Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 1:20 a.m. MDT
INFLATION REBATES-NEW MEXICO
- SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has signed legislation to provide payments of $500 to individual adults or $1,000 to households to offset increased prices for fuel and other consumer goods. Signed Friday, the bill provides two installments in June and August. The payments will arrive on top separate tax rebates in July that exclude upper-income residents. Income limits don't apply to the newly approved payments, which will cost the state about $700 million. The New Mexico state government is experiencing a financial windfall linked to record-setting oil production in the Permian Basin. Lujan Grisham said the rebates are meaningful to families but won't necessarily be repeated in future years.
AIR FORCE CONTAMINATION-FARMERS
- ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Dairy farmers can seek reimbursement from the federal government for cows contaminated by chemicals that have leached into the groundwater around an Air Force base in eastern New Mexico. U.S. Sen. Ben Ray Luján on Friday commended a recent rule change by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that created a pathway for farmers to receive payments through the Dairy Indemnity Payment Program. Previously, farmers were able to get payments for lost milk production but not for cows. The Air Force is installing monitoring wells to determine the extent of so-called forever chemicals known as PFAS in groundwater in and around Cannon Air Force Base.
- States with some of the nation's strictest abortion laws are also some of the hardest places to have and raise a healthy child, especially for the poor. An analysis of federal data by The Associated Press raises questions about the strength of the social safety net as up to half the states are poised to ban or greatly restrict access to abortion following an expected U.S. Supreme Court decision later this year. The burden is likely to fall heaviest on those with low incomes, who also are the least able to seek an abortion in other states where the procedure remains widely available.
- CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia's U.S. senators are among a dozen asking President Joe Biden to consult with officials state by state on the possible impact of recommendations of the Department of Veterans Affairs to the Asset and Infrastructure Review Commission. The group includes West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin and Republic Shelley Moore Capito. A statement from Manchin's office Friday says the recommendations would significantly alter services provided to rural veterans across the country. Manchin and Capito were joined by Sens. Mike Rounds and John Thune of South Dakota, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico, Steve Daines of Montana, John Barrasso and Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Ted Cruz of Texas and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.
NEW MEXICO COMPOUND
- SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A second defendant is invoking the right to a speedy trial in the 2018 raid on a squalid family compound in northern New Mexico that uncovered the remains of a 3-year-old boy and led to charges of kidnapping, firearms and terrorism charges. Defense attorneys confirmed the court filing Thursday. Subhanah Wahhaj, who denies the charges against her, this week notified federal prosecutors and a judge in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque of her right to a trial within a reasonable amount of time after arrest. The father of the deceased boy also has protested trial delays that are linked to mental competency evaluations of other defendants.
- ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque police say officers fatally shot a carjacking suspect who had fired at least one shot at officers. Police Department spokesman Gilbert Gallegos said no officers were injured in the incident that occurred Wednesday evening after police spotted and followed a vehicle stolen from a man. Gallegos said multiple officers returned fire when the suspect shot at police after getting out of the car and running down a path while being pursued by officers. The officers involved in the shooting were placed on leave pending an investigation.
EAGLES KILLED-WIND TURBINES
- BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A subsidiary of one of the largest U.S. wind energy companies has been sentenced to probation and ordered to pay over $8 million in fines and restitution after at least 150 eagles were killed at its wind farms in eight states. NextEra Energy subsidiary ESI Energy pleaded guilty Tuesday in a Cheyenne, Wyoming, court to three misdemeanor counts of violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Prosecutors say the company was warned its wind farms would kill birds but proceeded without a required permit. They say the company also ignored advice on minimizing the deaths. NextEra President Rebecca Kujawa says collisions of birds with wind turbines are unavoidable. It's illegal to harm eagles under federal law.
- WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge has acquitted a New Mexico man of charges that he illegally entered the U.S. Capitol riot and engaged in disorderly conduct after walking into the building during last year's riot. U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden issued the verdict from the bench Wednesday after hearing testimony without a jury in the case against Matthew Martin. McFadden acquitted Martin of all four counts for which he was charged. Martin is the third Capitol riot defendant whose case has been resolved by a trial. He is the first of the three to be acquitted of all charges that he faced.