Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 1:20 a.m. MDT

Mar 21, 2020

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico election regulators are encouraging registered voters to request mail-in ballots ahead of the state's June 2 primary election in light of a public health emergency concerning the coronavirus. Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver on Friday announced that absentee ballots can be requested through an online portal. New Mexico has "no fault" absentee balloting in which mail-in ballots can be requested for any reason. Primary election absentee ballots are sent out to voters starting on May 5. The final day to request an absentee ballot is May 28. In the 2016 presidential primary, New Mexico voters sided with Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — More than 10,000 residents of New Mexico have filed for unemployment benefits in less than a week, potentially doubling the number of recipients amid economic upheaval linked to the coronavirus pandemic. The number of infections statewide increased Friday to at least 43 with positive tests in the Gallup and Las Cruces areas. New Mexicans will have extra time to file and pay their taxes as the state looks to ease the economic hardships brought on by the coronavirus. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has put limits on public gatherings as restaurants have moved to pick-up or delivery service only and casinos have closed.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A federal appeals court is ordering a New Mexico judge to reconsider a case involving a fight over critical habitat in the U.S. Southwest for the endangered jaguar. Ranchers had sued, arguing that a decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to set aside thousands of acres for the cats violated the statute that guides wildlife managers in determining whether certain areas are essential for the conservation of a species. The appellate court this week overturned an earlier ruling that had sided with federal officials. At issue is more than 170 square miles that span two desert mountain ranges along the Arizona-New Mexico border.


SAN DIEGO (AP) — U.S. officials are expected to announce new restrictions on the southern border Friday as they try to halt the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. and Mexico have been working on plans to halt much of the cross-border travel without disrupting trade. Officials on both sides of the border say the plan is expected to look much like restrictions already announced on all-but-essential travel and trade between the U.S. and Canada. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf says, "We want to make sure that cargo continues, trade continues, heath care workers continue to be able to traverse that border. But tourism, some recreational activities and other things" need to stop during this crisis.


BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The lobbying arm of the U.S. coal industry is asking for hundreds of millions of dollars in royalty relief, tax cuts and other breaks to help companies ride out the financial crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. National Mining Association President Rich Nolan made the request in a letter sent this week to the White House and the leaders of the House and Senate. Even before the current economic upheaval, the coal mining industry was in sharp decline as utilities across the nation switch to cleaner-burning natural gas and renewable energy sources.


RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — A new online project seeks to bring the lessons of the U.S. civil rights movement to students. The Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University unveiled Selma Online this month​. It's a free, online teaching platform that aims to transform how the civil rights movement is taught in middle and high schools. It​ uses footage from the 2014 movie "Selma" about the beating of peaceful demonstrators in Alabama and attempts to show students how events in 1965 shaped voting rights. Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. says the project will engage students who are at home because of the coronavirus.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — U.S. wildlife managers are investigating the death of a Mexican gray wolf found last month in Arizona. Officials with the wolf recovery team announced the death Thursday but didn't provide any details about how the endangered animal might have died or exactly where it was found. The latest death follows three others that were reported in January, all of which were in Arizona. A subspecies of the Western gray wolf, Mexican wolves have faced a difficult road to recovery that has been complicated by politics and conflicts with livestock. The latest survey documented at least 163 wolves in the wild in Arizona and New Mexico.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Game and Fish Department has been ordered to release information about hunters as part of two separate court cases. A state district judge is ordering the agency to turn over the names and addresses of those who won big game draws between 2015 and 2019 to a Los Alamos resident who had sought the records. Meanwhile, the state appellate court ordered the agency to turn over the email addresses of individuals who applied for hunting licenses between 2015 and 2016 to former Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn. Officials say the courts concluded that information collected from the public in connection with the administration of the agency's public duties are subject to disclosure.