Farmington city councilor refuses to use email

Farmington City Councilor Mary Fischer
From - In the year 2013, it's hard to find someone who doesn't have an email, but KOB Eyewitness News 4 has found a Farmington city councilor who refuses to get an email address, even though the city says she needs it. Mary Fischer has been a city councilor in Farmington on and off for about 30 years and likes to interact with her constituents, in person or over the phone.
"They always feel free to come up to me to tell me their complaints or often sometimes compliments," said Fischer. But communicating with her colleagues is sometimes rocky. Fischer and mayor Tommy Roberts got into a heated argument at last week's city council meeting. Fischer was upset about other city councilors not informing her about important issues. So the mayor decided that a city issued email and computer should be installed in Fischer's office.
"It forecloses on the assertions that she's not receiving the same information that other councilors are receiving," said Roberts. The mayor says it's also a good way to reach people who do like to communicate online.
But Fischer has a different perspective. "People like to talk to people and we've seemed to depersonalize so many things that it’s nice to talk to an elected official who'd actually respond," said Fischer.
So far a computer has not been installed in Fischer's office, and if it is, Fischer says she will not use it and ask for it to be taken out. Read more

Newsbreak New Mexico 5 p.m. Webcast 2/19/13

Newsbreak New Mexico 5 p.m. Newscast with Vanessa Dabovich

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The Senate has confirmed two board members of the New Mexico Finance Authority, which was caught in a scandal last year over a fake audit. 
Clovis businessman Blake Curtis was unanimously confirmed and Albuquerque lawyer Nann Winter won confirmation on a 34-3 vote in the Senate on Monday. 
Curtis is a former state legislator. Winter serves as the authority's board chairwoman. 
Republican Gov. Susana Martinez appointed the pair to the board overseeing the authority, which provides low-cost financing for capital improvements by cities, counties, schools and other New Mexico governments.


Nearly 30 animal protection bills in the legislature

New Mexico lawmakers this session are considering more than two dozen animal protection bills that propose everything from raising money for starving horses to increasing penalties for neglecting pets and continuing oversight of government-run shelters.
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They say one reason is the increased awareness of the connection between cruelty to animals and abuse of people. 
Elizabeth Jennings, executive director of Animal Protection New Mexico, says her agency is tracking some 30 bills this session, including proposals to make extreme cruelty like starving an animal or letting it freeze to death a fourth-degree felony.


Newsbreak New Mexico 12 p.m. Webcast 2/19/13

Newsbreak New Mexico 12 p.m. Newscast with Vanessa Dabovich

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Trophy poaching bill garners attention 
High school dropout bill aims to take licenses
Gov. makes NMFA appointments  


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It’s halfway through New Mexico's 60 day legislative session, and lawmakers are looking for ways to reduce our high school dropout rate. 

One bill would require school districts to track those wannabe at-risk students through truancy records and failing grades, and then work with the Motor Vehicle Division to deny their licenses or revoke them. 

Sen. Craig Brandt, a Rio Rancho Republican, is the bill's sponsor. Brandt's bill would make it harder for kids to drop out, financial hardship or illness being the main excuses. It would require students and parents to sit down for an exit interview with the principal, where all of the drawbacks to dropping out would be spelled out. 

New Mexico's latest four year graduation rate has improved from 65 percent to 70 percent - which means the dropout rate is still about 30 percent. 


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The New Mexico Department of Health recommends that all pregnant women receive the Tdap booster after the 20th week of pregnancy.


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Voters could decide whether to increase New Mexico's minimum wage for inflation under a proposal backed by Democratic lawmakers. 

The House Voters and Elections Committee is scheduled to consider the proposal today. It's already cleared one House committee on a party-line vote, with Democrats favoring it and Republicans opposed. 
The state's $7.50 an hour minimum wage has been in effect since 2009. A proposed constitutional amendment would allow voters to decide whether to require automatic cost-of-living increases in the wage rate each year. 
Business groups have opposed the legislation. 
The measure goes to the 70-member House if it's endorsed by the Voters and Elections Committee.