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Local and State News

Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 a.m. MST

  • Democratic lawmakers seek incentives for hydrogen production

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico legislators arn array of financial incentives aimed at fostering hydrogen production in New Mexico. Incentives such as tax credits, tax deductions and publicly sponsored loans are included in the bill published Tuesday. Environmentalists are wary of the environmental impacts of hydrogen production in New Mexico using natural gas as an energy source and feed stock. Leading Democratic legislators and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham are backing efforts to ramp up hydrogen production in New Mexico to spur employment and economic growth.

  • Legislators shun bill to halt tax on Social Security income

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A bill to do away with New Mexico's tax on Social Security income for middle- and upper-income residents has faltered at an initial public hearing, highlighting reluctance among many Democratic legislators. The state already exempts low-income beneficiaries from the tax. A state House panel declined Tuesday to endorse legislation that would gradually eliminate the tax by 2026, on a tie 4-4 vote with Democrats in opposition. Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham endorsed a Social Security tax cut earlier this month in her State of the State speech, with several bills pending. Eliminating income tax on Social Security benefits would reduce annual general fund revenues by as much as $160 million.

  • New Mexico lawmakers propose$1 million for 'baby boxes'

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Two lawmakers are proposing money for "baby boxes" in every New Mexico county where parents can leave their newborns anonymously. The proposal comes in the wake of a near-tragedy in Hobbs, where police say an 18-year-old placed her baby in a dumpster. State law already allows parents to abandon newborns without facing criminal liability, but only if they approach police officers, firefighters or certain health care workers. Police are promising to increase awareness of the existing program. Sponsors of the baby box legislation say the measure would further reduce unsafe child abandonment with the promise of anonymity.

  • More fields could go unplanted under New Mexico water plan

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's top water adviser is warning New Mexico lawmakers that spring runoff is expected to be grim. Mike Hamman legislative committee members Tuesday that short-term voluntary water conservation programs like leaving some agricultural fields unplanted for a season or two would help New Mexico meet its water delivery obligations to neighboring states. Other southwestern U.S. water users are already taking action such as leaving water in Lake Mead and sending more water to Lake Powell to ensure obligations along the Colorado River can be met. In New Mexico, officials are seeking a $48 million appropriation to expand the program that pays farmers to leave fields fallow. 

  • US plans more wild horse roundups this year than ever before

RENO, Nev. (AP) — The U.S. government plans to capture more wild horses on federal lands this year than ever before. The Bureau of Land Management plans to permanently remove at least 19,000 horses and burros this year, about 70% more than the previous high a year ago. The plan is drawing sharp criticism from mustang advocates who hoped the Biden administration would curtail the annual roundups. Critics say it's a continuation of a decades-old policy that kowtows to ranchers who don't want horses competing with their livestock for limited forage on public land. The National Cattlemen's Beef Association says the roundups are an important part of the process of bringing the horse herds into balance with the range.

  • Holland scores 22 to carry Fresno St. over New Mexico 65-60

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Anthony Holland scored a career-high 22 points and Orlando Brown scored 11 and Fresno State beat New Mexico 65-60. Jaelen House had 19 points for the Lobos.

  • New Mexico may tax tickets to space on Virgin Galactic

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — Pity the poor space flight passenger: Flying up up and away from Earth could get even more expensive as New Mexico lawmakers consider taxing the tickets on Virgin Galactic. A bipartisan bill in the state Legislature would close a loophole excluding spaceflight passenger tickets from gross receipts taxes. The move aims to harvest revenue as Virgin Galactic prepares for regular commercial service. The company told investors it had about 700 reservations already. With the ticket price of $450,000, the tax would be at least $31,000. Virgin Galactic said it will continue working with the state to grow aerospace in New Mexico.

  • Bureau of Land Management: Petroglyphs damaged near Santa Fe

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Federal officials are investigating spray-painted graffiti and other damage to petroglyphs dating back thousands of years at a site west of Santa Fe. A U.S. Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman says the damage to La Cieneguilla Petroglyphs likely occurred Jan. 18. The agency's field office in Taos has ordered supplies to try and remove the paint, but the agency says the long-term effects are unknown. According to a news release, those convicted of damaging cultural sites face penalties of up to two years in prison and a $20,000 fine per charge under the Archaeological Resources Protection Act.