JEMEZ SPRINGS, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico water managers are planning to study the water quality of the Jemez River watershed.
The survey will include the Jemez River from its headwaters in northern New Mexico's Jemez Mountains down to the village of San Ysidro. A tributary of the Rio Grande, the river cuts through Valles Caldera National Preserve and Jemez Pueblo land.
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A proposal advocated by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez to increase penalties for human trafficking is heading to the Senate for consideration.
The measure would make it a first-degree felony for human trafficking if the victim was under the age of 16. Convictions could carry a basic sentence of 18 years in prison. That doubles the penalty because the crime is currently a lesser felony.
The proposal would triple the basic penalty — to nine years in prison — for human trafficking if the victim was 16 years or older.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Efforts aimed at preservation of Native American languages would continue with the help of federal funding under legislation introduced by New Mexico Congressman Ben Ray Lujan.
The New Mexico Democrat says his bill would reauthorize the Esther Martinez Native Languages Preservation Act for another five years.
The original legislation was brought by former Republican Congresswoman Heather Wilson in honor of a Tewa storyteller and linguist who was known for her life's work of preserving her native language and traditions.
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico lawmaker wants to end what he calls the practice by public officials of creating "monuments to me."
Republican Sen. Mark Moores of Albuquerque says he has introduced a bill that would prohibit any public building from being named after a living person. He says the practice can turn embarrassing, as in the case of the Manny Aragon library at Lowell Elementary School in Albuquerque. Aragon is a former Senate leader serving time in federal prison for accepting kickbacks.
Bernalillo County District Court judges are barring District Attorney Kari Brandenberg's office from using investigative grand juries to probe shootings involving police officers.
Chief Judge Ted Baca and another judge say in a letter to Brandenberg that there's an appearance of a lack of impartiality.
The judges' letter says that's because the investigative grand juries are used only in officer-involved shootings and only after there's been a determination that there's no probable cause for criminal charges against the officers.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico advocacy groups say Walgreens won't allow individual pharmacists' personal religious beliefs to prevent customers from filling birth control prescriptions.
The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico announced Tuesday that Walgreens told the ACLU and the Southwest Women's Law Center that the company will take steps nationwide to make sure customers received prescriptions regardless of employees' beliefs.
The federal government reports that New Mexico's graduation rate for the 2009-2010 was 67.3 percent. That's below the national average of 78.2 percent. Only the rates in Nevada and Mississippi were lower.
The so-called "average freshman graduation rates" indicate the percentage of 9th graders who go on to graduate within four years.
The rates are being reported by the National Center for Education Statistics, which is part of the U.S. Department of Education.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The University of New Mexico has hired a new company to lobby on its behalf in Washington, D.C. — at nearly double the cost the school has paid in recent years.
The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/VaTYgJ) that UNM will pay Madison Associates, based in the nation's capital, $237,000 this year for its lobbying services under a one-year contract that could be renewed for three years.
President Bob Frank says the firm will have to earn "every cent we pay them."
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A new computer system is skewing the data on unemployment claims in New Mexico.
The state's "fully integrated tax and claims system" launched Jan. 6. But because the switchover was done Jan. 1 to Jan. 6, those collecting unemployment were unable to re-certify or file new claims for unemployment from New Mexico during that time.
Because of the shutdown, the number of claims being reported to the federal government is way down.
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Lawmakers are proposing a tax credit to encourage businesses to hire students receiving graduate degrees in science and technology from a New Mexico college.
The measure is to help stop the so-called brain drain of highly educated professionals leaving New Mexico for jobs in other states after earning a master's or doctorate degree in mathematics, engineering, technology, the sciences or a health-related field.
povertyOMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The Federal Reserve says U.S. farm income could decline in 2013, but it depends upon whether the drought continues.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Mo., said Thursday that if drought conditions persist, prices of corn and other crops would remain volatile because of tight supply. But if normal weather conditions return, crop prices would decline and lead to lower farm incomes.
Bernalillo County District Attorney Kari Brandenburg says she expects to resume the controversial practice of presenting police shooting cases to "investigative grand juries."
The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/WxAjBM) that Brandenburg sent a letter this week to Second Judicial District Court judges saying she will begin scheduling the first of 12 pending police shooting cases for grand jury presentations.
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A former South Carolina sheriff's lieutenant is suspected of robbing a Santa Fe, N.M., pharmacy at gunpoint and trying to rob a second pharmacy of the potent narcotic Oxycodone.
Police in Santa Fe say 43-year-old George William Smith is married to a Santa Fe prosecutor. They say Assistant District Attorney Dorie Biagianti-Smith called authorities and confronted her husband after recognizing him on a television news broadcast about the Monday and Tuesday robberies.
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Gov. Susana Martinez has ordered flags around the state to fly at half-staff in honor of former House Speaker Ben Lujan.
Lujan died late Tuesday at age 77 after a long battle with lung cancer. He was one of the most powerful and longest serving state legislators in New Mexico history and the father of U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan.
Under Martinez's order, flags will be lowered from sunrise on Saturday through sundown on Dec. 29.