- NEW MEXICO GOVERNOR
New Mexico governor takes stock of first 6 monthsSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham says her administration inherited many challenges and she wants to rebuild the capacity of state government so it will be in a better position to solve problems.Flanked by her cabinet members, the Democratic governor on Tuesday provided a progress report on her first six months in office.She acknowledged there's work to be done to restore the public's faith in government. She also vowed repeatedly to be truthful and transparent.Like previous administrations, Lujan Grisham is grappling with the persistent challenge of jump-starting the economy and attracting revenue-generating enterprises beyond the oil and gas industry.The governor says economic diversity will be the key to ensuring state government can serve the people, whether it's having the staff to quickly process business licenses or ensuring access to mental health care.GALLUP POLICE-USE OF FORCE INVESTIGATIONAlleged use of force incident involving Gallup police probedGALLUP, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico State Police say they're investigating an alleged use of force incident involving Gallup police last month that resulted in a man's death.Officers were dispatched to a department store June 28 to remove an intoxicated man, who was later identified as 41-year-old Rodney Lynch of Gallup.Police say Lynch was combative with the officers on scene and was taken into custody and transported to an alcohol treatment center.When they arrived at the facility, police say Lynch struck one of the officers and again became combative.As officers tried to gain control of Lynch, a sergeant noticed that Lynch appeared unconscious.Lynch was transported to a Gallup-area hospital and then to an Albuquerque hospital where he later died.The cause and manner of Lynch's death remains under investigation.
- FATAL CRASH-MIGRANTS KILLED
Texas man facing life in prison after fatal New Mexico crashALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Federal prosecutors say a Texas man is facing up to life in prison after pleading guilty to conspiring to transport immigrants, resulting in a fatal crash in New Mexico.They say 27-year-old Robert Acevedo of El Paso entered his plea Monday.He remains in custody awaiting sentencing.According to court records, Acevedo picked up a group of migrants on April 6 in Dona Ana County.Border Patrol agents tried to stop Acevedo's minivan using emergency lights and sirens, but he kept driving.Agents then used a controlled tire deflation device in an attempt to stop Acevedo.Authorities say Acevedo swerved to avoid the device and lost control of the minivan, causing it to roll over.They say two passengers died in the crash and at least five others were injured.
- STATE SENATOR-CAR CRASH-DWI-THE LATEST
The Latest: Governor: Lawmaker should 'do the right thing'SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham says no one is above the law and that elected officials should be held to a higher standard.She made the comments during a news conference Tuesday when asked whether state Sen. Richard Martinez's constituents would be better served if he resigned.Martinez, a Democrat from Espanola, was accused of drunken driving after crashing into another vehicle June 28. He has pleaded not guilty to a charge of aggravated DWI.Without calling for Martinez's resignation, Lujan Grisham said she hopes the longtime lawmaker thinks about his position as chair of the Senate judiciary committee as well as the message that the case sends to a community besieged by crime related to alcohol and drugs.She says she hopeful Martinez "does the right thing."Martinez has not responded to repeated requests for comment.
- CRIMINAL JUSTICE-NEW MEXICO
Democratic lawmakers renew push for parole changesALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Lawmakers are renewing their push to reform New Mexico's parole system, saying it's beset by flaws that cost the state tens of millions of dollars and often denies inmates a chance at successfully integrating back into society.A legislative committee heard testimony Tuesday about a series of proposals, including one that won legislative approval this year but was vetoed by the governor.Sponsors say that proposal would require the parole board to provide a written explanation when deciding to deny parole to inmates who have become eligible for a chance at release after a 30-year sentence.Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, told lawmakers the bill was built upon "sound policy," but said all stakeholders should participate in the conversation about the bill. Prosecutors across the state had expressed concerns about the measure.
- BEHAVIORAL HEALTH
New Mexico settles with behavioral health providersSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico has reached settlements with three providers whose Medicaid claims were frozen as part of a shake-up in the state's behavioral health care system.The Human Services Department announced the agreements during a news conference Tuesday. The providers include Hogares, Inc; Valencia Counseling Services, Inc.; and The Counseling Center, Inc.Under the terms, the parties agree the settlements are a compromise and do not represent an admission of wrongdoing or liability.In 2013, then-Gov. Susana Martinez's administration froze payments to 15 nonprofits that provided mental health services after an audit identified $36 million in Medicaid overpayments.An investigation by the state attorney general found no patterns of fraud, only regulatory violations.Human Services Secretary David Scrase says his agency will continue working with providers to rebuild the state's behavioral health network.