Regional

Regional
8:19 am
Fri February 27, 2015

Bernalillo County Commission Approves Gross Receipts Tax Increase

Credit bernco.gov

People shopping in the Albuquerque area will be paying more sales tax on many purchases.

The Bernalillo County Commission on Thursday voted 3-2 vote to increase the gross receipts tax by three-sixteenths of 1 percent effective July 1.

That increase amounts to an additional 19 cents on a $100 purchase.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the increase is projected to raise $30 million annually.

Two-thirds of that amount is supposed to pay for mental- and behavioral-health programs.

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Regional
8:15 am
Fri February 27, 2015

Nonprofit Care Provider Reportedly Plans To Leave New Mexico

A nonprofit reportedly plans to stop providing mental health services in southern New Mexico.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that La Frontera New Mexico would be the second Arizona-based provider to give up on New Mexico after being brought in to replace other Medicaid providers terminated under a 2013 shake-up by Gov. Susana Martinez's administration.

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Regional
8:15 am
Fri February 27, 2015

Latest Winter Storm, Ice Covers Highways In New Mexico

The latest winter storm to hit New Mexico is covering highways with snow and ice and closing schools in some areas.

Highways with severe or difficult driving conditions Friday include a 161-mile stretch of Interstate 25 between Glorieta and Raton Pass in northern New Mexico and a 155-mile stretch of Interstate 40 between Milagro and the Texas line.

The state Department of Transportation says its crews are plowing, salting and cindering.

Areas were schools are closed include Rio Rancho and Albuquerque's east mountains.

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Regional
6:00 am
Fri February 27, 2015

Community Members Come Together To Create Lasting Artwork

The Las Cruces Creates exhibit at the New Mexico State University closes this weekend, but the results of a community-weaving project were unveiled last night.

John Garrett directed the Community Weave at Las Cruces creates, a large piece that includes fabric from t-shirts donated by the community. He says the project was about more than creating art.

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Regional
7:29 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Heated Exchange Stalls New Mexico Solitary Confinement Reform

A New Mexico House panel did not vote on a solitary confinement reform proposal after a Democratic member questioned why anyone would oppose it, which led to a heated exchange.  The House Safety and Civil Affairs Committee ended abruptly Thursday after Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero refused to stop talking over the objections of Chairman William Rehm, who then adjourned the meeting.

Witnesses who had testified in support of the bill sat stunned as the meeting suddenly ended.

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Regional
1:52 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

In Depth: Other States Already Require The Campaign Finance Disclosure Being Resisted In New Mexico

  How much, and what kind of information must lobbyists disclose. It’s a familiar issue at the Roundhouse.

New Mexico’s lobbyists already publicly say how they spend money, although it varies lobbyist by lobbyist how detailed those reports are.

Now New Mexico’s state lawmakers are being asked to require lobbyists to disclose the issues they’re working and the sources of their compensation -- and how much that is.

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Regional
1:45 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

New Mexico Panel Approves Uber, Lyft Regulation Bill

A measure aimed at regulating ride-booking companies like Uber and Lyft has cleared its first hurdle.

The House Transportation and Public Works Committee voted 8-3 on Thursday to approve a proposal that would require such services to provide insurance and conduct rigorous background checks on drivers

Rep. Monica Youngblood of Albuquerque and Sen. Phil Griego of San Jose are sponsoring the bipartisan legislation as state officials wrestle with how to respond to the expansion of Uber and Lyft in the state.

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Regional
1:45 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Perry Lawyers Continue Efforts To Get Felony Case Dismissed

Credit Former Texas Governor Rick Perry (R)

Attorneys for former Texas Gov. Rick Perry have asked a state appeals court to dismiss felony abuse-of-power charges against the possible 2016 presidential candidate on free-speech grounds.

In briefs processed Thursday by the Third Court of Appeals, Perry's lawyers argue that more than just their client's freedom is at stake.

They say the Republican was acting within his rights when he issued a 2013 veto.

His attorneys also have repeatedly sought to dismiss the case with the district court judge presiding over it.

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Regional
1:43 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Republicans Take Aim At Abbott Appointments To UT Regents

Credit Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R)

Fellow members of the GOP are taking aim at Republican Gov. Greg Abbott's first appointments to the University of Texas System Board of Regents.

The Senate Nominations Committee on Thursday peppered the nominees with tough questions about admissions, transparency and rising tuition rates.

New appointment David Beck, a Houston attorney, and Regent Steve Hicks, who has been reappointed to a new term, were notably challenged on those issues by several Republican lawmakers.

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Regional
7:24 am
Thu February 26, 2015

New Mexico Panel Eyes Limiting Solitary Confinement

A New Mexico House panel is scheduled to debate a proposal that would ban the use of solitary confinement on juveniles and inmates suffering from mental illness.

The House Safety and Civil Affairs Committee is set Thursday to discuss a measure that would also limit solitary confinement to no more than consecutive 15 days and no more than 60 days a year.

The proposal comes after a number of high-profile lawsuits by inmates who alleged that they were placed in inhumane and filthy isolation cells in state prisons or county jails.

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Regional
7:22 am
Thu February 26, 2015

New Mexico House Panel Eyes Regulating Uber, Lyft

A New Mexico House committee is set to discuss a measure aimed at regulating ride-booking companies like Uber and Lyft.

The House Transportation and Public Works Committee is scheduled Thursday to discuss a proposal that would require such services to provide insurance and conduct rigorous background checks on drivers

Rep. Monica Youngblood of Albuquerque and Sen. Phil Griego of San Jose are sponsoring the bipartisan legislation as state officials wrestle with how to respond to the expansion of Uber and Lyft in the state.

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Regional
7:20 am
Thu February 26, 2015

State Official: Court Rulings Boost Cost Of Auto Insurance

A state official says New Mexico drivers are paying more for part of their automobile insurance because of court rulings.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that Insurance Superintendent John Franchini says court rulings on uninsured motorist coverage are allowing more claims and increasing the size of settlements.

Franchini in particular points to a 2010 state Supreme Court decision in particular for increases in premiums for uninsured motorist coverage.

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Regional
6:00 am
Thu February 26, 2015

Traveling Exhibit Sheds Light On Human Trafficking

It is estimated that more than 27 million people worldwide are victims of Human Trafficking. Paso del Norte Center for hope tries to raise awareness of the issue, and brought the traveling exhibit SOLD: the human trafficking experience to Las Cruces.

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Regional
9:27 pm
Wed February 25, 2015

Republicans Approve "Right To Work" Bill In New Mexico House

  The GOP-controlled New Mexico House of Representatives has approved a contentious right-to-work bill that tacks on an increase in the minimum wage from $7.50 to $8 an hour.   The Republican-sponsored bill prohibits requiring workers to pay dues as a condition of employment and applies to both public and private sectors.  

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Regional
5:41 pm
Wed February 25, 2015

Otero County To Settle Solitary Confinement Lawsuit For $2.9 Million

A New Mexico man allegedly kept in filthy solitary confinement conditions and reportedly was denied proper health care has settled his federal lawsuit.

A lawyer for 51-year-old Jerome Gonzales announced Wednesday that his client settled his lawsuit with Otero County for $2.9 million.

Attorney Matthew Coyte said Gonzales suffered from mental illness and was not given proper treatment while in the southern New Mexico county jail.

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Regional
5:39 pm
Wed February 25, 2015

In Depth: A Busy Texas Legislature

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The rabbi who defied Texas' same-sex marriage ban and wed a lesbian couple last week led the morning prayer in the Republican-dominated Texas House on Wednesday, catching staunch supporters of the prohibition off-guard.

Rabbi Kerry Baker didn't reference the nuptials, which are being challenged by the state attorney general, but urged lawmakers to pay special attention to people who are marginalized and to treat everyone equally.

"It's not enough to do what is good for the majority, but to do what is good for all of us," Baker said.

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Regional
5:36 pm
Wed February 25, 2015

Las Cruces Man Sentenced For Trafficking Heroin

  ALBUQUERQUE – Nathan Andrew Maestas, 31, of Las Cruces, N.M., was sentenced today in Las Cruces federal court to 72 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release for heroin trafficking charges in connection with five cases filed in 2013 as the result of a multi-agency investigation into drug trafficking in Doña Ana County, N.M.

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Regional
12:55 pm
Wed February 25, 2015

Armed Robbery Suspects Sought In Las Cruces

  Las Cruces Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information that helps identify the two men suspected of committing an armed robbery Tuesday morning.

At around 7:20 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 24, a resident was walking from his vehicle near the 600 block of Lane when he was approached by two men who asked for loose change. The man began to hand over a few dollar bills when one of the suspects pulled out a knife and threatened the victim.

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Regional
12:08 pm
Wed February 25, 2015

Five Doña Ana County Fugitives Captured In Statewide Warrant Round-Up

Moises Gallardo

  Doña Ana County Sheriff’s deputies assigned to the U.S. Marshals Southwest Fugitive Task Force assisted in apprehending five known fugitives in the county during a recent statewide warrant round-up known as Operation Desert Snow.

            The five who were arrested were part of 24 fugitives who were caught during the operation, which enlisted local law enforcement personnel to assist in clearing high-risk felony warrants – many of which involved fugitives who were known to be armed and dangerous.

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Regional
7:58 am
Wed February 25, 2015

Child Protection Bills Roll Through New Mexico Legislature

In an otherwise rancorous legislative session, New Mexico lawmakers are finding common ground on bills aimed at keeping children safe.

Child protection measures are enjoying bipartisan support during a 60-day session that just passed its midpoint. That's despite party-line votes on a host of contentious issues that range from abortion and right-to-work to driver's licenses for those suspected of being in the country illegally.

Lawmakers say tackling crimes against children is a non-partisan issue.

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Regional
7:55 am
Wed February 25, 2015

Four Corners Sees Spikes In Marijuana Seizures

New statistics show that a Four Corners regional narcotics taskforce has seized around six times as much marijuana in 2014 than the previous year.

The Daily Times reports that the Region II Narcotics Taskforce seized 245 pounds of marijuana, which has an approximate street value nearly $200,000.

Taskforce director Phil Goodwin says the spike in seizures could largely be attributed to the recent arrests of two men who were operating growing houses.

The taskforce seized 88 pounds of marijuana in 2012 and 40 pounds of marijuana in 2013.

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Regional
7:49 am
Wed February 25, 2015

Marshals Service: Dozens Of Fugitives Apprehended In Roundup

Credit https://www.facebook.com/pages/US-Marshals-Service/219176894842440

Law enforcement authorities in New Mexico say they arrested dozens of violent fugitives in the latest phase of a statewide operation.

The U.S. Marshals Service says federal, state and local officers apprehended 24 violent fugitives during the second phase of "Operation Desert Snow."

That phase of the operation was conducted in Dona Ana, Lincoln, Luna, Otero and Sierra counties in southern New Mexico on Feb. 19-22.

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Regional
6:00 am
Wed February 25, 2015

Doña Ana County Commission Indefinitely Postpones Voting On County Manager Campaign Donations

  Over the past 3 months, questions have been raised about a campaign donation given to County Commissioner Ben Rawson from County Manager Julia Brown. The County Commission was set to vote on a proposal that would have limited the County Manager’s ability to make donations, but the measure was indefinitely postponed.

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Regional
8:54 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

New Mexico House Approves Budget

The New Mexico House of Representatives has approved a $6.2 billion spending proposal that includes pay raises for new teachers and state police officers.

The House voted 42-25 Tuesday following a three-hour debate. The bill now moves to the Senate.

Adopting a budget is a must-do assignment for lawmakers before the session adjourns March 21.

The amount of spending in the bill is nearly the same as that outlined by Gov. Susana Martinez and the Legislative Finance Committee earlier this year.

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Regional
4:44 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

Group Ranks NMSU College Of Education Fifth In The Nation For Best Online Master's Program

  The New Mexico State University College of Education has been ranked fifth for the Best Online Master’s Education Programs for 2015 according to TeachTomorrow.org. 

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Regional
12:26 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

New Mexico Offers Child Care Help For More Than 1,000 Children

  More than 1,000 additional New Mexico children could receive government-funded child-care assistance if their parents or guardians ask for it.

The state’s Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) is clearing a waiting list of 1,119 children, saying it now has the funds available to offer assistance for childcare.

Agency spokesman Henry Varela confirmed the administration of Gov. Susana Martinez is paying for the extra child-care assistance using $400,000 from millions of dollars in unspent federal funds.

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Regional
12:22 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

Push For Transparency In New Mexico Health Costs

Credit NM Department of Health

  Whether they’re shopping for a refrigerator, a laptop or a used car, most people do some comparison shopping before making a big purchase. But that’s not the way healthcare works in New Mexico, where comparing prices for a hip replacement or asthma treatment is practically impossible.

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Regional
11:09 am
Tue February 24, 2015

Senate Committee To Hear Bills Related To Gila River Diversion

Credit NMFO

Santa Fe, NM – On Thursday at 2:00 PM, the Senate Conservation Committee is scheduled to hear SB542SB455, and SB461 in Room 311.  

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Regional
9:37 am
Tue February 24, 2015

Las Cruces Takes Public Comments Regarding Proposed Downtown Code Changes

  The City of Las Cruces has proposed enacting a SmartCode in the downtown area. If approved by City Council, this proposed Code would replace the existing Central Business District and Main Street Overlay.

The Community Development Department is initiating a 30-day public comment period for the proposed SmartCode. The comment period will be March 2, through March 31. In addition, staff will be arranging public input meetings during this period.

A city release states the benefits for downtown of the proposed SmartCode are:

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Regional
7:32 am
Tue February 24, 2015

250 Albuquerque Students Don't Meet Vaccine Requirements

Credit aps.edu

The Albuquerque public school district's move to enforce New Mexico's vaccination requirement resulted in at least 250 students being kept out of school.

Citing concerns about measles, the district had sent letters home to parents on Feb. 10 notifying them that students would not be allowed to attend school if they lacked current vaccinations and proof on file at schools by Feb. 20.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that 250 students didn't meet the requirements and either stayed home or were sent home Monday.

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