Austin Fisher

Austin Fisher

Austin Fisher is a journalist based in Santa Fe. He has worked for newspapers in New Mexico and his home state of Kansas, including the Topeka Capital-Journal, the Garden City Telegram, the Rio Grande SUN and the Santa Fe Reporter. Since starting a full-time career in reporting in 2015, he’s aimed to use journalism to lift up voices that typically go unheard in public debates around economic inequality, policing and environmental racism.

State needs to legalize testing strips to prevent overdose deaths, harm reduction expert says

By: - September 10, 2021

Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is much more potent than heroin, has entered New Mexico’s drug market and can make drug use more dangerous and even fatal. Fentanyl is killing more people in the state than heroin and prescription opioids now, according to health officials.  Overdose deaths have increased in the state, with fentanyl-related deaths […]

Providers ask lawmakers to relax the rules around take-home drug treatment

By: - September 10, 2021

It took Phil Fiuty more than 20 years from the first time he thought maybe he wanted to not use drugs anymore to become sober. That’s not because of any moral failing or lack of character on his part, but illustrates his view that it can take a lot of practice to be abstinent. “It’s […]

Acequias can help fend off some climate change impacts, researchers say

By: - September 9, 2021

Centuries-old acequia systems in New Mexico can help offset some effects of climate change, according to Dr. Connie Maxwell, a researcher at the Water and Community Collaboration Lab at New Mexico State University.  Her presentation to legislators on Tuesday, Sept. 7, says acequias can mimic slowly melting snowpack, the biggest source of water in the […]

Tenant rights collective calls on Santa Fe City Council to boost protections for renters

By: - September 9, 2021

The city of Santa Fe might be ready to create its own hotline for tenants facing eviction, but activists are asking them to do a lot more. The Chainbreaker Collective said they hope city and state officials will take their recommendation to expand tenant protections — not just during the pandemic but beyond, making them […]

Behavioral health provider: ‘I just hope that we’ve learned from history’

By: - September 8, 2021

Providers are asking New Mexico lawmakers to rebuild the state’s behavioral health care system, which is still plagued by problems after former Gov. Susana Martinez caused many providers to shut down about eight years ago.   Lawrence Medina, executive director of the Rio Grande Alcoholism Treatment Program in Taos, N.M., suggested lawmakers provide funding needed to […]

Emergency rent relief application difficult and misleading, organizers say

By: - September 8, 2021

Mayela Bernal was already struggling to pay rent when she caught COVID-19 in May, which left her hospitalized for a week. Bernal is a hair stylist who immigrated from Mexico. With the loss of income, her younger child had to take out a loan to pay rent for their apartment in Santa Fe.  A friend […]

N.M. abortion funds overwhelmed by patients from Texas

By: - September 7, 2021

Abortion rights and health care access advocates in New Mexico described a sense of heaviness as they took an influx of calls from people seeking abortion services in the fallout of last week’s U.S. Supreme Court order. In a one-paragraph, unsigned order issued just before midnight on Wednesday, Sept. 1, the court did not strike […]

After the pandemic, 83% of corporate taxes remain unpaid in N.M.

By: - September 3, 2021

Companies operating in New Mexico who are behind on their taxes and were given extra time to catch up ended up paying only 17 percent of what they owe the state, a legislative panel learned on Thursday, Sept. 2. House Bill 6 was passed in the first special session in 2020 as part of a […]

N.M. businesses missed out on tax break but can still amend their returns

By: - September 3, 2021

Officials in charge of New Mexico’s tax policy said on Thursday, Sept. 2, that they expected more businesses to claim a tax break that was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Stephanie Schardin Clarke and Mark Chaiken of the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department updated lawmakers on new parts of the tax law […]

Albuquerque High School

New Mexico schools could benefit from flush budget if delta variant controlled

By: - September 2, 2021

The state’s public school system could see a windfall of money as economists expect the local economy to partially recover from the economic downturn caused by COVID-19. New Mexico’s main pot of money, called the general fund, will total $8.8 billion in the upcoming year. State lawmakers will have $1.39 billion in “new money,” or […]

N.M. teachers’ retirement still tied up with prison phone company

By: - September 1, 2021

The board that invests the pension fund for New Mexico teachers promised last year not to fund private prisons anymore. But critics say the pension fund still has millions of dollars invested in a related, exploitive industry: prison phone calls.

Governor appoints new District Court judge in southern N.M.

By: - September 1, 2021

Casey Fitch, a Las Cruces-based attorney, will fill the vacant seat on the Third Judicial District Court, which covers Doña Ana County. He will handle civil and criminal cases. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham appointed Fitch to the seat left open by retiring Judge Lisa Shultz. District Court judges are first appointed but then have to […]