Marijuana legalization measure sparks debate

From - by Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4 - One of the most talked-about bills of the legislative session hasn't even been introduced yet, but the plan to legalize marijuana will get plenty of debate. Some kind of legislation is likely to come up on the marijuana issue. There is too much interest in the issue for it to stay off the table. The debate has already been settled in a Colorado and that’s given steam to the pro-marijuana faction which says legalize it, regulate it, tax it, fewer people in jail, and more money for the state.
Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino (D- Albuquerque) is mulling over what action to take in the legislative session.
"I think there was a surprise in Colorado that it won so handily and I think what you're seeing is a reflection of a change in the demographics - the people that are voting now don't have some of the same attitudes that people 10, 15, 20 years ago would have had,” he said Ortiz y Pino says it could go three ways: A constitutional amendment that voters would vote on, a bill to reduce penalties or a memorial to study the consequences of legal weed. But there are plenty of lawmakers who don't have any appetite for any of those options.
"I'm not sure it's a good idea anyway but let's say it is introduced and comes out - I think there would be some difficulty in getting votes - I don't think the [governor’s office] would necessarily support the concept - I don't see that it's necessarily a good plan to try to introduce during the session,” Sen. Steve Neville (R-Farmington) said.
Lawmakers said they think Gov. Susana Martinez – a former district attorney from Las Cruces - would be highly unlikely to sign any bill reducing penalties for pot. Her signature, however, is not needed for a constitutional amendment or a memorial studying the idea. Read more

Swickard: Start with data not emotions

© 2012 Michael Swickard, Ph.D.   Data does not lie. It is exactly what it is regardless of political implications people would like the data to support. Data is numbers and words and graphs from which we can argue conclusions. Data is just data in and of itself. People can use data to make decisions. That is the textbook way we in our society are supposed to make decisions. 
We should look at the data and then proceed as the data suggests. While data does not take a side in a debate, people have wants and cares and desires which they argue for and sometimes try to use data to convince others as to the validity of their viewpoint. Data may be neutral, but people lie and misuse data. People use data for purposes not supported by the data. Worse, Americans have great debates without ever looking at the data. 
In our society there is a great debate, no, that is not right. No one is debating, everyone is just emoting their feelings about guns without regard for data. Even though there may be data, most often it is ignored if it does not help make their desired political point. Our news media does not present balanced reports; it generally looks for stories that support their political agenda. They ignore data that does not support their views. You do not believe such a thing? 
Here is proof: in all of the stories about gun violence, have you seen any stories about when having and using a gun is good? People use guns to make things better every day and the mainstream media does not cover the good use of guns. But they are quick to shout when guns are used for bad purposes. Read full column


Branco - Self-Inflicted Wounds


Newsbreak New Mexico 5pm Webcast 1/24/13

Newsbreak New Mexico 5pm Newscast with Vanessa Dabovich
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Steven Seagal made Dona Ana County Deputy Sheriff
State delays hospital Medicaid payments
Teacher abuses autistic child 

Lawmakers introduce bill to make NM more taxi friendly

Lawmakers are proposing to revamp state regulation of taxis and moving companies to potential lower costs for consumers. 
Reps. Tom Taylor, a Farmington Republican, and Carl Trujillo, a Santa Fe Democrat, are sponsoring the measure to make it easier for taxis, shuttles and limousines to expand their services into more parts of the state. 
The proposal also will eliminate rate regulation of intrastate moving companies, treating them like interstate moving companies that are regulated for safety and insurance liability. 
An independent think tank, called Think New Mexico, has recommended modernizing the regulation of motor carriers by the Public Regulation Commission.


Steven Seagal made Dona Ana County Deputy Sheriff

Steven Seagal
Dona Ana County is adding some star power to its sheriff's department. 
Undersheriff Eddie Lerma this week arranged to have action film star Steven Seagal sworn in as a deputy. Sheriff Todd Garrison read Seagal his oath during an informal ceremony Tuesday. 
Lerma says Seagal is more than a movie star. He says he has spent decades in law enforcement training, and has a special interest in border issues. Seagal has been involved in law enforcement in Louisiana and Arizona.
 In Arizona he is part of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's civilian posse of volunteers who assist deputies in duties such as providing free police protection at malls during the holidays, directing traffic at wreck scenes and transporting to jail the people who are arrested in immigration patrols.


Newsbreak New Mexico 12pm Webcast 1/24/13

Newsbreak New Mexico 12pm Newscast with Vanessa Dabovich

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Legislation for taxis and movers in NM
License renewal online
ACLU announces Walgreens changes


New Mexicans can renew drivers licenses online

New Mexicans can now renew their drivers licenses or ID cards online

Gov. Susana Martinez and members of her staff made the announcement Wednesday.
 It took three months for the state to get the online system. The state's information technology employees created the system. Taxation and revenue secretary Demesia Padilla said the state saved $2 million by doing that. 
The system aims to help people get out of MVD lines, and online. And there will be computers to access the website at MVD's across the state if people do not have access to the internet at home. People have to renew their license at an MVD every other time they renew. 
The federal government requires a new picture every 16 years, the state said. People who are getting a license for the first time cannot use the online system.


Parents concerned over school election site

Several parents are threatening to pull their kids out of a local elementary school after learning that voting in an upcoming special election will take place on school grounds while class is in session. 

Several of the parents at Rudolfo Anaya Elementary School said they are afraid to have strangers roaming the halls of the school in light of recent school shootings.

 A letter from the County Clerk's Office addressed to the principal of the school said a school staff member must be present to open all gates to parking areas for voter access on election day. The letter does not mention police presence or additional security on school grounds. 

Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse said if APS asks for anything different, the county would be happy to provide it. 


ACLU announces changes for Walgreens

New Mexico advocacy groups say Walgreens won't allow individual pharmacists' personal religious beliefs to prevent customers from filling birth control prescriptions. 

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico announced Tuesday that Walgreens told the ACLU and the Southwest Women's Law Center that the company will take steps nationwide to make sure customers received prescriptions regardless of employees' beliefs.
 The announcement comes after an Albuquerque Walgreens pharmacist last year refused to fill the birth control prescriptions for two women due to his religious beliefs. 


Newsbreak New Mexico 8am Webcast 1/4/13

Newsbreak New Mexico 8am Newscast with Vanessa Dabovich

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Gov. still pushing for license reform
Eric Griego speaks 
ACLU-NM Walgreens debate
Parents to pull kids from school over election