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Wednesday, Jan 17th

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2017 top stories: Ten vetoes overturned

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Gov. Susana Martinez saw ten bills she vetoed instead become law this year. Not because of any legislative action, but instead because a court ruled she failed to follow the state constitution when vetoing the bills.

During the legislative session, Martinez vetoed many bills, but Democrats in the Legislature felt ten were...

Workforce Solutions settles year-old wage theft suit

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A worker’s rights coalition and New Mexico’s Department of Workforce Solutions (DWS) settled a year-old lawsuit alleging the state agency failed to adequately investigate or take action on wage theft claims.

The settlement agreement outlines policy and procedural changes the state department will make. Wage theft claims against employers, for example, will now be investigated regardless of the dollar amount involved. The coalition accused DWS of avoiding  action on claims worth more than $10,000 and advising employees to instead file a lawsuit against their employer.

DWS also agreed to implement a more comprehensive process for workers to file claims against employers who fail to...

Most recent audit reveals state still has problems distributing disaster money

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SANTA FE – Another audit turned in months after it was due reveals the state Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management still has problems with finances and management—some of which date back years—but is showing some signs of improvement.

The 2016 audit was publicly released in late October when State Auditor Tim Keller sent a letter back to the department’s secretary, M. Jay Mitchell.

The independent audit reveals 14 significant problems, some of which were also found in previous years’ audits.

NM Political Report requested an interview with Mitchell or the department’s Chief Financial Officer, Sarah Peterson. The public information officer could not make...

Legislative leadership announces steps toward updating sexual harassment plan

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SANTA FE – Legislative leadership in both chambers and of both parties announced a bipartisan group of legislators will address the state’s sexual harassment policy.

The sexual harassment policy was last revised in 2008, which was also the last time legislators underwent sexual harassment training.

The group of legislators will work with the Legislative Council Service as well as outside attorneys to review the existing policy and recommend an updated draft policy to the Legislative Council. The Legislative Council, which is made up of members of each chamber, will then vote on adoption of the new policy in January.

Leadership announced that the working group will look at...

Interior Department in investigations

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WASHINGTON, D.C. –  Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has brushed off criticism over his expensive use of private and military planes for travel, telling conservative supporters that the whole issue is just “a little B.S.”

But several watchdog agencies, congressional Democrats and legal experts believe it’s more than that. After only eight months in office, Zinke’s taxpayer-funded travel, meetings with political donors and other actions have led to several official probes. “We’ve been tracking Zinke and what he’s been doing at the Department of Interior,” says Daniel Stevens, executive director of the nonprofit, nonpartisan Campaign for Accountability. “It led us to...
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