Here’s a look at today’s headlines:

The Tour of the Gila last week faced cancellation when one of the major race sponsors pulled out.  However, after the announcement in the news, the local race has gained a huge outpouring of support.  According to race director Jack Brennan, the race now has a “group of sponsors, local and nationwide, anchored by a key donor that are responsible for saving the Tour of the Gila, now dubbed the ‘Gila Monsters’.”

Community members with disabilities in the Silver City area will be participating in Hoops for Hope, an afternoon of indoor games hosted by WNMU on Tuesday, March 24th.  The third annual event is open to any community member with a learning or physical disability.  The goal of the annual event is to accomplish four hopes: a hope to bring students together to learn about people with disabilities, a hope to build common ground among different people through athletics, a hope to have students feel comfortable with people of different backgrounds, and a hope to learn more about how we interact with each other as humans.

In legislative action:

The New Mexico House of Representatives passed legislation on Wednesday that will crack down on truancy and keep teenagers in the classroom by taking away their driver’s licenses if they habitually ditch class.  If the bill becomes law, a student who misses 10 or more classes will lose their driver’s license or learner’s permit.  The legislation is intended to provide students, families and schools with the flexibility to either bring the students back into the classroom or go to the Motor Vehicles Department and suspend their license.

The New Mexico House of Representatives passed legislation that would give women the option to terminate the parental rights of a biological father when the pregnancy is the result of rape.  Currently, someone who committed rape is entitled to child custody and parental visitation.  This legislation gives the victim the ability to terminate or permanently suspend the rights to the biological father.  By doing so, the mother can ensure that the rapist will not have access to her child, nor petition for visitation or custody.

The New Mexico House of Representatives passed legislation that will protect pregnant women in the workplace and exceed federal guidelines.  The legislation requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers, such as more flexibility with their schedules, shorter hours or leave time.  All businesses with 20 or less employees are exempt from the program, which exceeds the federal 50 employee requirement.

Making college more affordable for its low-income population would pay the state big dividends down the road. Having a better educated workforce would help attract higher-paying jobs to the state, which would lead to more economic activity. In addition, boosting the educational level of the state’s adults would improve the educational outcomes of our children. Those are among the points made in a report released today by New Mexico Voices for Children.  The Legislature is currently considering bills that are in line with some of the report’s recommendations, including making the lottery scholarship need-based and restoring money to the College Affordability Fund, which was emptied for other purposes during leaner budget years.