Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 p.m. MST
- LEGISLATURE CONVENES-NEW MEXICO
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico legislators are preparing to tap into an unprecedented windfall of state income to shore up resources for public education, policing, health care and more in a 30-day legislative session. The session started Tuesday amid a resurgent coronavirus that has prompted nearby school closures in Santa Fe. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is calling on the Legislature to support new investments in teacher salaries, tuition-free college, the expansion of police forces and care for aging military veterans — while slashing taxes on sales and Social Security benefits. The Democrat is campaigning for reelection to a second term.
- MARIJUANA-NEW MEXICO
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico regulators have doubled the number of marijuana plants that licensed growers can cultivate as the state prepares for recreational sales to start this spring. Cannabis Control Division Director Kristen Thomson said Tuesday that increasing the plant count makes sense "to ensure that everyone can maximize the benefits of a thriving cannabis industry." But some in the industry are concerned that the change is too little and too late to meet demand because of the time it takes to put in place infrastructure and for plants to grow. The state has issued 30 new producer licenses so far and has renewed licenses for 34 existing medical cannabis producers.
- ALBUQUERQUE-PEDESTRIAN DEATHS
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque officials are renewing their pledge to prevent pedestrian deaths as New Mexico sees the highest number of them in a decade. KRQE-TV reports a new director will oversee Albuquerque's Vision Zero initiative Tuesday, working with a $4 million budget to design more secure roads and pedestrian crossings. Mayor Tim Keller announced the Vision Zero program in 2019 with an aim to eliminate pedestrian fatalities by 2040. But for the past two years, there have still been dozens of pedestrian deaths in Albuquerque each year. According to the New Mexico Department of Transportation, 99 pedestrians were killed on New Mexico roadways last year. That is a significant bump from 81 in 2020.
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has announced another round of tribal housing grants. The $83 million will benefit 74 tribes across the country, boosting the amount awarded through the American Rescue Plan Act to over $200 million. The Oglala Sioux Tribe in South Dakota is among the beneficiaries. The tribe will use a $3.4 million grant to bring water to 30 homes and to finish work on the tribe's new emergency management building. Other tribes are using funding announced Tuesday to buy mobile medical units and build housing. HUD says it still has about $70 million in grants to award.
- ALBUQUERQUE SCHOOLS-CYBERATTACK
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Public schools in Albuquerque will reopen Tuesday after a cyberattack forced a two-day closure. The Albuquerque Public Schools district serves one-fifth of New Mexico's public grade school students. Officials discovered problems last Wednesday with the district's student information system that tracks attendance, grades and emergency contact information. Officials say they've found a workaround to the problem so students can return to class Tuesday. Students will have to make up the two days they missed in May. The investigation into the cyberattack is ongoing.
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NAVAJO NATION
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — Health facilities on the Navajo Nation are increasing the ability to test for COVID-19 and vaccinate people as the omicron variant spreads. Navajo President Jonathan Nez says the facilities also are working to give out more home testing kids in January while cases are surging. The tribe reported 179 additional cases of the coronavirus on Monday and no deaths. The tribe says a full report with total case counts during the pandemic will be available Tuesday. The death toll remains at 1,600. The vast reservation extends into Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.
- ALBUQUERQUE-POSSIBLY CONNECTED DEATHS
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Police investigating what they thought were two deaths in northeast Albuquerque involving a shooting and a pedestrian struck by a vehicle now say the cases are connected and only one person is involved. They now say a man shot around 2 a.m. Sunday actually was the same person believed to have been struck and killed by a vehicle less than a half mile away. They say the victim in the street was found to have a gunshot wound and investigators concluded he was the victim of the shooting at a home. The name and age of the man hasn't been released yet.
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NAVAJO NATION
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez has signed an executive order requiring all government workers on the tribe's vast reservation to have a booster shot. Nez also says tribal health officials have changed how the term "fully vaccinated" is defined by making it two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine plus a booster shot. The actions come after a record number of COVID cases have been reported on the reservation that covers 27,000 square miles and extends into parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. Tribal health officials reported 525 new cases Friday, the most in a single day since the pandemic began almost two years ago. That number topped the 405 cases reported Thursday. The tribe reported 62 cases Saturday, but no reported deaths from the virus in the last three days.