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Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. MST

  • Sen. Luján suffers stroke, expected to make 'full recovery'

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Sen. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico is expected to make a full recovery after suffering a stroke and being hospitalized last week, when he began to experience dizziness and fatigue. The 49-year-old Democrat checked himself into a hospital in Santa Fe on Thursday. His chief of staff says the senator was then transferred to a hospital in Albuquerque for further evaluation. He then underwent decompressive surgery to ease the swelling he was experiencing. Luján remains in the hospital and is expected to make a full recovery, his office says. 

  • New Mexico debates bill to block spent nuclear fuel storage

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and members of New Mexico's congressional delegation already have voiced strong opposition to building a multibillion-dollar facility that would store tons of spent nuclear fuel from commercial power plants. Now, the Legislature is considering a bill that supporters say would keep New Mexico from becoming the nation's de facto permanent dumping ground for nuclear waste. Top New Mexico officials contend the Nuclear Regulatory Commission hasn't done enough to vet plans to build the facility. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has also expressed his opposition to the plan, which also calls for a facility in his state. Both states have sued the federal government over the issue.

  • Republicans crowd into primary race for governor, Congress

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Candidates are crowding into the Republican primary election to challenge Democratic New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham as well as first-term Congresswoman Melanie Stansbury of Albuquerque in a newly drawn First District. New Mexico's 2022 election landscape came into sharp focus on Tuesday during the one-day registration period for primary contestants to pursue major-party nominations that include the Libertarian Party. Democrats control every statewide elected office, as Lujan Grisham seeks a second term. Republican contenders for governor include former television meteorologist Mark Ronchetti, state Rep. Rebecca Dow and Sandoval County Commissioner Jay Block. First-term congresswomen are defending all three New Mexico congressional districts under newly drawn political boundaries.

  • New Mexico state spending plan advances toward House vote

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A proposal to increase to annual state general fund spending by $1 billion advanced toward a House floor vote with the backing of key Democrats in the legislative majority and some Republicans. The lead House budget-writing committee endorsed the legislation Tuesday on a 15-3 vote. The $8.5 billion spending plan sets aside $400 million for a variety of possible tax cuts. The budget plan would channel a windfall of state income linked to federal pandemic relief and surging oil production to shore up resources for public education, health care, policing and infrastructure. The proposal expands programs for tuition-free college postnatal Medicaid coverage for mothers. 

  • Winter storm packing snow, freezing rain moves across US

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A major winter storm with millions of Americans in its path brought a mix of rain, freezing rain and snow to the middle section of the United States as airlines canceled hundreds of flights, governors urged residents to stay off roads and schools closed campuses. The blast of frigid weather, which began arriving Tuesday night, put a long stretch of states from New Mexico and Colorado to Maine under winter storm warnings and watches. Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan saw freezing rain, sleet and snow on Wednesday morning. More than a foot of snow was possible in parts of Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Michigan by the time the storm moves through.

  • Native American tribes reach $590 million opioid settlement

Native American tribes have reached opioid settlements worth over a half-billion dollars with drugmaker Johnson & Johnson and three distributors. A federal court filing Tuesday in Cleveland describes $590 million in settlements with the New Jersey-based drugmaker along with distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson. Some tribes have been hit particularly hard by an overdose and addiction crisis that has been linked to more than 500,000 U.S. deaths. The leader of one tribe says the money will help its efforts to build a healing center. Johnson & Johnson says the settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing. AmerisourceBergen says the deal will expedite help for communities.

  • NMSU suspends concession sales to increase mask compliance

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico State University is suspending food and beverage sales during indoor spotting events because of what the university says is inconsistent compliance with the state's indoor mask mandate. The university said in a statement Monday that the suspension of concession sales will remain in effect until New Mexico's mask mandate is lifted statewide. Chancellor Dan Arvizu said in the meantime that event staff and law enforcement personnel will enforce mask-wearing and fans unwilling to comply will be asked to leave. Arvizu cited the failure of many fans to wear masks during Saturday's home basketball game "was cause for grave concern." 

  • Hackers prey on public schools, adding stress amid pandemic

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Cybersecurity experts say that ransomware attacks on K-12 schools have increased during the pandemic. Cyberattacks have crippled schools in recent weeks as teachers become more reliant on computers to take attendance and deliver lessons. Before the pandemic, cyber hacks of schools rarely led to canceled classes. Snow days are less frequent because children can learn from home when there's bad weather. But this month at least two schools in New Mexico and Wisconsin took "cyber snow days," canceling classes to repair the damage from attacks by hackers. Disruptions of software used to record attendance and grades make teaching even more stressful on top of COVID-19 protocols and staffing shortages.