Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. MST

Nov 26, 2019

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has convoked a second meeting of legislators and law enforcement officials in response to the August mass shooting in El Paso, Texas.In a statement on Monday, the first-year Democratic governor described a meeting with the state attorney general, state House speaker and U.S. Congressional delegation on possible action to decrease the risk of home-grown terrorism in New Mexico.Lujan Grisham says the discussion centered on access to weapons, possible tougher penalties for "domestic terrorism" and more robust data tracking. She stressed the importance of evidence-based reforms.The Aug. 3 shooting at an El Paso Walmart killed 22 people and took place within 10 miles (15 kilometers) of New Mexico. The state Legislature convenes in mid-January to consider possible safety reforms.


LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico State University is getting a grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture to study how to make cattle ranching more sustainable.The $8.9 million grant has been awarded to NMSU's College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.The work is geared toward improving the sustainability of beef production in the southwestern U.S., where environmental conditions are driving up the cost of raising cattle.The researchers will be looking at cattle genetics, the use of sensors and technology to more accurately understand what's occurring on the range and options for marketing Southwest beef.The grant will support research for the next five years and involve as many as 50 people from 12 institutions. That includes five cattle ranches located in New Mexico, Utah, California and South Dakota.


LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (AP) — Los Alamos National Laboratory says it's committed to breaking down gender barriers and making equality a reality when it comes to nuclear policy.The northern New Mexico lab made the announcement last week, saying it's the first national laboratory to make an official pledge.The lab joined the national Gender Champions in Nuclear Policy group, a leadership network that brings together heads of organizations working in nuclear policy.Lab Director Thom Mason says nuclear policy, like many technological fields, has long been a male-dominated space and as a result, woman in the field have too often been marginalized.With the commitment, Mason says the lab will work to bring more women into the field and foster a culture of respect.About one-third of the lab's 12,000 employs are women.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.