Rain clouds north of Las Cruces, New Mexico. (Photo by Diana Alba-Soular)

After 15 years of working in a daily newspaper, I can attest to the high levels of stress that go hand in hand with the job.

There’s the stress of daily deadlines. The stress of whether you’re going to be able to reach that source who’s critical to your next story. The stress of wondering if you misspelled a name in the article you filed just a couple of hours ago on deadline. (For any non-journalists reading, this is an actual stressor). The stress you pick up by being at a scene where, minutes before, a train slammed into a…


Prickly pear cactus in bloom in Las Cruces, New Mexico. (Photo by Diana Alba-Soular)

The Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande Chapter and the New Mexico Local News Fund recognize mental health is an important aspect of journalists’ well-being. And we’ve identified a strong need for greater mental health support within the state’s journalism community.

We’re hoping to help continue destigmatizing mental health, while boosting resources for New Mexico journalists.

The pressures most journalists face on a daily basis have always been significant, but various events of the past year or so have taken them to new levels. …


By WALTER RUBEL/ Southern New Mexico Journalism Collaborative

LAS CRUCES, N.M. — Marijuana sales will be legal in New Mexico next year following passage of a bill Wednesday, March 31, on the second day of a special session called by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham after a similar bill had failed to pass during the regular session.

The legislation, which takes effect in April 2022, will allow adults age 21 and older to purchase up to two ounces of cannabis flower, 16 grams of extract and 800 milligrams of edible cannabis at one time. …


By Walter Rubel/ Southern New Mexico Journalism Collaborative

LAS CRUCES, N.M. — New Mexico State Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Joseph Cervantes, D-Las Cruces, said legislation to legalize recreational marijuana sales may be split into two bills when the Legislature convenes for a special session Tuesday, March 30.

One bill would create the framework for taxing and regulating the new industry, and a second would deal with the social justice issues in the legislation, including the expungement of prior convictions for marijuana sales or possession.

“You can understand how some legislators might vote for the licensing bill, but be against criminal…


By WALTER RUBEL/ Southern New Mexico Journalism Collaborative

LAS CRUCES, N.M. — There was a lot more agreement during this year’s legislative session than you may have thought, given all the attention paid to contentious bills like those seeking to provide paid sick leave to workers or lower the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) on small loans.

Of the 159 bills and joint resolutions passed this session, 60 cleared both the House and Senate on unanimous votes. …


By WALTER RUBEL/ Southern New Mexico Journalism Collaborative

LAS CRUCES, N.M. — There was a lot more agreement during this year’s legislative session than you may have thought, given all the attention paid to contentious bills like those seeking to provide paid sick leave to workers or lower the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) on small loans.

Of the 159 bills and joint resolutions passed this session, 60 cleared both the House and Senate on unanimous votes. …


By WALTER RUBEL/ Southern New Mexico Journalism Collaborative

LAS CRUCES, N.M. — The 60-day session of the New Mexico Legislature, which was conducted entirely on Zoom in a state capitol building closed to the public because of the COVID-19 pandemic, ended Saturday without passage of legislation to legalize marijuana.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said she would call a special session on the issue, most likely on March 31.

“I believe legalization will be one of the largest job-creation programs in state history, driving entrepreneurial opportunities statewide for decades to come,” she said. …


By WALTER RUBEL/ Southern New Mexico Journalism Collaborative

LAS CRUCES, N.M. — After years of failure, the effort to increase the annual distribution from the Land Grant Permanent Fund for early childhood programs achieved final passage with a 26–16 vote in the Senate Thursday, March 19.

House Joint Resolution 1 would increase the distribution from five percent to 6.25 percent, following an amendment in the Senate Judiciary Committee that will send 25 percent of the additional money to public schools. The remaining 75 percent would go to early childhood programs.

Because the distribution is established in the state constitution, it…


By WALTER RUBEL/ Southern New Mexico Journalism Collaborative

LAS CRUCES, N.M. — New Mexico Sen. Bill Soules, D-Las Cruces, has refused to accept changes made to his bill seeking to put a limit on interest rates for small loans, sending the bill to a conference committee to try to find a resolution.

The Senate, at Soules’ request, refused to concur Thursday, March 18, with changes made to Senate Bill 66. A conference committee of three members from the House and three from the Senate will meet to try to find a solution.

“Once it came out of House Judiciary, it…


By WALTER RUBEL/ Southern New Mexico Journalism Collaborative

LAS CRUCES, N.M. — Legislation to legalize marijuana sales in New Mexico cleared the New Mexico Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, March 17, despite the objections of Chairman Joseph Cervantes, D-Las Cruces, who voted with Republicans on the committee in opposing the bill.

House Bill 12 now moves to the Senate calendar, with three days left in the session. It has the strong support of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, and is likely to be a top priority in the final days.

“New Mexico has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to establish a multi-million-dollar industry…

Diana Alba-Soular

Southern NM Project Coordinator for the New Mexico Local News Fund | Freelance Writer & Journalist | Chile Lover | Dog Mom

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store