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.

Flowers, candles and balloons line a brick wall in memoriam of a middle school student killed by a fellow student. A person leans down to place more flowers.

New Mexico House passes firearm storage bill named after middle school student

By: - February 10, 2023

The New Mexico House of Representatives on Thursday passed a measure meant to prevent gun violence by young people using firearms that adult gun owners didn’t secure. House Bill 9 sponsored by Rep. Pamelya Herndon (D-Albuquerque) would make it a misdemeanor to negligently allow a child access to a firearm, and would make it a […]

Black rifles sit on a white store shelf against a bright red wall in the foreground. In the background, men inspect other firearms.

Two-week waiting period, ban on large magazines clear first committee in NM Legislature

By: - February 9, 2023

As the U.S. grapples with gun policy in the face of mass shootings and gun violence, state lawmakers are also weighing several reforms that have begun moving in the Roundhouse.  A panel of House lawmakers in New Mexico on Tuesday afternoon passed two proposals that would create a waiting period before someone has a gun […]

A man in formal attire walks by a group of other people while shaking their hands.

Tribal education is a matter of cultural survival: ‘We need to act now,’ leaders tell lawmakers

By: - February 8, 2023

There is plenty of history between the state of New Mexico and Native nations, and it hasn’t always been very pleasant, said Mark Mitchell, former governor of Tesuque Pueblo. “There are still some seeds of doubt, distrust, lingering feelings of suspicion, resentment, and still layers of misunderstanding and misinformation about tribes,” said Mitchell, chairman of […]

Rep. Derrick Lente talks with a visitor at the Roundhouse on Fri. 3, 2023.

Tribal early education proposal to be heard today

By: - February 6, 2023

A proposal to strengthen tribal self-determination in early childhood education will get its first committee hearing in the New Mexico Legislature today. House Bill 148 would require the New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department to sign agreements with Native nations in the state to run early childhood education and care programs using their […]

In the foreground is a blurry flag and flowers. Focused in the foreground is Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham who pauses while giving her State of the State speech before the joint session of the 2023 New Mexico Legislature in Santa Fe.

N.M. governor shakes up personnel in first months of second term

By: - February 2, 2023

Since Michelle Lujan Grisham’s re-election as New Mexico governor, five cabinet secretaries have left the administration, with three leaving in the last week in the middle of the legislative session. General Services Department Secretary John Garcia has resigned, and Friday is his last day. Press Secretary Nora Meyers Sackett is leaving the governor’s office next […]

Detail of the New Mexico Corrections Department logo painted on a wall inside the Western New Mexico Correctional Facility.

N.M. prison officials seek funding for hundreds of vacant guard positions

By: - February 2, 2023

A panel of House lawmakers on Tuesday honored a request by the head of the state prison system and the governor to keep paying for hundreds of guard positions that have sat empty for years, against the recommendation of their own analysts. In its proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year, the Legislative Finance Committee  […]

A man sits in the center of a curved wooden rostrum, looking at someone else off camera. Behind him, mounted on a wooden wall, is the seal of the New Mexico Senate.

Some lawmakers unconvinced ‘rebuttable presumptions’ bill would make it through the courts

By: - January 31, 2023

New Mexico’s governor and the district attorney for the largest county in the state are working to convince lawmakers to change the way pretrial detention hearings work by saying they want to balance the rights of people accused of crimes with their impression about public safety. Whenever prosecutors ask a judge to hold someone accused […]

Second Chance bill has better chances to pass than in previous years

By: - January 30, 2023

A proposal to end life without parole as a sentencing option for children and decrease how long someone convicted as a juvenile would have to be in prison before a parole board could consider their case has significantly better chances to pass than in prior legislative sessions. Senate Bill 64 would end life without parole […]

Three people in formal attire sit at a large, round table, with the camera focused on a bespectacled man in the center.

The New Mexico Voting Rights Act: What’s in and what’s out

By: - January 27, 2023

A sprawling proposal to expand and return the right to vote to more New Mexicans could finally become a reality this session after years of legislative and community effort, according to Democratic leaders, pro-democracy organizers and the state’s top election official. In the short 30-day session in 2022, opponents argued they were not given enough […]

Two people sit in formal attire, the seal and flag of the State of New Mexico behind them. On the large round table in front of them, a number of press microphones listen in.

Governor: N.M. prison medical care contracts leave ‘a lot to be desired’

By: - January 26, 2023

New Mexico’s governor and lawmakers from both parties are again pushing legislation that would require people accused of a crime to prove that they are not too dangerous to release before a trial. They are also trying to get 1,000 more police officers hired and working around the state. Those two initiatives, if successful, would […]

N.M. chief justice defends bail reform in State of the Judiciary

By: - January 25, 2023

Since it became law, N.M. politicians at every level have called for an erosion of a landmark legal reform in the state’s history. New Mexico voters in 2016 overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment to abolish the cash bail system and left decisions about whether someone is incarcerated before trial entirely in the hands of judges. […]

Albuquerque DA appoints special prosecutor in 2020 monument shooting

By: - January 23, 2023

The Bernalillo County District Attorney has appointed a special prosecutor to handle the criminal case against a former Albuquerque City Council candidate who shot a protester in June 2020 at the statue depicting Spanish colonizer Juan de Oñate called La Jornada at Tiguex Park in Albuquerque’s Old Town neighborhood. Steven Ray Baca, 34, is accused […]