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Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 4:20 p.m. MST

  • BC-NM-FATAL HIT AND RUN-SUSPECT INDICTED

Belen man indicted in hit-and-run crash that left a boy deadALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Authorities say a driver suspected in a December hit-and-run that left a 7-year-old boy dead in Albuquerque has been indicted. Prosecutors say 27-year-old Sergio Almanza of Belen is facing six charges in the case including homicide by vehicle, driving while under the influence, leaving the scene of a fatal accident and tampering with evidence. Almanza surrendered to authorities in southwest New Mexico seven weeks after the fatal crash. He remains jailed without bond and is scheduled to be arraigned Feb. 14. Authorities say Pronoy Bhattacharya was with his family on Dec. 12 as they walked across a street. Police say Almanza was driving an illegal off-road vehicle and allegedly ran a red light before hitting the boy and then fleeing the scene.

  • NEW MEXICO-FERAL CATTLE

Plan to gun down feral cattle spurs concern among ranchersALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — One national forest near the New Mexico-Arizona border has had a problem with feral cattle for years. Federal wildlife agents plan to put more of a dent in the population next week by gunning down the animals via helicopter. But the New Mexico Cattle Growers' Association is concerned about the agents' ability to delineate branded from unbranded livestock. There also are concerns that leaving cow carcasses on the landscape will only help attract wolves and put livestock at greater risk of predation. Federal officials say the unbranded and unauthorized cattle pose a threat to the environment and need to be removed from within the Gila Wilderness.

  • VOTING RIGHTS-NEW MEXICO

New Mexico voting bill stalls in Democratic-led LegislatureSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A state Senate panel has delayed action for a second time on a Democrat-backed bill to expand voting access in New Mexico with provisions to further automate voter registration, streamline mail-in voting, turning Election Day into a state holiday and more. The initiative stalled in a nine-hour legislative hearing marked by fiery public comments and a marathon debate. Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham backs the changes. Republican legislators sought to derail major provisions. At least 19 states have enacted voting restrictions since the 2020 election. The national GOP campaign to tighten voting laws has been partly driven by former President Donald Trump's false claims that the election was stolen.

  • PETROGLYPHS DAMAGED

Reward offered for information on damage to petroglyphs siteSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico nonprofit wilderness group is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of whoever was responsible for spray-painted graffiti and other damage to petroglyphs dating back thousands of years at a site west of Santa Fe. The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance says anyone with information about the damage to La Cieneguilla Petroglyphs should call the Bureau of Land Management's dispatch center. The BLM said last month the damage likely occurred Jan. 18 and that it was under investigation. According to the BLM, 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.

  • SEATTLE-NEW MEXICO ST.

Allen scores 33 to carry New Mexico St. past Seattle 79-64LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — Teddy Allen had 33 points and 11 rebounds as New Mexico State beat Seattle 79-64 on Saturday to seize control atop the Western Athletic Conference. Darrion Trammell scored 26 points for Seattle.

  • DEMOCRATS-FRAGILE MAJORITY

History shows every moment counts for Dems' hold on SenateWASHINGTON (AP) — More than 600 sitting senators have died or resigned since the first Congress met in 1789. That doesn't mean another will happen soon. But it does underline the precarious position that President Joe Biden and Senate Democrats face after the stroke by New Mexico Democratic Sen. Ben Ray Luján. Democrats control the 50-50 Senate because of Vice President Kamala Harris' tiebreaking vote. With Luján's stroke, his party is outnumbered and can't approve bills or nominations without Republican support. Luján is 49 and Democrats say they expect him back in four weeks to six weeks. But the Senate's history of turnover underlines the tenuous Democratic hold on the chamber. 

  • LEGISLATURE-NEW MEXICO

New Mexico House endorses billion-dollar budget boostSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — State House lawmakers in New Mexico have endorsed a $1 billion increase in general fund spending to reinforce health care for the poor, teacher salaries, environmental regulation, policing and more. Lead House budget negotiator and Democratic Rep. Patricia Lundstrom of Gallup says the spending plan uses a surge in state government income to improve education, bolster public safety and spur economic growth in a state with the highest rate of childhood poverty in the American West. House Republican emphasized their support for companion tax cuts. Legislators clashed on the Senate floor over a Democrat-sponsored bill to reduce climate-warming pollution from the transportation sector by establishing a low-carbon fuel standard. 

  • AP-US-OPIOIDS-CRISIS-TRIBES

Tribes: Settlement in opioids case will foster healingMoney that will flow to Native American tribes as part of an opioid drug settlement with a major manufacturer and three distributors won't come quickly. But tribal leaders say it will play a part in healing their communities from an epidemic that has disproportionately killed Native Americans. Tribes have responded to the opioid crisis with healing and wellness centers, additional tools for law enforcement and an emphasis on culture and tradition. Many of the financial resources have been thin. Each of the 574 federally recognized tribes will be eligible for a share of $590 million from the settlement, even if they weren't part of lawsuits.