Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 p.m. MDT
- SOCIAL MEDIA-FREE SPEECH
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A lawsuit claiming that New Mexico county commissioner and Cowboys for Trump cofounder Couy Griffin engaged in "viewpoint" discrimination could be headed to the U.S. Supreme Court in a test-case for free speech rights on social media platforms. Chaplain and local Democratic Party leader Jeff Swanson lost a federal appeals court ruling in February in a lawsuit claiming he was blocked by Griffin from social media discussions about public county business on Griffin's Facebook page. Swanson says he was silenced in a discriminatory fashion after criticizing Griffin about the upkeep of a courthouse. Swanson's attorney confirmed the petition to the Supreme Court.
- ELECTION 2022-WHAT TO WATCH
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Primary elections in seven states Tuesday will set the stage for U.S. House and Senate battles this fall that will play into control of Congress. Many contests are being shaped by political divisions in both major parties — and the lingering shadow of former President Donald Trump. A string of Republican House incumbents are contending with challenges from the political right. Some challengers are embracing Trump's baseless claims of election fraud in his 2020 loss to President Joe Biden. No incumbent governors or senators appear to be in imminent danger. The primaries are in California, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota.
- SPRING WILDFIRES-INJURED FIREFIGHTERS
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Federal authorities say three firefighters battling the largest blaze burning in the U.S. were injured — one of them seriously — when a helicopter dropped part of a load of water on them. It happened last weekend in northern New Mexico's Pecos Wilderness. One member of the hotshot crew underwent several surgeries at an Albuquerque hospital to repair skull fractures and a broken kneecap. The Bureau of Land Management confirmed Friday that an investigation was ongoing. The blaze was the result of two government planned burns aimed at clearing the forest of overgrown and dead vegetation.
- BIDEN-NEW MEXICO
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is set to travel to New Mexico to hear from state and federal officials as the largest wildfire in state history continues to burn outside Santa Fe. The White House says Biden will meet June 11 with New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, first responders and personnel from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The nearly two-month-old fire is 62% contained after charring roughly 495 square miles (1,282 square kilometers) in rugged terrain east of Santa Fe.
- ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK-AVALANCHE
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK, Colo. (AP) — Authorities have released the name of a man who was killed in a rock fall and avalanche that also injured two other climbers at Rocky Mountain National Park. The Boulder County coroner's office identified the victim Friday as 25-year-old Christopher Clark, of Land O' Lakes, Florida. Two New Mexico climbers were injured in Sunday's avalanche. A helicopter crew on Tuesday lifted Clark's body from the avalanche zone on Mount Meeker, where rescuers worked in winter conditions in terrain above 11,500 feet at the site near Dreamweaver Couloir. Climbers in the area witnessed the slide.
- SACRED MOUNTAIN-CONSERVATION
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A national conservation group has acquired a sprawling ranch near a New Mexico mountain peak held sacred by Native American tribes. The Trust for Public Land announced Thursday that land managers will be able create New Mexico's largest state-owned recreation property, near Mount Taylor. The $34 million effort comes as state and federal officials look for opportunities to preserve more natural landscapes amid climate change. The property encompasses more than 84 square miles of grassland, volcanic cones, rugged mesas and part of the Mount Taylor Traditional Cultural Property, which is on the state register of historic places due to its significance to Native Americans in New Mexico and Arizona.
- ELECTION 2022-NEW MEXICO-ATTORNEY GENERAL
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Democratic voters are deciding on a nominee for New Mexico attorney general as state prosecutors contend with a surge in urban gun violence. Voters also have concerns about water supplies, pollution, consumer protection and political extremism. Albuquerque-based District Attorney Raúl Torrez is running against State Auditor Brian Colón for the Democratic endorsement to succeed termed-out Democratic Attorney General Hector Balderas. Absentee and early in-person voting are underway in advance of Election Day next Tuesday. The winner will compete against Republican attorney and U.S. Marine veteran Jeremy Michael Gay of Gallup. Republicans have held the office only three times in New Mexico's 110-year history.
- SUSPENDING SCHOOL BOARDS-NEW MEXICO
SANTA FE N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Public Education Department has approved a new rule allowing the state to suspend a school district board because of fraud or other serious problems that severely impair the district. The rule approved last week allows both emergency and nonemergency suspensions of entire boards but not individual members. The rule includes a requirement that the state provide notice to the district and replaces a rule adopted in 2005 that applied to superintendents, principals and charter school governing boards. The state in 2021 suspended the Los Lunas and Floyd school boards but department spokeswoman Judy Robinson said the revised rule was intended to clarify the process, not a response to a particular incident."