Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 p.m. MST

Feb 13, 2020

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The effort to legalize recreational marijuana in New Mexico is all but doomed for this year after a proposal to do so was rejected by a key Senate committee. Two Democrats joined Republicans in a 6-4 vote to halt the bill that would have allowed recreational marijuana sales in every city and county while sheltering the state's existing medical cannabis program with tax breaks and patients subsidies. The outcome leaves little or no chance for reviving the bill before the state's annual legislative session ends next week. The initiative was backed by Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A former congressional intern to Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham while she was a U.S. congresswoman has been arrested in connection with vandalism at the headquarters of the Republican Party of New Mexico. Court documents show Cameron Chase McCall was arrested Wednesday and charged with criminal damage to property. Video footage showed a man early Saturday morning spray-paint the words "still traitors" on the building. McCall's attorney said her client didn't do what he's accused of doing, and the case was poorly investigated. Lujan Grisham spokesman Tripp Stelnicki condemned the vandalism.


LOS ANGELES (AP) — A special carrier aircraft is carrying Virgin Galactic's spaceship VSS Unity from Southern California on a long-awaited ferry flight to its new home in New Mexico, where it will be prepared for commercial operations carrying tourists on hops into space. The long-awaited move began Thursday at Mojave Air & Space Port in the Mojave Desert. The flight will take the spaceship to Spaceport America in southern New Mexico. The move to New Mexico marks a significant milestone toward commercial flights, which the company has said it anticipates will begin this year. 


LOVINGTON, N.M. (AP) — A cheese factory that has been vacant for more than a decade will be transformed into the state's newest hemp operation under plans that will get a boost from state and local economic development funding. The New Mexico Economic Development Department says Big Dog Industries will be taking ownership of the building under an agreement with the Lovington Economic Development Corp. Big Dog plans to invest $15 million in the building and its seed-to-retail business over the next several years. State officials say the project is expected to have a significant economic impact over the next decade.


EUNICE, N.M. (AP) — A southeastern New Mexico sheriff is vowing to go to jail rather than enforce a proposed red-flag gun law. The Hobbs News-Sun reports Lea County Sheriff Corey Helton told an audience at a Eunice City Hall meeting on Monday he's ready to go to jail, if necessary, for refusal to enforce the law. Helton said he'd be a one-term sheriff because a judge would place him under arrest. But he said he'd be able to sleep at night for standing his ground. The bill pushed forward Tuesday in a Democratic-controlled House committee would allow law enforcement to petition a court for the temporary surrender of guns by people who appear to pose a danger to themselves.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque companies operating under the name of Select Staffing will pay $199,500 to five female employees to settle a lawsuit that alleged the women were subjected to sexual harassment while working at the Albuquerque Police Department's public-records unit. The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced Thursday that a federal judge approved the settlement of the EEOC's suit filed against Real Time Staffing Services Inc., Employment Solutions Management Inc. and Employbridge LLC. The EEOC lawsuit alleged the women were subjected to sexual comments and unwelcome touching. The companies don't acknowledge liability or management wrongdoing n the settlement. Four of the five women in the Select Staffing case previously received a $490,000 settlement from the city.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A proposal that calls for reshaping the administrative structure of New Mexico's chief regulatory board is headed to the House floor for consideration with a week remaining in the 30-day legislative session. Supporters of revamping the Public Regulation Commission say the legislation will help insulate the staff from political considerations and reduce turnover. The measure has the support of business groups. The independently elected commission has been at the center of a fight over how the state is implementing a landmark energy law that involves mandates for more renewable energy and the closure of a major coal-fired power plant.


ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — The governor of New Mexico has appointed a city attorney to fill a vacant seat on the judicial district court in Chaves County. The Roswell Daily Record reported Wednesday that Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham named 44-year-old Roswell attorney Jared Kallunki to fill a seat in the 5th Judicial District. The seat was previously held by Kea Riggs who resigned in December after being sworn in as a federal judge on the U.S. District Court of New Mexico. It is unclear when Kallunki will be sworn in. Court authorities say Kallunki must run in November to retain his new position for a full six-year term.