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.

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 […]

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 […]

Thousands of nurses and hundreds of doctors needed in the state

By: - August 31, 2021

New Mexico’s entire health care system is plagued by shortages, and nearly every county in the state does not have enough primary care physicians or nurses, researchers from the state’s Health Care Workforce Committee told lawmakers. “There are massive shortages in every health care sector in the state,” said Dr. Richard Larson, executive vice chancellor of the UNM Health Sciences Center.

Appeals court: Silver City PD brushed its own domestic violence policy aside

By: - August 31, 2021

A federal appeals court upheld a ruling denying qualified immunity to police in Silver City for failing to protect to Nikki Bascom, a nurse and mother of two who was killed in 2016 by her former partner, a Silver City police captain, in a murder-suicide. Five years after she died, the ruling puts police on […]

Big win for UNM grad workers in the fight for labor rights

By: - August 31, 2021

Graduate workers at the University of New Mexico say a ruling earlier this month could help them address low wages, poor benefits, overwork and discrimination at their five campuses in New Mexico — and if conditions improve, there will be fewer systemic barriers to getting an advanced degree.  New Mexico’s statewide labor board determined that […]

NM road repairs coming but more funding needed

By: - August 31, 2021

Roads and bridges owned by the state of New Mexico will need more funding or they will continue to deteriorate, the state’s top highway official told lawmakers Monday. Executive Director of Highway Operations Rick Padilla said state-owned roads, highways and bridges have historically gotten worse and worse each year — except for the last three […]