Regional

Local news and weather for Las Cruces, El Paso, Alamogordo, Silver City, Ruidoso, Anthony, Cloudcroft, Deming, Truth or Consequences, Elephant Butte, and all of Southern New Mexico and Far West Texas.

New Mexico Residents Embrace Online Voter Registration

Feb 2, 2016

New Mexico's online voter registration system has caught on quickly since its introduction a month ago, and especially with Democrats.

The New Mexico Secretary of State's Office says 2,867 registrations were completed through the new web portal in January.

Of those voter applications, about 56 percent registered as Democrats and 29 percent signed up as Republicans. Thirteen declined to name a party, and a small remainder selected the state's Independent, Libertarian, Green and Constitutional parties.

New Mexico House Clears Local Curfew Legislation

Feb 2, 2016
nmlegis.gov

A measure that would give local governments the authority to impose curfews for children under the age of 16 has cleared the New Mexico House.

The House voted 44-21 late Monday. The measure now goes to the Senate for consideration.

House Majority Leader Nate Gentry, one of the bill's sponsors, says nothing good happens to children who are out unsupervised late at night.

The legislation was spurred by a rash of crime in Albuquerque last summer that involved teenagers.

New Mexico Democrats Face Pressure Over REAL ID Fix

Feb 2, 2016

The fate of a REAL ID fix in New Mexico is now in the hands of Senate Democrats.

A key Senate committee is scheduled Tuesday to hear proposals that would bring New Mexico into compliance with tougher identification requirements under the federal REAL ID Act.

But how Senate Democrats respond to the proposals will determine if they face a backlash if the driver's license problem isn't fixed.

The Guardian newspaper reports that Google is testing new technology to deliver wireless internet at New Mexico's Spaceport America.

Bail Bond Amendment Passes Senate Judiciary Committee

Feb 1, 2016
Senator Peter Wirth

   A proposed constitutional amendment to reform the state's bail bond system has passed the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The amendment, sponsored by Democratic Sen. Peter Wirth, of Santa Fe, proposes allowing judges to deny bail to dangerous defendants and granting pretrial release to low-risk defendants who are being held because they are too poor to make bond.

The New Mexico Association of Counties says an assessment of jails shows 39 percent of inmates on averaage are eligible for bail but haven't posted bond.

Representative Nora Espinoza - (R)

The Democratic Party of New Mexico is taking aim at Rep. Nora Espinoza, accusing her of violating the governmental conduct code as she considers running for the secretary of state's office.

The party contends in a complaint filed Monday that the Roswell Republican should not have directed those interested in her campaign to her official legislative webpage.

Party Chairwoman Debra Haaland asked that the secretary of state's office investigate.

Haaland pinned her complaint on comments Espinoza made during a recent radio interview.

  The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) today announced significant enforcement activity including arrests targeting Lebanese Hizballah’s External Security Organization Business Affairs Component (BAC), which is involved in international criminal activities such as drug trafficking and drug proceed money laundering. These proceeds are used to purchase weapons for Hizballah for its activities in Syria.

"The Night Shift" to Film its Third Season in New Mexico

Feb 1, 2016

  New Mexico Film Office Director Nick Maniatis announced today that the television series "The Night Shift," produced by Sony Pictures Television and airing on NBC, will begin principal photography in February and film through June in Albuquerque. "Albuquerque welcomes 'The Night Shift' back to our city for its third season.  We support the movie industry, and the movie industry supports our economy; it's a great thing for everyone," said Mayor Richard J.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton

A state ethics board has declined to support Texas' attorney general using political donors to pay his mounting legal bills on criminal charges of defrauding investors.

Monday's decision means Republican Ken Paxton could still use supporters' money to cover his criminal defense, but he would do so without the board's key seal of approval.

The state's top prosecutor was indicted on two felony counts of securities fraud, which carry a potentially lengthy prison sentence. He has pleaded not guilty.

  Republican lawmakers are spurning a proposal to tap New Mexico's largest permanent reserve fund to boost spending on early childhood education programs.

The proposed constitutional amendment to divert funds from the New Mexico Land Grant Permanent Fund was voted down Monday by the House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee in a 6-5 party-line vote with Republican in opposition.

The latest version of the amendment from Democratic Reps. Javier Martinez and Antonio Maestas would set aside a 0.7 percent annual distribution from the Land Grant Permanent Fund.

Udall Introduces Amendment To Give All Americans An Opportunity To Invest In Our Clean Energy Future

Feb 1, 2016
Senator Tom Udall (D-NM)

Commentary: Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall announced an amendment that he has filed to energy legislation that would ultimately enable all Americans to buy Clean Energy Victory Bonds, allowing regular people across the country to do their part to invest in our nation's clean energy future.

Police: Robbery Suspect Shot By Officers Was Santa Fe Man

Feb 1, 2016

Authorities say an armed robbery suspect fatally shot by Santa Fe police at a motel last week was a Santa Fe man who had a gun in his possession and several thousand dollars of cash in his belongings.

New Mexico State Police on Monday identified the man shot by officers Wednesday night as 31-year-old Herman Flores.

State police said several thousand dollars of cash was stolen during a holdup of a Wal-Mart store near the motel and that video confirmed the robber carried a handgun.

Significant Snow Accumulations Expected From Winter Storm

Feb 1, 2016

New Mexico is getting a strong dose of winter weather with significant snow accumulations expected in northern, central and southeastern parts of the state.

Forecasters say strong and gusty winds could reduce visibility amid blowing snow. Snow-packed, icy and slushy roads were reported in potions of western and northern New Mexico.

Medicaid Edges Out Political Agendas In New Mexico

Feb 1, 2016
Office of the Governor

Rising costs for health care linked to the expansion of Medicaid in New Mexico are crowding out initiatives sought by Gov. Susana Martinez.

She was only the second Republican governor to break ranks with GOP allies and expand Medicaid. Now Medicaid looms over nearly every state spending decision as lawmakers meet in Santa Fe to craft a budget.

State Suspends Audit Into MLK Commission Amid Investigation

Feb 1, 2016

The state auditor is suspending an audit into the Martin Luther King, Jr. State Commission and calling for the Department of Finance Administration to take over the panel's day-to-day financial operations as its executive director faces accusations of possible fraud and embezzlement.

New Mexico State Auditor Tim Keller sent a letter Monday to commission chairwoman Karen Montoya, saying the move to involve DFA is necessary for the commission's small remaining staff.

The commission promotes diversity and organizes events around Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

SunZia Fights Green Energy Requirement For Transmission Line

Feb 1, 2016

The group in charge of a proposed $2 billion transmission line that would carry electricity generated by wind and solar in New Mexico the Arizona and beyond is fighting against a requirement to guarantee it will put renewables on the line.

The Arizona Daily Star reports that opponents of the 515-mile-long SunZia Southwest Transmission Project want 50 percent of one of two lines to be set aside for only renewable energy.

SunZia officials say such an order would violate federal law forbidding power lines from discriminating against energy suppliers.

Shootout Claims 8 Lives In Mexican City Across From Texas

Feb 1, 2016

Mexican authorities say eight people including a 13-year-old girl were killed in a string of shootouts between gunmen and security forces that caused panic in the border city of Matamoros.

A Tamaulipas state government statement says seven of those killed Sunday in the city across from Brownsville, Texas, were presumed criminals.

The girl was a bystander at a shopping mall with her family during one of the shootings. The statement said she was struck by a bullet fired by one of the suspects.

Significant Snow Accumulations Expected From Winter Storm

Feb 1, 2016

New Mexico is geting a strong dose of winter weather with significant snow accumulations expected in northern, central and southeastern parts of the state

Forecasters say strong and gusty winds will reduce visibility amid blowing snow in some areas Monday. Roads are expected to become snow-packed and icy.

New Mexico Senate Attempts To Slowdown Bills In Committees

Feb 1, 2016

Bills that rapidly moved out of the GOP-led House will likely slow down as they move to the Democratic-controlled Senate.

That's because Senate Democrats have assigned bills related to REAL ID, strengthening three strike laws and closing child pornography loopholes to three committees.

Republicans say the moves show that Democratic Majority Leader Michael Sanchez is trying to kill legislation he doesn't like. They say the assignments are "vindictive" since the bills are supported by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez.

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Monday Business Watch

Feb 1, 2016

Every Monday at 7:51am on Morning Edition, Edmundo Resendez covers the week's top local business stories with Las Cruces Sun News Business Editor Jason Gibbs.  This week, Jason discusses local stores and restaurants give back to the community by donating items approaching ‘best by’ dates to El Caldito.

Senator Bernie Sanders

Primary Debates are heating up across the country with the Iowa Caucuses beginning today, and here in Las Cruces people are making their decisions about which candidates to support as well.

Jerry Nachison, an organizer with Las Cruces for Bernie says he began supporting sanders because of his plans for higher education costs and health care, and he likes Sanders' tells it like it is attitude.

“It’s nice to hear someone say the truth, period,” Nachison said. “And he should be emulated by lots of others.”

Texas Confirms Six Travel-Related Cases Of Zika Virus

Jan 31, 2016

  Health officials say they have found six travel-related cases of the mosquito-borne Zika virus in Texas.

The Texas Department of State Health Services said in a statement Friday the six people were infected abroad and diagnosed after they returned home.

Zika has been spreading quickly in parts of Latin America and the Caribbean. The virus causes no more than a mild illness in most people but has been linked to a spike in a rare birth defect in Brazil.

Proposal To Pay New Mexico Lawmakers Clears Committee

Jan 31, 2016
NM Rep. Terry McMillan R-Las Cruces

A bill that would provide a base salary for New Mexico lawmakers has cleared one committee.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports (http://bit.ly/1QAMtsm) that the legislation that would give legislators a salary of about $45,000 made it through its first legislative committee Saturday, but it went through without a recommendation for approval.

New Mexico has the only unsalaried state legislature.

The proposal was submitted to the state House of Representatives by Republican Terry McMillan of Las Cruces.

Wrongful Conviction Experts Study DNA Odds

Jan 31, 2016

Authorities in Texas are reviewing thousands of cases using a possibly flawed way of determining the odds that a defendant left DNA at a crime scene.

The ongoing review of cases focuses on samples that include DNA from more than one person. Forensics experts and prosecutors are examining cases where a witness testified about the odds of someone being at a crime scene based on the probable appearance of their DNA.

The Houston Chronicle reports (http://bit.ly/1PJu8WQ ) that new guidelines generally lead to more conservative estimates.

New Law Allows Some New Mexicans To Claim Spanish Citizenship

Jan 31, 2016

New Mexico residents descended from Jewish families who fled Spain during the religion-driven Inquisition can claim Spanish citizenship thanks to a new law.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports (http://bit.ly/1nx8TAW) that the law administered by the Spanish Ministry of Justice gives descendants until Oct. 1, 2018 to apply for a passport.

The law was created to recognize the expulsion of Jews between 1492 and 1498.

New Mexico Bail Reform Debate Heavy On Ideas, Light On Data

Jan 31, 2016

  State lawmakers are debating whether to ask voters to change the Constitution and give judges more flexibility in the state’s longstanding cash bail system.

Two proposals vie for their attention and if either wins the Legislature’s approval, it would go before voters in November.

One would allow judges to deny bail to defendants deemed dangerous but let those who are not go free before trial if financial hardship is all that’s keeping them behind bars. The other addresses dangerous defendants but not individuals too poor to afford bail.

Voter Activism - Sharon Thomas

Jan 30, 2016

Land Tawney , President/CEO-Backcountry Hunters and Anglers

Jan 30, 2016

Fred Martino interviews Land Tawney, President/CEO of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers.  The group recently visited the Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument.  

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