- ELECTION 2020-NEW MEXICO
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico residents are throwing their financial support in the presidential race primarily behind candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.An analysis of campaign contributions by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics shows the two notably progressive candidates for the Democratic nomination have raised more dollars from individuals in New Mexico than other candidates. The estimates do not include recent donations of under $200.Campaign committees for Sanders have raised at least $379,000, trailed closely by Warren. Pete Buttigieg raised at least $239,000 locally. That's more than twice the tally for former Vice President Joe Biden.Former Democratic National Committee chairman Fred Harris says New Mexico is closely tracking national trends in fundraising.Warren last week tapped U.S. Rep. Debra Haaland of Albuquerque as a co-chairwoman of her presidential campaign.
- LITTLE COLORADO RIVER-DAMS
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Native American tribes in northern Arizona overwhelmingly oppose proposals to dam the Little Colorado River for hydropower.Phoenix-based Pumped Hydro Storage company is seeking preliminary permits from the federal government to study the sites east of Grand Canyon National Park.Company manager Steve Irwin has touted the potential economic benefits, including paved roads, tourism and jobs.The Navajo Nation owns the land and the projects won't move forward without the tribe's OK.The tribe wrote in comments posted online Monday that the projects could negatively impact the tribe's land, water, wildlife and cultural resources.The Navajo community closest to the proposed projects already has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to deny the permits.The Hopi, Hualapai and Havasupai tribes say they're also concerned about the possible impacts.
- JEFFREY EPSTEIN-GUARDS
NEW YORK (AP) — A judge has set an April trial date for two jail guards accused of failing to make required checks on Jeffrey Epstein the day he died.U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres said Monday that the trial of guards Tova Noel and Michael Thomas can begin April 20.They have pleaded not guilty to lying on prison records to make it seem as though they had made required checks on the financier before he was found in his cell Aug. 10.New York City's medical examiner ruled Epstein's death a suicide.Epstein was awaiting trial on charges he sexually abused teenage girls at his Manhattan mansion and a Florida home.A defense lawyer says the guards are scapegoats for many failings in a trouble-plagued federal lockup.
- BAIL REFORM-NEW MEXICO
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A top official with New Mexico's court system says bail reforms are working and the state is moving in the right direction.Artie Pepin, director of the Administrative Office of the Courts, appeared Monday in Santa Fe before a panel of state lawmakers. His testimony comes as critics contend the voter-approved system has allowed for the release of violent and dangerous offenders.Pepin disputed those claims, pointing to a new study by the University of New Mexico's Institute for Social Research that shows the majority of people released pending trial will show up for subsequent court hearings and aren't committing new crimes.The researchers reviewed the cases of nearly 6,400 defendants over 21 months.Pepin says the study shows bail reforms are not to blame for Albuquerque's high crime rates.
- LIVESTOCK BOARD
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — For the first time, a woman will lead the New Mexico Livestock Board.The state Agriculture Department says Belinda Garland was appointed executive director of the board earlier this month.Garland has nearly 30 years of experience in state and county government. She was most recently the deputy county manager in Torrance County and previously served as the county's manager.Her career also includes positions with the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department, the Human Services Department and the Gaming Control Board.Born and raised in Torrance County, Garland is a fourth-generation rancher. She earned degrees in agricultural business and animal science from Panhandle State University.Garland will start her new job Dec. 9.The board does patrols and inspections around the state to curb livestock diseases and theft.
- STRAY BULLET-TEENAGER
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Police say a teenager was critically injured when a stray bullet from a nearby shooting went through the wall of his home on Albuquerque's West Side and struck him.The Albuquerque Journal reports that police believe the stray bullet was fired early Sunday morning during a dispute between a between a man and woman.The man and woman were shot in the incident.It's not clear whether the dispute took place outdoors or inside a neighboring home.The teen's father took him to a hospital where he is in critical but stable condition.The man and woman suffered injuries that are not life-threatening.
- STATE COURT SYSTEM-FUNDING
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Supreme Court Justice Barbara Vigil is asking legislators to boost spending on the state court system.The Albuquerque Journal reports Vigil joined other court officials Friday in Santa Fe to request an 8.9% increase in appropriations from the state's general fund.Vigil says the money would be used to hire five new district judges, expand pretrial services that supervise defendants awaiting trial and improve security, especially for magistrate courts.If the request is approved, the judiciary will receive about $199 million in the fiscal year that begins in July.It's part of a broader state budget expected to exceed $7 billion.Two of the five new judges would be stationed in Albuquerque, and the other three would be based in Santa Fe, Las Cruces and Alamogordo.
- PRISONER TRANSPORT-SEX ASSAULT
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A judge has sentenced a former private prisoner transport officer to two years in prison after sexually assaulting a woman in his custody.The Albuquerque Journal reported Friday that 51-year-old James Baldinger of Minnesota was sentenced Thursday in federal court in Albuquerque for inappropriately touching a restrained woman without her consent.Prosecutors say Baldinger was working for Prisoner Transportation Services of America in July 2017 when he touched the woman while taking her from Kentucky to Bernalillo County on an out-of-state warrant.U.S. Attorney John Anderson says Baldinger "committed a grievous violation of the public trust" by using his law enforcement authority over the woman.Anderson says the plea shows the U.S. Attorney's Office will hold people who violate inmates' rights accountable.