Court: N.M. Violated Voter Act

Pulaski note: Migrant workers and some people here illegally apply and receive these benefits.  Why are we forcing these government employees to offer voter registrations to ALL applicants?  From -A federal appeals court has ruled New Mexico violated the National Voter Registration Act while working with public-assistance clients.  The ruling handed down Tuesday found the state Human Services Department only provided voter registration materials to clients who asked for them. Under the law, HSD was supposed to offer voter registration to all clients applying for or recertifying benefits or changing their addresses, the court said.  A coalition of voting-rights groups and attorneys sued state officials in federal court in 2009 to force compliance with the 1993 law. A U.S. District court ruled against the state in December 2010, and Tuesday's ruling affirms that decision. State officials have not yet commented on the latest decision.

DHS Increasing Presence In Four Corners Area

From - Homeland Security officials say the federal agency is planning to increase its presence fighting drug cartels in New Mexico's Four Corners region. The Farmington Daily Times reports the federal agency proposes that two agents move to San Juan County full-time and that more agents be dispatched occasionally to the area to assist with serious criminal investigations. The move comes after New Mexico law enforcement agencies around the state have asked federal officials to assist cash strapped departments in battling gangs, drug trafficking and weapons violations. But as federal authorities have moved into places like Roswell and Las Cruces, violent Mexican drug cartels have increased their presence in the remote area of northwest New Mexico that border three other westers states.  More News New Mexico


N.M. Reintroduction Wolves Have Been Poisoned

From -The reintroduction of Mexican gray wolves to a mountain range just south of the U.S.-Mexico border as part of an effort to re-establish the endangered species is off to a rocky start.Correspondence between Mexican wildlife officials and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service confirmed Tuesday that four out of the five wolves released by Mexico's Environment Department last October are dead from poisoning.  More News New Mexico

Washington Delegation Fails New Mexico

Los Alamos National Lab
What Jeff Bingaman, Martin Heinrich, Ben Ray Lujan, and Tom Udall work on and what they ignore is as plain as the, “I’m about to get a pink slip," looks were on the faces of Los Alamos National Laboratory employees yesterday.
On Tuesday the lab announced plans to lay off as many as 800 employees thanks to ever changing budget priorities of Democratic Party leaders in Washington D.C.
The lab now faces a budget cut of $300 million, which is more than $200 million less than the amount of money Energy Secretary Steven Chu and President Barack Obama threw away on Solyndra.
While one could argue that unlike Steve Pearce, Jeff Bingaman, Martin Heinrich, Ben Ray Lujan, and Tom Udall could not see the Solyndra bankruptcy coming, everyone in Los Alamos could see how the president and his Washington bureaucrats were lining Los Alamos for the slaughter. Even while New Mexico’s Democratic congressional delegation extolled the virtues of the president’s green jobs initiatives, LANL employees knew they were being forsaken.
Heather Wilson
Heather Wilson, who is likely to face Martin Heinrich for a senate seat next November recognized the neglect of Heinrich and yet another broken promise to New Mexico by the Obama administration. “A little over a year ago, President Obama made a commitment to modernize our nuclear weapons complex in order to maintain a safe, reliable nuclear deterrent at lower levels of forces'" Wilson said. “In his new budget, however, President Obama has broken that commitment. And as a result, an estimated 1,000 jobs will be killed for 10 years in Los Alamos.”
After failing to wield any influence in Washington whatsoever, Tom Udall released a remarkably impotent statement. "LANL is critical to our national security and state's economy, and I will continue to push for adequate funding at both of New Mexico's national labs," Udall said. You are a little late Tommy.
In an era when good jobs are hard to come by and Los Alamos performs some of the nation’s most critical functions, it is hard to understand how this debacle could have unfolded right under the noses of a congressional delegation dominated by members of the president’s own party.


Harbison: The New "Fairness" Doctrine

Jim Harbison
President Obama in his State of the Union address, his daily press briefings and his editorial in the Sun-News continues to attack American society and claim it is unfair and therefore it is necessary to impose constraints on individual freedoms in order to implement his concept of fairness.
Who defines “fairness”? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines fairness as marked by impartiality and honesty: free from self-interest, prejudice, or favoritism. defines fairness treating people without prejudice - non-discrimination. defines fairness as: Having or exhibiting a disposition that is free of favoritism or bias; impartial: a fair mediator, b. Just to all parties; equitable: a compromise that is fair to both factions.
Where is the “fair mediator” that ensures this fairness? Who is deciding that it is fair to take stuff from one who earns it and give it someone who hasn't? The dictionary definitions above would label that favoritism not fairness. George Orwell would appreciate the "doublespeak".
Is it fair that the richest 1% of Americans already pays nearly 40% of all federal income taxes and the richest 10% pay two-thirds of the tax? How is it fair that 47% of Americans now pay no federal income tax—a number that has risen every year under President Obama? Where is the "justice to all parties" that describes fairness? Read rest of column here: News New Mexico

Colorado Senate Does What NM Won't Do

NewsNM note Spence) - Think actions by Senators Michael Sanchez and Lisa Curtis to deny a simply liability limit can't ruin hundreds of million of dollars in taxpayer investments in Spaceport America. Think again. Take a look at what is happening in Colorado.
DENVER (CBS4) – A bill that would help make Colorado a leader in space travel is moving through the legislature. On Tuesday the Senate approved a bill that would limit liability to any company operating spaceflights out of Colorado.
Dennis Heap, the manager at Front Range Airport, says the bill is key to space travel so companies would be willing to invest without worry of major lawsuits. The airport is already working on a program to put sub-orbital planes on the edge of space.
A spaceport is similar to an airport but would allow travelers to get to their destination by flying just outside of the earth’s atmosphere.
“It’s going to be basically an airport style delivery system in the future that’s going to deliver commercial point to point travel,” Heap said.
A similar program and spaceport is already in the works in New Mexico. Read full story here: News New Mexico

State Police Raid Sunland Park City Hall

From -New Mexico State Police executed a sealed search warrant at Sunland Park City Hall Tuesday. The investigation is being linked to the Doña Ana County District Attorney's Office, according to their District Attorney Amy Orlando. No arrests have been made. Sunland Park resident Cecilia Rodriguez told News Channel 9 there were videos sent to different employees depicting a mayoral candidate having sex in the parking lot. The District Attorney's office or State Police have not been able to confirm that. City manager Jaime Aguilera said police were looking for video evidence from surveillance cameras pointed at the parking lot. He says they are also making copies of files on every computer in the building. Watch News Channel 9 tonight for more details on the developing story.  More News New Mexico

El Paso Woman Shot By Bullet From Juarez

From - El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen said the woman was a 48-year-old mother who was pushing a child in a stroller when she was shot in the upper right calf.   Allen said the round went through her leg. She was taken to University Medical Center of El Paso. Allen, El Paso Mayor John Cook and El Paso County Sheriff Richard Wiles conducted a press conference late Tuesday afternoon at City Hall.   Allen said the woman is a Mexican citizen but has a residency card and lives in El Paso. Allen said that the bullet came from a gunfight between carjackers and law enforcement in Juarez.  Cook said that the public should not panic over this incident and that El Paso is still a safe place to live.  More News New Mexico

Mexico: Prison Guards Helped Zeta Drug Cartel Escape

From -Nine guards have confessed to helping Zetas drug gangsters escape from prison before other Zetas slaughtered 44 rival inmates, a state official said late Monday, underlining the enormous corruption inside Mexico’s overcrowded, underfunded prisons. The top officials and as many as 18 guards at the Apodaca prison in northern Mexico had been detained under suspicion that they may have helped 30 Zetas escape during the confusion of a riot early Sunday in which 44 members of the rival Gulf cartel were bludgeoned and knifed to death.  More News New Mexico

Copays in Medicaid's Future?

KOB TV - Gov. Susana Martinez's administration is proposing to overhaul a program that provides health care to a fourth of the state's population, and the changes could require some needy New Mexicans to dig into their pockets to pay a fee if they go to an emergency room for medical care that's not considered an emergency.
Sidonie Squier
One of the goals of the planned revision is to slow the rate of growth in Medicaid, which accounts for 16 percent of this year's state budget and costs New Mexico taxpayers nearly $1 billion.
"We think it's a broken system. We think we need to change it now," Human Services Secretary Sidonie Squier said Tuesday in an interview in which she outlined the proposed revisions, which will require federal government approval. She emphasized that there will be no cuts in enrollment or changes in who's eligible to receive medical services, and there will be no reduction in rates paid to health care providers.
However, the state proposes to require "co-pays" for Medicaid recipients who go to an emergency room for routine medical care and for using a brand name drug when a generic drug is available. The fee will be $3 for brand name drugs but won't apply to certain drugs used to treat mental health conditions. The fees for using an emergency room will vary according to a person's income, but could range from $6 to $50. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Judge Hall Proposes Boundary Options to Appease Second-Guessing of Supreme Court

Post Crescent — A state district judge is proposing two options for revamping political districts of the state House of Representatives to comply with directives from New Mexico's highest court.
One of the plans suggested by retired District Judge James Hall will cost the Santa Fe area a legislative seat held by House Speaker Ben Lujan, who plans to retire after serving 19 terms in the House.
Hall is giving lawyers until Thursday to comment on the proposals. He will adopt a final redistricting plan by next Monday.
The Supreme Court overturned a redistricting plan Hall approved last month and directed him to draw a new map. The state's highest court on Tuesday released a written opinion giving a detailed explanation of its redistricting order made earlier this month.
District boundaries must be realigned to adjust for population changes during the past decade. The goal is equalize district populations as much as possible to comply with the doctrine of one person, one vote — ensuring that each New Mexican's vote is of equal weight. Read full story here: News New Mexico


The Great Pumpkin Verdict

KOB TV - The verdict is guilty in the great pumpkin trial in Moriarty. A magistrate judge found a young couple guilty of shoplifting for swiping a pumpkin from McCall's Pumpkin Patch last October.
Judge Steve Jones sentenced Lauren Medina and her now ex-boyfriend Matthew Schindele to 40 hours apiece of community service, and ordered them to each pay court costs of $73. Everybody agrees the value of the pumpkin was about $2.
"There was no intent to steal the pumpkins but apparently the judge ruled otherwise," said Schindele. "We have 15 days to decide if we're gonna go ahead and accept it or take an appeal, so we're gonna take those 15 days to go ahead and figure it out." Read full story here: News New Mexico

“Civic March & Rally for Protection of Constitutional Rights and Religious Freedom”

Communities in Southern New Mexico prepare for a civic non-partisan march and rally to protect U.S. Constitutional Rights and Religious Freedoms. The rally will be held on March 3rd, 2012 from 1:00pm to 2:30pm at the St. Genevieve’s monument located in downtown Las Cruces.
Participants include faith leaders, community leaders, professionals, students and concerned citizens throughout southern New Mexico who have a vested interest in protecting American civil rights and the integrity of the United States Constitution. Communities are specifically marching in protection of America’s First Amendment rights, which exist to allow everyone the freedom to practice their faith in whatever manner without government intervention. “We believe our Religious Freedoms are currently being threatened by the federal government through a set of mandates currently being considered that infringe on religious beliefs”, says, Rev. Mike Skidmore, Senior Pastor at Full Gospel Tabernacle in Truth or Consequences.
Government is forcing religious organizations to change their interpretations of the Bible. Recently, the President abandoned his stance on forcing religious organizations and citizens to pay for contraceptive products and demanded that insurance companies step-in to provide the coverage in order to “accommodate” religious groups.
“U.S. Citizens living under the social contract of the United States Constitution should not have to consider such accommodations…American Constitutional rights are not something Americans compromise on or negotiate… there should be no compromise or accommodation on religious freedoms”, says Peter Ibarbo, Board Member, Hispano Chamber of Commerce de Las Cruces.