Here’s a look at today’s headlines:
Bataan Elementary School in Deming is celebrating World Down Syndrome this Saturday in observance of World Down Syndrome Day. The March 21 date marks the 10th anniversary of World Down Syndrome Day. World Down Syndrome is observed every year on this date because what causes Down syndrome is the triplication of the 21st chromosome in the human body. Triplication means three, the third month of the year is March, and the 21st day represents the 21st chromosome.
More than 1,000 additional New Mexico children could receive government-funded child-care assistance if their parents or guardians ask for it. The state’s Children, Youth and Families Department is clearing a waiting list of 1,119 children, saying it now has the funds to offer assistance for child care. The move, a temporary fix, comes as the Martinez administration says it is working to improve the quality of child care in New Mexico and beef up resources to investigate child abuse and neglect cases. But some activists and lawmakers, including Sen. Howie Morales, a Silver City Democrat, think CYFD should use available federal money to permanently increase spending on child-care assistance, eliminating future waiting lists.
In legislative action:
The New Mexico House of Representatives passed job-creating legislation that will raise the minimum age to $8 per hour and give workers the right to choose whether they financially contribute to a union. The bill is the result of hours of debate and compromise which raises the minimum wage to the third highest in the region. The legislation will now head to the Senate.
The State Legislature’s Committee on Compacts will be taking public comment Saturday on the proposed new gambling compacts negotiated between Governor Susana Martinez’ office and the Navajo Nation, the Mescalero and Jicarilla Apache tribes and the pueblos of Jemez and Acoma. The proposed agreement would increase the casinos hours of operations on weekdays. The proposed compacts would also give casinos more flexibility in offering complimentary food and lodging. The compacts have several government hurdles to clear before the end of June, including approval by the U-S Interior Department.