- New Mexico lawmakers reconvene to consider legalizing pot
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico lawmakers are responding to the call of Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to try and forge an agreement on legalizing recreational marijuana in a special legislative session that convenes at noon on Tuesday. Legalization has won state House approval for three consecutive years but failed to gain full approval, despite support from an array of proponents. Lujan Grisham has hailed the industry's potential to create jobs and a stable new source of revenue for the state. Lawmakers are likely to bring forward two bills that provide a regulatory framework for the industry and focus secondly on social justice concerns.
- New Mexico sues US over proposed nuclear waste storage plans
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico is suing the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission over concerns that the federal agency hasn't done enough to vet plans for a multibillion-dollar facility to store spent nuclear fuel in the state. In a filing Monday, New Mexico says the project would endanger residents, the environment and the economy. New Jersey-based Holtec International wants to build a complex where tons of spent fuel from commercial nuclear power plants around the nation could be stored until the federal government finds a permanent solution. State officials worry the state will become a permanent dumping ground for the radioactive material. The commission says it's followed procedure and an environmental review was done.
- Native American health clinics offering vaccine to visitors
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Indian Health Service is shifting its vaccine distribution system to target individual hospitals and clinics with high demand for shots and taper supplies to hubs where the majority of eligible patients have received doses. Indian Health Service safety and monitoring specialist Dr. Matthew Clark said Monday the shift is designed to improve efficiency after a drop-off in vaccine demand in some regions. The agency is part of a two-pronged national effort to immunize Indigenous communities that also relies on state health agencies. Native Americans have been disproportionately sickened and killed by the pandemic, and are now at the forefront of federal vaccination efforts.
- New Mexico police: 2 teens not abducted but still missing
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Authorities are searching for two teenage girls last seen at an Albuquerque hotel. New Mexico State Police said Monday they no longer believe the girls were abducted. They issued a revised Amber Alert characterizing 14-year-old Zuriah Castillo and 16-year-old Jaylynn Miller as missing. The teens were in the Santo Domingo Pueblo area on Saturday shortly after 7 p.m. when they asked for a ride. They were dropped off at the Courtyard by Marriott. Castillo is described as 5-foot-5, 130 pounds with shoulder-length bleach blonde and dark brown hair and brown eyes. Miller is described as 5 feet, 112 pounds with shoulder-length brown hair dyed red and brown eyes.
- Off-duty Las Cruces firefighter gets bee swarm to buzz off
LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A Las Cruces firefighter who is also a beekeeper is credited with safely removing a swarm of bees found inside a parked car. City officials say the incident occurred Sunday shortly after 4 p.m. outside an Albertson's supermarket. A shopper had put his groceries in his car and was about to drive when he spotted the swarm in the backseat. Firefighters called on Jesse Johnson, an off-duty firefighter with beekeeping experience. Johnson arrived with proper beekeeping attire was able to remove the bees. The whole process took about two hours. The swarm, comprised of an estimated 15,000 bees, was transported to Johnson's own property.
- Arizona declares state holiday to honor Native code talkers
PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona bill creates a new state holiday to honor Native Americans who used their language to transmit coded messages during World War II. Aug. 14 is celebrated across the country and on the Navajo Nation as Navajo Code Talkers Day. While hundreds of Navajos were recruited as code talkers, about a dozen Hopis and members of other tribes also covertly sent messages that helped the U.S. win the war. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill Monday that makes Aug. 14 a state holiday. It marks the day Japan announced it would surrender to the Allied forces. The holiday will be observed on a Sunday when state offices already are closed.
- Security fence, cops, no longer encircle New Mexico capitol
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Security fencing and state police checkpoints no longer encircle New Mexico state capitol buildings. The added security was put in place after the Jan. 6 riots in Washington D.C. and cost at least $700,000. State Police checkpoints began to disappear earlier this month as the state's annual legislative session came to a close. A security fence started coming down on Saturday. Legislators are set to convene this week to pass bills that would legalize recreational cannabis. The capitol buildings that house legislative chambers will continue to be closed to the public due to the pandemic.
- New Mexico eases vaccination process for older residents
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico is trying to make it even easier for residents 75 and older to get vaccinated. The state Health Department announced Monday that people in that group will no longer need event codes in order to schedule an appointment to get their COVID-19 vaccinations. Instead, those who are registered with the state will get invitations to schedule appointments. They'll use their confirmation codes and dates of birth to set up appointments. Health Secretary Dr. Tracie Collins says a large majority of seniors in the state already have been vaccinated. In all, more than one-quarter of New Mexicans have been fully vaccinated.