- Governor calls on Legislature to approve pandemic relief
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The governor is calling a special legislative session next week in the hope of providing new economic relief from the coronavirus pandemic and aggressive health restrictions. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham made the announcement Thursday as daily coronavirus infections statewide surged to new highs. Health officials reported a daily record of 3,675 new COVID-19 infections, and 12 related deaths. Lujan Grisham described a proposed $300 million relief package that would funnel federal relief funds already assigned to New Mexico toward unemployment assistance, individual housing costs and grants to small businesses. More retail stores are shutting down in-person sales because of changes to the state's lockdown order aimed at shrinking a loophole for big-box stores.
- Convictions in 2 killings upheld; new testimony standard set
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a man's first-degree murder convictions in the 2014 killings of two Santa Fe teens as the justices set a new standard for courts to consider eyewitness testimony identifying a criminal suspect. The justices upheld Ricardo Martinez's convictions in the 2014 shooting deaths of 18-year-old Venancio Cisneros and Cisneros' 13-year-old girlfriend, who the ruling identified only by initials. The new standard precludes admission of eyewitness identifications produced by "unnecessarily suggestive" police procedures. The ruling said the eyewitness testimony was properly admitted at trial both under the newly adopted state standard and a federal rule it replaced.
- Felon arrested after human remains found in rural Colorado
DENVER (AP) — A 26-year-old man sought by police after the remains of three people were found near a rural town in southern Colorado was arrested Thursday at a motel in New Mexico. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation says Adre Jordan Baroz was arrested without incident in Gallup and is facing charges of first-degree homicide, first-degree assault and second-degree kidnapping. His warrant remains sealed, and no additional information was available Thursday. Searches last week uncovered the skeletal remains of three people on two properties near Los Sauces, a tiny community more than 200 miles south of Denver. The remains haven't been identified.
- New Mexico increases enforcement of clean-up at oil sites
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico State Land Office that oversees thousands of oil and natural gas development leases in a major U.S. petroleum-production basin is expanding environmental enforcement efforts to ensure that oilfield sites get cleaned up and restored as leases expire. At an online news conference Thursday, the agency announced enhanced reviews at oil-lease sites that pose immediate environmental concerns. Officials say the initiative already has resulted in completed environmental reclamation efforts at sites spanning roughly 11 square miles (28 square kilometers), and the plugging of nine oil wells within the Permian Basin in southeastern New Mexico.
- Illegal border crossings rise for sixth straight month
SAN DIEGO (AP) — U.S. border authorities stopped people entering the country illegally from Mexico more than 69,000 times in October, the sixth straight monthly increase and the highest level since July 2019. Mark Morgan, acting Customs and Border Protection commissioner, said deteriorating economic conditions were driving more people to come to the United States. The percentage of people caught who had tried crossing the border at least once in the previous year was 37% for those expelled from March through September. The numbers offer a likely scenario of what President-elect Joe Biden will inherit upon taking office in January.
- State Police: Suspect injured in shooting involving officer
LOS LUNAS, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico State Police says one of its officers was involved in a shooting Thursday that left a suspect injured. The State Police said the shooting occurred in Los Lunas on the southern outskirts of metro Albuquerque and that the officer involved wasn't injured. The statement provided no details on the circumstances of the shooting, identities of those involved or the condition of the injured suspect.
- Native American votes helped secure Biden's win in Arizona
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Turnout on tribal land in northern Arizona surged this year, helping Joe Biden carry a state that hadn't gone to a Democrat since 1996. Clara Pratte, a Navajo woman who was the national tribal engagements director for the Biden campaign, says the credit is widespread among minority groups. But she says the win wouldn't have been possible without the tribal vote. Arizona includes part of the country's largest Native American reservation, where voters overwhelmingly supported Biden and cast more ballots than they did in 2016. Voting rights advocates had long argued that if Native Americans and other minority groups were mobilized, they could be decisive in a tight race. This year proved that.
- New Mexico tightens restrictions, virus cases hit new high
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico officials are reporting that daily confirmed positive cases have swelled to a record 2,897 cases. They also reported Wednesday an additional 26 deaths. Following a set of restrictions rolled out Monday in an attempt to "reset" the state's fight against the virus, the governor is issuing additional tightening on the definitions of essential businesses. Big box stores must do at least a third of their business selling essential goods like food or offering essential services like vehicle repair in order to allow customers inside stores. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is urging all businesses to move to curbside sales as much as possible.