KUNM News

Ed Williams-KUNM

Albuquerque To Award $2M In Contracts To Combat HomelessnessThe Associated Press

The city of Albuquerque will award more than $2 million to six nonprofit organizations to help address homelessness and mental health issues.

Mayor Richard Berry announced the funding Tuesday. He says this shows Albuquerque has a heart for the most vulnerable and that it backs up its concern with substantial resources.

Jena g. . Einar E. Kvaran aka 98.20.23.52 23:59, 1 June 2009, via Wikimedia Commons

NM Senate Approves A $6.2 Billion Budget Bill - The Associated Press

The New Mexico Senate has approved a $6.2 billion spending proposal for the next fiscal year.

Senators Monday night took up a budget bill largely unchanged from what the House approved last month.

The spending plan includes pay raises for new teachers and state police officers. Most department budgets remain flat, but education, the state's child welfare agency and tourism department get more money.

Rusty Blazenhoff via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Senate Passes Bill Lessening Penalties For Pot Possession - The Associated Press and Albuquerque Journal

Two marijuana-related bills have cleared hurdles in the New Mexico Senate and House.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that legislation that would not include jail time for offenders having less than an ounce of pot passed the Senate on Saturday in a 21-20 vote.

Navajohistory via Wikimedia Commons

Navajo Council Approves Referendum On Language Requirements The Associated Press

Funding for the long-delayed Navajo presidential election took a back seat Friday to a provision that would allow voters to decide whether candidates should speak and understand the tribe's language.

Navajo language fluency has loomed over the election ever since a candidate was disqualified last year for failing to prove he met the requirement for the tribe's top post.

Ken Lund / Flickr

Injunction Issued On Services For People With Disabilities - The Associated Press

A federal judge is ordering New Mexico state agencies to reinstate services for people with disabilities pending reassessments.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that U.S. District Judge Judith Herrera this week issued an injunction, ruling that there'd been violations of peoples' rights to due process.

Groups which requested the injunction contended that people receiving benefits and services through a Medicaid program were being harmed, and Herrera agreed.

US National Park Service

Groups Sue Feds Over Drilling In Northwest New Mexico - The Associated Press

A coalition of environmental groups is suing the federal government over the approval of oil and gas drilling permits in northwestern New Mexico.

The groups filed their lawsuit Wednesday as they prepared to rally at the State Capitol. They contend that more development and hydraulic fracturing could harm the environment and sites such as the Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

The suit names the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Interior Department.

Stephanie Fitzgerald

NM Senate Panel Votes No On Right-To-Work Bill - The Associated Press and Albuquerque Journal

A Senate panel has stopped the advance of a right-to-work bill that has drawn scores of people to the State Capitol for hours of hearings.

The Public Affairs Committee voted 5-3 yesterday to block a bill that prohibits requiring workers to join a union or to pay dues as a condition of employment and includes a 50-cent-per-hour minimum wage increase.

Photo via www.engagingpeace.com

Arguments Heard In New Mexico PARCC Testing Contract FightThe Associated Press

Lawyers have submitted arguments in a legal challenge to New Mexico's contract with a testing company that may halt a much-debated assessment exam in the state.

Santa Fe District Judge Sarah Singleton heard arguments Tuesday in a case that could overturn a contract awarded to London-based Pearson and potentially tangle up other states using the same test.

Rio Grande Sun

Fire Inside Espanola Newspaper Office Suspected As Arson - The Associated Press and Santa Fe New Mexican

Authorities believe a fire that broke out in the office of a northern New Mexico newspaper is the work of an arsonist.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that firefighters were called to a fire at the Rio Grande Sun in Espanola around 5:30 a.m. Saturday.

Crews contained the blaze to an office before it could spread.

Gareth Williams via Flickr

New Mexico House Panel Eyes State Cuban Trade Office The Associated Press

A New Mexico House panel is set to discuss a proposal that would create a state Cuban Trade Office.

The House Business and Employment Committee is scheduled Saturday to debate the bill sponsored by Rep. Miguel Garcia.

Under the proposal, the office would identify potential buyers in Cuba for New Mexico goods and services. The office also would assist New Mexico businesses with marketing in Cuba.

lu_lu via flickr

New Mexico Releases Details Of Child Vaccine Exemptions - The Associated Press

New Mexico health officials have released the number of vaccine exemptions per school district for 2014, and Quemado tops the list.

The sparsely-populated district in western New Mexico has the highest rate of exemptions per 1,000 students at 40.3. The Santa Fe district has a rate of nearly 21, while the state's largest district in Albuquerque stands at 7.2.

Whitepaw / Wikimedia Commons

Scientists Outline Research Wish List For Nuclear EnergyThe Associated Press

Engineers and researchers from national laboratories and universities around the country are trying to narrow the list of critical research problems the nation needs to address when it comes to nuclear energy.

The group gathered at the University of New Mexico is expected to detail its findings Thursday.

The group includes representatives from UNM, Colorado State University, Texas A&M and Sandia and Los Alamos national labs.

NM County Courthouses / Flickr

69 Dismissals So Far From Speedup Of Bernalillo County Cases - The Associated Press and KOAT-TV

The Albuquerque area's top prosecutor says dozens of criminal cases have been dismissed at least temporarily since new state-mandated deadlines kicked in about a month ago.

According to KOAT-TV, the 69 dismissed cases cited by Bernalillo County District Attorney Kari Brandenburg include ones against people charged with sex crimes involving children.

my_southborough via Creative Commons

New Mexico Solitary Confinement Bill To Go Before Committee - The Associated Press

A New Mexico House panel is expected to revisit a solitary confinement reform proposal a week after a heated exchange sparked by a Democratic member ended a meeting.

The House Safety and Civil Affairs Committee is set Tuesday to discuss a measure that would ban the use of solitary confinement on juveniles and inmates suffering from mental illness.

New Mexico Senate Approves Bill To Eradicate BullyingThe Associated Press

Allencrack dövmeci / Wikimedia Commons

Senate Passes Bill To Create State Board For Tattoo Artists - The Associated Press and Santa Fe New Mexican

Legislation that would create a state board to regulate New Mexico tattoo and piercing artists has received overwhelming approval from the Senate.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that the Senate voted Friday 39-1 in favor of the bill that proposes a five-member Board of Body Art Practitioners.

killbox via flickr

Ice, Snow Cover Some New Mexico Roads After StormsThe Associated Press 

Officials were warning motorists about difficult driving conditions Saturday morning along some New Mexico roadways as a result of stormy winter weather.

Late Friday, Albuquerque police cautioned people about doing any driving because of treacherous conditions that caused numerous traffic accidents.

Snow Forecast For New MexicoNational Weather Service

A parade of disturbances will continue to impact New Mexico with areas of accumulating snow through the first half of the coming week.  

Snow will diminish by the middle of today across southern and eastern areas but it should continue and actually re-intensify across central and northwest area this afternoon and tonight.

Additional heavy and wet snow accumulation through Sunday will be measured in feet across the northern mountains where damage to some structures will be possible.

Arianna Sena

NM House Passes Revamped Right-To-Work BillThe Associated Press

The GOP-controlled New Mexico House of Representatives has approved a contentious right-to-work bill that tacks on an increase in the minimum wage from $7.50 to $8 an hour.

The Republican-sponsored bill prohibits requiring workers to join a union or to pay dues as a condition of employment and applies to both public and private sectors.

The House voted 37-30 Wednesday to move the bill along to the Senate, where it faces resistance.

Rusty Blazenhoff via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Four Corners Sees Spike In Marijuana SeizuresThe Associated Press and Daily Times

New statistics show that a Four Corners regional narcotics taskforce has seized around six times as much marijuana in 2014 than the previous year.

The Daily Times reports that the Region II Narcotics Taskforce seized 245 pounds of marijuana, which has an approximate street value nearly $200,000.

Craig Wilkinson via Flickr / Creative Commons License

New Mexico Joins Other States In Grappling With Drones - The Associated Press

Lawmakers in New Mexico are trying to grapple with new drone technology and how much freedom law enforcement agencies should have in using them.

And even New Mexico sheriffs' offices don't know how to respond.

A New Mexico legislative panel is expected soon to debate a measure that would limit the use of drones by law enforcement agencies without a warrant.

Photo by Darkpatator courtesy of Creative Commons

Water Pipeline To Be Shut Down Temporarily In SE Albuquerque - The Associated Press

Albuquerque's major water provider is temporarily shutting down a transmission pipeline in a southeastern area of the city.

The Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority will take the pipeline out of service starting at 6 p.m. Sunday in order to replace a large-diameter valve.

Officials say the project is expected to last until 6 a.m. Thursday.

Jan Marlyn Reesman via Flickr

New Mexico House Committee Votes In Favor Of Abortion Bills – The Associated Press

A New Mexico legislative committee has voted along party lines on a second abortion-related bill, this one requiring minors to notify parents within 48 hours before ending a pregnancy.

The House Regulatory and Public Affairs Committee voted 4-3 Friday, with Republicans in the majority. More than an hour earlier in an identical vote after a five-hour hearing, the panel approved a bill banning late-term abortions.

credit: Nic McPhee

NM Budget Bill To Include Pay Hike For New Teachers, PoliceThe Associated Press

New teachers and state police officers can expect pay raises in the next fiscal year as New Mexico lawmakers get closer to hammering out a spending plan in the face of declining revenues.

Most department budgets remain largely flat under the House Appropriations and Finance Committee scenarios that will become part of a budget bill members are scheduled to vote on Friday.

www.nmlegis.gov

NM Senate Democrats Say Their Bills Will Create 73,000 Jobs - The Associated Press

Senate Democrats have pitched a lofty jobs bills package that promises 73,000 new positions in New Mexico in the next four to five years.

They say the more than 40 bills they have introduced this session address the need for increased employment and economic activity in the state.

Senate Majority Whip Michael Padilla says Democratic leadership is also united in stopping right-to-work legislation supported by the Republican-controlled House.

gvgoebel via Flickr

Bill Would Reward School, Local Government WhistleblowersThe Associated Press

Whistleblowers who report public school and local government fraud would be rewarded under a measure approved by a New Mexico Senate committee.

The bill calls for expanding the Fraud Against Taxpayer Act to include schools and local governments. State agencies, departments, boards and commissions are already covered.

Albuquerque Police Sued Over Encrypted CDs In ShootingThe Associated Press

An Albuquerque law firm is suing the Albuquerque Police Department over what it say is encrypted records from a police shooting probe.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that Kennedy Kennedy & Ives Law Practice recently filed the lawsuit in connection with records related to the shooting death of Armand Martin. Authorities say the 50-year-old Air Force veteran was shot by police during a standoff in May.

New Mexico PBS

UPDATE 6p - New Mexico Senate Approves Skandera As Education Secretary - The Associated Press

The New Mexico Senate has voted to confirm Hanna Skandera as education secretary four years after she took the job.

The Senate approved her nomination 22-19 Monday.

Gov. Susana Martinez's nomination of Skandera in 2011 drew criticism because of her having never been a teacher or administrator.

wplynn via flickr.com

New Mexico Senate OKs Bill To Ban Coyote-Killing Contests – The Associated Press

The New Mexico Senate has approved a measure that would ban coyote-killing contests.

The measure sponsored by Republican Sen. Mark Moores of Albuquerque and Democrat Rep. Jeff Steinborn was approved on a 27-13 vote Friday. It now heads to the House for consideration.

Moores says the bill would end coyote-killing contests without restricting the ability of farmers and ranchers to protect their livestock.

New Mexico Dept of Taxation and Revenue

New Mexico House Votes To Repeal Immigrant Driver's LicensesThe Associated Press

The New Mexico House of Representatives has passed a bill that ends the state's practice of issuing driver's licenses to people suspected of being in the country illegally.

The bill passed after three hours of debate by a vote of 39-29, with two Democrats siding with the Republicans in the majority.

The bill now moves to the Democrat-controlled Senate for a vote.  Democrats have vowed to fight the legislation.

Asaavedra32 / Wikimedia Commons

Homeless Allowed To Stay On Vacant Lot Near Former Tent SiteThe Associated Press

Homeless people evicted from an encampment on city-owned property in downtown Albuquerque are being allowed to move to a nearby vacant lot owned by a neighborhood association.

Police and city officials earlier this week issued eviction notices giving people staying in the so-called "Tent City" to leave by Thursday.

The Barelas Neighborhood Association has given the campers permission to stay on piece of property that the association owns a few blocks away.

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