Governor Susana Martinez and governor-elect Michelle Lujan Grisham made a joint public appearance last week to announce that the next governor's transition into office is going smoothly.
According to NM Political Report, both Lujan Grisham and Martinez spoke to reporters after meeting behind closed doors. The private discussion reportedly went long, causing them to be an hour late to the press gathering. When they finally arrived, they highlighted the significance of Martinez being the first female governor in the state and the first Latina governor in the US. “It is a momentous day when two Latina women are able to stand together, having been elected to the highest office of this wonderful state,” said Martinez.
Although they did not share details about what was discussed during the private meeting, Lujan Grisham said the two were taking the opportunity to show the rest of the country how smoothly a transition can go.
Reporters asked the governor-elect what approach she will take in regards to the migrant caravan that is nearing the US-Mexico border. She said she wants to ensure that the state productively “navigates” granting asylum to women and children in the caravan and will consider the necessity of having troops stationed at the border.
Lujan Grisham will be sworn in on Jan. 1.
State Land Office Settles Trespassing Claim
A Texas-based oil company has been ordered to pay the New Mexico State Land Office $3.2 million for trespassing.
Last week State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn announced the settlement of a civil trespass claim leveled against Houston-based Salt Creek Midstream, LLC. According to the suit, the company engaged in significant construction on trust lands in Lea County without permission from the SLO. The offense was discovered in September by SLO district resource managers when they came across ground disturbance on trust lands. A criminal complaint was filed by the Lea County Sheriff and District Attorney.
According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, Salt Creek Midstream said it conducted its own investigation once it was notified and learned that a contractor had made a mistake. The company has been ordered to pay $3.2 million and reclaim all disturbed and yet-to-be-disturbed areas. It will also be responsible for providing a reclamation bond of $250,000.
PED Proposes School Grading Changes
A new set of rules is being discussed by the New Mexico Public Education Department that would align state laws with the Every Child Succeeds Act and limit the number of schools that could opt out of the department's grading system.