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Tuesday, June 6, 2023

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Lawmakers consider changes to Maine's Clean Election law, Florida offers a big no comment over "arranged" migrant flights to California, and the Global Fragility Act turns U.S. peacekeeping on its head.

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A bipartisan effort aims to preserve AM radio, the Human Rights Campaign declares a state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people, and the Atlanta City Council approves funding for a controversial police training center.

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Oregon may expand food stamp eligibility to some undocumented households, rural areas have a new method of accessing money for roads and bridges, and Tennessee's new online tool helps keep track of cemetery locations.

Northern NM Communities Get Boost in 2022 Wildfire Financial Relief

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Friday, December 30, 2022   

More money is on the way to help New Mexico's communities recover from the largest wildfire in state history.

The 2022 Hermit's Peak-Calf Canyon Fire began April 6 when the U.S. Forest Service lost control of a prescribed burn. It scorched some 534 square miles of national forest, Pecos Wilderness and private land, taking out 900 structures in its path, including several hundred homes.

When Congress passed the appropriations bill this month, said Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., nearly $1.5 billion in aid was included to help Northern New Mexicans recover from wildfires and subsequent flooding.

"We're just going to keep working to make sure that all of those communities in places like Mora and Guadalupita and Las Vegas and others can rebuild in a meaningful way, can have clean water, can do the things that they need to do to keep those communities strong," he said.

Some of the money will go toward repair and replacement of the water-treatment facility in the northern New Mexico town of Las Vegas. The financial boost is in addition to the $2.5 billion in aid from the Hermit's Peak/Calf Canyon Fire Assistance Act approved earlier.

Heinrich, serving his second term as a U.S. senator, said he believes the 2021-22 congressional session was one of the most productive in recent history.

"We had one of the biggest veteran's benefit expansions in the history of the VA," he said. "We were able to invest in infrastructure in a way we talked about for decades but were never able to get across the finish line before."

The omnibus spending bill also provides necessary congressional authorization for a constitutional amendment New Mexico voters approved last month to tap into the Land Grant Permanent Fund for early-childhood education funding.


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