- Interior secretary steps into Utah public lands tug-of-war
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland will visit Utah this week before submitting a review on national monuments in the state. Residents there have both staunchly supported establishing and increasing the size of national monuments, and fiercely rallied against them. Haaland is the latest Interior secretary tasked with making recommendations on where the boundaries lie. Her input comes after President Donald Trump's administration decided to downsize two national monuments in southern Utah. She's expected to submit a report to President Joe Biden after she meets with tribes and elected leaders at Bears Ears National Monument on Thursday.
- New state law helps older New Mexicans get out of jury duty
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A new state law will make it easier for older residents in New Mexico to permanently excuse themselves from jury service. The law applies to state residents age 75 or older who have been summoned to jury duty. They no longer will be required to submit a sworn, notarized statement if they want to be excused from jury service. Starting June 18, qualifying New Mexicans can request an excusal online through the state court system's jury website. Another option is to call the local court for more information. Census Bureau population estimates say 7% of New Mexicans are 75 years or older. That's about 153,000 residents.
- Navajo Nation reports 16 more COVID-19 cases, but no deaths
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation on Wednesday reported 16 more confirmed COVID-19 cases, but no additional deaths. The latest figures bring the pandemic totals on the tribe's reservation, which includes parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, increased to 30,198 cases. The known death toll remains at 1,259. On Tuesday, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez announced the first confirmed case of the COVID-19 B.1.429 variant on the Navajo Nation, which came from a test sample obtained in the Chinle service unit area. The variant was first identified in the state of California and has since been detected across the southwest U.S.
- New Mexico eliminates police immunity from prosecution
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed civil rights reforms Wednesday that eliminate police immunity from prosecution in state courts, in response to protests and concerns about police brutality that swept the nation. The Democrat-sponsored legislation has implications for an array of state and local government agencies, from social services agencies to school districts. The bill was backed by an unusual coalition of advocates for policing reforms and social justice causes. They include the civic-minded founders of Ben & Jerry's ice cream and the conservative-backed nonprofit group Americans for Prosperity. Lujan Grisham signed the bill amid the trial of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on murder charges in the May 25, 2020, death of George Floyd.
- New Mexico leads vaccine rollout with 50% getting 1st shot
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico health officials are reporting more progress in getting residents vaccinated as the state continues to lead the U.S. in the vaccine rollout. State Health Secretary Dr. Tracie Collins says 50% of residents 16 and older have received their first shot and 31% are fully vaccinated. New Mexico on Monday expanded vaccine eligibility to all residents 16 and older. New Mexico National Guard soldiers are operating a vaccine distribution center in Albuquerque to help with the effort. In all, the National Guard has completed more than 1,230 missions during the pandemic and has logged more than 1.6 million miles along with the Civil Air Patrol.
- Navajo Nation finalizes solar plant leases on tribal land
CAMERON, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation is moving forward with more two solar plants on the reservation. The projects are expected to generate millions of dollars in revenue for the tribe over their lifetimes. One is in Cameron, about an hour north of Flagstaff, and the other is in Utah near the Arizona border. The power from the plants largely will go to utility providers outside the reservation. Hundreds of people will be employed during the construction phase. Tribal President Jonathan Nez says the solar plants are part of a move toward renewable energy for a tribe that long has depended on energy from fossil fuels.
- Man arrested in shooting death at New Mexico train station
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A 22-year-old man has been arrested in a fatal shooting at a train station in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Police say they're also looking for a person of interest in the case, a 20-year-old man who they say was near the scene of the shooting Tuesday. Authorities say the victim was 24-year-old David Hernandez and a 38-year-old also was hospitalized. Police say a witness near the station overheard a disagreement over the price of drugs before shots were fired.
- Oklahoma opens COVID-19 vaccinations to all states
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma will begin providing COVID-19 vaccinations to residents of any state because both the vaccine supply and the number of vaccinated Oklahomans have increased. Deputy Health Commissioner Keith Reed said Wednesday that the state had reached a point where other states' residents may be vaccinated starting Thursday. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that Oklahoma has received more than 2.9 million vaccine doses and has administered more than 2.1 vaccinations. The state has about 4 million residents.