Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 1:20 a.m. MST
- LEGISLATURE-NEW MEXICO
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico legislators have advanced a pillar of the governor's tough-on-crime agenda with House approval of a bill that increases penalties for some murder and attempted-murder charges and eliminates the statue of limitations for filing those charges. The state House voted 66-0 to endorse the bipartisan crime bill Friday, moving deliberations to the Senate. The basic sentence for attempted murder would increase from three years in prison to nine years, and the sentence for second-degree murder would increase from 15 years to 18 years. Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham earlier this week expressed frustration with the pace of legislative work on anti-crime bills.
- STATE POLICE OFFICER SHOT
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico State Police supervisor was shot Friday morning along a highway east of Albuquerque. State Police Chief Tim Johnson says the supervisor is expected to make a full recovery. The shooting happened along a highway east of Albuquerque after the supervisor pursued a vehicle that had rammed his patrol car. The supervisor hasn't been identified. Police say he was able to return gunfire despite his injuries. Johnson said late Friday afternoon that police are questioning people who they believe were tied to the shooting.
- PROTECTING LOCAL JUDGES-NEW MEXICO
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico legislators are considering new criminal penalties aimed at protecting state and local judges and their immediate families from threats and the malicious sharing of home addresses and other personal information. The New Mexico bill would make it a felony to threaten a judge or their immediate family with the intent to instill fear of physical harm, retaliate against a judicial decision or interrupt a judge's official duties. The malicious sharing of personal information — or doxxing — could trigger misdemeanor sanctions. A House floor debate and vote could take place as soon as Friday. New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas has signaled support for the initiative.
- VOTING RIGHTS-NEW MEXICO
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A Democrat-backed bill to expand voting access in New Mexico is advancing toward a Senate floor vote. A legislative panel endorsed the bill on a 6-5 vote Thursday, clearing the way for debate on the Senate floor. Lawmakers have until Feb. 17 to approve bills during a rapid-fire 30-day legislative session. The bill as recently amended would make Election Day a holiday for public schools, provide convicted felons with the opportunity to register to vote as they exit prison and distribute mail-in ballots year-after-year to people who prefer them. Currently absentee ballots are available by request only for each election.
- BC-NM-APARTMENT FIRE-BURN VICTIM DIES
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Authorities say a woman who was seriously burned in a northeast Albuquerque apartment fire last month has died. Albuquerque police say 29-year-old Ashleigh Keeto died from her injuries Monday at a burn center in Lubbock, Texas. Police spokeswoman Rebecca Atkins told the Albuquerque Journal that Keeto's death is being investigated as a homicide based on information from arson investigators. Keeto and a man were pulled from the fire and both were hospitalized in critical condition with burns and smoke inhalation. A medical update in the male victim wasn't immediately available Thursday.
- LEGISLATURE-NEW MEXICO
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Democratic New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is expressing optimism that legislators will embrace her proposals for tax cuts with a little over a week left in the annual regular legislative session. Her comments Wednesday were coupled with disbelief that legislators in the Democratic majority are hesitating the back major crime-fighting initiatives. The governor also said she is determined to expand voting access through legislation, and is confident that New Mexico will offer some incentives to spur local hydrogen fuel development. Republican legislators say their Democratic colleagues are straying from core obligations to public safety. Lujan Grisham is running for reelection in November.
- BC-NM-STATE REGULATORS-ROLLING BLACKOUTS
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Regulators in New Mexico are trying to work with utilities to deal with supply chain problems that could threaten adequate power availability during peak consumer demand this summer. The five-member Public Regulation Commission held an open public meeting Wednesday as they consider emergency measures to mitigate the looming crisis of rolling blackouts. Public Service Company of New Mexico has said it may not have enough generating capacity for customers in the hottest months of July and August when electricity demand climbs to its highest levels. Pandemic-induced supply-chain issues also have delayed the construction of four new solar facilities that were supposed to replace power from the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station when that plant shuts down in June.
- WILDFIRE THREAT-WINTER
AZTEC, N.M. (AP) — A fire official in northwestern New Mexico says there's an active wildfire threat in the region despite it still being winter. Capt. Tony Herrera, the wildland coordinator for San Juan County Fire and Rescue, said fire dangers generally diminish during winter but there has been heightened fire activity due to dry conditions. Herrera said recent snowfall provided much-needed moisture but it hasn't been enough to provide enough relief as the state moves toward warmer weather. Herrera said his agency and the Bloomfield Fire Department on Monday night both had to deal with brushfire sand that people need to be cautious.