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Local and State News

Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 p.m. MDT


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The state Supreme Court will weigh a challenge to New Mexico's prohibition on indoor service at restaurants and breweries, as the administration of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham defends its public health orders from a restive restaurant industry. Lujan Grisham on Monday urged restaurants to abide by emergency health restrictions based on concerns that gathering without face masks to eat can pose an increased risk of transmitting COVID-19. The Supreme Court stepped into the fray hours after a state district court judge in southern New Mexico suspended the indoor dining ban. Restaurants assert that the industry hasn't had a significant role in the spread of the coronavirus.


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. 


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Democratic U.S. Rep. Debra Haaland has a more than a 2-to-1 money advantage over her Republican opponent for her central New Mexico seat. Federal campaign records show the first-term Albuquerque Democrat raised $205,663 from mid-May to June 30. She has more than $352,053 cash-on-hand but has already burned through $850,000 in her bid for re-election. Retired police officer and Republican Michelle Garcia Holmes reported raising $40,792 during the same time period. She reported having $145,363 following her GOP primary victory. Haaland is a member of the Laguna Pueblo and is one of the nation's first Native American women in Congress.


FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — The coronavirus pandemic has shifted plans to bring air service to the Four Corners region. Farmington had been negotiating to bring regional service to and from Denver. But the city announced Monday that the effort will be delayed until at least next spring because of travel concerns. The Four Corners Regional Airport hasn't had commercial service since November 2017. Crews began upgrading the runway last year to meet federal guidelines for commercial service. The work was completed in May. The city says it's eager to resume the service when the time is right.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico regulators are rolling out proposed rules aimed at reducing methane and other emissions from the oil and gas industry. The proposed regulations are the culmination of a dozen meetings, hours of discussion and technical presentations by scientists, environmentalists and experts in the industry. Environmentalists call it a step in the right direction. An industry group says it's critical that the rules being considered by the state Environment Department and the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department allow for continued development since the state relies so heavily on revenue and jobs that stem from the industry.


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.


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.


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.