Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment

Mar 7, 2019

Push for more renewable energy clears New Mexico SenateALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A measure requiring New Mexico utilities to produce carbon-free electricity by 2045 has cleared a major legislative hurdle.The Senate voted 32-9 late Wednesday, sending the bill to the House for consideration as lawmakers prepare to wrap up the session in less than two weeks.Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham supports the measure, saying it represents a compromise.Aside from setting aggressive quotas for renewable energy production, the bill would allow the state's largest electric provider and other owners of the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station to recover investments by selling bonds that are later paid off by utility customers.Some lawmakers reiterated concerns during a lengthy debate that protections are lacking for San Juan County, which has warned of dire economic consequences once the plant and its adjacent mine are closed in 2022.


Memos reveal details behind new Trump asylum programSAN DIEGO (AP) — The Trump administration's effort to make asylum seekers wait in Mexico explicitly targets Spanish-speakers and people from Latin America.Internal guidelines obtained by The Associated Press also say those who cross illegally must have come as single adults, though the administration is in talks with Mexico to include families. LGBT asylum seekers, pregnant women and those with medical issues are also not to be sent back to Mexico.The policy launched in San Diego in January is a top priority for U.S. officials to address the burgeoning number of Central Americans arriving at the U.S. border.The instructions say Mexican officials insist that no more than 20 asylum seekers are returned each day from San Diego to Tijuana, Mexico, underscoring challenges that the U.S. faces with the effort.HIGH SCHOOL-E-SPORTS TEAMSNew Mexico high school video games 'sport' set to expand(Information from: The Eastern New Mexico News, http://www.easternnewmexiconews.com)PORTALES, N.M. (AP) — Some New Mexico high school students may get a chance to compete in a new statewide sport — video games.The Eastern New Mexico News reports Portales Municipal Schools Board of Education on Monday unanimously approved a proposal to form an e-sports team.The move comes after the New Mexico Activities Association kicked off the inaugural e-sports season last month.Athletic Director Mark Gallegos said around 40 schools are taking part in the e-sports season.Portales Municipal Schools data coordinator J.D. Mead says e-sports would offer students who aren't as athletically inclined to develop the same team-building skills as students who participate in traditional sports.Superintendent Johnnie Cain says the e-sports team could result in some students increasing their academic efforts in order to ensure eligibility.___


New Mexico sees uptick in children without vaccinationsSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico health officials are calling for more parents to vaccinate their children.The plea issued Wednesday comes as public health offices in the Pacific Northwest deal with an ongoing measles outbreak that has sickened dozens of people so far. Most cases in Washington state have involved young children under age 10 who weren't vaccinated.New Mexico Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel says vaccinations are the best protection against measles and other serious diseases.The state health department says New Mexico has seen a steady increase in the number of children who aren't fully vaccinated. There has been a 60 percent increase in the rate of people exempting from recommended vaccinations in the state since 2012.As of last year, the department says more than 4,400 school-aged children had an exemption.


GOP apologizes to Gov. Lujan Grisham for Facebook post(Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican, http://www.santafenewmexican.com)SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Republican Party of New Mexico has apologized to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham after a volunteer posted a vulgar meme on the party's Facebook page.The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the party said Wednesday the volunteer's Facebook privileges were revoked permanently and the party issued an apology to the first-term Democrat.The meme depicted a "Now Leaving" New Mexico roadside sign and an expletive aimed at Lujan Grisham. It was related to a movement by a fringe group seeking to impeach Lujan Grisham over proposed gun-control and tax reform legislation.The volunteer, Audrey Mendonca-Trujillo, says she didn't realize she had posted the meme on the Republican Party's page.Lujan Grisham spokesman Tripp Stelnicki says he appreciated an apology from the Republican Party on its official Facebook account.___


Border Patrol: More than 700 migrants detained at El PasoEL PASO, Texas (AP) — The U.S. Border Patrol reports it has taken more than 700 migrants into custody at the Texas-Mexico border in El Paso within a 24-hour period.In a statement, the patrol said the detentions involved several large groups of migrants that crossed the border illegally late Tuesday and Wednesday. It said the groups are comprised mostly of Central American families and unaccompanied juveniles.One unaccompanied 2-year-old child was found among the groups. The Border Patrol says it's now working with international and domestic agencies to locate the parents.U.S. Customs and Border Protection released data Tuesday that showed a record number of inadmissible families being apprehended borderwide, with the greatest increase coming in the El Paso Sector. That covers two far-western Texas counties and all of New Mexico.


The Latest: New Mexico House seeks salaries for legislatorsSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A proposal to provide salaries to state legislators for the first time has been endorsed by the New Mexico House of Representatives.The 44-24 vote of the House on Wednesday advances the measure to the Senate for consideration. The proposed constitutional amendment from Democratic Reps. Bobby Gonzales of Taos and Angelica Rubio of Las Cruces would do away with the prohibition on legislative compensation and create a commission to set salaries. Senate approval would send the measure to a statewide vote.Rubio and other proponents of professionalizing the legislature say the current system has excluded people who can't afford to take time away from paid work.Lawmakers currently get a daily allowance for expenses, mileage reimbursements and access to retirement benefits in some instances.


Flu activity in New Mexico is higher than national averageSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Health officials say flu activity in New Mexico is higher than the national average.State Department of Health officials say the rate of hospital admissions among children aged 4 and younger is particularly high.New Mexico's rate of influenza-related hospital admissions for that age group is three times higher than participating states in the Centers for Disease Control's tracking program.The overall rate of laboratory-confirmed flu hospitalizations in New Mexico also is nearly double that of other CDC participating states.Children aged 4 and younger and adults 65 years of age and older are the most vulnerable to both flu and more severe illness or disease.The flu season typically runs through the end of April, but authorities say there can be sporadic cases into the early summer months.