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COVID Impacts Learning and Lawmaking, the Ethics of Vaccination, and What the Biden Climate Plan Means for New Mexico

This week on New Mexico in Focus

The Line opinion panel looks at the mad dash by school districts across the state to consider reopening after Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham gave the okay to return kids of all ages to the classroom during her State of the State address. The group discusses the approach districts are taking as they consider bringing educators and students back to school. 
The Line also talks about the revelation that a New Mexico legislator tested positive for COVID-19. News of the lawmaker’s positive test – as well as several cases among staff – has strained the already fractious relationship between Democratic Speaker of the House Brian Egolf and House Republicans, one of whom is the COVID-positive representative. Finally, the opinion panel talks about reporting by NMiF environment correspondent Laura Paskus and others that warns of a dismal year for irrigators who rely on the Rio Grande to water their fields. 

As the Biden administration rolls out its climate change response, states like New Mexico that are dependent on revenue from extractive industries are nervous. Correspondent Laura Paskus speaks to New Mexico State University economist Jim Peach about the impact of a pause on new drilling leases on federal land.  
Correspondent Antonia Gonzales interviews Navajo Nation First Lady Phefelia Nez about the ongoing Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women crisis. The first lady is part of a state task force that is supporting legislation being considered at the Roundhouse this session.  
And correspondent Megan Kamerick talks to bioethicist and philosophy professor Teresa Blankmeyer Burke about the ethics of equitable vaccine distribution as New Mexico struggles to find enough doses of COVID-19 vaccine to protect the most vulnerable parts of the state’s population. Hundreds of thousands of people who fall into at-risk categories are still waiting to receive the life-saving shots. 

Host: Gene Grant

Line Panelists: 
Sophie Martin, attorney 
Tom Garrity, The Garrity Group 
Ed Perea, attorney and public safety analyst 

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women 
Correspondent: Antonia Gonzales 
Guest: Phefelia Nez, Navajo Nation first lady and New Mexico MMIW task force member 
Vaccine Ethics 
Correspondent: Megan Kamerick 
Guest: Teresa Blankmeyer Burke, philosophy professor, Gallaudet University 
New Mexico and the Biden Climate Agenda 
Correspondent: Laura Paskus 
Guest: Jim Peach, economist and professor emeritus, New Mexico State University