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


New Mexico Democrats seek sweeping voting access changesSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A proposed statewide holiday on Election Day. Automated restoration of voting rights for ex-convicts. More time to distribute and count absentee ballots. Democratic lawmakers have a lengthy wish list in New Mexico as they seek to expand access to voting after record-setting participation in the 2020 election. New Mexico's first Black state senator is Harold Pope of Albuquerque and he is cosponsoring the legislation with Democratic Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth of Santa Fe. Their bill was published Tuesday. Republicans warn the changes would lead to election fraud and confusion. The fast-paced 30-day legislative session ends on Feb. 17.


Man gets 10 years in prison for 11th, 12th DWI convictionsA 44-year-old Gallup man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to DWI and other charges in two cases that  resulting in his 11th and 12th DWI convictions. Under a plea agreement with prosecutors, Maynard Miller on Monday pleaded guilty to DWI in each of the two latest cases and to nne count each of DWI-related driving while revoked and possession of a firearm by a felon. District Judge Robert Aragon said he felt both sympathy for Miller and relief that Miller would be off the street. The judge told Miller he was lucky to be alive.


Labor authority tries again to end immigration judges unionWASHINGTON (AP) — A federal labor authority has sought for a second time to strip the collective bargaining powers of a national union for U.S. immigration judges. In a ruling late last week, the Federal Labor Relations Authority determined that the country's more than 500 immigration judges can't belong to an employee union because they are akin to management. The move sparked outcry from the immigration judges since their employer, the Justice Department, under President Joe Biden isn't seeking to end the union in a marked contrast from the Trump administration. The Justice Department didn't immediately respond to a message seeking comment.


New Mexico county seeking help with jail staffing shortageALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's most populous county is looking for help with staffing shortages at the Metropolitan Detention Center. Bernalillo County commissioners on Tuesday approved an emergency resolution outlining several potential ways to boost ranks at jail, from improving recruitment to requesting outside manpower. That might include seeking assistance from the New Mexico National Guard and exploring the use of medical school interns. Hiring enough correctional officers to fully staff the jail has been a long-term problem for the county that has been exacerbated by the pandemic. County officials said the staffing shortage has "impacted some operations" at the jail but they did not provide details.


Weather service warns of slick, hazardous driving conditionsALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The National Weather Service on Wednesday warned of slick and hazardous driving conditions across parts of eastern New Mexico due to snowfall and reduced visibility. A winter storm warning was issued for the northeastern highlands and parts of San Miguel County through 11 a.m. where the weather service said snow accumulations could total between 3 inches and 7 inches. Lesser amounts of snow were forecast for Santa Fe and portions of central, east-central, north-central, northeastern and southeastern New Mexico.


New Mexico officials expect to omicron surge will peak soonALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico health officials are expecting the surge in COVID-19 infections to peak within the coming week. State Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. David Scrase told reporters Wednesday that the omicron variant is running out of people in New Mexico to infect. Still, he told health care administrators earlier in the day that New Mexico is not at a point where public health orders or the mask mandate can be lifted. Confirmed cases have been reported in more than 21% of New Mexicans. Congresswoman Melanie Stansbury is among those who have tested positive. She says she's quarantining at home.


Biden picks 6 lawyers for US prosecutor posts, diverse groupWASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden has nominated six lawyers to run U.S. attorney's offices across the country. The nominees announced by the White House on Wednesday for the top law enforcement positions would run the federal prosecutors' offices in Alaska, Connecticut, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico and Utah. They are a diverse group and would include several firsts, such as the first woman to serve as U.S. attorney in Utah and the first Black woman to serve as U.S. attorney in Connecticut. The Justice Department's 93 U.S. attorneys are responsible for federal criminal prosecutions.


Democratic lawmakers seek incentives for hydrogen productionSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico legislators are proposing an 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.