Martinez Defends Vetoes In Court And Orders Lawmakers To Capitol

May 5, 2017

Martinez Defends Vetoes In CourtThe Associated Press

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is urging the state Supreme Court to stay out of a budget standoff with state lawmakers.

The Martinez administration filed a briefing Friday with the high court that defends the governor's decision to veto funding to the Legislature and state institutions of higher education for the coming fiscal year.

It says the GOP governor never abolished the Legislature or any state educational institutions and notes her decision Friday to call a special legislative session to rewrite the budget.

The Democratic-led Legislature says the governor's vetoes have upset the balance of powers between branches of government outlined in the state's constitution. Their lawsuit asks the Supreme Court to rescind the line-item vetoes.

Martinez Orders Lawmakers To CapitolThe Associated Press

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is calling a special session of the Legislature in an attempt to resolve a state budget crisis.

Martinez issued a proclamation Friday ordering lawmakers to return to the New Mexico Capitol on May 24. The decision comes as the Supreme Court weighs accusations that the Republican governor overstepped her authority by defunding the Democratic-led Legislature and all state universities and colleges.

Lawmakers are locked in a standoff with Martinez over how to resolve the state's grinding budget crisis. The governor has rejected tax and fee hikes that lawmakers say are necessary to shore up funding to public schools, courts and essential public services.

Prosecutors Ask For Separate Trials In Victoria Martens CaseThe Associated Press & The ABQ Journal

Prosecutors have asked a state district court judge to separate the cases against three people accused in the killing of 10-year-old Victoria Martens.

The Albuquerque Journal reported Thursday that two of the three suspects' attorneys agreed with prosecutors.

Victoria's mother, Michelle Martens, her mother's boyfriend, Fabian Gonzales, and his cousin Jessica Kelley have all been charged jointly in the case.

Gonzales' attorney Tom Clark said the motion is a "formality" and all parties have agreed.

Prosecutor Kevin Holmes says the state plans to use Martens' admission to police against her at trial. But the statement also implicates Gonzales and Kelley, and would "cause undue prejudice" to them, and would "result in reversible error." Holmes says prosecutors also intend to introduce an admission by Gonzales, which would raise the same issues at a joined trial.

Feds Release Endangered Wolf Pups In New MexicoThe Associated Press

Federal wildlife officials say they have successfully placed two captive-born Mexican gray wolf pups into a wild den with a foster family.

They confirmed this week's release Friday, a day after it was made public that the state Game and Fish Department cleared the way for a cross-fostering project aimed at boosting genetic diversity among wolves in the wild in New Mexico and Arizona.

The state this week issued a permit allowing for the placement of the pups.

As a condition, for each pup released into the den, one pup had to be removed and placed in captivity.

New Mexico officials were adamant that the number of wolves in the wild remain unchanged as a result of the permit. The state and Fish and Wildlife are still locked in a court battle over wolf releases.

New Mexico Governor Prepares To Defend Of Sweeping VetoesAssociated Press

Time is running out for New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez to submit a legal defense of her decision to defund the Legislature and all state universities and colleges.

Martinez has until the end of Friday to respond to accusations she overstepped her constitutional authority by vetoing funding for the Legislature and all institutions of higher education starting July 1.

The New Mexico Supreme Court is weighing a request to rescind the vetoes. The GOP governor and Democrat-led Legislature are locked in a standoff over how to resolve the state's budget crisis.

Martinez has rejected proposed tax and fee increases from lawmakers and favors further government belt-tightening. She plans to call lawmakers back for a special session to fix a budget shortfall linked to energy prices and economic malaise.

New Off-Highway Vehicle Park Being Built In Farmington AreaThe Associated Press

A new off-highway vehicle park is being built near Farmington.

The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish says the park is being constructed in the Brown Springs area of the federal Bureau of Land Management's Glade Run Recreation Area.

The state agency says it contributed $600,000 from the Trail Safety Fund for construction of the park, which will include a small riding track for youths, a skills training track, primitive camp sites, toilets and a pavilion.

Off-highway motor vehicle registration and user fees support the Trail Safety Fund.

New Mexico Issues Permit To Allow For Fostering Of Wolf Pups - By Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press

New Mexico wildlife managers have cleared the way for the federal government to place two captive-born Mexican gray wolf pups into dens in the wild.

The permit issued this week by the New Mexico Game and Fish Department comes after a federal court recently lifted a temporary restraining order that had stopped the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from releasing more of the endangered animals.

While the state still plans to pursue its case in federal court, the 30-day permit allows for federal wildlife managers to place up to two pups in wild dens as part a cross-fostering project aimed at boosting the genetic diversity of wolves in the wild in New Mexico and Arizona.

The permit states that for each pup released into a den, one pup must be removed and placed in captivity.

Body Of Dead Man That Was Set On Fire In New Mexico Is ID'dAssociated Press

Bernalillo County Sheriff's officials say they've identified the body of a dead man that had been set on fire near the Cibola Campground.

They say the body of 56-year-old Terry Williams was found last Friday.

Authorities say he was reported missing three days earlier by family members.

Sheriff's detectives are trying to locate Williams' vehicle and identify two persons of interest seen on surveillance footage at the victim's home hours after he was reported missing.

They say the medical examiner's office has confirmed the identity of the body.

Sheriff's deputies responded to a call of a deceased, unidentified person and say the body was burned and unidentifiable by first responders.

Authorities say the cause of Williams' death is not being released at this time and the investigation is ongoing.

Ex-Teacher Who Pleaded Guilty To Meth Charges States IntentLas Cruces Sun-News, Associated Press

A former New Mexico high school teacher who pleaded guilty to charges of manufacturing and possessing meth says he never successfully produced the drug.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reported Wednesday 56-year-old John W. Gose says attempting to produce meth had been merely an "intellectual experience."

Gose had said he had no intention of selling meth if his experiment had been successful.

A judge has ordered Gose to undergo a 60-day diagnostic evaluation before sentencing. He pleaded guilty Monday to four meth-related charges.

Las Cruces police arrested Gose last October after a traffic stop.

Officers reported finding an ice chest in Gose's car containing tools to manufacture methamphetamines.

Police later searched his property and found meth ingredients.

Gose taught science at Camino Real Middle School from August 2013 through February 2016.

Lone GOP Congressman In New Mexico Backs Health OverhaulAssociated Press

New Mexico's lone Republican congressional representative has joined the GOP majority in taking a step toward overhauling President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

Republican Rep. Steve Pearce said he voted Thursday in favor of the bill to overhaul the Affordable Care Act because it will put power back in states' hands on medical care.

New Mexico insurance regulators and advocacy groups on poverty issues warn the GOP plan would shift costs for Medicaid health care for the poor and disabled onto state government, driving up costs or reducing access or both. The state's uninsured rate has been cut in half since 2013 under the expansion of Medicaid.

Pearce says many individuals currently are forced to purchase insurance they may not like, need or be able to afford.

NMSU Ends 10-Year Tough Enough To Wear Pink FundraiserLas Cruces Sun-News, Associated Press

New Mexico State University's 10-year fundraising campaign Tough Enough To Wear Pink has ended.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports Thursday that the campaign's website shows $4.5 million have been raised between 2007 and 2016.

The Pink Aggies football game, fashion show and a luncheon featuring survivors of breast cancer, and a large, silent luminarias vigil for cancer victims will no longer be staged.

The university's football game fundraiser has been the campaign's largest event for the past 10 years.

People are still encouraged to donate to the Cowboys for Cancer Research Endowment Funds through the NMSU Foundation.

Highlands University Gets Award For Revamped Building Associated Press

Highlands University has received a New Mexico Architectural Heritage Award for transforming a Las Vegas historical landmark into a state-of-the-art facility.

The New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs Historic Preservation Division recently announced the northern New Mexico university was getting the honor after remodeling the Highlands Trolley Building for the school's Media Arts and Technology Department.

The revamped building includes 3-D printers, a large-scale laser cutter, and a modern television studio. It also has labs for studio photography and audio mixing.

The Trolley Building is a historic and architectural landmark built in the classic Romanesque style in 1905. It is on both the state and national historic registries.

Funding for the Trolley Building came from state voter-approved $6 million in general obligation higher education bonds.

Cinco De Mayo In Trump Era Leaves Mexican-Americans Torn Associated Press

A 25-year-old Albuquerque woman says she's reluctant to take part in Cinco de Mayo festivities this year as President Donald Trump steps up federal immigration enforcement and supporters back his call for the building of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Yazmin Irazoqui Ruiz isn't alone.

Trump's immigration policies and rhetoric are leaving some Mexican-Americans and immigrants feeling at odds with a holiday they already thought was appropriated by beer and liquor companies, event promoters and bars.

Latino activists and scholars say that ambivalence is bolstered by the hazy history of Cinco de Mayo and by stereotypes exploited by marketers.

Ruiz is a Mexican-born medical student who left for the U.S. as a child and celebrates the day to honor a homeland she hardly remembers.