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


New Mexico unit to specialize on Indigenous crime victimsALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Prosecutors in New Mexico's busiest judicial district and the state Indian Affairs Department are teaming up to create a special investigative unit to focus on cases of missing and slain Native Americans. State Indian Affairs Secretary Lynn Trujillo and Bernalillo County District Attorney Raúl Torrez announced the memorandum of understanding Thursday to create the unit. The team within the district attorney's office will help a statewide task force with analysis, case investigations and interventions. Officials said New Mexico has the fifth-largest Native American population in the U.S. and the highest number of Indigenous people who have been killed or are missing in the country. 


New Mexico governor approves 3-district congressional mapSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's Democratic governor has signed legislation to redraw the state's three congressional districts and divide a conservative stronghold into multiple districts over the objections of Republicans. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said Friday that new congressional map gives a baseline for competitive federal elections without giving any party or candidate an unfair advantage. Consultants to the Legislature say the new congressional map gives Democrats an advantage in all three districts to varying degrees. Republicans need a net gain of five seats in 2022 to take control of the U.S. House and effectively freeze President Joe Biden's agenda.


New Mexico authorities issue warrant for Baldwin's phoneSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Authorities have issued a search warrant for Alec Baldwin's cell phone, saying it could hold evidence that might be helpful as they investigate a deadly shooting on a New Mexico film set. Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed and director Joel Souza was wounded in the Oct. 21 shooting on the Bonanza Creek Ranch film set near Santa Fe. Baldwin was holding the gun during rehearsal when it fired. He has maintained that he didn't pull the trigger, only that he had cocked the hammer. Authorities have been trying to determine where the live rounds found on the set came from. 


Arrest warrant issued for man in hit-and-run that killed boyALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — An arrest warrant has been issued for a Belen man in the hit-and-run death of a 7-year-boy struck by an off-road vehicle as his family crossed a street after a holiday event at the Albuquerque BioPark. Police said Sergio Almanza was not at his home Thursday and he's now considered a fugitive. Police say multiple tips and witness statements led investigators to Almanza, who is suspected of running a red light Sunday and striking Pronoy Bhattacharya. Almanza is accused of homicide by vehicle, great bodily harm, leaving the scene of an accident with great bodily harm, and tampering with evidence. 


New Mexico Legislature sends pandemic aid bill to governorSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A spending bill is on it's way to New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham that would allocate $478 million in federal pandemic aid toward highways, internet infrastructure, tourism ads, hospital construction and more. The state House approved Thursday final changes from the Senate, sending the bill to the Democratic governor. The legislature is meeting in a special session to redraw congressional and legislative political districts to conform with population shifts in the 2020 national census. Lujan Grisham has urged quick deployment of federal relief aid. She has veto authority over any and all portions of the bill.


Tribes prevail as redistricting plans advance in New MexicoSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Democrat-led New Mexico state Senate has endorsed a new map for its own political boundaries that embraces recommendations from Native American communities for shoring up Indigenous voting blocs in the northwest of the state. The plan won Senate approval Thursday in a 25-13 vote. Republicans opposed the bill in unison, noting it would pit two incumbent Hispanic Republicans against each other for the same seat in the next election. The bill moves to the House for consideration. Democratic state Sen. Shannon Pinto, a Navajo Nation member from Tohatchi, described her vote for the bill as a gesture of appreciation for sovereign tribal nations.


New Mexico regulators deny utility's exit from coal plantSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico regulators have denied a request by the state's largest electric provider to unload its shares in one of the Southwest's few remaining coal-fired power plants by transferring them to a Navajo energy company. The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission voted unanimously Wednesday to reject the plan. Commissioners said Public Service Co. of New Mexico didn't specify how the lost power would be replaced. They also had concerns about investments that the utility sought to recover through bonds that would be paid back by customers over a 25-year period. The utility could appeal the decision.