New Mexico In Depth editors chat about the state budget, public safety, and transparency

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New Mexico In Depth editors held the first of five online chats about the 2024 legislative session yesterday. In a wide-ranging conversation, Executive Director Trip Jennings and Managing Editor Marjorie Childress covered the highlights of the first week, including Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s State of the State address which was disrupted by young protestors on three different occasions.

New Mexico In Depth will host weekly conversations each Thursday at 12:30 during the 30-day legislative session that kicked off on Tuesday. 

Jennings and Childress, with 30 years or more combined reporting at the Roundhouse,  discussed the competing state budget proposals from Lujan Grisham and the Legislature at a time when New Mexico is swimming in money thanks to a historic surplus. A theme of the coming budget discussions between the governor and state lawmakers will center on how much to spend and how much to save, they said. New Mexico relies heavily on the volatile oil and gas industry to pay for services and programs, with more than 40% of the state’s spending every year underwritten by revenues generated by the industry. “It’s a boom and bust cycle here in New Mexico,” said Jennings. 

They highlighted the governor’s agenda on public safety and how lawmakers might receive it. And they noted the notable absence of alcohol’s contribution to violent crime and homicides in her remarks. “In the last decade, 2010 to 2019, at least 42% of homicide victims were drinking alcohol at the time of death,” said Childress, referencing reporting from New Mexico In Depth’s 2022 series on alcohol harms, Blind Drunk

They also touched on transparency and ethics in government, and ongoing efforts to modernize the state Legislature, including proposals that would pay lawmakers a salary. New Mexico is the only state in the nation that doesn’t do that. 

The webinar provided a concise yet insightful overview of key developments, offering attendees valuable insights into the dynamic start of the legislative session.

Watch the conversation:

Join each Thursday, ask your questions or give your own insights, by registering here.

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