Wednesday News Roundup: Udall Sponsors Bill To Increase Primary Care

Feb 12, 2014

Udall Sponsors Bill To Increase Primary Care - The Associated Press

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall wants to increase access to primary care services in New Mexico and across the country.

The New Mexico Democrat has introduced legislation that he says will address the growing shortage of doctors and other health care professionals in rural and underserved communities through a serious of programs and incentives, including those aimed at encouraging medical students to pursue primary care and work in rural communities.

Udall says a lack of access to health care is a serious problem in New Mexico, especially in rural communities.

Udall's bill is supported by a number of state and national medical groups.

Senate Panel OKs Toughening Amendment Process - The Associated Press

A legislative panel has approved a proposal to make it more difficult to change the New Mexico Constitution.

The measure by Republican Sen. John Ryan of Albuquerque would require two-thirds of House and Senate members rather than a majority to approve a constitutional amendment and place it on the ballot for voters to decide.

About three dozen constitutional amendments have been offered this session, including to increase the minimum wage and to legalize marijuana.

Republicans contend that Democrats are trying to bypass GOP Gov. Susana Martinez because constitutional amendments don't go to the governor to be signed or vetoed.

The Senate Rules Committee on Tuesday approved Ryan's measure, which is a proposed constitutional amendment, on a 5-4 vote. It goes to another committee for consideration.

Voluntary Recall Of Frozen Green Chile Products - The Associated Press

A family-owned food company in Albuquerque has announced a voluntarily recall of its frozen non-ready-to-eat green chile products.

Bueno Foods say the products have the potential to contain low levels of the common bacteria Listeria monocytogenes in its uncooked state.

Company officials say tests performed on samples of the product cooked per the cooking instructions on the product's label showed no Listeria present.

Bueno Foods is calling it a voluntary recall since the green chile products are unlikely to pose a health risk and there are no immediate reports of any illnesses.

Company officials say they expect to have their green chile products back in stores in two weeks.

Bueno Foods has been located in Albuquerque since 1951.

Senate Confirms Natural Resources Agency Leader - The Associated Press

The Senate has unanimously approved the confirmation of F. David Martin as secretary of the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department.

Martin assumed the cabinet-level job last year after the retirement of John Bemis.

Martin previously was Environment Department secretary in Gov. Susana Martinez's administration.

He holds engineering degrees from Texas Tech and New Mexico Tech, where he was an adjunct associate professor in the petroleum and chemical engineering department.

The department regulates oil and natural gas operations and is responsible for mine safety, reclamation of abandoned mines, state parks, forestry and fire management

The Senate approved Martin's appointment on Tuesday.

Man Convicted Of Running Driver's License Ring - The Associated Press

A federal jury in Las Cruces has convicted a Chinese national of running a ring that helped immigrants suspected of being in the country illegally get New Mexico driver's licenses.

After about three hours of deliberations, the jury found Hai Gan of The Colony, Texas, guilty of all 64 counts of fraud and other charges stemming from allegations he helped the immigrants fraudulently obtain the licenses.

Gan is one of several people who have been prosecuted in recent years for running such rings in New Mexico, which is one of just a few states that let residents get driver's license regardless of their immigration status.

Prosecutors say Gan bought four houses in New Mexico, then charged people more than $3,000 each so they could list the addresses as residences on their license applications.