KUNM

ACLU Sues Over Hearings For Detained Immigrants, NM Lawmakers Reject Renewable Power Mandate

Mar 11, 2017

ACLU Sues Over Initial Hearings For Detained ImmigrantsAssociated Press

The American Civil Liberties Union has sued the federal government to limit the amount of time that people can be held before seeing an immigration judge, saying many are held for months while waiting for an initial appearance.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday in federal court on behalf of three Mexicans at a San Diego immigration detention center.

The ACLU asks to represent all people who are held on immigration violations along California's border with Mexico, an estimated 1,500 on any given day at the region's two largest centers.

The lawsuit comes as President Donald Trump moves to significantly expand border and immigration enforcement, which is likely to further strain jails and courts.

The U.S. Homeland Security Department and Executive Office for Immigration Review declined to comment.

New Mexico Lawmakers Reject Higher Renewable Power Mandate Associated Press

A proposal to ramp up renewable energy requirements at New Mexico's investor owned utilities and cooperatives through the year 2040 has been voted down by a Senate committee, ending chances for approval this year.

The Senate Corporations Committee voted 5-3 Friday against a plan to gradually increase the share of electricity generated from solar, wind and other renewable sources to 80 percent of supplies for utilities.

Senate bill sponsor Mimi Stewart of Albuquerque criticized Democratic Senate colleagues Mary Kay Papen and Clemente Sanchez for voting against the bill with Republicans.

Portfolio standards requiring utilities to sell a specific percentage or amount of renewable electricity have been adopted in 29 states, helping drive the nation's multi-billion dollar solar and wind markets. New Mexico's standard is set for 20 percent by 2020.

Revised New Mexico Budget Plan Staves Off CutsAssociated Press

A revised New Mexico state budget plan is headed toward a full Senate vote that would slightly increase funding for public schools and the judiciary while shaving money away from state universities and colleges.

The Senate Finance Committee on Friday published its rewrite of House-approved appropriations for the fiscal year starting in July, and endorsed it after a brief discussion.

The $6.1 billion general fund spending plan would stabilize state agencies after lawmakers slashed current-year spending at most departments and swept cash from school district reserves and other government accounts to plug a deficit and restore a modest cushion.

The Senate panel's proposal to increase agency spending by $23 million depends upon a companion revenue bill that raises $350 million from new taxes, fees and transfers.

Advocates: New Mexico Lawmakers Stall Anti-Poverty EffortsAssociated Press

Advocates say the Democratic-controlled New Mexico Legislature isn't doing enough to tackle poverty in one of the nation's poorest states.

They say the brushing off of proposals like strong payday loan reform and the unclear future of early childhood education expansion could deepen poverty in New Mexico.

However, Democrats say their proposed budgets and support for raising the minimum wage show they are concerned about New Mexico's poor.

Allen Sanchez, executive director of the New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops, says bishops were furious a House committee debated making the green chile cheeseburger the state's official hamburger. Instead, he said senators should be discussing of early childhood education expansion.

Bill Jordan, a New Mexico Voices for Children policy adviser, says lawmakers' hands are tied since Gov. Susana Martinez is refusing to raise taxes.

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This story corrects a previous version to say a New Mexico House committee debated making the green chile cheeseburger the state's official hamburger.

Gun Laws Get Traction In Open-Carry New Mexico CapitolAssociated Press

Gun regulations in New Mexico may soon be rewritten in ways designed to avoid shootings in domestic violence disputes and to end free-wheeling firearm rules at the state Capitol building.

Bills that would place new restrictions on the sale and possession of firearms are inching their way through the New Mexico state Legislature, with little more than a week left in the session.

Prospects for approval have dimmed for requiring background checks on private gun sales where no licensed dealer is involved, amid intense lobbying by gun-control advocacy groups and the firearms industry.

At the same time, traditional political opponents of restrictions appear to be warming to a bill that requires people surrender their guns if a judge deems them to be a threat to a spouse or domestic partner.

New Mexico AD: Coach Neal To Stay On Board With The LobosAssociated Press

New Mexico coach Craig Neal isn't going anywhere any time soon.

The University of New Mexico's vice president for athletics, Paul Krebs, released a statement Friday saying he wanted to end any speculation about the coach's future following the Lobos' loss in the Mountain West Conference quarterfinals.

Krebs says the team went through a difficult season with several injuries to key players but that Neal will continue with his coaching duties next season.

The Lobos are 17-14, and Neal has acknowledged the frustration of fans.

Neal is in the fourth year of a contract that runs through 2020.

Krebs says the team's performance on the court needs to improve, but he noted that he's pleased with the incoming recruiting class. He also says he has high expectations for the program.

Internet Service Restored At New Mexico CapitolAssociated Press

The New Mexico Legislature's website is back up and webcasting has been restored after a problem with internet service resulted in an hours-long outage.

Legislative officials said Friday's problems were related to off-site equipment that serves the state capitol. State technicians worked with a private service provider to restore the connection.

The problems also affected state email accounts and public Wi-Fi service.

With just a week remaining in the 60-day session, the legislative schedule is packed. Viewers missed out Friday morning on committee meetings in which stricter ethics guidelines and a bill to change penalties for marijuana possession were debated.

In the Senate, more confirmation hearings were scheduled and lawmakers are still working out details of the state budget.

The Legislature adjourns March 18.

Apnewsbreak: New Mexico To Work With ICE On Inmate StatusAssociated Press

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has directed the state's correction department to work with federal authorities on checking inmates' immigration statuses.

The governor's office said Friday the Trump Administration asked the state for permission to interview prisoners who were born in foreign countries. A spokesman for Martinez said the interviews by federal authorities are meant to expedite potential deportation proceedings of suspected immigrants living in the country illegally.

The decision comes as the Democratic-controlled New Mexico Legislature is debating a measure that would ban state agencies from working with the Trump Administration on immigration enforcement.

Some Democrats want to prevent New Mexico law enforcement from any federal deportation plans.