Pearce To Announce Run For Governor, Navajo Nation Backs Amber Alert Legislation
Steve Pearce To Run For Governor – Albuquerque Journal
U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce plans to announce his candidacy for New Mexico governor Monday.
The Albuquerque Journal reports Pearce is the first Republican to enter the race and the second member of the New Mexico congressional delegation. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham is also running.
Pearce plans to focus on education, crime, improving the state’s struggling economy and reducing poverty. He told the Journal he’s worried about young people leaving New Mexico for opportunities in other states.
Pearce served in Congress from 2003 to 2008. He ran unsuccessfully for a Senate seat in 2008, then recaptured his old Congressional seat in the 2010 election. His large district encompasses southern and parts of central New Mexico.
Ex-Us Attorney In New Mexico Plans To Enter House Race – By Russell Contreras, Associated Press
A former U.S. attorney who led the office during Justice Department reforms of Albuquerque police is expected to run for an open congressional seat in central New Mexico.
Damon Martinez, who was ordered to resign earlier this year by the Trump administration, plans to announce Monday that he is jumping into a crowded Democratic primary to succeed U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat who is running for New Mexico governor.
Under Martinez, federal prosecutors in Albuquerque targeted the state’s worst offenders and focused on heroin and opioid trafficking suspects amid New Mexico’s opioid crisis.
He is running against former state Democratic Party Chairwoman Debra Haaland, Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis, physicist Dennis Dinge, Edgewood Mayor Pro Tem John Abrams, attorney Damian Lara and former law professor Antoinette Sedillo Lopez.
No Republican has formally announced a bid for the seat.
Experts Finds New Mexico Teacher Evaluations Toughest In US – Albuquerque Journal, Associated Press
A national publication and an expert found that teacher evaluations in New Mexico are among the toughest in the U.S., as they put a large amount of weight on student test scores.
The Albuquerque Journal reported Thursday that New Mexico evaluations from 2015-2016 ranked twice as many teachers as below effective than the other 24 states reviewed in the study.
Brown University Assistant Professor Matthew Kraft’s study on teacher evaluation systems across the U.S. agrees with Education Week’s claim that the New Mexico’s are the toughest in the nation.
New Mexico’s acting secretary of education says that the system reflects the state’s commitment to putting students first.
Charles Goodmacher with the National Education Association of New Mexico says that the current system makes teachers feel devalued.
Albuquerque Firm To Design Contemporary Art Museum Annex – Associated Press
An Albuquerque-based architectural firm has been chosen to design the transformation of a former state records building into a contemporary art space for the New Mexico Museum of Art.
The selection of DNCA + StudioGP was recently announced by officials with the museum, the museum’s independent fundraising arm and the state Department of Cultural Affairs.
The annex has been a part of the museum’s strategic plan for a couple of years because the main museum near Santa Fe’s historic plaza has only so much space to display and store works from a collection that tops 23,000 pieces.
The Museum of New Mexico Foundation is undertaking a $10 million campaign to bring the project to fruition.
The annex will be in Santa Fe’s Railyard District. It’s expected to open in 2020.
Navajo Nation Backs Federal Amber Alert Legislation – Associated Press
A panel of lawmakers on the nation’s largest American Indian reservation is throwing its support behind federal legislation that would expand the Amber Alert child abduction emergency notification system to tribes across the U.S.
One of the standing legislative committees on the Navajo Nation voted this week in favor of a measure that supports the congressional legislation.
The legislation is in response to the 2016 deadly abduction of 11-year-old Ashlynne Mike on the Navajo Nation.
The high profile case raised questions about gaps in communication and coordination between tribal and local law enforcement.
Tribal members have testified about the need for the Navajo Nation to establish its own comprehensive system to remain accountable and responsible for the protection of Navajo children, rather than relying on state entities.
New Mexico Group Lobbies For Film, Television Hall Of Fame – Santa Fe New Mexican, Associated Press
A new nonprofit wants to create a hall of fame for those who have made significant impacts on New Mexico’s bustling movie and television industry throughout its century-plus history.
The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the nonprofit is calling its project the New Mexico Film and Television Hall of Fame, and hopes to one day find a building to host it. But in the meantime, the group will seek nominations for the first crop of inductees, who will be announced at an awards gala in February in Santa Fe.
Organizers say finding a building for the hall of fame would require private sponsorships. Kate Noble, the hall of fame project launch coordinator, calls finding a building the “dream-big plan.”
State Wildlife Officials Review Feds’ Plan For Wolf Recovery – Associated Press
State wildlife officials are reviewing the federal government’s plan for recovering endangered wolves that once roamed parts of New Mexico, Arizona and northern Mexico.
A draft was recently released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as the agency works to meet a court-ordered deadline to have the plan completed by the end of November.
In Arizona, the state Game and Fish Department says the plan appears to address concerns raised in a 2015 lawsuit that was filed by the state.
Arizona officials and others have argued that the federal government is required by the federal Endangered Species Act to have an updated plan. The current plan was published in 1982.
Since conservation of the Mexican gray wolf began in the 1980s, the Arizona agency has spent more than $7 million on recovery efforts.
New Mexico Utility To Release Documents In Rate Case – Associated Press
New Mexico’s largest electric utility has been told to publicly release documents that were sealed as it pursues approval from state regulators for a rate increase.
Two hearing officers for the Public Regulation Commission ruled this week that the utility failed to show the information’s secrecy was protected by state or federal law, and it didn’t prove that any trade secrets would be revealed if the documents were made public.
The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that Public Service Co. of New Mexico is asking the hearing officers to reconsider the decision.
The renewable energy advocacy group New Energy Economy, a long-standing critic of the utility, had asked earlier this year that a confidentiality designation be lifted from documents that relate to two coal-fired power plants and negotiations over future coal supplies.
Feds To Review Behavioral Health Care Access In New Mexico – Associated Press
The investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has agreed to review the level of access that New Mexicans have to behavioral health services through the Medicaid program.
Members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation made the request earlier this year.
The inquiry will be one of a handful being conducted by the agency’s inspector general.
New Mexico’s behavioral health system was upended in 2013 when Republican Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration froze payments to 15 nonprofits that provided services to the state’s most needy residents after an audit raised questions about fraud and abuse.
Some providers were forced to close. Others were replaced by out-of-state companies.
An investigation by the state attorney general’s office eventually found only regulatory violations and no patterns of fraud among the nonprofits.
Details Emerge In 2008 Cold Case As Suspect Appears In Court – Associated Press
Justin Hansen, a man accused of beating a former New Mexico high school student in 2008, appeared in court for the first time.
While Hansen was in court Friday, the judge also unsealed documents revealing Hansen was inconsistent in his statements to detectives in January when he was first questioned in the beating of Brittani Marcell.
According to the unsealed criminal complaint, Hansen would give variations in his story, specifically in how well he knew Marcell.
When Hansen reportedly refused to give detectives a DNA sample, detectives went undercover, following Hansen to a local McDonald’s and retrieving a sample after pulling a cup Hansen drank from out of the trash.
Investigators say that DNA matched blood found on glass on the porch of the crime scene.
Fake Indian Art Threatens Native Livelihood – By Morgan Lee, Associated Press
The recent spread of fake Native American art and jewelry has shown the need to update how the federal government protects tribal artists from fraud that undercuts the value of their work.
That’s according to two U.S. senators who gathered suggestions for reforms on Friday. New Mexico Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich convened a hearing in the American Indian arts hub of Santa Fe.
Federal law enforcement officials and leading Native American artists described a disheartening influx of counterfeit jewelry, weavings and contemporary art knock-offs.
Udall said he hopes to propel efforts to modernize the Indian Arts and Crafts Act to cope with sophisticated international jewelry rings that copy Native American designs and police online sales. The act makes it a crime to falsely market and sell art as Native American-made when it is not.
The act makes it a crime to falsely market and sell art as Native American-made when it is not. Calls to modernize enforcement provisions have been spurred by revelations about the spread of fake Indian art.
Federal prosecutors in New Mexico are preparing for trial in an ambitious investigation that traced falsified Native American art from the Philippines to galleries across the United States.