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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) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has vetoed a bill to overhaul oversight of police training and misconduct reviews. The governor said in a veto message Friday that the bill would have changed the composition of the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy Board and eliminated two citizen members unaffiliated with law enforcement. She said the would have insulated the board from any civilian oversight and reduced accountability. The veto strikes down a bill that also included an increase in financial payouts to relatives of officers killed in the line of duty. The governor voiced no objection to that provision.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has signed a $7.4 billion general fund spending plan for the coming fiscal year that boosts state funding for public education, early childhood services and more. But Lujan Grisham also used her veto pen to assert sole authority over $1.6 billion in new federal relief funding to the state. General fund spending will increase by 5% during the fiscal year that starts July 1, with more than one-third of the increase directed toward education. The governor vetoed the Legislature's recommendations for spending more than $1 billion in federal relief money on unemployment benefits, scholarships and financially strapped state museums.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Health officials say one-third of New Mexico adults are now fully vaccinated. The state Health Department made the announcement Friday. Health Secretary Dr. Tracie Collins says the state's vaccination campaign is working and New Mexico is moving faster than any other state toward herd immunity. Overall, more than half of New Mexico residents 16 and older have received at least a first shot, putting New Mexico in the lead for vaccine distribution nationwide. The state received more than 131,000 doses this week, marking a 35% increase. Next week's allocation won't be as high, with just under 110,000 doses expected.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's sole Republican member of Congress is asking Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to deploy New Mexico National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border. U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell said in a letter sent Friday that the state is on the front lines as more migrant families and unaccompanied children arrive. Herrell said the influx amounts to a public health threat and that New Mexico stands to lose the progress it has made in curbing the coronavirus pandemic. But Lujan Grisham's office is suggesting Herrell direct her concerns to the federal government. U.S. border authorities picked up nearly 19,000 children traveling the country alone in March. That's the largest monthly number ever recorded.


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. 


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.


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.


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.