Author

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.

New omicron-specific vaccines and boosters due out this week in NM and available to everyone over 12

By: - September 7, 2022

New Mexico public health officials are expecting the new omicron COVID-19 boosters to arrive at health care providers across the state this week. The bivalent boosters, approved by the FDA on Aug. 31, are meant to provide protection from severe disease and death resulting from an infection with the strains of coronavirus known as omicron-BA.4 […]

New Mexico’s labor movement is alive and well

By: - September 5, 2022

The labor movement doesn’t typically get sustained media attention, but it is alive and well in New Mexico. In recognition of Labor Day and as part of our reflections on our first year, we’ve collected our coverage of work and workers since we started. One prominent example of the push for rights and wages here […]

COMMENTARY

Digging into New Mexico’s long fight for workers’ rights with “Salt of the Earth”

By: - September 5, 2022

Exactly 69 years ago, a group of blacklisted filmmakers and a cast of professional and local actors completed the filming of “Salt of the Earth” in Grant County, N.M., over Labor Day Weekend in 1953. That’s according to a declassified report by an FBI informant, now part of the archives at the Center for Southwest […]

Lawmakers to consider throwing out fees for traffic tickets and criminal charges

By: - September 2, 2022

Whenever someone gets pulled over for a traffic violation or charged with a low-level crime in New Mexico, extra fees generate millions of dollars for the government each year. But the state’s judicial branch wants to get rid of them entirely, because they disproportionately impact poor New Mexicans and sometimes cost more to collect than […]

Brazilian asylum-seeker who died by suicide held in ‘horrific conditions,’ attorneys say

By: - September 1, 2022

A Brazilian asylum seeker who died by suicide while being held by immigration officials in New Mexico was detained indefinitely and had been unable to get clear or consistent information about when he would be removed from the prison, according to attorneys monitoring conditions inside. Kesley Vial came to the U.S. from Brazil seeking protection, […]

New Mexico governor and thousands of New Mexicans have COVID

By: - August 30, 2022

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Thursday morning tested positive for COVID-19. The New Mexico chapter of the survivors’ group Marked by COVID the next day wished Lujan Grisham a speedy recovery and said her infection “underscores the uncontrolled high community spread of the virus in New Mexico and the fact that no one is safe […]

NM Supreme Court denies pandemic prison releases

By: - August 25, 2022

New Mexico’s highest court on Thursday tossed out a lawsuit filed in 2020 seeking the release of incarcerated people to protect them from getting infected with coronavirus. Jennifer Burrill, the head of one of the organizations who brought the suit, said she is frustrated by the decision because it throws out the case on procedural […]

People in NM prisons often held at the wrong security level, report shows

By: - August 25, 2022

There is technically a law library at the maximum security Penitentiary of New Mexico in Santa Fe, but someone like Michael Armendariz can’t just walk in and pull a book off the shelf. All New Mexico prisons “have legal library services,” said New Mexico Corrections Department spokesperson Carmelina Hart. This is true, but someone classified […]

Lawmakers to propose making pandemic rental assistance program permanent

By: - August 24, 2022

A slate of housing reforms that would make it harder for landlords to evict people and make permanent the emergency rental assistance program necessitated by the COVID pandemic will be introduced in the 2023 legislative session, according to a presentation to lawmakers on Monday. In 2021 and 2022, Reps. Andrea Romero (D-Santa Fe) and Angelica […]

With two Starbucks stores in NM set to unionize, organizers feel solidarity

By: - August 22, 2022

Thursday was supposed to be Shawn Harper-Ray’s day off. That day last week at the Starbucks in Santa Fe on St. Michael’s Drive between Calle Lorca and Plaza del Sur Drive, a couple of workers called in sick. One of Harper-Ray’s co-workers contacted them to say a manager was on the clock, but refused to […]

Bernalillo County approves new Santolina plans despite public objections, water access issues

By: - August 19, 2022

Bernalillo County elected officials on Tuesday voted unanimously to approve two sets of plans for the Santolina development, over the objections of community members and the county’s own planning board. The Bernalillo County Board of Commissioners voted 4-0 to approve two requests by Western Albuquerque Land Holdings (WALH) to speed up the development’s timeline from […]

Governor praises health care workers as she further lifts COVID protections

By: - August 18, 2022

At an awards ceremony for health care workers at a high-end hotel with a cocktail dress code on Tuesday night, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham praised their collective effort to save lives from COVID. “We stood up testing. We stood up vaccinations. We stood it all up. Nobody pointed at one other group and said, ‘Your […]