Here’s a look at today’s headlines:

Absentee Voting for the March 7, 2017 Regular Municipal Election for the Town of Silver City will begin on January 31, 2017 and will end March 7, 2017. Voters in Council District 1 and 3 that wish to vote by Absentee may request an application by calling the Town Clerk’s Office at 534-6346. Early Voting begins on February 15, 2017 and ends March 3, 2017. To be eligible to vote in the Town of Silver City’s March 7, 2017 Municipal Election, you must be registered by Tuesday, February 7, 2017.

Silver City Police Chief Ed Reynolds made his annual statistical report at the Silver City Town Council meeting held on Tuesday.  Reynolds noted a 5% increase in call volume in 2016 and a decrease in self-initiated calls by officers.  He also noted an increase in larceny, and specifically shoplifting, and a lower rate of domestic violence.  Reported crashes were down, with injuries down, but one pedestrian fatality occurred in 2016.  Driving under the influence also saw a decrease of over 45%.

A groundbreaking ceremony for a new VA Outpatient Clinic in Las Cruces will be held on February 10th.  The clinic will serve Las Cruces and southern New Mexico replacing the current clinic which, at 6,000 square-feet, can no longer accommodate the demand for medical care among area veterans.  The new clinic will continue to focus on primary medical care, mental health, VA telehealth services, and improved efficiency.

In legislative action, Senate Bill 229, the Protect DREAMer Confidentiality Act of 2017, was introduced on the Senate floor yesterday.  The bill would safeguard the private information, such as addresses and telephone numbers, of the young immigrants known as DREAMers to ensure that they are not targeted for deportation.

A Representative from La Mesa will present House Bill 144, a bill which will open New Mexico to the industrial hemp market.  Hemp is the same species as marijuana, but contains little to no THC. Often referred to as a sustainable “wonder crop,” hemp can be used for a multitude of purposes, including cloth, paper, construction materials, carpet, foods, body care products and bio-fuel.

Yesterday, the New Mexico House passed a solvency package that settles the budget for FY17 while minimizing the effect on schools, infrastructure projects and basic services for New Mexicans.  The solvency package mitigates cuts to New Mexico’s most vulnerable school districts by ensuring they keep 3% cash reserves. SB 113, and SB 114, now join HB 4 on the Governor’s desk as part of a solvency package to balance the state’s budget as required by the New Mexico Constitution. The Governor has three days to sign or veto the solvency legislation.