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Local and State News

Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 1:20 a.m. MDT

  • Demolition of Bernolillo County' s closed jail underway

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The months-long process of demolishing Bernolillo County's long-closed old jail has started in downtown Albuquerque. KRQE-TV reports that a construction company's crews are working inside the building to remove fixtures and other items for recycling or for safety reasons. Demolition and creation of the parking area is expected to take roughly 10 months at a cost of about $2.4 million. The building had not been used as a jail for about a decade. The plan is to use the property for a 150-sapce parking lot for county vehicles, as least until a better use surfaces.

  • New Mexico governor vetoes include police oversight reforms

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.

  • Navajo Nation reports 26 new COVID-19 cases, orders lockdown

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation has issued a stay-at-home order for the weekend after reporting 26 more confirmed COVID-19 cases. The latest figures bring the total number of cases on the tribe's reservation, which includes parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, to 30,239. No additional deaths were reported. The current death toll is 1,260. The weekend stay-at-home order follows an increase of infections and the announcement this week of the first confirmed case of the COVID-19 B.1.429 variant on the Navajo Nation. The variant was first identified in the state of California and has since been detected across the southwest U.S.  

  • New Mexico governor signs $7.4B state budget, vetoes relief

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.

  • Official: New Mexico moving faster toward herd immunity

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.

  • New Mexico governor gets request to send troops to US border

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.

  • US to keep migrant families in hotels as amid rush for space

Migrant families will be held at hotels in the Phoenix area in response to a growing number of people crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, another step in the Biden's administration rush to set up temporary space. U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema's office says it was told U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will occupy "several hotels along the southwest border, including in Chandler and Phoenix." Contractor Endeavors Inc. has beds available at hotels in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler and the Texas cities of El Paso and Cotulla. As more migrants cross, only about one in three families picked up by the Border Patrol last month was quickly expelled from the U.S.

  • Navajo-Gallup water project advances after agency agreement

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.