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.

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 […]

A dozen people stand in a semi-circle in a large rotunda in the center of the New Mexico Legislature. Six of them hold signs that together have 17,000 tally marks, representing the people in New Mexico denied the right to vote because of a felony conviction. They are surrounded by the polished stone walls of the Rotunda at the state capitol in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The New Mexico Voting Rights Act is coming back, lawmakers and advocates say

By: - January 23, 2023

June 26, 2018 is a day Adam Griego will never forget as long as he lives: the beginning of his voyage into incarceration, first in Texas, then Oklahoma, and eventually the federal prison in Florence, Colorado. Once someone is caught in the criminal legal system, Griego said, it keeps an incredibly tight grip on them […]

N.M. Legislature approves study of district offices, staff for every lawmaker

By: - January 20, 2023

Both chambers of the New Mexico Legislature in the first week of this year’s session approved an initial move to provide all 112 lawmakers with field offices and full-time staff. The Senate on Thursday afternoon approved House Bill 1 in a 33-5 vote. The House approved it on Wednesday. Called the feed bill, it sets […]

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.

State employees rally in favor of telework as legislative session begins in New Mexico

By: - January 18, 2023

Allie Alaimo is a chemist who has for three years helped review and issue oil and gas permits for the state of New Mexico as an advanced environmental scientist with the Air Quality Bureau. She brought her 2-year-old daughter Ivy to a rally in support of telework on Tuesday morning outside the Roundhouse, holding signs […]

Clean air in schools could become New Mexico law

By: - January 17, 2023

Even though New Mexico requires public schools to upgrade their heating and air conditioning systems to clean indoor air well enough to remove coronavirus and other harms, people can’t just look up whether their local school district actually meets those standards. A legislative proposal — with backing from unions representing New Mexico teachers and sheet […]