- NAME THE BISTI BEAST
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science is trying to name the robotic version of the Bisti Beast tyrannosaur. The museum in Albuquerque has collected name suggestions from visitors for months. They have narrowed down choices to the top five most popular suggestions and want the public's help choosing the final name. Museum officials say the most popular names include Juniper, Bailey, Bella, Betty and Bonita. They plan to announce a name March 14 when the museum opens its next dinosaur exhibit. The real Bisti Beast was found in the Bisti Badlands of New Mexico and its skull is on display in the museum's "Back to Bones" exhibit.
- ELECTION 2020-HOUSE-NEW MEXICO
CAPROCK, N.M. (AP) — A Republican U.S. House candidate in southern New Mexico has released an ad where she shoots a red flag to protest a state gun control proposal. Claire Chase on Thursday unveiled the online video where she challenges "Santa Fe liberals" to come and take her firearm. She then shoots a red flag to show her displeasure with a proposed red-flag gun law. A bill heading to the governor's desk would allow law enforcement to petition a court for the temporary surrender of guns by people who appear to pose a danger to themselves or others. Conservatives and gun-rights advocates say the measure is unconstitutional.
- NEW MEXICO GUN LAWS
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Democrat-led New Mexico Legislature approved a red-flag gun law Thursday with a final vote of the state House. The move virtually ensures adoption of new procedures for courts to order the surrender of firearms from people who appear to pose a danger to themselves or others. The House approved the bill on a 39-31 vote with Republicans and several Democrats in opposition, sending the bill to a supportive Democratic governor. As they cast votes, Republican legislators held aloft paperback copies of the Constitution in protest. The bill would allow law enforcement officers to petition a state district court to order the temporary surrender of firearms.
- MARIJUANA-NEW MEXICO
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's bid to become the 12th U.S. state to legalize recreational use of marijuana abruptly fell flat after state senators in a legislature dominated by Democrats rejected a bill that would have forced permission for sales in all of the state's cities and towns. In a late-night committee vote Wednesday, two Democratic senators joined with Republicans in a 6-4 vote to halt a legalization bill born from yearlong legalization preparation effort by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. The vote illustrates the difficulties of using the legislative process and not a ballot initiative to fully legalizing marijuana. The governor says the legalization of recreational cannabis in New Mexico is inevitable.
- REPUBLICAN PARTY-VANDALISM
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.
- NAVAJO COAL
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming officials have reached an agreement with a Navajo tribal company that would give them authority to take the company to court to enforce environmental laws at two coal mines. Navajo Transitional Energy Company acquired the Antelope and Cordero Rojo mines in Wyoming, and the Young's Creek mine in Montana, from Gillette-based Cloud Peak Energy in a 2019 bankruptcy sale. As a sovereign tribal entity, the Navajo company couldn't normally be sued in state court. Wyoming and Montana officials have been negotiating limited waivers of sovereign immunity for NTEC as a condition for the company to eventually get state permits for its new mines. Negotiations between NTEC and Montana continue.
- VIRGIN GALACTIC
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Virgin Galactic's spaceship VSS Unity has arrived at its new home in New Mexico after being ferried from Southern California by a special carrier aircraft. The long-awaited move began Thursday at Mojave Air & Space Port in the Mojave Desert. The flight took the spaceship to Spaceport America in southern New Mexico, where it will undergo final testing in preparation for commercial operations that will carry tourists on hops into space. The move to New Mexico marks a significant milestone toward commercial flights, which the company has said it anticipates will begin this year.
- HEMP INVESTMENT
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.