Thursday News Roundup: NM AG Says Abortion Ban Unenforceable
2 Hurt When Balloon Hits Power Line In New Mexico - Associated Press
Officials have identified the two men hospitalized with burns and injuries after a balloon in Albuquerque's International Balloon Fiesta hit a power line yesterday morning. Police in Rio Rancho say 59-year-old Mark Kilgore, of Albuquerque, was the pilot. They say 66-year-old Daniel Lovato, a passenger, was shocked when he reached out to free the gondola from power lines.
NM AG Says Abortion Ban Unenforceable - Associated Press
New Mexico Attorney General Gary King says a proposed ban on late-term abortions in Albuquerque is unenforceable.
In a letter Wednesday to Albuquerque City Council member Trudy Jones, King says the proposal that goes to city voters next month would run afoul of the state and U.S. constitutions.
Jones, who has sought to keep the issue off the ballot, asked King for a formal opinion on the legality of the measure. King says only state officials can seek a formal opinion, but he issued the letter because "voters have the right to know and decide whether they want to bear the protracted expense of litigation over a measure that is unconstitutional and unenforceable."
A special election on the matter was scheduled after anti-abortion groups submitted petitions with the required signatures to put the question to voters.
Report Critical Of NM Business Tax System - Associated Press
A report by the conservative-leaning Tax Foundation says New Mexico ranks near the bottom nationally in having a tax system that's competitive with other states in attracting businesses and generating economic growth.
The group placed New Mexico 38th among all states for its "business tax climate" as of July 1, when the current fiscal year started.
That ranking is unchanged from the previous year. However, the report said New Mexico's standing may improve in the future because of a new law phasing in corporate income tax rate cuts over five years starting in 2014.
New Mexico was at the top of rankings for low property taxes but near the bottom for sales taxes because of the state's gross receipts tax.
US Judge: Shutdown Won't Delay NV Mustang Hearing - Associated Press
A federal judge says the government shutdown is not a good enough reason to postpone a hearing in Reno Thursday in a fight between the Interior Department and wild horse advocates over hundreds of mustangs gathered from a wildlife refuge on the Nevada-Oregon line.
Justice Department lawyers asked U.S. District Judge Miranda Du for a stay in the proceedings until Congress restores both agencies' appropriations.
Horse advocates claim it's a ploy to keep them from securing a court order to stop the shipment of animals to a Mississippi contractor they say has a history of reselling them for slaughter.
The judge didn't address that claim, but ruled the critics have a right to argue their First Amendment right to have access to the horses to ensure their safety before shipment.