- FILM REBATES-NEW MEXICO
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico says it will streamline its system for delivering multimillion-dollar tax rebates to film productions by certifying in-state vendors to automatically qualify for the incentives.The state serves as the recent backdrop for "Better Call Saul," ''The Goldfinch" and "Godless" and offers rebates of up to 35 percent to video productions for in-state spending and resident employees.The Taxation and Revenue Department on Thursday announced the creation of a voluntary certification for film-industry contractors that ensures eligibility for the credit.Taxation officials will verify that businesses have a physical presence in New Mexico and are up-to-date on tax obligations. Certification is valid for two years.New Mexico recently increased its annual cap on rebates to $110 million, not including companies such as Netflix with long-term business commitments.
- CHACO CANYON-DRILLING
GRANTS, N.M. (AP) — A federal judge in New Mexico has delayed a hearing for a motion by a coalition of environmental groups to block oil and gas drilling in the Greater Chaco region.The Gallup Independent reported Wednesday that the chief district judge for New Mexico listed numerous reasons for the delay, including increased immigration activity on the state's southern border.The coalition that filed the lawsuit Aug. 1 includes Dine Citizens Against Ruining our Environment, San Juan Citizens Alliance, WildEarth Guardians, Western Environmental Law Center, and the Sierra Club.The court in May reversed the federal Bureau of Land Management's approval of 25 drilling permits issued prior to 2016 as the result of a similar lawsuit filed by environmental groups.The new lawsuit concerns permits issued from 2016 to present.
- STATE SENATOR-CAR CRASH-DWI
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A Democratic state lawmaker charged with drunken driving says he won't resign from the New Mexico Senate even if convicted.The Albuquerque Journal reports Sen. Richard Martinez spoke to reporters Thursday following a court hearing in Santa Fe. He says his experience will probably make him a better senator.Martinez has pleaded not guilty to aggravated DWI and reckless driving charges following a June arrest.Police say he slammed into the back of another vehicle in Espanola, which is part of his district.Police lapel video showed Martinez responding to officers with slurred speech following the accident.He refused a breath test to determine his blood-alcohol level.Martinez is the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He says he'll seek re-election next year.
- OBIT-KYLIE RAE HARRIS
TAOS, N.M. (AP) — Country singer Kylie Rae Harris was one of two people killed in a three-vehicle crash in northern New Mexico.Harris' publicist confirmed her death Thursday, saying family and friends of the 30-year-old Texas native were heartbroken.Harris was on her way to Taos when the crash happened Wednesday night along State Road 522. She was scheduled to take the stage Thursday afternoon at the annual Big Barn Dance Music Festival.The Taos County Sheriff's Office says one of the other drivers — a 16-year-old girl — also was killed. The third driver escaped injury. Authorities did not release their names.The sheriff's office says alcohol is suspected as a factor in the crash but they did not release details.Harris released her self-titled album earlier this year.
- MUMPS-BERNALILLO COUNTY
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — State health officials say they're investigating six cases of the mumps in Bernalillo County.New Mexico Department of Health officials say the patients range in age from 7 to 41.Mumps is a highly contagious disease that is typically preventable through vaccination.It is spread through the air and by droplets of saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose or throat of an infected person, usually when the person coughs or sneezes.The virus can be spread through shared use of drinks, cups or eating utensils.Health officials say people exposed to mumps could become ill 12 to 25 days later.But some people who get mumps have very mild or no symptoms and often they don't know they have the disease.
- BORDER WALL-ARIZONA
PHOENIX (AP) — Construction on a Pentagon-funded portion of border fence began this week near Yuma, Arizona.It comes just as federal officials revealed a list of Defense Department projects that will be cut to pay for President Donald Trump's wall.The exact details of the Yuma project are unclear. But it appears it will consist of about 5 miles of fencing along the Colorado River in a section of the border that has seen a huge increase in migrant families over the past year.Apprehensions have dropped steeply over the past two months because of the hot summer and a clampdown on migrants by the Mexican government.Locals and environmentalists oppose the border wall, saying it will irrevocably damage wildlife habit and water resources.
- TEACHERS-INSURANCE PREMIUMS
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Thousands of New Mexico educators will see their health insurance premiums jump next month after state lawmakers handed out big raises.KRQE-TV in Albuquerque reports the New Mexico Public Schools Insurance Authority, the agency insuring more than 30,000 educators statewide, is raising insurance premiums on both its medical and dental plans in October.For "low" tier medical plans, premiums will rise 3.1%, costing an additional $5 to $16 per month depending on how many people are covered by the plan.For "high" tier plans, premiums will rise 5.9%, costing an additional $7 to $41 per month.Dental plan premiums will also be increased by 5%.Albuquerque Teachers Federation union president Ellen Bernstein says she has already heard from educators who are concerned about premium price hikes.