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Last updated 8:29AM ET
September 19, 2018
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First News: NM Senate passes House budget bill (listen)
(KSFR) - The state senate has passed the House's $5.6 billion budget for New Mexico. Overall spending for the 2013 fiscal year will be about 4% greater than the current year and is crafted slightly below revenue forecasts, allowing for some spending on other measures that may pass the legislature before the session ends Thursday. The budget bill now returns to the House for reconciliation.

Also headed to the House is a Senate-passed bill containing stricter residency requirements for all foreign nationals seeking a state drivers license. Needed documentation would include an individual tax identification number, proof of identity in the form of a passport or a consular ID, two proofs of residency in New Mexico for at least six months, fingerprint cards, and notarization on all documents. Falsification of documents would carry 3rd and 4th degree felony charges. Additionally, the bill mandates that licenses for foreign nationals be renewed annually.

Senate Bill 197 which enhances the penalties for public officials who commit a felony related to their public office has passed the House. SB 197, sponsored by Republican Sen. Bill Payne and carried in the House by Democratic Rep. W. Ken Martinez sailed through by a vote of 67-0. The bill had already been approved in the Senate without any opposition. Under the legislation, public officials who are convicted of a felony could lose their salary and retirement.

When the Santa Fe County Board of Commissioners meet today, the Public Safety & Sheriff's office will entertain a proposal for more cooperation between the county jail and Immigration & Customs Enforcement agents. ICE has charged recently that jail officials are lacksadaisical about policy that permits detainees to be held an additional 48 hours beyond their scheduled release for the purpose of determining immigration status. County authorities have countered that they comply with all legal requirements by ICE but that they're not obligated to volunteer suspicions regarding a detainees' status.

In the ongoing tussle over new political redistricting maps in New mexico, Republicans have filed a federal lawsuit hoping to nullify the state's Supreme Court decision that struck down the map drawn by a lower court judge and favored by Governor Susana Martinez. The governor had previously vetoed a redistricting plan passed by the state legislature last year. The high court justices found the new plan was biased and might negatively affect some Hispanic-leaning districts and ordered the judge to come up with a new one by February 27th. Republicans hope their suit will convene a panel of jurists in Albuquerque federal court to intervene in the matter.

President Obama's proposed budget for next year did not include funding for a Los Alamos National Lab Facility that would create the plutonium triggers needed for nuclear weapons. The proposed multi-billion dollar effort, years into preparations, would be placed on a hold of at least five years as requested by the national Nuclear Security Administration. The agency says that current nuclear facilities are sufficient in a reversal of their long held stand that the Chemistry & Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility at LANL was vital to national security. Today's Journal Santa Fe reports that nuclear weapons spending in the Obama budget would decline some 7% at Los Alamos while Sandia National Laboratories will see an increase of 30%.

Weather for Santa Fe - partly sunny today with a 30% chance for mixed rain and snowshowers, highs in the low 40s. A 40% chance for snowshowers tonight with lows in the low 20s. Accumulations in the metro area should be less than one inch. Sunny Wednesday with highs in the low 40s.
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