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.

Most NM workers would get paid time off under plans headed to Senate

By: - February 24, 2023

Over the objection of its leader, a panel of state senators on Thursday endorsed a proposal to allow nearly all workers in New Mexico to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave per year and still receive part of their income. The Senate Finance Committee voted 6-5 to pass Senate Bill 11, which would […]

NM Senate moves to abolish life without parole for children sentenced as adults

By: - February 23, 2023

The New Mexico Senate endorsed 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. In a bipartisan 32-8 vote, senators passed Senate Bill 64, known as the Second […]

Three people stand outdoors, holding signs in support of telework. They are bundled up against cold and wet weather.

House panel kills telework bill in first hearing

By: - February 22, 2023

A bill that would have given New Mexico state government workers the right to work from home will not reach a vote in either chamber of the state legislature. The House Labor, Veterans’ and Military Affairs Committee on Tuesday voted 7-4 to table House Bill 300. Tabled bills rarely return in the same session. House […]

CWA Local 7076 Treasurer Anne Keller (left) wore a union jacket to the rally on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023. outside the Roundhouse as lawmakers gathered for the start of the legislative session.

NM state agencies denying telework as a disability accommodation

By: - February 21, 2023

Sylvia Burton thought she had more time.  When the pandemic reached New Mexico in March 2020, Burton, a financial specialist with 20 years of experience working for the New Mexico Environment Department, had to leave her middle cubicle surrounded by others in a large office suite in the Harold Runnels Building in Santa Fe. Burton […]

Three people stand behind a podium in a government meeting room. News media microphones sit all over the podium, stretching up to hear them speak.

NM budget doesn’t include money for cleaning air in schools

By: - February 17, 2023

The state budget passed by the New Mexico House of Representatives on Thursday includes $8.6 billion for education. It contains precisely zero money for public schools to upgrade their heating and air conditioning systems to clean indoor air well enough to remove coronavirus and other airborne harms. COVID-19 continues to kill more than 450 people […]

Proposal to lower NM voting age blocked by Democratic committee chair

By: - February 15, 2023

Even with a trifecta of Democratic majorities in the House, Senate and governor’s office, a proposal spearheaded by Democratic lawmakers to expand voting rights to 16 and 17-year-old New Mexicans died in its first committee hearing. The House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee voted on Feb. 11 not to pass House Bill 217, which […]

While debating restructuring the NM Legislature, volunteer legislators run out of time

By: - February 14, 2023

A panel of New Mexico lawmakers started to debate proposed changes to the structure of the Legislature itself, but ran out of time before they could finish their business. The House Judiciary Committee passed two bills along party line votes on Monday, and it was like watching in real time the criticism that the way […]

New Mexico Senate to weigh probation and parole reforms

By: - February 13, 2023

When a person gets out of prison in New Mexico and breaks the rules of their probation or parole, they are sent back to prison. But it’s not usually a new crime that lands them back behind the walls. In fact, 70% of the people in that situation have committed a “technical” infraction, according to […]

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 […]