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Local and State News

Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 5:20 p.m. MDT

  • HEALTH OVERHAUL-NEW MEXICO

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Consultants have outlined for New Mexico's Democrat-led Legislature the financial consequences of adopting a state-administered universal health insurance program for all residents. They say in a final report released Monday that such a system would improve affordability for low-income households. However, premiums for other families, employer contributions and payroll taxes likely would go up to pay for what could be a multibillion-dollar shortfall over the first five years. The analysis also says the state's uninsured rate would likely fall below 1% and that the use of health care services would likely increase as the vast majority of residents turn to public insurance. 

  • NAVAJO NATION COUNCIL

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — Navajo Nation lawmakers are meeting remotely this week for their summer session. The lawmakers are considering overturning a presidential veto of a bill that canceled the tribe's primary election. Navajo voters narrow the list of candidates for local chapter officials in early August, in line with the statewide primary election in Arizona. Tribal lawmakers approved a bill in April to cancel the primary election and decide the winner by plurality vote in November. The tribal president vetoed the bill. Overriding it requires a two-thirds vote of the Navajo Nation Council.

  • VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham urged restaurants to abide by her administration's emergency health restrictions that prohibit indoor dining service, even as a state district court judge suspended the ban. Monday's temporary order from Judge Raymond Romero in Eddy County suspends the state's prohibition of indoor restaurant service pending a July 30 hearing. A spokesman for Lujan Grisham says indoor dining is risky but restaurants assert that the industry hasn't had a significant role in the spread of the coronavirus. Health officials on Monday reported an additional 255 COVID-19 cases, bringing the statewide total to 17,215 since the pandemic began. 

  • TEEN VAPING

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A state analysis says many New Mexico teenagers have stopped cigarette smoking but are vaping. That has erased progress anti-tobacco advocates said they achieved in getting high school students to avoid traditional tobacco use. The Albuquerque Journal reported the findings were in the New Mexico Department of Health 2019 Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey. The survey found that overall use of tobacco products including e-cigarettes among young people increased by 23% since 2009, with 37.8% of high school students saying they use tobacco. Youth e-cigarette use rose nearly 42% from 2015 to 2019.

  • COAL-CLIMATE CHANGE

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A coalition of states is renewing its push to stop the Trump administration from selling coal from public lands after a previous effort to halt the sales was dismissed by a federal judge. Democratic attorneys general from California, New York, New Mexico and Washington on Monday sued the administration over its coal program. They allege the administration acted illegally when it resumed coal sales that had been halted under Obama due to climate change and other concerns. Under Trump, the Department of Interior lifted a moratorium on federal coal sales and concluded they have limited environmental impacts.

  • AP-US-SCI-CARBON FOOTPRINT-INEQUALITY

A comprehensive study of American homes finds that on average rich people produce nearly 25% more heat-trapping gases than poorer residents. Monday's study looked at 93 million U.S. housing units, calculating that the average rich person produces nearly 6,500 pounds of greenhouse gases per year from residential use. For the average poor person, the amount is more than 5,200 pounds. In tony Beverly Hills, the average resident produces four times more than the average resident of poorer South Central Los Angeles. Scientists say while the rich emit more carbon pollution per person, the poor bear the brunt of global warming impacts such as heat waves.

  • SCHOOL-GUNSHOT-NEW MEXICO

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — A teen accused of firing a gun at a New Mexico high school last year on the anniversary of the Parkland, Florida, shooting has been released and his charges have been dismissed. Sandoval County District Attorney Lemuel Martinez said last week state health officials and the children's psychiatric hospital refused to treat the suspect, who was 16 at the time of his arrest. The teen had been found incompetent to stand trial. Martinez says state law mandates that the suspect be released if there is no place to treat his competency. Police said the teen opened fire at Cleveland High School in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, before running away. No one was hurt.

  • RACIAL INJUSTICE-NEW MEXICO

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's lieutenant governor has called on the high school baseball team he once coached to remove its stadium's logo of a Native American caricature. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports Howie Morales asked the superintendent of Cobre Consolidated School District in Grant County to remove the "Chief Wahoo" logo from the main sign at Cobre High's baseball stadium in Bayard, New Mexico. A similar logo was used by Major League Baseball's Cleveland Indians until 2018 but still remains at the high school stadium, which is named after Morales. Morales coached Cobre's baseball team to a state title in 2008.