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Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 p.m. MST

Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 p.m. MST


New Mexico governor asked to stand up to more nuclear waste

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A coalition of environmentalists and nuclear watchdogs has delivered more than 1,100 petition signatures to Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. Dozens of people gathered at the state Capitol on Tuesday to ask that the Lujan Grisham administration take all steps necessary to stop any expansion of the federal government's nuclear waste repository in southeastern New Mexico. They are concerned about the potential for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant to be a disposal site for diluted plutonium. The underground repository currently takes in special boxes and barrels packed with low-level waste that consists of lab coats, rubber gloves, tools and debris contaminated with plutonium and other radioactive elements.


New Mexico Gov. signs education bills, $10k teacher raise

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is signing education bills that will increase the salaries of school workers and increase benefits for teachers. Bills passed by the Legislature last month would increase teacher salaries by between 7% and 22% depending on what they make now, and go into effect this fall. She is also signing bills aimed at getting more people to become teachers and to fund teacher pensions. One bill provides an entry-level salary for teacher residents, usually in their last year of college when they start teaching in the classroom, as well as stipends of a few thousand dollars for teachers or principals who mentor them.


New Mexico bill allows testing to prevent fentanyl deaths

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico is allowing broad access to test strips that can detect the presence of the potent opiate fentanyl and potentially help avoid deadly overdoses, under legislation signed Monday by Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. The bill from Democratic legislators in Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Los Alamos lifts restrictions on public access to devices that can test for drug impurities. Overdoses in New Mexico increasingly are linked to the ingestion of drugs laced with fentanyl. Separately, Lujan Grisham signed a legislation that provides new or expanded preferences on state contracts to bids by Native American-owned businesses based on tribal lands, resident-owned businesses and military veterans.


New Mexico Supreme Court finds stream rule unconstitutional

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Supreme Court has found that a rule allowing private landowners to limit public access to streams and rivers is unconstitutional. The court announced its decision Tuesday after hearing oral arguments in a case that centered on whether the public has a right to fish or float on streams and other waterways that flow through private property. While the debate over stream access has been ongoing across the West for years, the New Mexico court provided more clarity with its ruling on a petition filed by a coalition of anglers, rafters and conservationists. Attorneys for landowners argued that private property rights needed to be protected.


Pressure mounts for language services at New Mexico agencies

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico welfare agencies are coming under new pressure from a federal judge and state lawmakers to expand translation and oral interpretation services to minority households that don't speak English or Spanish. Advocacy groups for immigrants and Indigenous populations on Monday announced that a federal judge based in Las Cruces has ordered the state Human Services Department that oversees food stamp and Medicaid benefits to change its automated phone system to offer access to benefits in additional languages. New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty Legal Director Sovereign Hager says residents who speak Vietnamese, Mandarin, Cantonese, Dari, Arabic and Swahili struggle to find adequate language services to apply for benefits.


Hobbs woman accused of throwing baby away faces more charges

HOBBS, N.M. (AP) — State prosecutors have filed charges of attempted first-degree murder and child abuse against an 18-year-old Hobbs woman accused of throwing her newborn baby into a trash container two months ago. The child survived the Jan. 7 incident. Alexis Avila, a Hobbs High School student, allegedly put her baby boy in multiple plastic bags filled with trash before throwing the bag into a dumpster in freezing conditions behind a city business. She pleaded not guilty to charges five days later and a Lea County judge ordered her to house arrest pending her trial. New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas announced Monday that Avila was being "bound-over on the crimes of attempted first degree murder and child abuse resulting in great bodily harm."


Supreme Court to review Native American child adoption law

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has agreed to review a case involving a federal law that gives Native Americans preference in adoptions of Native children. The high court said Monday it would take the case involving the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act, a law championed by Native American leaders as a means of preserving their families and culture. The law gives Native American families priority in foster care and adoption proceedings involving Native children. A federal appeals court in April upheld the law and Congress' authority to enact it. But the judges found some of the law's provisions unconstitutional. Texas, Louisiana, Indiana and seven individuals had sued over provisions in the law.


New Mexico horse racing dispute spurs ethics complaint

An advocacy group that represents thousands of racehorse owners has filed an ethics complaint against New Mexico racing and gambling regulators. The New Mexico Horsemen's Association claims multiple state laws have been violated. The association says the Racing Commission and Gaming Control Board are attempting to silence its members amid an ongoing battle over control of purse money. The association cited recent administrative changes that cleared the way for New Mexico's private racetrack-casino operations to collect, manage and disperse purse money with insufficient oversight. Officials with the Racing Commission dismissed the allegations and claimed that the panel is following state statutes.