The business relationships between former Albuquerque Police Department Chief Ray Shultz and the company he contracted to provide personal camera equipment for patrol officers has come under state scrutiny. This weekend, records indicating the scope and intensity of the N.M. Attorney General Hector Balderas' criminal investigation of Shultz and the Taser International Inc. were obtained by watchdog group New Mexico In Depth and further reported on by the Santa Fe New Mexican. This past summer subpoenas were served on the Taser corporation as well as two departments within Albuquerque city government. According to the freshly available documents related to the case, former Police Chief Shultz is at the heart of the investigation; his actions, steering Taser toward a multi-million dollar contract with the city—to provide lapel cameras—ostensibly occurred as he was preparing to take a lucrative job with the corporation. While Taser maintains it has complied with all ethical guidelines having to do with the contract, Shultz himself has been silent on his part in the transactions and is currently working as assistant chief of police in Memorial Villages, Texas.
Cannabis Claims Dismissed
Last week, a federal court dismissed the claims of New Mexican Rojerio Garcia regarding his use of medicinal marijuana while employed by Tractor Supply Company, a large business with three outlets in the state. The court decreed that employers were not duty-bound to accommodate medical cannabis users, writing that to do so would place an undue burden on the company's resources, as it would have to monitor and or modify its drug-free-workplace policies for each of the 49 states where it does business and might even have to customize the policy for each individual being legally treated with the drug. The court also reiterated the position that allowing Mr. Garcia to use cannabis would amount to a violation of federal law, as marijuana continues to be illegal under the Controlled Substances Act. Finally, the court noted there was no language in the Lynn and Aaron Compassionate Use Act which requires or supports employer accommodation of medical marijuana users. Mr. Garcia was terminated, soon after initial employment, after he tested positive for cannabis metabolites.
Environment Dept. Considers Legal Action
The New Mexico Department of Environment has filed intention to sue paperwork against the federal Environmental Protection Agency and two mines in Colorado after a spill last year released pollution into the Animas River. The state agency—tasked with overseeing the health and well-being of the state's physical environment—says it will sue the EPA as well as the owners of the Gold King and Sunnyside mines in Southern Colorado if meaningful steps are not immediately taken to clean up affected areas in New Mexico. The state agency is also asking the EPA to quickly come up with a long-term solution to the spill that will include research, monitoring and long-term remediation as goals. New Mexico Environment Secretary Ryan Flynn was quoted on ABC News as saying, “From the very beginning the EPA failed to hold itself accountable in the same way that it would a private business.” Responding to the state's demand that a solution should be found to this formidable environmental incursion, EPA spokesperson Christie St. Clair went on the record, writing, “EPA is working closely with states to develop a long term monitoring plan to evaluate potential environmental impacts from the spill and will be meeting with (state) representatives in February.”