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August 27, 2014
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Special session to cost $50K a day
(2009-10-16)
(KSFR) -
-- Oct. 16, 7 a.m. -- When state lawmakers meet in Santa Fe this weekend, they'll be adding to the budget deficit they hope to solve. That's because they'll each be getting an extra 9 percent in per diem pay. Today's Journal North reports that the increase means each of the 112 legislators will be able to spend $159 a day of taxpayer money to cover their expenses. Last year's per diem rate was $145 a day. In all, the special session will cost about $50,000 a day. The job they face is to fill in a hole in the state's budget equal to about $650 million.

Senator Tom Udall says the notion that the U.S. health care system is the greatest in the world is a myth perpetrated by opponents of reform legislation. The New Mexico Democrat says the U.S. may have some of the world's best health professionals and facilities, but Americans who can't afford health insurance are left out. Udall was among a group of freshmen giving floor speeches as the Senate gears up for an historic debate on health care reform.

An auction offering oil and gas leasing mineral rights on more than 21,000 acres of lands in four states takes place in Santa Fe next Wednesday, the 21st. The Bureau of Land Management is overseeing all transactions. Here in New Mexico, over 17,000 acres comprising some 38 parcels will be on the auction block with a minimum acceptable bid of $2 per acre. The leases will be awarded for a duration of at least 10 years and continue thereafter if there is production producing revenues. The federal government receives 12.5% in royalties from the leases with New Mexico taking 48% of that amount.

New Mexicans seeking to rectify personal debt with collection entities have a new tool to help them navigate through the process. The New Mexico Attorney General's office has announced they're posting videos created by the Federal Trade Commission which highlight the rights of consumers whose debts have gone into collection, and the rules of behavior for debt collectors. The videos are posted at n-m-a-g--dot--gov.

Brian Stengel is being held on an open count of murder in the death of a Santa Fe man found slain at his home Thursday. Police arrested Stengel after he called authorities to report that Cary Clark was dead in his Agua Fria home. Police found Clark had been stabbed in the chest and arrested Stengel who admitted to the killing. Authorities say the two did not know each other well but had been binge drinking together. Both men have arrest records for DWI charges and other violations.

Vaccinations for seasonal flu are in short supply as many take advantage of immunizations clinics this year. Santa fe's Office of Emergency Management is reporting that two such clinics scheduled by Santa Fe Public Schools for Santa Fe High and Sweeney Elementary have been cancelled. Additionally, they report the the Dept. of Health's free walk-in clinic for flu shots every Wednesday may not have enough vaccine on hand. They're telling folks to call in before visiting.

Santa Fe school district officials say they have vaccinated about half of the total population of students with shots for regular, season flu. That amounts to about 3,500 so far. They'll continue to offer the vaccine through next week. Since the regular flu season has not yet begun, they believe the incidents of flu so far this school year can be attributed to swine flu. TITA Gervers (pronounced Jervers) is the school district's director of student wellness. She says the 11 percent absentee rate over the past two weeks is not all that high.

Weather for Santa Fe sunshine and a high near 70 today thru the weekend. Overnight lows in the low 40s.

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