Advanced Health Care facility in Albuquerque. Tara Armijo-Prewitt/New Mexico In Depth
This article was produced in partnership with ProPublica, a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power, and The News & Observer of Raleigh, North Carolina.
Crude oil storage tanks dot the landscape in San Juan County. Marjorie Childress/New Mexico In Depth
The oil and gas industry may have cratered over the last few months due to a steep drop in consumer demand brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s still a major player in shaping New Mexico’s state Legislature.
Oil companies have pumped $1.1 million dollars into 2020 New Mexico primary election campaigns since last October.
As the state gradually reopens from its coronavirus closure, it’s not only nurseries, bike shops and clothing stores that must figure out how to do business while maintaining social distancing—county clerks across the state are conducting their first primary election during a pandemic. But the number of polling places has been slashed, mail service has been interrupted in some areas and voting advocates are concerned that there will be folks, especially in Native American communities, who could be left out.
As the first wave of COVID-19 hits communities during primary season, states are still resolving how to hold elections in the middle of a pandemic. Voter advocates and organizers see the primaries as a test run, with many assuming that the November general election will also need to adapt to COVID-19.
New Mexico has enough from savings plus new money from Washington to help public schools weather looming budget shortages, says Sen. John Arthur Smith, D-Deming, a powerful lawmaker who helps to shape each year’s state budget. “It would be prudent to make some cuts but not deep cuts for the 21 budget,” Smith said Thursday morning of the public education portion of the spending plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
On Wednesday during an online update on COVID-19, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham expressed a desire to keep spending on public schools intact during a special legislative session she has called for June 18 to tackle a budget hole projected between $1.8 billion and $2.4 billion for the state’s fiscal year that begins July 1.
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham gives an update on the COVID-19 outbreak in New Mexico and the State's effort to limit the impact of the disease on residents.
ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox.A few days after Easter, the Police Department in Lubbock, Texas, received a call from a concerned employee of a car dealership on the southwest side of the West Texas town.Management had continued to flout safety orders imposed by Gov. Greg Abbott, part of an effort to curb the spread of the new coronavirus, according to the employee who said he was about to self-quarantine after coming into contact with personal protective equipment a customer had left in a traded-in vehicle.It was the fifth time the city had received a complaint about the McGavock Nissan dealership in less than three weeks.
While Navajo people represent the worst hit by COVID-19 in absolute numbers — Navajos represent 45% of all New Mexico’s positive cases - two Pueblo communities are being hit harder, by percentage of their population, according to data provided by state health officials.
About 11% of Zia Pueblo and 4% of San Felipe members have contracted the virus compared to about 2% of Navajo Nation members who live in New Mexico. The New Mexico Department of Health provided New Mexico In Depth a detailed breakdown of the number of positive cases by tribal affiliation through Monday. Those numbers show that the great majority of tribes in the state have cases of COVID-19.