State health officials say residents could damage New Mexico's sewer systems by flushing toilet paper alternatives.
According to KOB, the New Mexico Department of Health is warning people to avoid flushing toilet paper alternatives down the toilet, as the septic dewer systems were not made to successfully handle the strain. Toilet paper is designed to dissolve in water, but paper towels and sanitary napkins are not. By flushing these products, residents could clog the system, which would eventually cause sewage to overflow and spill into the streets.
“In some ways, this can sound humorous. Let's just admit that,” said Mayor Tim Keller during a recent press conference. “But it's actually quite serious, because the last thing we need right now is us being all over the city trying to fix clogged-up or burst sewer lines.” The mayor went on to say that residents should bag up and throw away the soiled toilet paper alternatives instead of flushing them.
Absentee Ballots Encouraged
The state has no plans to delay primary elections, but officials are encouraging voters to take advantage of absentee ballots as they practice social distancing.
According to NM Political Report, Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse-Oliver is expecting to see record numbers of absentee ballots during the primaries this year and is encouraging voters to eschew voting in person.
New Mexicans can call their county clerk’s office to request an absentee ballot or download and print an application from the Secretary of State’s website. State officials have opened the nmvote.org portal a month early.
But Toulouse-Oliver is barred from sending absentee ballots out to every registered voter because of state law. While a special legislative session seems likely in light of recent health emergencies, it remains unclear if absentee voting will be addressed at that time. But Toulouse-Oliver told reporters her office is doing “everything that we can do short of a law change” to get voters to apply for their absentee ballot.
New Mexico's primary election will be held on Tuesday, June 2.
Special Session Likely
Lawmakers are expecting to hold a special legislative session to discuss whether to alter the $7.6 billion budget that was recently signed into law by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.
The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that House Speaker Brian Egolf, Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth, Senate President Pro Tem Mary Kay Papen and Senate Finance Committee Chairman John Arthur Smith told reporters that a special session is likely now that the public health emergency surrounding COVID-19 has forced the state to question its prior budgetary decisions.
A dip in the price of oil has also contributed to concerns that the budgetary forecast for 2021 was incorrect. Last week, House Republicans reportedly sent a letter to Gov. Lujan Grisham voicing concerns about the future of the oil and gas industry. They called for the state to save its reserves and enact budget cuts.
Wirth and Egolf are reportedly considering the logistics and constitutionality of holding a “virtual session.”