Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. MDT
- ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland vowed on her first day on the job to ensure Native American tribes have opportunities to speak with her and the agencies she oversees. Haaland has been delivering on the promise, meeting with nearly 130 tribes over the past year. Her selection as the first Native American to serve in the position opened a door for tribes who point to a history fraught with broken promises and instances where the federal government failed to take their voices into account. Native American and Alaska Native groups are seeing change under Haaland but some remain frustrated with the pace of action.
- SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico is bringing sales of recreational marijuana to the doorstep of Texas as the movement toward broad legalization sweeps across more of the American West. As of Friday, anyone 21 and older in New Mexico can purchase up to 2 ounces of marijuana — enough to roll about 60 joints or cigarettes. Across the state, would-be marijuana farmers are bidding for water rights and learning to raise their first cannabis crops. Experienced medical cannabis producers have ramped up production. New Mexico is among 18 states that have legalized cannabis for recreational use, including neighboring Arizona and Colorado as well as the entire West coast.
- PHOENIX (AP) — The Biden administration's decision to end sweeping asylum limits at the border this May satisfied demands by prominent Democrats. But it creates thorny political challenges for border-region Democrats who face the likely prospect of an increase in migrants who have for two years been denied the chance to seek asylum in the United States. Some of the congressional Democrats with the toughest reelection prospects are warning that the administration is woefully unprepared to handle the situation. The Biden administration announced on Friday that it will lift Title 42 authority by May 23.
- NEW YORK (AP) — A spike in violence during the COVID-19 pandemic has Democrats eager to show they're tough on crime ahead of this year's midterm elections. But the party is struggling to find a common message with progressives pushing for police reform and moderates focusing on rising crime rates. In New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul's plan to toughen the state's bail laws is being met with criticism from all sides. Reform advocates say the system should be left alone while police leaders and even fellow Democrats say the proposal doesn't go far enough to roll back what they consider soft treatment of criminals.
- NEW YORK (AP) — A judge has declined to throw out Ghislaine Maxwell's sex trafficking conviction, despite a juror's failure to disclose he'd been a victim of childhood sexual abuse. U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan on Friday refused to order a new trial for Maxwell, who was convicted in December of helping the American millionaire Jeffrey Epstein abuse several teenage girls. The juror had said in response to questioning that he never intentionally provided incorrect answers about sex abuse on a questionnaire before the trial began. Defense lawyers say if he had answered correctly, they potentially could have objected to his presence on the jury. Maxwell says she's innocent.
RURAL WATER PROJECTS
- ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Federal officials are funneling more money to rural water projects in several states as the Biden administration looks to put a dent in growing infrastructure needs amid drought and climate change. The U.S. Interior Department announced Thursday that $420 million will be spent on projects in New Mexico, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa. The work includes construction of water treatment plants, pipeline connections, pump systems and reservoirs to provide drinking water to rural and tribal communities. The largest share — $160 million — will go toward an ongoing project designed to provide water for about 70,000 people in eastern New Mexico.
NEW MEXICO TRAPPING BAN
- ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — It will be illegal to use wildlife traps, snares and poison on public lands across New Mexico under a ban that takes effect Friday. New Mexico is joining a handful of Western states that have limited trapping on public lands. The New Mexico measure, dubbed "Roxy's Law," was approved in 2021 following several failed attempts by animal advocates over the years to rein in a practice they have described as archaic and indiscriminate. Ranchers and wildlife conservation officers have argued that trapping is an important tool for managing wildlife and protecting livestock in rural parts of the state.
CONGRESS-NEW MEXICO AUDIT
- SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A congressional oversight committee says the lead contractor in a partisan audit of 2020 election results in New Mexico has rebuffed requests for documents and information about door-to-door canvasing that has raised concerns of possible voter intimidation. The committee reiterated requests for documents Wednesday as it investigates a partisan audit of the 2020 election results that is taking place in New Mexico and was authorized by a Republican-led county commission. Two Democrats on the House Oversight Committee say the response from EchoMail contradicts extensive evidence. The committee says it's looking into potential intimidation by volunteers from a conspiracy group canvassing voters.