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New Mexico News

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

New Mexico terror trial in limbo years after compound raid

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A federal judge is evaluating the mental health of a woman charged with kidnapping, firearms and terrorism-related counts nearly four years after authorities arrested her and four other adults from an extended family at a squalid New Mexico compound while recovered the remains of a 3-year-old boy. Courtroom deliberations about Haitian national Jany Leveille and her mental health Thursday were sealed from public view to consider whether she is able to understand the charges against her. An FBI agent has testified that Leveille's two teenage sons said they were trained with firearms in preparation for a religious resurrection that would spur attacks against the government.

OIL AND GAS-OZONE POLLUTION

New Mexico regulators consider more oil and gas rules

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico regulators are considering whether to adopt another set of rules proposed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's administration to crack down on pollution across the oil and natural gas sector. The proposal that the state Environmental Improvement Board started discussing Thursday is the second part of the Democratic governor's plan for curbing greenhouse gas emissions. Rules already have been adopted to limit venting and flaring as a way to reduce methane pollution. This effort focuses on oilfield equipment that emits smog-causing pollution. Consideration of the rules comes amid instability in the global energy market and the renewed debate over domestic production.

NEW MEXICO-ENERGY ECONOMY

New Mexico governor sets sights on building hydrogen economy

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has taken another step aimed at putting New Mexico on the hydrogen map. She signed an executive order Thursday that directs members of her cabinet to work together in pursing opportunities for building a "green" hydrogen economy. The order also calls for hydrogen to be included as a key sector for the state Economic Development Department. The Democratic governor said creating a roadmap based on the state's energy priorities will provide predictability for businesses. She also announced a multimillion-dollar investment by Universal Hydrogen to build a manufacturing center in Albuquerque that will support its plans to fuel the aviation industry.

GRANTS-GUARD STABBED

New Mexico inmate stabs officer at state prison in Grants

GRANTS, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Corrections Department says a corrections officer was stabbed by an inmate at the Western New Mexico Correctional Facility. Officials said it happened Tuesday night while the officer was locking down a housing unit. Authorities are still investigating how it happened, but noted that the officer is recovering. Court documents show that nearly a year ago, the inmate had attacked an officer at the Chaves County Detention Center with a screwdriver while he was waiting to be sentenced for his girlfriend's murder. A judge sentenced him to 20 years for that killing. He was recently moved to the prison in Grants to serve the sentence.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO

Albuquerque council votes to rein in mayor's crisis powers

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The Albuquerque City Council has narrowly voted to reverse its 2020 action at the start of the pandemic to expand the mayor's emergency powers during a public health crisis. The council voted 5-4 on Monday to revoke Mayor Tim Keller's power under the city's emergency powers ordinance to do such things as ordering closures of streets or places of mass gatherings, canceling city events and reallocating up to $1 million in the city budget. The council action would mean that the mayor could only issue "advisories and recommendations" during a public health crisis. A Keller spokesperson said the council action is subject to a potential veto and that the mayor and his staff are "carefully considering" the legislation.

BUDGET SURPLUS-NEW MEXICO

Governor signs $1B spending boost, vetoes small projects

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has signed into law a $1 billion annual budget increase for state government to shore up spending on public education, health care and infrastructure while boosting salaries for bureaucrats, state police and public school educators. She signed it Wednesday. The $8.5 billion general fund budget boosts spending by 14% for the fiscal year starting July 1. She also signed a crime bill that expands the monitoring of criminal defendants before trail, and vetoed a $50 million wish-list from legislators of small projects. Lujan Grisham declined to sign a bill with extensive pay increases for Supreme Court justices without comment.

2020 CENSUS-NATIVE AMERICANS

Native Americans fret as report card released on 2020 census

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — The U.S. Census Bureau will release reports Thursday that show how good of a job the agency believes it did in counting every U.S. resident during the 2020 census. Native American tribes and advocates launched well-financed campaigns to ensure a more accurate count. Despite that, they believe those living on about 300 reservations across the country will be undercounted again, partly due to the coronavirus pandemic. Nearly 5% of that population was missed during the 2010 census, the highest of any race group. The Census Bureau will release two reports assessing the national count based on race, Hispanic origin, sex and age.

AP-US-NATIVE-AMERICAN-HEALTH-DIRECTOR

Indian Health Service head nominated amid tough challenges

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — President Joe Biden has nominated veteran health administrator Roselyn Tso to direct the federal Indian Health Service. The White House made the announcement Wednesday. Tso is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, which encompasses parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. She most recently served as director of the health service's Navajo region. The agency falls under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and delivers health care to more than 2.5 million Native Americans and Alaska Natives. Tso's nomination comes amid daunting health challenges for tribes that disproportionately were affected by the coronavirus pandemic.