won 3-2 and every communication made a difference!”
An excerpt from today’s Las Cruces Sun-News shows how important it was to have a good turnout from engaged citizens:
The final vote came down to County Commissioner David Garcia of the south county District 2, who’d announced going into the meeting that he was uncertain about how to vote.

Why the Doña Ana County Commission’s vote tomorrow is a REALLY BIG deal.

Earlier this year, President Obama asked cities and counties to think about how they could use local zoning and development ordinances to address inequality in everything from housing to income. UPDATE [Dec. 14]: DAC Commission passed progressive new vision for development

The idea: local governments across the country affect national growth through “Not in My Backyard” type initiatives, known as NIMBY legislation. City and county governments are often at the whim of small, special interest groups who can and do lobby to keep certain types of growth from occurring for their own benefit. This disproportionately affects affordable housing, access to good paying jobs, and medical access.

Mining sinkhole leaks radioactive water into FL aquifer; Now seeking discharge permit over NM aquifer

One day after the state’s Environment Department announced that Mosaic mining company was seeking a permit to discharge 7,500,000 gallons of mining waste water into the ground in Eddy County, the company noticed that it was missing millions of gallons of radioactive wastewater from another facility. They found it in a drinking water aquifer in central Florida. Though they knew the radioactive and acidic water was draining uncontrollably, neither the company nor Florida’s environment department, under Republican Governor Rick Scott, notified the public for three weeks. 9 company sites mishandle wastewater; $2 billion in cleanup costs (so far)
Florida’s WFLA reports:

Massive sinkhole drains contaminated water into Floridan aquifer
POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — A massive sinkhole on top of a Mosaic gypsum stack near Mulberry allowed millions of gallons of contaminated water to flow into the Floridan Aquifer…

The NRA had a breakfast for NM candidates; What they said when they thought no one was listening is amazing

Last Saturday I attended a National Rifle Association breakfast for local Republican legislative candidates. An NRA lobbyist jetted in to tell a few lies and fire up the troops. The NRA desperately wants Republicans to control our Legislature, and will put up big bucks to keep making big bucks on gun sales. When the lobbyist mentioned that Representative Rick Little was on the Safety & Civil Affairs Committee, “one of the places a good gun bill or a bad gun bill will go,” Little quickly added “and get killed.” A pocket-sized NRA handout made clear there are no good gun bills – except one that broadens the concealed-carry law or cuts the prices for licenses.  

The arguments against well-crafted gun laws – and I grant that not all legislation is well-crafted – are “slippery slope”: if you let the government require background checks or try to prevent terrorists from having guns, soon they’ll be knocking on your door to confiscate your gun.

[Voter Guide Preview] BREAKING: Sun-News reverses Andy Nuñez endorsement after ProgressNow investigation uncovers questions

Voters in New Mexico can begin casting early and absentee votes TOMORROW so this news couldn’t have come at a more important time. This morning, the Las Cruces Sun-News announced that they had reversed their planned endorsement for Republican State Rep. Andy Nuñez because of the questions and investigation ProgressNow filed with the Attorney General about Nuñez’s activities and spending as a state lobbyists and legislator. Las Cruces Sun-News
Steinborn, Small picks for Senate, House
Monday October 10, 2016

…our endorsement in this race originally would have gone to Republican Andy Nuñez… 

We changed our endorsement after recent revelations that allege Nuñez repeatedly used campaign contributions to pay for personal expenses, including during a period of time when he wasn’t even in the Legislature but was working as a lobbyist. New Mexico generously reimburses lawmakers for expenses incurred in attending meetings or conferences. It is both illegal and unacceptable for lawmakers to dip into campaign contributions to cover those expenses.

Celebrating Reproductive Rights in New Mexico

Two New Mexico cities play host to events that celebrate Women’s Health this week. On Wednesday, September 28, 2016 in Albuquerque the Southwest Women’s Law Center is Celebrating Reproductive Rights and access in New Mexico. Join them for food, fun, poetry, music and more on Wednesday, September 28, from 6pm until 8pm, at the African American Performing Arts Center and Exhibit Hall, 310 San Pedro NE, 87108. For more information about this event, please contact Southwest Women’s Law Center. In Las Cruces, Strong Families New Mexico are holding an open house at Whole Women’s Health on Thursday, September 29 from 5:30pm until 7:30pm.

ICYMI: GOP State Rep candidate under fire for “Negligence”, “Outrageous conduct”

In new court records first reported by the New Mexico Political Report, the mother of a 13-year old boy who was sexually assaulted at a Truth or Consequences education center says the director who is also a state house candidate engaged in “negligence” and “outrageous conduct” by putting her own political ambitions ahead of justice for her child. According to court records, Rebecca Dow is the founder and director of AppleTree Educational Center who hired Alejandro Hernandez to work with young children in the center and associated Boys and Girls Club in TorC. The court filings came after the victim’s family had been unable to gain cooperation from Dow to determine if Dow had conducted a background check and proper training for Hernandez.  Dow has since claimed that a background check was conducted. On an AppleTree-sponsored overnight trip, that employee sexually assaulted two children.  He was arrested, pled guilty and is currently in prison serving his sentence.

Zika mosquito now found in NM; Rep. Pearce joins GOP efforts to avoid clean vote to provide help

The Flow of Money to Combat Zika Virus Festers in Stagnant Waters of Congressional Stalemate

No treatment, no vaccine, no cure. Now the Zika virus is spreading faster than you can say DDT and New Mexico’s only Tea Party Congressman, Steve Pearce, has joined House Republicans in their plan to hijack funding that could keep thousands of women and their children healthy. As of last month, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) was almost out of Zika funding, and this week, Senate Democrats were wedged between a rock and a hard place when they made the decision to say no to  Zika funding at the tune of $1.1 billion. Saying yes meant accepting an absurd laundry list of items that included but were not limited to the defunding of agencies like Planned Parenthood, approving funds for military construction and allowing federal sites to continue to fly the Confederate Flag. Seriously?