- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO BUSINESS
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is urging the state Supreme Court to reject demands that businesses be compensated for losses linked to pandemic-related public health orders. Final written arguments were published Thursday as the high court weighs whether financial compensation is due to businesses in response to the state's public health orders that ban mass gatherings and prohibit business activities such as indoor dining. Businesses have scaled back or closed their doors as state health officials struggle to contain the coronavirus amid widespread testing for infection and the rollout in December and January of the first vaccine doses.
- DRY NEW MEXICO
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Forecasters with the National Weather Service say a potent storm headed toward New Mexico could bring some much needed moisture to the drought-stricken state. They issued an advisory Thursday, saying the storm is expected to move across the state beginning Saturday and will reach the eastern plains Sunday. Significant snow accumulations are expected to effect travel and could cause delays through the northern mountains late Saturday. That region could see a few inches to a foot of snow. The plains could see several inches of snow. More than 80% of the state is dealing with the two worst categories of drought.
- LEGISLATURE-NEW MEXICO
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's upcoming legislative session will feature many virtual committee hearings and floor debates due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Leading state lawmakers met Wednesday to discuss safety precautions as the Legislature prepares to convene for its first lengthy session since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak. The Roundhouse will be off limits to the public and lobbyists for the entirety of the 60-day session. The House and Senate will have to adopt specific rules once the session gets underway. Top-ranking Democrats say face masks will be required for those present in the state Capitol.
- RURAL FIBER LINE
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Rural telecommunications company Sacred Wind Communications has announced it has completed the first-ever redundant fiber line connecting Albuquerque and Gallup in New Mexico. Sacred Wind CEO John Badal said in the announcement Wednesday that the new line will connect hospitals, point of sale devices and emergency services. Badal added that the project will allow rural and tribal communities between the two cities to have faster and more reliable internet access. The Albuquerque Journal reports that funding for the fiber line came from a nearly $14 million low-interest loan from the federal Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service.
- VIRGIN GALACTIC
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Virgin Galactic says it has completed analysis of why its spacecraft's rocket did not ignite during a test flight over New Mexico and work to fix the problem has begun. The company says in a statement Thursday that once the work is verified a timeline for the next test flight will be announced. The spacecraft had two pilots aboard when it was released from its mothership on Dec. 12 on what was supposed to be its first flight into space from Spaceport America. The spacecraft instead glided to a landing. At the time, Virgin Galactic said the onboard computer monitoring the rocket lost connection.
- LUJAN GRISHAM-CLEMENCY
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has granted clemency for 12 people convicted of crimes in the state. The governor's office announced the pardons Wednesday, saying most of those receiving clemency had been convicted of a non-violent offense. The convictions included drug possession, auto burglary, forgery and fraud, among others. All but one of the offenses dated back more than a decade, with some dating back to the 1980s. Some of the applicants provided clemency by Lujan Grisham had also previously applied for pardons under the previous administrations of Republican Susana Martinez and Democrat Bill Richardson.
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Health Secretary Dr. Tracie Collins says New Mexico is among the top states in the U.S. when it comes to vaccine distribution. During a briefing Wednesday, she pointed to New Mexico's registration app, saying it has helped in the scheduling of shots for health care workers and others who are most at risk. Collins said the state this week will release its plans for how other groups of people will be prioritized when more doses become available. More than 106,500 doses have been delivered to New Mexico so far. While not all providers are reporting, the state estimates around 60% of those doses have been administered.
- ELECTORAL COLLEGE-NEW MEXICO
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Statehouse was largely evacuated as hundreds of supporters of President Donald Trump gathered peacefully outside the building and violence broke out in the nation's Capitol in Washington, D.C. Democratic Speaker Brian Egolf said Wednesday that state police ordered the evacuation of the building that includes the governor´s office and secretary of state´s office, though some officials remained inside. He highlighted concerns about the violence in Washington, though no violence or threats were reported at the Statehouse. Caravans of Donald Trump supporters arrived at the building in cars, trucks and on horseback at midday.