- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NAVAJO NATION
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation on Wednesday reported 16 more confirmed COVID-19 cases, but no additional deaths. The latest figures bring the pandemic totals on the tribe's reservation, which includes parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, increased to 30,198 cases. The known death toll remains at 1,259. On Tuesday, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez announced the first confirmed case of the COVID-19 B.1.429 variant on the Navajo Nation, which came from a test sample obtained in the Chinle service unit area. The variant was first identified in the state of California and has since been detected across the southwest U.S.
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed civil rights reforms Wednesday that eliminate police immunity from prosecution in state courts, in response to protests and concerns about police brutality that swept the nation. The Democrat-sponsored legislation has implications for an array of state and local government agencies, from social services agencies to school districts. The bill was backed by an unusual coalition of advocates for policing reforms and social justice causes. They include the civic-minded founders of Ben & Jerry's ice cream and the conservative-backed nonprofit group Americans for Prosperity. Lujan Grisham signed the bill amid the trial of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on murder charges in the May 25, 2020, death of George Floyd.
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico health officials are reporting more progress in getting residents vaccinated as the state continues to lead the U.S. in the vaccine rollout. State Health Secretary Dr. Tracie Collins says 50% of residents 16 and older have received their first shot and 31% are fully vaccinated. New Mexico on Monday expanded vaccine eligibility to all residents 16 and older. New Mexico National Guard soldiers are operating a vaccine distribution center in Albuquerque to help with the effort. In all, the National Guard has completed more than 1,230 missions during the pandemic and has logged more than 1.6 million miles along with the Civil Air Patrol.
- FATAL TRAIN STATION SHOOTING
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A 22-year-old man has been arrested in a fatal shooting at a train station in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Police say they're also looking for a person of interest in the case, a 20-year-old man who they say was near the scene of the shooting Tuesday. Authorities say the victim was 24-year-old David Hernandez and a 38-year-old also was hospitalized. Police say a witness near the station overheard a disagreement over the price of drugs before shots were fired.
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-OKLAHOMA
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma will begin providing COVID-19 vaccinations to residents of any state because both the vaccine supply and the number of vaccinated Oklahomans have increased. Deputy Health Commissioner Keith Reed said Wednesday that the state had reached a point where other states' residents may be vaccinated starting Thursday. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that Oklahoma has received more than 2.9 million vaccine doses and has administered more than 2.1 vaccinations. The state has about 4 million residents.
- MORMON CHURCH TEMPLES-FARMINGTON
FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced plans to build a new temple in Farmington, New Mexico making it the second temple in the state. Church President Russell Nelson made the announcement Sunday that the new temple in Farmington will be one of 20 newly planned temples being built worldwide and one of nine in the U.S., including locations in Grand Junction, Colorado; Helena, Montana; and Yorba Linda, California. The only other temple in New Mexico is in Albuquerque and was dedicated in March 2000 after being announced in 1997. A timeline for the new temples was not immediately announced.
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NAVAJO NATION
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation on Tuesday reported three more confirmed COVID-19 cases and one additional death. The latest figures bring the pandemic totals on the tribe's reservation, which includes parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, increased to 30,182 cases and 1,259 known deaths. On Tuesday, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez announced the first confirmed case of the COVID-19 B.1.429 variant on the Navajo Nation, which came from a test sample obtained in the Chinle Service Unit area. The variant was first identified in the state of California and has since been detected across the southwest U.S. Nez says tribal members should continue to take all precautions to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
- GOVERNOR SIGNS BILLS
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has signed over 100 bills this week, inking changes in taxation, healthcare, education and voting. One tax bill being signed Tuesday expands rebates and tax credits for working families by increasing benefits and broadening eligibility. A healthcare bill prevents hospitals from suing broke patients. A round of education bill signings will reduce paperwork for home school and community college students pursuing a four-year degree. And when it comes to elections, voters can expect major changes in 2022. Like other states, New Mexico will draw new lines for voting districts. Lujan Grisham is signing a bill that sends redistricting to a non-partisan commission.