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Local and State News

Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. MDT

  • NAVAJO-GALLUP WATER PROJECT

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — Federal, tribal and state officials in New Mexico have signed an agreement clarifying the regulatory roles and responsibilities, including drinking water regulations, for a proposed project on the Navajo Nation. The Farmington Daily Times reported Thursday that the Navajo Nation, New Mexico Environment Department and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency signed the 15-page memorandum of understanding on multiple dates in March and April. The Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project is expected to be completed by 2027 and deliver water from the San Juan River Basin in Gallup to 43 chapters on the Navajo Nation. 

  • IMMIGRATION-BORDER CROSSINGS

BROWNSVILLE, Texas (AP) — Complex forces are driving an increase in the number of migrant families and unaccompanied children coming to the U.S. Many say President Joe Biden's positions on immigration, whether real or rumored, have influenced their decisions. About four in 10 border encounters last month were with families and children traveling alone. It comes as policies in the U.S. and Mexico favor them staying in the United States while they seek asylum. The March total includes nearly 19,000 unaccompanied children, the highest monthly number on record. They are exempt from federal pandemic-related powers that quickly expel migrants without a chance for asylum.

  • LEGISLATION SIGNED-NEW MEXICO

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed legislation that requires that employers throughout the state provide paid sick leave to workers. Signed Thursday, the Democrat-sponsored legislation ensures that employees accrue an hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 64 hours of leave annually. The bill takes effect on a delayed schedule in July 2022 in concession to employers who argued that businesses already are under intense financial pressure from the pandemic. Democratic legislators argue the requirement is essential to ensuring public health and a stable workforce in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • COWBOYS FOR TRUMP-RECALL ELECTION

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A state district court judge says an effort can move ahead to try and recall Cowboys for Trump founder Couy Griffin from his seat as an Otero County commissioner on accusations of using public office for personal gain. District Court Judge Manuel Arrieta on Thursday ruled in favor of a group of recall petitioners who say that Griffin repeatedly abused his authority and should be subject to a recall election this year. Griffin called the allegations frivolous, baseless and politically motivated. He left the court proceedings abruptly to rejoin a county commission meeting and didn't return.

  • AIRPORT BODIES

WOODBURY, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey man facing murder charges in two states has made a court appearance as he awaits a possible indictment. Sean Lannon appeared by videoconference in Gloucester County, New Jersey, where he was charged last month with murder in the beating death of Michael Dabkowski. Lannon also is charged with murder in New Mexico in the slaying of his ex-wife and two of her friends whose decomposed bodies were found in a pickup truck parked at an airport. He is also suspected in the death of a fourth person found dead in the truck. Authorities arrested Lannon in St. Louis a few days after Dabkowski was killed. Lannon's attorney didn't comment after Thursday's proceeding.

  • MEDICALLY ASSISTED SUICIDE LAW

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has signed into law legislation legalizing medically assisted suicide. It's the latest state to provide a pathway for terminally ill patients to end their lives with lethal medication. The law requires patients to be given six months or less to live by two medical professionals, be of sound mind, and be able to take the drug themselves. Opponents fear diagnoses could be mistaken and insurance companies could cover medically assisted suicide instead of more expensive cures to an illness. New Mexico is the second state after New Jersey with a third or more of its population identifying as Catholic to legalize medically assisted suicide. Oregon passed the first such law in 1997.

  • VIRUS OUTBREAK-NAVAJO NATION

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation on Thursday reported 15 more confirmed COVID-19 cases and one additional death. The latest figures bring the pandemic totals on the tribe's reservation, which includes parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, increased to 30,213 with the known death toll at 1,260. On Tuesday, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez announced the first confirmed case of the COVID-19 B.1.429 variant on the Navajo Nation, which came from a test sample obtained in the Chinle service unit area.  The variant was first identified in the state of California and has since been detected across the southwest U.S.  

  • HAALAND-NATIONAL MONUMENTS

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland is visiting Utah as she prepares to submit a review on national monuments in the state. Residents there have both staunchly supported establishing and increasing the size of national monuments, and fiercely rallied against them. Haaland is the latest Interior secretary tasked with making recommendations on where the boundaries lie. Her input comes after President Donald Trump's administration decided to downsize two national monuments in southern Utah. She is expected to submit a report to President Joe Biden after her meetings Thursday with tribes and elected leaders at Bears Ears National Monument.