January, 2014

Staying In The Storm Track…

January 31st, 2014 at 9:30 pm by under Weather

A series of relatively weak storm systems will continue to pass through the state over the next five days.  The next storm will roll through late Saturday.  This will keep scattered snow showers over the northern mountains and we could even pick up a spot shower here in the metro.

By late Sunday a storm with a little more punch will move in.  This storm will have the chance to drop more snow over the north and maybe a spot shower here in the city.

Another by product of there storms will be cooler air staying put through all next week.  Highs in most areas especially over eastern NM will well below average.  One other note, looking at the long term forecast, this time next week could be very interesting.  Take a look at what the models say for next Friday night.

GFS


From the Roundhouse: Numbers Game

January 31st, 2014 at 6:43 pm by under Latest Posts, Politics

A lot of the most interesting and polarizing pieces of legislation introduced this session have been on constitutional amendments.

Although Republicans have pitched some of their own, including one to outlaw same sex marriage and another one to make it harder to pass constitutional amendments, the majority have been introduced by Democrats.

In fact, because Gov. Susana Martinez has veto power, two of the Democratic party’s top priorities are tied to constitutional amendments (minimum wage and early childhood education).

But as hard as it is to get anything controversial through the House and Senate is these days, there is currently an insurmountable obstacle when it comes to constitutional amendments.

The problem has to do with the health of two Democratic representatives currently out of action. Rep. Phillip Archuleta, D-Las Cruces, is still recovering from a hip injury. Rep. Ernest Chavez, D-Albuquerque, is reportedly still out because of a spider bite.

That leaves the Democrats with a slim 35-33 edge in the House until one or both can come back.

Now a standard bill can pass the House on a party line vote right now, 35-33. But a constitutional amendment can not.

Here’s a quote from the constitution to explain why.

An amendment or amendments to this constitution may be proposed in either house of the legislature at a regular session; and if a majority of all members elected to each of the two houses voting separately votes in favor thereof, the proposed amendment or amendments shall be entered on their respective journals with the yeas and nays thereon.

In the 70-member House, “a majority of all members elected” means that a constitutional amendment has to have at a minimum 36 votes to pass.

As things stand now, if Chavez or Archuleta aren’t healthy enough to come back, Democrats can’t get any constitutional amendments through the House without at least one Republican jumping ship. At this point, that doesn’t seem likely.

Even without that obstacle, the minimum wage amendment appears to have run into a major road block with Sen. Clemente Sanchez, D-Grants, saying he won’t vote for it in committee. That effectively leaves that amendment stuck in the mud without some rare and unusual maneuvering on the Senate side.

INTERESTING BILL OF THE DAY

SJR 17

This proposal by Sen. John Ryan, R-Albuquerque, aims to cut down on the number of constitutional amendments that ultimately make it onto the ballot.

His change is simple… Any constitutional amendment would require a 2/3rds vote, a super majority, in the House and Senate in order to get on the ballot.

 

Correction: Whenever possible we try and get it right on legislative coverage. In the 4:30 PM show on a story about SJR 14, Sen. Michael Sanchez’s constitutional amendment dealing with criminal expungement, our script said “THE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT WOULD ALLOW PEOPLE WHO WERE VICTIMS OF IDENTITY THEFT, NOT CONVICTED OF A CRIME OR ONLY FOUND GUILTY OF A MISDEMEANOR WHICH INCLUDES SOME DWI’S ……TO ERASE PAST RECORDS.”

The problem with that is that while the constitutional amendment does provide for a misdemeanor conviction to be expunged in some cases, the amendment explicitly says that the specific crimes eligible to be expunged would be put in statute by legislators.

Last session, Sen. Sanchez was able to get a bill on the governor’s desk specifically outlining crimes that would be eligible and, among other crimes, DWI’s were specifically exempted.

Looking at the amendment and Sen. Sanchez’s bill last session in context, it’s clear that while not malicious, that script was not accurate in regards to DWI’s. Although I did not personally add the detail about DWI’s to the story, as our station’s reporter for the session I try and be accountable for any errors that come up.

With that being said, I apologize to Sen. Sanchez for the error.


UNM North Golf Course work begins

January 31st, 2014 at 1:21 pm by under Latest Posts, Sports

Work on major improvements begins soon for the University of New Mexico’s North Golf Course, now part of Bernalillo County’s Open Space Program.

The golf course will close on Monday, Feb. 10 while contractors overhaul the irrigation system, improve landscaping and transform the popular walking and running trail around the course’s two-mile perimeter.

The walking trail will remain open during the two months of construction, except for partial closures in segments. Signs along Stanford Drive will advise runners and walkers of alternate routes.

Planners estimate the irrigation project overhaul could save about 20 to 25 million gallons annually. The current watering system, constructed in the 1940s, is estimated to be only about 20 to 30 percent efficient today.

Crews will work to maintain the aesthetic appeal and design of the original course, and to reclaim some areas that have deteriorated due to insufficient irrigation.

Trails will see safety, aesthetic and accessibility upgrades to provide a safer and more effective path around the golf course. Workers will add some trees and maintain current ones, allowing sunlight to better support the turf growth.

Duininck, Inc. is the contractor for the golf course irrigation work, and Heads Up Landscape Contractors, Inc. will renovate the public trail and provide the landscaping around it. Duininck is scheduled to complete its work on April 15, and Heads Up is set to finish in early May. The project was designed by the local landscape architecture firm Sites Southwest, with Staples Golf, Inc. as a consultant on the golf course work.

The golf course will open as soon as the irrigation work is completed, scheduled for mid-April.

The project is made possible by a 2012 agreement, approved by the Bernalillo County Commission with UNM to protect the North Golf Course as Open Space for 15 years. UNM maintained ownership of the property, and the county contributed $1.5 million toward the rehabilitation project.

For more information and project updates, please contact Karen Wentworth of UNM at 505.277.5627 or John Barney of Bernalillo County at 505.314.0404.


5 Things You Need to Know Before You Go: January 31, 2014

January 31st, 2014 at 6:00 am by under 5 Things, Morning Show

Time for the five things you need to know before you go this morning.

5. A billion people in China and millions around the world are celebrating the first day of the Chinese New Year today. This is the most important day of the Chinese holiday, kicking off a celebration that last 15 days. This is the year of the horse.

4. Get ready for some pain at the pump, the gas pump that is. Legislators are considering increasing the gas tax in New Mexico to pay for road construction projects.    

3. While you’re laying into your supply of chips, dip and drinks during this Sunday’s Super Bowl game, be warned the cops will be out in force looking for drunk drivers. This is statewide and in Albuquerque. The push will include DWI checkpoints and stepped up patrols.

2. Credit card users check out your statements for a mysterious charge for $9.84. The better business bureau warns there’s a new wave of fraud. These mysterious charges can show up on your statement they’re typically for an amount you might overlook. No reports of this hitting New Mexico yet, but experts say it’s coming and it doesn’t just have to be $9.84. They say you should be on the look out for any charges you don’t recognize.

1. Today you can expect isolated showers after 11a.m. and partly cloudy skies with a high near 59. It’ll be breezy with a south wind of 10 to 15 mph becoming southwest 20 to 25 mph in the afternoon. Wind gusts could get as high 35 mph. This evening you can expect isolated showers and mostly cloudy skies with a low around 32. The wind will come from the west at 5 to ten mph with a ten percent chance of rain.


Weekday Planner: January 31, 2014

January 31st, 2014 at 6:00 am by under Morning Show

Good Morning,

Today you can expect isolated showers after 11a.m. and partly cloudy skies with a high near 59. It’ll be breezy with a south wind of 10 to 15 mph becoming southwest 20 to 25 mph in the afternoon. Wind gusts could get as high 35 mph. Tonight you can expect isolated showers and mostly cloudy skies with a low around 32. The wind will come from the west at 5 to ten mph with a ten percent chance of rain.

Have a good day,

Meteorologist

Kristen Van Dyke