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September 21, 2018
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First News: Gov. Martinez not happy with drivers license bill (Listen)
(2012-01-27)
(KSFR) -
The debate over New Mexico's drivers license law for immigrants continues at the Roundhouse. A state representative from southern New Mexico introduced the governor's hoped-for bill in committee but it immediately went through a number of changes. The latest version would continue to allow all foreign nationals, including undocumented immigrants, to have a full-fledged drivers license but with more restrictions. Gov. Martinez says she's disappointed that the bill would continue to allow what she calls illegal immigrants to obtain drivers licenses.

State Auditor Hector Balderas has slammed the Public Regulation Commission with a detailed audit that he says reveals pervasive abuse of taxpayer funds. The audit criticizes expenses by commission members and employees for spending too much on gas for their vehicles. It says the agency racked up more than $28,000 in extra costs on purchases of premium gas when regular gas would have done. It also criticizes Chairman Patrick Lyons for personal use of a pickup truck for several months in violation of terms of the federal grant that was used to buy the vehicle.

Meanwhile, bills that would make changes to the PRC are moving along at the Roundhouse. One would increase the requirements for becoming a commissioner where now very little in the way of experience is needed. Another would remove some of the commission's regulatory responsibilities by shifting them to other agencies.

Also pertaining to the PRC, Douglas Howe, the registered independent pick by the governor to fulfill Jerome Block Jr.'s term, has told the New Mexican he will not seek election to the post in November. Howe told the newspaper he is not a politician and that he views mounting a campaign as an insurmountable task.

A bill to remove the statute of limitations on all categories of homicide has seen alteration after moving through the Senate Public Affairs committee. The measure sponsored by Senate Republican Whip Bill Payne seeks to eliminate the current six-year statute of limitation for prosecuting charges of 2nd degree murder, voluntary and involuntary manslaughter, vehicular homicide and even assisted suicide. The senate committee removed limitations only for 2nd degree murder while extending the limit to ten years for all other categories. The measure now heads to the Senate Judiciary.

A new report from the Department of workforce solutions shows that while the national unemployment rate declined to 8.6% in December, New Mexico's rate rose 1 tenth of a point to 6.6%. Albuquerque struggled in 2011, losing jobs over the past year while Santa Fe had enough private sector job growth to outweigh government cutbacks. In Santa Fe the December unemployment rate held steady at 5.3%. Across the state, December's numbers were 2 points better than the previous year.

The New Mexico Department of Health is re-assuring the public that a rash of skin infections among some 15 students in Belen and Albuquerque does not represent a noteworthy outbreak. Three of those cases have been identified as being caused by Staphlococcus with 2 of those belonging to an antibiotic-resistant form known as MRSA (mersa). The Health Department says 1 in every 3 healthy people carry the bacterium with no ill effects. They advise frequent hand washing and the avoidance of sharing personal items such as towels, washcloths, razors, clothing or uniforms. They also caution schools to establish cleaning procedures for frequently touched surfaces.

Weather for Santa Fe - expect mostly sunny skies with daytime highs in the upper 40s today. There's just a 10% chance for a passing snowshower tonight with low temperatures near 22 degrees. Sunny skies once again for Saturday and Sunday, highs in the mid 40s.

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