Sing, Jailbird, Sing
Under a measure by Rep. Moe Maestas, a jail administrator could allow future inmates to participate in a " community custody release program" instead of being locked up in the county jail. A release program could entail substance abuse treatment, education or employment and would only be available to those charged with nonviolent offenses. Time in the program would count as time served.
Judge Judith Nakamura was set to testify against the bill in Santa Fe on Tuesday, March 3, according to a news release. "Judges believe they are in the best position to determine if a defendant should be released," wrote Janet Blair, Metro Court spokesperson.
Good for Kids, Good for Farmers, Good for the Environment
We've seen this legislation before, and the plan is a compelling one. The state would purchase produce grown in the state to include in public school lunches. Rep. Rhonda King's bill is in step with the budding locavore movement, which advocates eating locally grown food to decrease the amount of fuel used to ship goods across countries and continents. N.M. farmers would have guaranteed revenue. Plus, with all the concern about America's fat youth, how can fresh fruits and veggies at lunchtime be a bad thing?
One argument against the measure could be that with all the budget panic, maybe now is not the time to spend a little more than $3 million ... on healthy kids? On working farmers? On clean air? (Guess you can tell how I feel about this thing.)
More Bad News for Educators (And Other Public Employees)
Under Rep. Kiki Saavedra's bill, people who work for the state would be required to pitch in more for their retirement benefits, and the state would contribute less.
Bob Anderson, a political science instructor at CNM, says the legislation amounts to a pay cut for people in education—K-12 and beyond. "The bill is a disaster and an attack on public education," he wrote in a letter to the Alibi. "This battle is seen by many as a test, as preparation for more to come."
Why haven't we heard more about Sen. Kent Cravens' measure that calls for public schools "to allow teachers to teach all relevant scientific information when teaching theories of biological origins"? School districts would not be allowed to stop any teacher from teaching the strengths or weaknesses of the theory of evolution. Under the bill, teachers also couldn't penalize students who hold beliefs contrary to evolution. Scientific information, says the legislation, "may have religious or philosophical implications and still be scientific in nature."