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Local and State News

Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. MST

  • LEGISLATURE-MARIJUANA WATER RIGHTS

Marijuana bill spurs water rights debate in arid New MexicoALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Hispanic farmers and rural residents in New Mexico are concerned legislation that would allow small cannabis producers to boost their plant counts lacks any provision to ensure the producers have valid water rights. The arid state already is struggling to meet its water demands. Supplies are expected to dwindle even more as drought persists across the West. Critics worry that without the water rights requirement, the illegal use of water could go unchecked as the recreational marijuana industry takes off. Supporters of the legislation have described the requirement as "red tape." State water officials have received about three dozen cannabis business applications for review and verification of water rights.

  • POLICE SHOOTING-TORRANCE COUNTY

Police: Man fatally shot after report of domestic violenceEDGEWOOD, N.M. (AP) — Authorities say the fatal shooting of an Edgewood man by Torrance County sheriff's deputies stemmed from a domestic violence incident. A New Mexico State Police statement said two deputies shot 37-year-old Travis Boawn while investigating a report that Boawn allegedly attacked a woman with a claw hammer inside their shared residence on Monday. According to the statement, the Sheriff's Office got a 911 call reporting that a local medical center had a patient with injuries suffered in a domestic violence incident. The statement said didn't say what led up the shooting of Boawn at the residence. No other identities were released.

  • LEGISLATURE-LAWMAKER ARREST

Santa Fe Police: Lawmaker drove at twice legal alcohol limitSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A police report says the lawmaker caught drinking and driving Sunday night blew a breathalyzer test indicating she was at more than twice the legal limit. The police account released Tuesday says Democratic Rep. Georgene Louis' blood alcohol content was measured at 0.17. The legal limit in New Mexico is 0.08. Louis has apologized in a statement accepting responsibility for her actions and apologizing to her constituents. Louis has been absent for some votes at the Capitol, where lawmakers have been hammering out the state budget and considering major bills on crime, taxation and education. She was seen voting in a virtual hearing Tuesday evening.

  • POLICING-NEW MEXICO

Legislature focuses on training, deterrence to fight crimeSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico legislators have bundled together initiatives aimed at reducing violent crime and improving policing with an emphasis on hiring, training and tracking excessive force incidents. The move comes amid calls from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to crack down on urban crime and violence. A Senate panel on criminal justice continued to refine the crime bill on Tuesday with time running out on a 30-day legislative session that ends Thursday. The bill boosts retention pay and death benefits for police, shores up training and would prompt tracking of excessive force reports and related firings. It underwrites alternatives to traditional prosecution and incarceration in efforts to stem gun violence.

  • AP-US-ALBUQUERQUE-STABBINGS

Prosecutors: 'Hard to imagine a person more dangerous'ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Prosecutors are seeking to keep in custody a homeless man suspected of stabbing 11 people in a matter of hours as he rode a bicycle around Albuquerque on Sunday. Tobias Gutierrez, who has a lengthy criminal history, appeared in court virtually Tuesday on charges of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. A public safety assessment tool used by judges to determine whether a defendant can be released pending trial recommended that Gutierrez be released. But prosecutors argue that he is dangerous and that no conditions of release could guarantee the community's safety. The case comes as legislative efforts to overhaul the state's troubled pretrial release program have all but stalled. 

  • ALEC BALDWIN-SET SHOOTING

Alec Baldwin sued by family of cinematographer killed on setLOS ANGELES (AP) — Attorneys for the family of a cinematographer shot and killed on the set of the film "Rust" are suing Alec Baldwin and the movie's producers for wrongful death. Lawyers for Halyna Hutchins' family announced a lawsuit filed in the name of Hutchins' husband and their son at a Los Angeles news conference Tuesday. At least four other lawsuits have been filed over the shooting, but this is the first directly tied to one of the two people shot. Baldwin was pointing a gun at Hutchins during setup for filming in New Mexico on Oct. 21 when it went off, killing Hutchins and wounding the director, Joel Souza. Baldwin's attorney responded to the lawsuit by saying any claim he was reckless is "entirely false." 

  • LEGISLATURE-EDUCATION RAISES

Lawmakers approve $10k raises for many New Mexico teachersSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Many teachers across New Mexico can expect a pay increase next school year after the state House voted unanimously to raise minimum salaries by $10,000. Monday night's vote marked the last legislative hurdle for the bill. The Senate unanimously approved the measure last week. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is expected to sign the bill. Starting teachers earning the current minimum of $40,000 would make $50,000 for a standard nine-month contract, an increase of 22%. Higher-paid teachers would benefit less depending on their district. Lawmakers are considering raises for other school workers in the final days of the legislative session, which ends Thursday.

  • NAVAJOS-VOTING RIGHTS

Navajo Nation sues New Mexico county over redistricting mapFARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — The Navajo Nation is suing San Juan County over a recently adopted map that will determine political boundaries for the northwestern New Mexico county through 2030. The tribal government, its human rights commission and five tribal members filed a federal lawsuit filed last week. It claims that the county commission violated the Voting Rights Act by approving a map that packs Native American voters into a single district. The lawsuit states that the map approved by the commission in December deprives Native American voters of an "equal opportunity" to elect candidates of their choice in four districts. The county declined to comment on the lawsuit.