Local News
8:53 am
Tue March 12, 2013

NM House OKs Bill To Lower Marijuana Penalties

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A proposal to lessen penalties for marijuana possession has passed the House.

The measure was approved Monday on a 37-33 vote and goes to the Senate.

The proposal would impose civil penalty fines on adults convicted a first time for having up to four ounces of marijuana. Jail time would be eliminated for possessing up to eight ounces.

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Local News
8:48 am
Tue March 12, 2013

Prescott Hosts Hundreds For Firefighting Academy

Credit BLM

PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) — Hundreds of people are gathered in Prescott this week to learn how to prepare for the upcoming wildfire season.

The majority of the 550 participants in the 11th annual Arizona Wildfire & Incident Management Academy are from Arizona and New Mexico.

The 40 training courses range from basic firefighting to battling wildfires in urban areas and using social media during emergencies. They are part of the largest firefighting school in the state.

Classes are being held through Friday at Emery-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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Local News
8:45 am
Tue March 12, 2013

Governor Vetoes Prevailing Wage Law Proposal

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Gov. Susana Martinez has vetoed legislation that would have prohibited a state agency from disclosing the names of people bringing complaints about wage law violations by contractors on public works projects.

The governor said the bill passed by the Legislature was overly broad and the Workforce Solutions Department keeps the identity of whistleblowers confidential except to disclose the information to law enforcement or to prosecute violations.

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Local News
8:44 am
Tue March 12, 2013

NM Gets Federal Grant For Mine Cleanup Work

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico is getting a $4.8 million federal grant to clean up abandoned mines.

The Department of Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources say some of the money will pay for safeguarding sites near Silver City, Grants, Raton and Albuquerque.

Sites where the grant will be used to study and plan future work include ones near Madrid, Gallup and Silver City.

Local News
8:43 am
Tue March 12, 2013

House Passes Bill To Strengthen Hispanic Center

Credit AllenS

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico House has passed a bill aimed at strengthening the National Hispanic Cultural Center by improving communication between its governing and fundraising boards.

The bill, passed unanimously on Monday, would allow cross membership on both the National Hispanic Cultural Center Foundation board and the National Hispanic Cultural Center governing board. The legislation also calls for the creation of a memorandum of understanding between the two boards.

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Local News
8:41 am
Tue March 12, 2013

Health insurance exchange bill clears NM Senate

Credit clevercupcakes via Flickr

  A proposal to establish a state-run health insurance exchange has passed the Senate with bipartisan support.

A federal health care law calls for exchanges to serve as a marketplace for the uninsured to shop for medical coverage.

The legislation creates an exchange governed by a 13-member board and operated by the New Mexico Health Insurance Alliance, a nonprofit corporation established in 1994.

The Senate approved the proposal on a 36-5 vote Monday, sending it to the House.

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Local News
8:40 am
Tue March 12, 2013

NM Senate Approves Film Incentive Sweetener

A proposal to sweeten New Mexico's incentives for television and film projects is close to clearing the Legislature.

The Senate approved the House-passed proposal on a 32-8 vote Monday.

New Mexico offers a 25 percent tax refund for certain film and TV production expenses.

Under the legislation, the incentive would increase to 30 percent for a TV show producing at least six episodes in New Mexico. The extra 5 percent would be offered for film and TV projects spending an extended time in New Mexico doing their main photography at one of the state's film studios

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The Two-Way
7:17 am
Tue March 12, 2013

Ahmadinejad Touched And Consoled Chávez's Mother, To Clerics' Dismay

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad offered his condolences to Elena Frias, mother of Venezuela's late President Hugo Chávez, last week. This image was provided to news services by the Miraflores Palace — the office of the Venezuelan president.
Reuters /Landov

A photo of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad holding the hand of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez's mother and appearing to brush his face against her cheek as they consoled each other last week has him "mired in a fresh controversy" in Iran, as the BBC writes:

"Conservative critics, already irked by Mr Ahmadinejad's effusive eulogy for the leftist leader, reminded him that he has not only committed a sin, but also behaved in a way inappropriate for the president of an Islamic state."

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The Two-Way
6:46 am
Tue March 12, 2013

Senate Committee Takes Up Expanded Gun Measures

Gun show in Chantilly, Va., last December.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 12, 2013 11:14 am

Update at 11:15 a.m. ET: Senate Passes Measure:

The Associated Press reports that the committee cast a 10-8 party-line vote, with all Republicans opposed, on the measure to expand a requirement of background checks for gun sales between private parties.

The Associated Press reports:

"The bill's sponsor, New York Democrat Sen. Charles Schumer, said the measure will reduce gun crimes, and said he hopes he can strike a compromise on the measure with Republicans, which would enhance the measure's chances of passing in the full Senate.

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The Two-Way
6:17 am
Tue March 12, 2013

Ryan Says His Budget Would Balance In 10 Years

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., when he was campaigning as the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee.
Michael Sears MCT /Landov

Originally published on Tue March 12, 2013 9:32 am

(Note at 11:20 a.m. ET: Scroll down to see the GOP plan, which has now been released; new comments from Rep. Ryan; and White House reaction.)

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee, unveiled his latest budget plan Tuesday morning — and as NPR's Tamara Keith told our Newscast Desk, he says it would bring the federal budget in balance by 2023.

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