Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 p.m. MDT
NEW MEXICO WILDFIRES
- ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Another day of critical fire weather is hampering efforts by firefighters in New Mexico to get a handle on blazes that have prompted evacuations and charred hundreds of acres. Fire officials have confirmed that one home and numerous outbuildings already have been damaged or destroyed by the fire burning along the Rio Grande south of Albuquerque. About 200 structures were threatened and evacuations remained in place. In northern New Mexico, steep terrain and gusts up to 60 mph were keeping crews from directly attacking a fire near the community of Las Vegas. More evacuations were ordered there as the fire made a big push to the northeast.
- SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Flush with tax revenues and federal aid, many U.S. states are increasing support for free college programs. Experts say the expansion of a program in New Mexico could serve as a model, with flexible attendance requirements and generous financial aid. It covers tuition and fees for all students. Paired with federal grants, it can pay gas or rent for low-income students. The program allows adults to pursue a four-year degree, even if they haven't been in school for a while. The $75 million program is funded mostly with one-time federal aid, leaving supporters concerned about how long the state can sustain the program.
- AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Protests over Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's latest border security measure are slowing down the flow of trade on the U.S-Mexico border. Since Monday, Mexican truckers have blocked the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge in protest of Abbott directing state troopers last week to pull over and inspect trucks coming into Texas. Unusually long backups have also been reported elsewhere along Texas' 1,200-mile border with Mexico. Abbott says the extra inspections are needed to curb human trafficking and the flow of drugs. But critics question how the inspections are meeting that objective, and experts say grocery shoppers could notice shortages as soon as later this week.
ELECTION REVIEW-NEW MEXICO
- SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico election regulators are resisting efforts by a conservative-backed foundation to post statewide voter registration information on a public website where it can be searched by names or addresses to view whether people voted in past elections and sometimes their party affiliations. The website does not list details of how people voted in any election. The Voter Reference Foundation hopes to add registered New Mexico voters to its website database that spans 20 states. New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver said in an interview that the foundation's efforts violate New Mexico restrictions the use of voter registration data and worries about voter intimidation.