Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. MDT
- ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Thousands of firefighters have continued to slow the advance of destructive wildfires in the Southwest. But they're bracing for the return of the same dangerous conditions Friday that sparked and spread the wind-fueled blazes a week ago. At least 166 homes have been destroyed in one rural county in northeast New Mexico since the biggest U.S. fire started racing through small towns northeast of Santa Fe last Friday. Winds gusting up to 50 mph are forecast Friday in the drought-stricken region. Fire behavior experts say it's a recipe for disaster where timber the size of a 4-by-4 piece of lumber contains fuel moisture drier than kiln-dried wood.
- SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico is increasing child care subsidies that are already the most generous and broadly available in the U.S. Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham says the state will start waiving child care copays to middle-income families starting May 1. Child care is basically free in the state for low-income families. The expansion of the program is funded with about $40 million in one-time federal funds. Since last June, New Mexico had offered the most generous subsidies to the broadest set of families in the country. The new announcement means that child care will not only be cheaper but basically free for families of four earning around $100,000.
DISABILITIES LAWSUIT-NEW MEXICO
- SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A legal battle aimed at providing adequate services to people with developmental disabilities in New Mexico has come to a close after more than three decades. New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said Thursday that a final court order recognizes the state's establishment of a community-based system that protects the health and safety of intellectually and developmentally disabled New Mexico residents. The case stems from a class-action lawsuit that alleged civil rights violations on behalf of developmentally disabled residents at two state-supported institutions. Those facilities closed years ago, but the state's obligations continued under federal government oversight.
TAX CUTS-NEW MEXICO
- SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The lead state budget negotiator in the New Mexico House of Representative wants lawmakers to consider reducing or eliminating taxes on personal income. Democratic state Rep. Patricia Lundstrom of Gallup made the proposal in a newsletter this week distributed by the Legislature's budget and accountability office. The proposal was met Thursday with concern among Democrats that New Mexico's overall tax burden might shift toward lower-income residents. Personal income taxes are a fast growing source of revenue for the state, propelled by a newly increased top rate of 5.9% on higher incomes.
- ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. government has finished another environmental review of a proposed multibillion-dollar transmission line that would send wind-generated electricity from rural New Mexico to big cities in the West. The U.S. Interior Department also announced Thursday plans to review two other projects designed to funnel renewable energy across parts of Utah and Nevada. The regulatory steps come a day after the Biden administration announced a $2.5 billion initiative to make the nation's power grid better able to withstand catastrophic disasters caused by climate change. The project in New Mexico has been more than a decade in the making. A final decision is expected this summer.
POLICE SHOOTING-NEW MEXICO
- SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Authorities say a man fatally shot by a New Mexico State Police officer during an April 16 encounter along Interstate 40 was a North Carolina resident sought in a homicide in that state. A New Mexico State Police statement released Thursday said the shooting occurred near Prewitt during a struggle after the officer was dispatched to check on the welfare of a man seen slumped over a car's steering wheel. The statement said 26-year-old Oliver Ashley Toledo Saldivar got out of the car and charged and tackled the officer, who then shot Saldivar. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
- ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Thousands of firefighters have continued to slow the advance of destructive wildfires in the Southwest. But they're bracing for the return of the same dangerous conditions Friday that sparked and spread the wind-fueled blazes a week ago. At least 166 residences have been destroyed in one rural county in northeast New Mexico since the biggest U.S. fire started racing through small towns northeast of Santa Fe last Friday. Winds gusting up to 50 mph are forecast Friday in the drought-stricken region. Fire behavior experts say it's a recipe for disaster where timber the size of a 4-by-4 piece of lumber has a fuel moisture drier than kiln-dried wood.
- WASHINGTON (AP) — The Department of Homeland Security has launched a new panel to tackle disinformation. DHS is stepping up its effort to counter disinformation coming from Russia as well as misleading information that human smugglers circulate to target migrants hoping to travel to the U.S.-Mexico border. DHS said Wednesday in announcing the Disinformation Governance Board that the spread of disinformation can affect border security, Americans' safety and public trust in democratic institutions. The board will be led by disinformation expert Nina Jankowicz, who has researched Russian misinformation tactics and online harassment. The board will monitor and prepare for Russian disinformation threats as this year's midterm elections near.