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Non-Local News Releases

This category will feature news releases from out-of-area government agencies and representatives, as well as events that are not taking place in the four-county area of Grant, Catron, Hidalgo or Luna. For those events please visit Local News Releases.

Amicus makes the case for the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act and Congress’s authority--and trust responsibility--to legislate for the benefit of Indian Tribes

Urges the Fifth Circuit to overturn lower court’s unprecedented ruling

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) along with U.S. Representatives Karen Bass (D-Calif.), Don Bacon (R-Neb.), Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), Tom Cole (R-Okla.), and Don Young (R-Alaska) filed an amicus brief in federal court making the case for the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). The lawmakers’ brief, filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, comes as the court hears a challenge to an October ruling from U.S. District Court for Northern District of Texas, which wrongly struck down key provisions of ICWA in Brackeen v. Zinke. 

Udall is the current vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. Murkowski is the former vice chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. Bass, Bacon, McCollum, Cole, and Young serve in leadership for the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth and Congressional Native American Caucus.

The amicus brief urges the Fifth Circuit to reverse the district court’s ruling in Brackeen v. Zinke, which wrongly held key provisions of ICWA unconstitutional on equal protection grounds.  The brief strongly argues that the lower court’s ruling is not supported by the Constitution. The brief further highlights that the ruling contradicts decades of Supreme Court caselaw making clear that Congress has broad and exclusive authority to legislate for the benefit of Indians and that legislation like ICWA does not impermissibly discriminate on the basis of race.  

The full text of the brief is available here

Washington, D.C., January 16, 2019 – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that many Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices will reopen temporarily in the coming days to perform certain limited services for farmers and ranchers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has recalled about 2,500 FSA employees to open offices on Thursday, January 17 and Friday, January 18, in addition to Tuesday, January 22, during normal business hours. The offices will be closed for the federal Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday on Monday, January 21. 

 In almost half of FSA locations, FSA staff will be available to assist agricultural producers with existing farm loans and to ensure the agency provides 1099 tax documents to borrowers by the Internal Revenue Service’s deadline.

“Until Congress sends President Trump an appropriations bill in the form that he will sign, we are doing our best to minimize the impact of the partial federal funding lapse on America’s agricultural producers,” Perdue said.  “We are bringing back part of our FSA team to help producers with existing farm loans.  Meanwhile, we continue to examine our legal authorities to ensure we are providing services to our customers to the greatest extent possible during the shutdown.”

Staff members will be available at certain FSA offices to help producers with specific services, including:

  • Processing payments made on or before December 31, 2018.
  • Continuing expiring financing statements.
  • Opening mail to identify priority items.

New Mexico State University faculty and staff were welcomed back to campus Tuesday, Jan. 15, during the spring 2019 convocation ceremony at NMSU’s Atkinson Recital Hall. Every fall and spring, convocation is held to honor excellence on campus.

Fourteen faculty and one department were honored during the ceremony.

2019sping convocation award recipients 01New Mexico State University Chancellor Dan Arvizu, far left, President John Floros, fourth from right, and interim Provost April Mason, far right, congratulate faculty and staff who were honored during the university’s spring convocation ceremony Jan. 15. (NMSU photo by Josh Bachman.)“NMSU’s faculty and staff are some of the finest in the country and we’re delighted to recognize their efforts,” said interim Provost April Mason. “Each day, these individuals are contributing to the success of our students through their important work. We cannot thank them enough.”

Three faculty members were recognized by the University Research Council for exceptional achievement in creative scholarly activity. They are Motoko Furuhashi, Department of Art; Patricia Hynes, New Mexico Space Grant Consortium; and David Mitchell, Klipsch School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Eleven faculty members were honored with the Donald C. Roush Excellence in Teaching Award. The accolade is named after Roush, a former NMSU executive vice president, in recognition of his 35 years of teaching improvement in New Mexico.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Jan. 15, 2019) — Today, as New Mexico Voices for Children released its annual New Mexico KIDS COUNT Data Book detailing the most recent data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation on child well-being in the state, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) expressed serious concern with the findings and called on state leaders to make investing in New Mexico’s children a top priority. Although there were improvements over the last year, New Mexico remains near the bottom in the nation in numerous indicators of child poverty and well-being. 

“It’s clear we need to take urgent action and invest in a stronger future for our kids,” said Senator Heinrich. “I'm confident that Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and the new Legislature will finally help us turn the corner as a state by making investing in our children a top priority. Now is not the time for more studies, austerity, or caution. We have the leadership, the resources, and the revenues to do what we should have been doing for the last century. We need to use those resources to invest in our children’s future.” 

New Mexico’s progress in most indicators measured by Annie E. Casey Foundation—including rates of teen pregnancy and high school graduation rates—lagged behind the rest of the nation. The rate of children living in families in which no parent has full-time, year-round employment increased. The only indicator in which New Mexico did not lag behind the rest of nation was the health insurance rate, largely due to the state’s expansion of the Medicaid system under the Affordable Care Act. 

Senator Heinrich has long called for the state to invest in early childhood education by using a sustainable portion of its Land Grant Permanent School Fund. At the federal level, Heinrich has joined U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) to introduce the Two-Generation Economic Empowerment Act, which takes a new approach to fighting multigenerational poverty by focusing on building a strong foundation in early learning for children and workforce development and college attainment for parents to help families grow together and get on a more prosperous path. 

lujanSANTA FE — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, addressing the New Mexico Legislature on Tuesday for the first time as governor, initiated the 2019 legislative session with a state of the state address focused on responsible, essential investments in public education, public safety, health care and economic development.

In her remarks before a joint session of the 54th Legislature, the governor emphasized these shared priorities with the Legislature and highlighted key aspects of her FY2020 executive recommendation, issued last week, including $500 million in additional investment in public education.

“I firmly believe what we accomplish in these sixty days will set the course for a transformed state, a stronger and better state, not just in these next four years but for decades, generations to come,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said in her remarks.

The governor also expressed optimism about the potential for a renewed spirit of congeniality and collaboration at the Capitol, with two branches working together and reminding New Mexicans how positive, productive working relationships can foster good governance.

The full text of the governor’s remarks, as prepared, is included below, for reference.

White Sands Missile Range

US 380/US 70

Road Block

Las Cruces, San Antonio: The New Mexico Department of Transportation District One office (NMDOT) along with White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) has posted an alert for Thursday January 17, 2019 for US 380 and US 70 for a scheduled road block.

US 380 is scheduled to be blocked two times; first one at 8:20 a.m. for approximately 1.5 hours and should be lifted by 9:50 a.m. The block will lift and reset again at 10:00 a.m. for approximately 2 hours and should be lifted by 12:00 p.m. noon. This block will affect Hwy 380 in the northern portion of the range at Gold block (mile marker 3) and Silver block (mile marker 49).  

US 70 is scheduled to be blocked two times, first one at 8:30 a.m. for approximately 1 hour and should be lifted by 9:30 a.m. The block will lift and reset again at 10:10 a.m. for approximately 1 hour and should be lifted by 11:10 a.m. This block will be located at Red Block (top of ST. Augustin Pass /mile marker 164) and Yellow Block (White Sands National Monument /mile marker 200).  LC Gate, Owen Road and Nike will also be affected.

All roadblocks are subject to change without notice, please call 575-678-2222 for updates or go to the New Mexico Department of Transportation website here

Santa Fe – Today, Speaker of the House Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe) announced the first two Committees and Chair appointments. These two are the first of seventeen standing and procedural committees in the New Mexico House of Representatives. 

The first committee announced was the House Appropriations and Finance Committee, Chaired by the honorable Rep. Patricia Lundstrom (D-Gallup) and Vice Chaired by the honorable Rep. Roberto “Bobby” Gonzales (D-Ranchos de Taos). The committee members are: Rep. Anthony Allison (D-Fruitland), Rep. Harry Garcia (D-Grants), Rep. Javier Martínez (D-Albuquerque), Rep. Rodolpho “Rudy” Martinez (D-Bayard), Rep. Tomás Salazar (D-Las Vegas), Rep. Joseph Sanchez (D-Alcalde), Rep. Nathan Small (D-Las Cruces), Rep. Melanie Stansbury (D-Albuquerque), Rep. Candie Sweetser (D-Deming), Rep. Christine Trujillo (D-Albuquerque), Rep. Phelps Anderson (R-Roswell), Rep. Gail Armstrong (R-Magdalena), Rep. Paul Bandy (R-Aztec), Rep. Cathrynn Brown (R-Carlsbad), Rep. Jackey Chatfield (R-Mosquero), and Rep. Randal Crowder (R-Clovis).

The second committee announced today was the House Rules and Order of Business Committee, Chaired by the honorable Rep. Daymon Ely (D-Corrales) and Vice Chaired by the honorable Rep. Deborah Armstrong (D-Albuquerque). The committee members are: Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero (D-Albuquerque), Rep. Gail Chasey (D-Albuquerque), Speaker Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe), Rep. Doreen Gallegos (D-Las Cruces), Rep. D. Wonda Johnson (D-Church Rock), Rep. Georgene Louis (D-Albuquerque), Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas (D-Albuquerque), Rep. Javier Martínez (D-Albuquerque), Rep. G. Andres Romero (D-Albuquerque), Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton (D-Albuquerque), Rep. Kelly Fajardo (R-Los Lunas), Rep. Zachary Cook (R-Ruidoso), Rep. Paul Bandy (R-Aztec), Rep. James Townsend (R-Artesia), Rep. Rodney Montoya (R-Farmington), and Rep. William “Bill” Rehm (R-Albuquerque).

Santa Fe, NM – New Mexico State Parks is offering free day use to furloughed federal workers during the government shutdown.  Statewide, there are 34 parks which provide great recreational opportunities and educational programs and events for visitors and families. 

“State parks are wonderful resources for outdoor recreation, learning and community events," Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said. "We want this federal shutdown to end as quickly as possible, but in the meantime, we're taking action wherever we can to remind federal professionals in New Mexico that they are highly valued members of our communities."

Furloughed federal workers will need to provide federal identification to State Park staff for free day use admission.  Visit nmparks.com to find a park near you.

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