Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment

Mar 12, 2019

New Mexico mulls state-run pot shops, subsidized medical useSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico would become the first U.S. state to set up its own government-operated marijuana stores and subsidize medical cannabis for the poor under a bill brokered between Republicans and Democrats, as new wave of states weighs legislation that would legalize recreational sales and consumption.The idea for state-run pot shops comes from a trio of GOP state senators who broke with local Republican Party orthodoxy to embrace legal marijuana. It is a decidedly big-government approach that also would require that marijuana consumers carry receipts of purchase or confront penalties.Those provisions were sown into Democrat-sponsored legislation that contains currents of social justice including medical cannabis subsidies for poor people with debilitating medical conditions.Several powerful conservative Democrats still stands in the way of a Senate floor vote on legalization.


California water agencies fight over multistate drought planPHOENIX (AP) — A major Southern California water agency is positioning itself to shoulder the state's entire water contribution under a plan to preserve a key river in the U.S. West that serves 40 million people.The Metropolitan Water District board is voting Tuesday on a proposal to essentially write out of a multistate drought plan another agency that gets more Colorado River water than anyone else.The Imperial Irrigation District says it'll only provide water to keep a key reservoir from dropping to drastically low levels if U.S. officials commit $200 million to address a massive, briny lake southeast of Los Angeles.Metropolitan says that effort shouldn't stall the drought plan and it can cover Imperial's contribution.The U.S. government could impose its own rules for water going to California, Arizona and Nevada if seven states can't reach an agreement.


The Latest: Ban-the-box bill sent to New Mexico governorSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A bill that would remove criminal history questions from initial job applications in the private sector is headed to the governor's desk.The bill from Democratic Sen. Bill O'Neill of Albuquerque cleared the Legislature on a 45-15 vote of the House with all Republicans who were present in opposition.A similar bill was vetoed in 2017 by former GOP Gov. Susana Martinez.Under the new bill, private employers may take prior convictions into consideration after an initial review of the job application and a discussion of employment.Similar "ban-the-box" regulations that eliminate prior convictions from check lists on job applications have been adopted in at least 11 states that include California, Illinois and Washington.


New Mexico plan to boost spending heads to Senate floorSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Adjustments to a $7 billion annual general fund spending plan for the state of New Mexico would devote greater resources to economic development subsidies and drop a requirement that the University of New Mexico revive recently disbanded sports teams.The lead Senate budget committee on Monday endorsed a $703 million increase in general fund spending for the fiscal year starting July 1. That represents an additional $19 million beyond the House-approved bill.The amended bill now moves to the full Senate for a vote.Senate amendments could boost current year spending by $60 million on a closing fund to encourage business expansions.Minor adjustments were made to a plan for public education spending of $3.25 billion that represents a 16 percent increase over current-year spending.


UNM Board of Regents selects officersALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The University of New Mexico Board of Regents has elected a former state treasurer and management school dean as its president.The university said in a statement posted to its website that Doug Brown was chosen for the position at a meeting Monday.Brown previously served on the board following an appointment in 2003, and then was appointed state treasurer in 2005.He led UNM's Anderson School of Management for five years until his retirement in 2014.Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham appointed Brown and four others to the Board of Regents after taking office this year. Their appointments were confirmed by the state Senate last month.Other officers selected Monday include Kim Sanchez Rael, who was chosen as vice president, and Sandra Begay, who serve as board secretary and treasurer.


More details released on last month's standoff in New MexicoHATCH, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico State Police say an officer ended an Interstate 25 standoff last month by shooting an armed suspect in the foot.An Arizona man reportedly abducted his wife in Louisiana and threatened to kill his 7-year-old son in the Feb. 27 standoff.The wife of 39-year-old James Kirkland of Kingman bolted from the vehicle when it stopped on I-25 near the southern New Mexico village of Hatch.State Police said Monday that an officer saw feet on the ground outside the vehicle and determined they were Kirkland's.The officer shot Kirkland in the right foot to end the standoff. Authorities took him into custody and rescued the boy.Authorities say Kirkland has been booked into the Dona Ana County Detention Center on multiple charges including kidnapping and child abuse.


New Mexico: More work needed to clean up jet fuel spillALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — After excavating thousands of tons of soil and treating millions of gallons of water, New Mexico regulators say the U.S. Air Force still has work to do to clean up contamination at a military base bordering the state's largest city.The state environment department has released a draft of this year's strategic plan for addressing the jet fuel contamination at Kirtland Air Force Base.The fuel leak — believed to have been seeping into the ground for decades — was first detected in 1999. The greatest concern was potential contamination of drinking water wells in Albuquerque neighborhoods that border the base.Environment Secretary James Kenney says 2018 data indicates groundwater extraction and treatment is having an effect on the plume.Under the proposed plan, that work would continue along with more modeling and monitoring.


Deadline set for abuse claims against New Mexico archdioceseALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A deadline has been set for victims of clergy sexual abuse to submit a proof of claim in the ongoing bankruptcy case filed by New Mexico's largest Catholic diocese.U.S. Bankruptcy Judge David Thuma approved the June 17 deadline in an order announced late Friday. He also spelled out a comprehensive claims process, which includes the Archdiocese of Santa Fe publishing notices in dozens of newspapers and other publications.The claims will be sealed and remain confidential unless the claimant indicates otherwise.The archdiocese dropped a bombshell in November, announcing it would seek bankruptcy protection after spending more than $50 million over the years to settle hundreds of lawsuits alleging child sex abuse by clergy members.Archbishop John Wester said he's hopeful mediation can begin following the claim deadline.