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Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 5:20 p.m. MST

Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 5:20 p.m. MST


Pandemic crisis standards to expire for New Mexico hospitals

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's top health official says COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are continuing to decline and the state is still on track to lift its crisis standards of care declaration for hospitals in the coming weeks. The declaration was issued last fall as a way to ease the strain on New Mexico's already overburdened health care system. A few hospitals enacted the standards, which cleared the way for them to ration care if necessary. They had the option of suspending procedures that weren't medically necessary if they didn't have capacity. Health Secretary Dr. David Scrase said Wednesday that the availability of hospital beds increased this week.


Court: Medical marijuana can't be taxed in New Mexico

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Supreme Court is letting stand a ruling by a lower court that found cannabis purchases by medical marijuana patients should not have been subject to gross receipts tax. The Supreme Court issued its order Wednesday. In a 2020 ruling, the New Mexico Court of Appeals likened medical marijuana to other prescriptions, which are untaxed in New Mexico. The case stemmed from requests for refunds by producers in 2014 and again in 2018. The state Taxation and Revenue Department had denied those claims. The agency said it was disappointed with the Supreme Court's decision to quash its review of the case.


Marijuana rule changes spark criticism in New Mexico

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The agency charged with setting up New Mexico's marijuana industry is proposing changes to existing rules less than a month before recreational sales are scheduled to begin. Some who are working on opening new businesses criticized the Cannabis Control Division during a public meeting Tuesday, saying the agency is playing with the rules before the game begins. Division officials have acknowledged the challenge of establishing a new industry in a little over eight months and said some changes are needed. The division has received more than 800 applications for business licenses across all sectors of the industry.


New Mexico lobbyist accuses state lawmaker of groping her

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A lobbyist for progressive advocacy groups in New Mexico has accused a leading Democratic state senator of grabbing and pinching her buttocks at a hotel reception in 2015. She is calling on the lawmaker to resign in a public letter. Lobbyist Marianna Anaya says Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto of Albuquerque groped her at a reception in Santa Fe for a teachers union. Ivey-Soto on Wednesday denied that allegation and said his interactions with the lobbyist were never sexual. Anaya vowed to file a complaint with the Legislature, which overhauled its anti-harassment policies in 2018.


As climate change costs mount, Biden seeks to price damages

HARDIN, Mont. (AP) — Economists say the costs of climate change are growing as global warming happens more quickly than expected and its impacts become better understood -- from crop losses due to drought, to lessened worker productivity because of the heat. The Biden administration wants to put a price tag on those damages to justify its climate policies. Republicans and business groups say the emphasis on future climate damages will hobble the economy, especially the energy industry. A Louisiana federal judge has blocked the administration from using an interim cost estimate of $51 in damages per ton of greenhouse gas emitted. Administration officials say that could delay dozens of pending rules and are appealing.


Study: Child poverty rising after tax credit expires

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of children in America living in poverty jumped dramatically after just one month without the expanded child tax credit payments, according to a new study. Advocates fear the lapse in payments could unravel what they say were landmark achievements in poverty reduction. Columbia University's Center on Poverty and Social Policy estimates 3.7 million more children were living in poverty by January. That's a 41% increase from December, when families received their last check. The federal aid started last July but ended after President Joe Biden's Build Back Better bill stalled in the sharply divided Congress.


New Mexico Republicans compete to appear on primary ballot

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Republican Party contenders for Congress and statewide elected office are scheduled to compete for positions on the ballot ahead of the June primary election. A pre-primary convention Saturday is scheduled to bring together local GOP delegates from across the state to meet and listen to candidates. Five contenders are seeking the Republican nomination to challenge incumbent Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, including state Rep. Rebecca Dow of Truth or Consequences, Sandoval County Commissioner Jay Block and former television meteorologist Mark Ronchetti of Albuquerque. The convention will determine who gets on the primary ballot with at least 20% of endorsement votes and who gets top billing with the highest approval.


Haaland: 16 tribal water settlements will get $1.7 billion

PHOENIX (AP) — The Biden administration will use $1.7 billion from the recently enacted federal infrastructure bill to fund 16 tribal water rights settlements. U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced the funding Tuesday during a visit to Arizona. The money will ensure that tribes get access to water they've been promised but have been unable to use because of a lack of funding for infrastructure to store and move it. Access to reliable, clean water and basic sanitation facilities on tribal lands remains a challenge for hundreds of thousands of people.