Thursday News Roundup: Police Chief Says Child Abuse Case Went Astray

Jan 30, 2014

NMSP Chief Says Child Abuse Case Went Astray The Associated Press

New Mexico State Police Chief Pete Kassetas says a criminal child abuse case against a former state worker apparently fell between the cracks.

The 2012 criminal case involved 31-year-old Eddie Aragon Jr. He's among current and former state workers named as defendants in a civil suit alleging that Las Cruces youths were abused at a state-run juvenile facility in Albuquerque.

The District Attorney's Office in Albuquerque says the case had to be closed because State Police didn't respond to multiple requests by prosecutors for additional documentation.

Kassetas says he didn't know the case was dismissed until his agency received inquiries from the Albuquerque Journal.

The case is now being reopened.

Gasoline Tax Increase Proposed For Road ProjectsThe Associated Press

New Mexico's tax on gasoline and diesel fuel would increase five cents a gallon under a proposal to help finance highway construction projects across the state.

Legislation sponsored by Democratic Rep. Roberto "Bobby" Gonzales of Taos would raise the gasoline tax from 17 cents a gallon to 22 cents through June 30, 2024, and then the tax would revert to 17 cents.

The special fuels tax on diesel would go to 26 cents a gallon for the same 10-year period before returning to 21 cents.

The tax revenue would allow the state to issue up to $300 million in bonds for major highway improvements.

Among the authorized projects would be widening Interstate 25 in part of the Albuquerque area and four-lane construction of U.S. 491 in northwestern New Mexico.

Lawmakers Face Tough Decision On Scholarships- The Associated Press

New Mexico legislators are considering a wide range of options for shoring up the state's lottery-financed scholarship program.

To help lawmakers in their decision-making, the Higher Education Department has provided the Legislature with an analysis of how students would be affected by possible changes in scholarship eligibility, such as giving a priority to students from low-income families or requiring a higher grade point average to qualify. The agency isn't recommending what should be done, however.

A state task force couldn't agree this fall on a proposal to recommend to lawmakers.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the Senate Education Committee reviewed possible program changes.

The scholarships cover tuition for New Mexico high school graduates attending a public college in the state and maintaining a certain grade point average.