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Local and State News

Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. MST


SANTA FE. N.M. (AP) — The state Supreme Court has issued a written opinion that shows new resolve in its support of pandemic-related health restrictions placed on businesses by the governor of New Mexico. At the same time Monday, the Legislature took initial steps that could place new limits on Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's authority to declare a health emergency. The Supreme Court opinion provides detailed and updated reasoning for a decision in August that rejected a lawsuit brought by several restaurants and their industry association. A bill from Republican Senate Minority Leader Greg Baca would limit the duration of public health orders to 45 days and require legislative approval to extend an order.


LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico State University Library has decided not to renew its subscriptions to 433 scholarly journals in the wake of budget cuts. The Las Cruces Sun-News reported that the school for several months has been preparing for two years of budget cuts in anticipation of coronavirus-related economic strain. One-third of the subscriptions were titles in a package that the library's interim dean Katherine Terpis said will save the university $800,000 over the next two years. The other cancelations will save about $45,000 more. The journal subscriptions allowed students and professors to access the works for research purposes. 


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Legislators have advanced a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana across New Mexico and lift the state's tight restrictions on production for its medical marijuana program. After more than six hours of testimony and deliberations, a legislative committee on health issues on Monday endorsed one Democrat-backed bill and sidelined a second, in efforts to set up a taxed and regulated marketplace for broad cannabis sales. The two-day hearing pushed to the forefront an initiative that would subsidize medical marijuana for the poor and do away with current limits on the number of plants each licensed producer can grow. The bill moves next to a tax policy committee for vetting before a possible House floor vote and Senate consideration.


SANTA FE. N.M. (AP) — New Mexico health officials reported 200 additional COVID-19 cases on Monday and nine deaths. The latest numbers bring the state to a total of 180,761 known cases and 3,538 deaths since the pandemic began. Bernalillo County reported more cases than any other, with 65 new cases. Doña Ana County reported 21 new cases, San Juan County reported 20 cases and McKinley County reported 19 cases. New infections in New Mexico have been trending downward and health officials said last week that vaccinations have helped bring the numbers down.  Officials still encourage public health practices such as mask-wearing as different variants continue to emerge.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The city of Albuquerque and the U.S. Department of Justice have proposed a plan to temporarily assist Albuquerque Police Department internal affairs investigators. The Albuquerque Journal reported an outside team is expected to correct issues as they arise and train detectives on how to improve their job performance. The proposal was filed in federal court and agreed to by the city, the justice department and an independent monitor overseeing police reform. The monitor has said the police department failed at every level to regulate itself. Deputy Chief Harold Medina, who now serves as interim head of the department, said it welcomes the resources and expertise while changing its use-of-force investigations.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A Senate panel has advanced a bill that could influence who succeeds U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland in Congress if she is confirmed as secretary for the Interior Department. The bill would convert the party nomination process from a central committee vote to a special primary election. The bipartisan bill got a welcomed reception from a panel of state legislators on Monday. A large field of Republican and Democratic candidates are vying to succeed Haaland in the 1st Congressional District that encompasses Albuquerque. State legislative analysts estimate that the special primary election would double the $3 million cost of the required special general election.


WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — Navajo Nation officials reported 55 new COVID-19 cases and three more deaths. The latest numbers released Sunday evening bring the total number of cases on the vast reservation that covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah to 29,269 since the pandemic began. There have been 1,111 deaths reported related to COVID-19. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez issued a statement reminding people to continue to take precautions to avoid spreading the virus and to protect their loved ones. He also encouraged people to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The tribe has a nightly curfew in place from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. to limit the spread of the virus.  


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Authorities say a man has been arrested after allegedly shooting at an Albuquerque police officer that led to a standoff with a SWAT team. Police say 33-year-old Johnny Ray Gonzales was taken into custody Saturday. They say Gonzales was barricaded inside a refrigerator and was eventually taken into custody after a police tactical team deployed chemical munitions. Police say Gonzales was probation for aggravated battery, armed robbery, battery on a peace officer and felon in possession of a firearm.  They say when an officer tried to make contact with Gonzales, a foot pursuit ensued and several shots were fired at the policeman. Police say the officer's injuries were superficial and he wasn't taken to a hospital.