Wednesday, September 27, 2023

The Rundown: Film Wages Up, Courts and More Money for Broadband


Film and Television Industry Sets Record-Breaking Wages for New Mexicans

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that film, television, and digital media production spending in New Mexico surpassed $2.2 billion over the past three fiscal years and that industry wages are now at a record high.           

The New Mexico Film Office shows that the industry spent more than $794 million in New Mexico from July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023. 

 “The investments in New Mexico by the film and media industry are delivering higher wages and creating cascading positive economic impacts in communities large and small across the state,” said Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. “Our continued efforts to create a thriving and robust film industry means more money in the pockets of New Mexico families and businesses.”  

 The most recent data shows that median hourly wages for industry workers jumped to $35.51 in the past 12 months, up 21%. Additionally, New Mexico communities outside the Albuquerque/Santa Fe Corridor saw a 150% increase in direct spending from $6.5 million in FY21 to $16.5 million in FY23 as a result of the governor’s push to increase opportunities for rural communities.

“New Mexico has built a strong foundation for this industry – not just at the new studios and stages rising in the metro areas, but throughout the state with our scenic locations and film-friendly communities,” said former Economic Development Department Cabinet Secretary Alicia J. Keyes. “Now we need to take this momentum and invest in our workforce so New Mexicans can tap into these opportunities, learn new skills and continue to thrive.” 

New Mexico- based productions include Nickelodeon’s “The Loud House” franchise, Walt Disney Pictures’ untitled reimagining of “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,” the upcoming Netflix series “American Primeval,” and the feature “Rez Ball.” Amazon Studio’s “Outer Range” returned for its second season, and the second season of AMC’s “Dark Winds,” set to premiere July 30.

Metro Court Launches First Court Program in the State to Target Those at Immediate Risk Of Opioid Overdose  

The Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court announced the launch of the first court program in the state designed to prevent opioid overdose upon contact with the criminal justice system.

The Overdose Prevention, Treatment and Intervention, or “OPT-In” Court will connect newly arrested individuals at high risk of overdose with resources and treatment before they are released from custody back into the community.

“Opt-In Court recognizes that there is a critical window in which we can intervene and help people engage with resources to assist them on their path to recovery. Our goal is to save lives by diverting individuals at high risk of overdose into treatment. We are hopeful that this approach will also reduce recidivism rates,” said Judge Claire A. McDaniel, who spearheaded and will preside over the local diversion program.

As part of the program, all individuals booked on felony charges in the Metropolitan Detention Center will undergo screening by court staff to determine overdose risk. If deemed at-risk, the OPT-In Court Team will quickly review to determine if the individual is a good fit for the program as agreed upon by the prosecution and defense. If accepted, the court will coordinate the release, transportation, and immediate placement of the individual into detox services or treatment.

Upon successful completion of the program, the individual’s case will be dismissed with prejudice, and the individual will have continued access to the court’s case manager for long-term support or care.

The program will target felony cases initiated in the Metropolitan Court. 

Those charged with murder, manslaughter or sexual offenses will not be considered for the program. If the team determines that an individual needs additional time in the program beyond the court’s jurisdiction on the felony charges, the DA’s Office may amend the charge(s) to a misdemeanor.

MLG Touts Funding for Warrant Enforcement

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Tuesday, July 18 that $10 million in funding was ready to be allocated to district attorney’s offices across New Mexico.

The funding will help clear the backlog of around 5,000 outstanding felony warrants in the state.

“If you’re abusing the pretrial system in New Mexico: Your time is up,” said the gov. “Violent offenders and people who repeatedly violate their parole should not be able to stay in our communities freely. By giving this funding to district attorneys for the first time, we’re expecting to see more cases being prosecuted. But we still need more tools – we must pass reforms to our pretrial detention process that balance the rights of the accused and the rights of the public in the 2024 session.”

“The District Attorneys are excited to collaborate with our law enforcement agencies in maximizing the warrant roundup appropriations,” said Marcus J. Montoya, New Mexico District Attorney Association President.

Half of the funding will go to the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s office, then $1 million will be allocated to the district attorneys’ offices for each of the three next largest judicial districts, the 1st Judicial District, the 3rd Judicial District, and the 13th Judicial District. Then $2 million will be distributed between the district attorneys’ offices in the remaining nine judicial districts on a per capita basis.

Right now, the state requires prosecutors present evidence proving a defendant is too dangerous to be released before the trial. 

Luján Announces $1 Million in Broadband Infrastructure to Tribal Communities in NM

U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján, who chairs the Subcommittee on Communications, Media and Broadband, announced $1 million in grants from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program (TBCP) to the Pueblo of Jemez and Pueblo of Nambé. Each Pueblo will receive $500,000.

The Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program is a $3 billion grant program directed to Tribal governments for broadband deployment, broadband affordability, and digital inclusion on Tribal lands. The TBCP was created and funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Consolidated Appropriations Act, which was supported by Senator Luján. 

 “Access to high-speed internet is necessary in today’s society— from telehealth to education, folks in rural and Tribal communities must receive equitable broadband access,” said Senator Luján.


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