- Today is election day. Polls will be open from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm across the state. If you’re in line at 7:00, you will get to vote, no matter how long it takes. Also don’t forget that tonight shortly before the polls close, there will be an election-night liveblog both here and at the Santa Fe Reporter’s website.
- The Las Cruces city council voted to raise the minimum wage to $8.50 per hour by the start of 2016.
The rates will rise to $8 per hour in July 2015 and $8.50 in January 2016 from New Mexico’s current $7.50 per hour.
Some supporters of a higher minimum wage increase said they were concerned Monday’s move was designed to detract from their own proposal — pursued via a petition-gathering drive — to raise pay to $10.10 per hour by 2017 in a three-phased approach.
The cities of Santa Fe and Albuquerque raised their minimum wages and Bernalillo County and Santa Fe County followed suit.
- Democrats are critical of how Secretary of State Dianna Duran is handling a campaign complaint by Lawrence Rael.
- Forgot to mention this yesterday, but thanks to all the readers. Last month was the second-best month of traffic in site history — only behind March of this year. With April being the third best traffic month, that means that the top three traffic months in site history all came in the last three months. Thank you for continuing to keep NM Telegram running.
And look out for later this month when we start a new type of funding to make sure the site is self-reliant.
- All five Democratic candidates for governor appeared at a rally on Monday evening.
As has held true for the entire primary campaign the contenders refrained from taking jabs one another, instead directing their fire at incumbent Republican Gov. Susana Martinez, who has no challenger on the GOP primary ballot.
The Democratic hopefuls are Attorney General Gary King, state Sen. Linda Lopez of Albuquerque, state Sen. Howie Morales of Silver City, veteran government administrator Lawrence Rael and retired magazine publisher Alan Webber of Santa Fe.
- Here are the final early and absentee voting figures.
This year, 39,515 Democrats voted early in New Mexico, while a total of 7,794 absentee ballots have been received so far, for a total of 47,308.
These figures are from the Secretary of State’s Office.
The numbers are slightly up from 2010, when 32,247 early in-person voters in the Democratic primary, plus 12,775 Democrats who voted absentee, for a total of 45,022.
In 2010, there was not a contested gubernatorial primary.
- The Albuquerque Journal looks at legislators donating to other candidates and PACs.
Lawmakers reported making more than $160,000 in contributions to fellow legislators, candidates for public office and political committees. They also made more than $25,000 in charitable donations.
In addition to permitting campaign funds to be spent on actual campaign expenses, New Mexico law allows candidates for state and county offices to contribute to other candidates and political parties, as well as make donations to nonprofit groups or the state general fund.
- Allen Weh announced that his campaign was endorsed by former presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee.
- The Farmington Daily-Times looks at area primaries where the winner faces no current general election competition.
- Republican House candidate Vincent Chiravalle says a PAC called New Mexico Future PAC is targeting him. An NM Future PAC received $8,000 in the last campaign finance cycle, including $3,000 from the Committee to Elect Nate Gentry. A total of $2,450 went to McCleskey media Strategies for “media consulting.” The PAC had previously donated to the campaign of Rep. Zach Cook, R-Ruidoso.
- Thirteen protesters were arrested after a sit-in at City Hall.
- Here’s video of the 13 protesters being arrested after trying to deliver letters to Albuquerque mayor Richard Berry. Berry was out of town.
- The scheduled city council meeting was canceled following the protest.
- Berry wants to APD union to stop payments given to police officers to help them get away and decompress after they shoot someone.
- Some legislators want to reform prison sentencing.
Maestas, D-Albuquerque, says a cold killer convicted of second-degree murder faces a sentence of up to 15 years in prison. But a drug seller convicted of a second offense gets a mandatory prison term of 18 years.
The system, he says, is inflexible enough to misfire and hurt taxpayers. That’s because a thick-headed drug buyer who accepts his rocks of crack cocaine in five separate baggies can be sentenced as a distributor and end up doing more time than a murderer.
- Advocates are fighting for judicial reform for incarcerated mothers.
Young Women United traveled to Santa Fe last week to make four recommendations to the Criminal Justice Reform Subcommittee. Among them, judges should acknowledge pregnancy and lactation status when determining the conditions of bond or release.
- Some students criticized state exams in the essay portion of that test.
There were possibly more than a dozen Albuquerque students that did not write the end of course exam essay in two subjects as instructed. Instead, they wrote letters slamming standardized tests, the Public Education Department, Secretary [sic] Hanna Skandera and even mentioned Governor Susana Martinez.
- The State Land Office named Ed Martin to head its Oil and Gas division.
Martin previously worked at Western Geophysical Company, in Houston, for 12 years and for the 20 years after that at the Oil Conservation Division of the New Mexico Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department (EMNRD).
- Gov. Susana Martinez will be holding a summit in Albuquerque with the governor of Utah on economic development.
- The state is shelling out $200,000 to design a new warehouse for the defense contractor Raytheon on the Navajo Nation.
- More job losses in New Mexico. This time, it is 300 jobs as a molybdenum mine in northern New Mxico is shutting down. The shutdown of the Chevron mine may be permanent.
- The Los Alamos Daily Post looks at Attorney General Gary King and his wife.
- Drought and Fire Digest:
The Rio Grande will rise briefly because of melting Colorado snowpack.
The Ruidoso News looks at the use of goats to remove wildfire fuel in Licoln County.
“Goat grazing is used all over the West,” he said Monday. “We’re using them here to graze sacaton, which causes highly flammable conditions. Mowing leaves the material on the ground. It’s not removing it. With goats, the fuel (for wildfire) is removed and any invasive seeds are destroyed in their gut. We’ll probably be there several weeks this summer.”
Fireworks restrictions were passed by the Las Cruces city council.
- The EPA announced new carbon emission rules.
- It isn’t clear how the regulations will affect PNM.
- PNM is going to add four more solar power plants. This will bring PNM’s solar capacity to over 100 megawatts.
- Buzzfeed look sat the “bizarre” lobbying of state and local governments by the government of Azerbaijan. Yes, New Mexico is included.
New Mexico State Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino told BuzzFeed that he introduced a Khojaly memorial at the request of the Turkish community and the “honorary Azeri consul” in Albuquerque. He said he and a delegation of New Mexico legislators had visited Azerbaijan in 2012.
“Many New Mexico legislators (me among them) have travelled in the past five years to Turkey for meetings with Turkish legislators and to Azerbaijan for meetings with Azeri officials and legislators,” Ortiz y Pino said. “We have also hosted a delegation of Turkish elected officials during their visit to the US a couple of years ago. The Azeri government is keen to repair its image in the US press and has undertaken a strong initiative among state legislators to impress us with how supportive they are of the US government and its people.”
It passed the Senate unanimously and a similar memorial, which was sponsored by Rep. Nora Espinoza, R-Roswell, passed the House unanimously. Memorials are symbolic and don’t have the force of law. They are usually non-controversial.
This article says that New Mexico has sent more lawmakers to a conference in Azerbaijan than any other state. Gov. Bill Richardson went one year.
- Española’s public safety director was named the new chief of police in Santa Fe.
- Curry County may join a lawsuit against the federal government for listing the Lesser Prairie Chicken as “threatened.”
- The White Sands Missile Range commander will be stepping down on Friday. She will head to Michigan to become commander of the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command.
- A New mexico biopharmaceutical company was sold for $110 million.
Filed under: Morning Word