Monday News Roundup: NM 'Right-To-Die' Law Trial Set To Begin

Dec 9, 2013

NM 'Right-To-Die' Law Trial Set To Begin - Associated Press

A legal challenge against a decades-old New Mexico law that prohibits physicians from helping terminally ill patients die is scheduled to begin.

The trial is set for Wednesday in the Second Judicial District Court in Albuquerque and comes after the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico filed a lawsuit in March.

A Santa Fe woman with advanced uterine cancer later joined two doctors in their legal challenge.

According to the lawsuit, the New Mexico doctors seek to be allowed to prescribe medication to terminally-ill patients who want to end their lives.

Currently, New Mexico law states that "whoever commits assisting suicide is guilty of a fourth degree felony." However, attorneys with the ACLU of New Mexico say the lawsuit asks the court to clarify state law to allow doctors to give patients the option of ending their lives.

Field Of 3 Remain In Santa Fe's Mayoral Race - Associated Press

The number of candidates in the Santa Fe mayoral race has been whittled down to a field of three.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that the latest candidate to drop out of the race is City Councilor Rebecca Wurzburger.

The remaining mayoral candidates are former Santa Fe County commissioner Javier Gonzales and City Councilors Patti Bushee and Bill Dimas.

The mayor's race will appear on the March 4 municipal ballot.

Neighborhood activist Josina Campos and motel clerk Michael D'Anna were disqualified earlier from the race, while former Santa Fe County manager Roman Abeyta and City Councilor Chris Rivera withdrew from the race.

Democrat Announces For NM Lieutenant Governor - Associated Press

A Democratic activist and tribal administrator from Albuquerque is seeking the party's nomination for lieutenant governor.

Debra Haaland plans to kick off her campaign on Tuesday at Laguna Pueblo, where she is an enrolled member and chairwoman of the Laguna Development Corporation's board of directors.

Haaland has served as San Felipe Pueblo tribal administrator since January.

Haaland says if she wins the nomination, she'll be the first Native American on a gubernatorial ticket in New Mexico.

She is the chairwoman of the state Democratic Party's Native American caucus.

Haaland earned a bachelor's degree and law degree from the University of New Mexico.

She is the only publicly announced Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor.

Five Democrats are seeking the gubernatorial nomination to run against Republican Gov. Susana Martinez.

New Mexico's High School Graduation Rate Improves - Associated Press

New Mexico's high school graduation rate improved during the last school year, but the state remains near the bottom in national rankings when compared with rates from other states.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the state's rate rose from 63 percent in 2011 to 70 percent last year.

Only the District of Columbia, Nevada and Oregon have graduation rates lower than New Mexico's. And like New Mexico, Alaska and Georgia also have 70 percent graduation rates.

Leighann Lenti, the New Mexico Public Education Department's deputy secretary for policy and programs, says Hispanic, Native American and students with disabilities showed more improvement than the overall student population.

Based on that, she said she expects even more improvement in the future.

Auction House Ignores US Plea To Delay Hopi Sale - Associated Press

A French auction house has ignored an urgent request by the U.S. Embassy to delay a sale of dozens of sacred Hopi masks.

EVE auctioneers say Monday's sale of 32 artifacts, which the Hopis say represent their ancestors' spirits, will go ahead despite a plea from the Embassy on Saturday that the sale be delayed to give the concerned tribes time to travel and identify the artifacts.

"The Hopi tribe was able to argue their case before a judge (last week) and was rebuffed," said a statement from the auction house.

The auction house says it had exchanged letters with the San Carlos Apache tribe whose objects are included in the sale alongside a Zuni tribe altar, and Native American frescoes and dolls.