Here’s a look at today’s headlines:
The USDA’s Farm Service Agency reminds producers of upcoming important deadlines for the new safety-net programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill. The final day to update yield history or reallocate base acres is February 27, 2015, and the final day for farm owners and producers to choose coverage is March 31, 2015.
Gila Regional Medical Center, through continuous assessment and monitoring of services provided to the community, has made the decision to return the Air Ambulance First Right of Refusal Agreement to Air Methods/Native Air. According to CEO Brian Cunningham, “quality and safety are of utmost importance to (GRMC). We continuously monitor key activities with all of our major vendors and we will make changes whenever necessary.” Both TriState and Native Air provide services to the area, so the transition will be seamless as far as the community and patients are concerned.
Work on the Hudson Street Bridge is scheduled to begin the week of April 1, 2015 with surveying, placement of traffic control, and relocation of utilities. By the second week of April, message boards for detours will shift traffic to the County Truck Bypass Road so the contractor can begin demolition of the existing bridge. The new bridge is scheduled to be opened to traffic by mid-January of 2016.
In legislative action:
On Monday, the New Mexico House passed House Bill 121, which provides funding for nurses who want to pursue higher degrees and teach nursing at schools in rural New Mexico. This legislation could increase the number of nurses across the state and increase access to healthcare in rural areas. Another bill that passed the House cracks down on welfare fraud by toughening penalties for those who sell food stamps and EBT cards.
Yesterday, every female lawmaker in the New Mexico House signed onto a bill that cracks down on domestic violence by giving police officers leeway to arrest the offender within 24 hours. Under current law, someone who commits domestic violence can flee the scene, and an officer is required to obtain a warrant before arresting the suspect. If the legislation becomes law, police officers will have 24 hours to arrest the offender without having to obtain a warrant.
The House also passed a bill allowing the state’s best teachers to advance through the ranks faster. “Highly effective” or “exemplary” teachers would progress through the three-tier system in just four years and be able to earn a minimum of $50,000 per year instead of having to wait six years or more as they do under the current law. The bill will now head to the Senate.