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PNS Daily Newscast - September 18, 2020 


A federal judge slams the brakes on U.S. Postal Service changes nationwide; and we take you to the state 'out front' for clean elections.


2020Talks - September 18, 2020 


Trump slams the 1619 project on Constitution Day, and Pennsylvania's Supreme Court makes some election changes.

Governor: We Must Transform NM Into a "Place People Want to Be"

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham says the state's current budget surplus could allow tuition-free college for state residents, and that New Mexico should do everything it can to make student debt "a thing of the past." (pbs.org)
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham says the state's current budget surplus could allow tuition-free college for state residents, and that New Mexico should do everything it can to make student debt "a thing of the past." (pbs.org)
January 22, 2020

SANTA FE, N.M. -- In a state highly reliant on revenues from oil and gas drilling to fund its budget, New Mexico's governor would like to ease that dependence by legalizing marijuana for recreational use.

In her second State of the State address, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham told legislators that proceeds from the sale of cannabis could be the next frontier in New Mexico's economic expansion and help counter its high poverty rate. Citing a poll conducted in late 2019, she said there's evidence that residents would like to see legislation passed in the 30-day session that began Tuesday.

"Seventy-five percent of New Mexico supports the legalization of adult-use cannabis," she said, "including strong support in rural areas."

She called the potential revenue from legalized cannabis "awesome," but not everyone in the Roundhouse agrees. In the previous session, a bipartisan bill stalled without a Senate vote. House Minority Whip Rod Montoya, R-Farmington, has said he believes legalizing marijuana could lead to more homelessness and crime.

A projected $800 million budget surplus due to record-setting oil production has led the governor to propose an 8% increase in annual general fund spending. She also supports tuition-free college for state residents, which would require $35 million to pay those students' tuition and fees.

"We have the power to make tuition-free higher education a reality," she said, "benefiting an astounding 55,000 New Mexico students this fall."

The governor also is advocating for a spending increase for early-childhood education by $74 million to expand programs such as pre-kindergarten, home visiting, child-care assistance and family nutrition. Republican lawmakers have expressed concerns that state spending is growing too rapidly.

A text of the governor's speech is online at governor.state.nm.us and the text of HB 160 is at nmlegis.gov.

Roz Brown, Public News Service - NM