Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. MST
- ELECTION 2020-COWBOYS FOR TRUMP
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Time is running out before Election Day as New Mexico election regulators push the political support group Cowboys for Trump to disclosure its financial backers. The horseback-riding, New Mexico-based support group for President Donald Trump urged a judge on Wednesday not to dismiss its lawsuit challenging state financial disclosure requirements. A trial could stretch into late 2021. The group was co-founded by Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin. It says less-onerous federal campaign finance laws override recent New Mexico legislation aimed a greater financial transparency for independent political expenditure groups. The group says the NAACP faced similar pressure from Alabama during the civil rights movement.
- ELECTION 2020-NEW MEXICO
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A voting rights group says that caravans of flag-waving President Donald Trump supporters appeared to obstruct and intimidate voters at two polling location in predominantly ethnic-minority neighborhoods last weekend in the Albuquerque area. Common Cause New Mexico Director Heather Ferguson said Wednesday that the incidents took place on the first day of balloting at voter convenience centers in the South Valley area and the western reaches of Central Avenue. The areas are heavily Latino. She estimates that dozens of potential voters in each location left without voting as a result of the incidents. Local prosecutors say they are investigating.
- NUCLEAR WASTE-NEW MEXICO
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — State environmental regulators are reviewing an application from the federal government to renew its permit to operate the nation's only underground nuclear waste repository in southern New Mexico. It will be next year before a final decision made, but watchdog groups raised concerns with state lawmakers during a meeting Wednesday. They say the U.S. Energy Department wants to make operations at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant open-ended, removing any reference in the permit to 2024 as the date when closure and decommissioning were supposed to start. They say allowing the change will mark another step toward solidifying New Mexico as the nation's dumping ground for nuclear waste.
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Health officials in New Mexico on Wednesday reported a single-day record of 827 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and eight additional deaths. The latest numbers increase the total cases to 38,715 statewide since the pandemic started, with 950 known deaths. Of the new cases, New Mexico Department of Health officials said 292 of them were in Bernalillo County and 172 more in Dona Ana County. New Mexico had set a single-day record with 819 confirmed COVID-19 cases last Friday with 557 more cases Saturday, 518 Sunday, another 518 cases Monday and 599 Tuesday.
- BC-VIRUS OUTBREAK-HOSPITALIZATIONS
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Hospitals around the United States are starting to buckle from a resurgence of COVID-19 cases, with several states setting records for the number of people hospitalized and leaders scrambling to find extra beds and staff. New highs in cases have been reported in states big and small — from Idaho to Ohio — in recent days. With persistent resistance to statewide mask mandates, some states are relying on individuals to do the right thing to stem the tide of the virus. Other states are worried about the spike putting pressures on the health system and are making plans for ensuring those infected get the hospital care they need.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The parent company of New Mexico's largest electric utility will become part of energy giant Iberdrola's global holdings under a multibillion-dollar merger. Under the agreement announced Wednesday, Iberdrola's majority-owned U.S. subsidiary Avangrid will acquire PNM Resources. Officials say the transaction is part of Iberdrola's strategy for investing in regions where regulations related to renewable energy are stable and offer opportunities for growth. New Mexico in 2019 adopted ambitious mandates to become carbon-free by 2045, and Public Service Co. of New Mexico has vowed to meet that standard by 2040 through the addition of more solar generation and battery storage. The deal will have to be approved by regulators.
- BORDER AGENT IMPERSONATOR SENTENCED
LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A man in New Mexico has been sentenced to nearly two years in federal prison for impersonating a Border Patrol agent. Prosecutors say 45-year-old James Christopher Benvie received a 21-month prison term after being convicted in the case in March. Court records show Benvie was a leader and spokesperson for a group of vigilantes who camped at the border in Dona Ana County. Authorities say many members of the group wore badges, camouflage and other military-style clothing, often covered their faces with masks, and carried pistols and assault rifles. They say Benvie misrepresented himself as a Border Patrol agent in April 2019 when stopping and interrogating immigrants he suspected of crossing into the country illegally.
- COURT-EQUITY COMMISSION
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Supreme Court is looking for people to serve on a newly created commission on equity and justice. An order issued Monday formally established the commission and outlined the framework for its membership. The panel will study issues related to bias and inequities in the state justice system and promote diversity among judges and judicial employees. In addition to state and local judges, voting members will include representatives from the University of New Mexico law school, attorneys, community advocates and one state lawmaker. Representatives from more than two dozen legal organizations also will be invited to participate on the commission.