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Local and State News

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

  • LEGISLATURE-NEW MEXICO

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A broad suit of crime-fighting initiatives has won legislative approval as lawmakers grapple with concerns about a surge in violent crime in Albuquerque. Approved Thursday on a voice vote of the House, the bill responds in part to calls by Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham for a hardline response to crime as she campaigns for reelection in November. It would expand surveillance of criminal defendants as they await trial with 24-hour monitoring of ankle-bracelet tracking devices. Legislators balked at proposals to ban pretrial release for people accused of some serious crimes. They chose to expand police training and oversight, with funding for alternatives to traditional prosecution and incarceration.

  • AP-US-COWBOYS-FOR-TRUMP

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A federal appeals court has turned away a constitutional challenge by the support group Cowboys for Trump and co-founder Couy Griffin to New Mexico election laws and registration requirements for political groups. The Denver-based U.S. 10th District Court of Appeals declined to reverse a lower court ruling that upheld state registration requirements for Cowboys for Trump as a political organization. Griffin filed a district court lawsuit in 2020 amid mounting pressure on the Cowboys for Trump to register as a political committee in New Mexico and possibly disclose information on expenditures and contributions.

  • BC-US-VIRUS-OUTBREAK-SOLDIERS-AS-TEACHERS

ALAMOGORDO, N.M. (AP) — Dozens of National Guard Army and Air Force troops in New Mexico have been stepping in to fill a shortage of teachers in schools. It's the only state in the U.S. calling on its national guard soldiers to put down mission briefs and pick up lesson plans. Roughly 80 service members have volunteered to work in schools. New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham says it's a temporary measure as state officials work to bolster the number of teachers and school staff. The soldiers have gone through background checks and taken brief courses required for substitute teachers before entering the classrooms.

  • LAWMAKER ARREST VIDEO

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Video released by police Wednesday shows new details of the drunk driving arrest of a prominent Democratic lawmaker. The video of Albuquerque Rep. Georgene Louis' traffic stop for suspected speeding shows that she told an officer she was a legislator during a conversation about her drinking Sunday night. The video shows her admitting to drinking vodka sodas, and the officer saying her eyes look watery. That's when she tells him that she's tired because she is a legislator. The video shows her pulling out a credential that shows she's a member of the state House. It shows her being arrested after a sobriety test.

  • NEW MEXICO ENERGY FUTURE

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico regulators have approved a plan that calls for new solar generation to replace what will be lost when Public Service Co. of New Mexico stops buying electricity from the Palo Verde nuclear plant in Arizona. The utility will lose 114 megawatts after its two Palo Verde leases expire — one in 2023 and the other in 2024. The Public Regulation Commission made its decision Wednesday, but the utility said it came too late. That means some of the contracts to build the solar facilities will have to be renegotiated with independent energy developers, delaying the projects even more.

  • LEGISLATURE-MARIJUANA WATER RIGHTS

ALBUQUERQUE, 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 a 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 more than three dozen cannabis business applications for review and verification of water rights.

  • EDUCATION-SOCIAL STUDIES

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Public Education Department has issued a final rule structuring the K-12 social studies curriculum. The new rule announced Wednesday will overhaul standards for history, economics and civics classes in New Mexico's public schools in two years. The changes follow a 17-month process in which state officials considered drafts written by school teachers and public comments. The revised, final standards preserve terms like "privilege or systemic inequity" that white and Hispanic opponents decried as racist. Supporters of the new standards say they better represent New Mexico's diversity and will be more engaging to more students.

  • POLICE SHOOTING-TORRANCE COUNTY

EDGEWOOD, 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.