Xcel Plans $1.6 Billion Wind Farms In New Mexico, West Texas- Associated Press
Xcel Energy has announced plans to invest $1.6 billion to build wind farms in eastern New Mexico and West Texas.
The energy company announced yesterday that it has filed proposals with the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission and the Public Utility Commission of Texas to construct and operate two facilities and to purchase wind under a third transaction.
David Hudson, president of Xcel Energy of New Mexico and Texas, said the wind initiative is part of his company's larger strategy to lower the cost of energy production.
"These new wind facilities will cost $1.6 billion to build," Hudson said, "but will allow us to produce wind energy at a cost lower than energy produced at our coal and natural gas-fueled plants."
New Mexico Sees Stark Financial Choices In Health Overhaul - By Morgan Lee, Associated Press
New Mexico's first detailed analysis of congressional Republicans' plan to overhaul Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act shows stark choices lie ahead about which residents of the state will continue to receive Medicaid coverage and to what extent.
The briefing was released Wednesday from the state Legislature's year-round budget office. It finds that maintaining expanded Medicaid health care coverage for low-income adults in New Mexico could cost state government up to $140 million a year, as federal matching funds are reduced for new or returning Medicaid enrollees.
Other points of concern include changes to minimum federal eligibility guidelines for children, and how new caps on per-capita Medicaid spending will affect a growing population of nursing home residents and elderly-care patients. Medicaid enrollment in New Mexico has swelled beyond 40 percent of the population under Obama's signature health care law.
The plan must get approval from the federal government.
Albuquerque Police Vehicles To Carry Anti-Overdose Drug- Associated Press
Albuquerque police vehicles could soon be equipped with the anti-overdose drug naloxone.
The City Council voted Monday to equip at least half of the police department's vehicles with the drug by Sept. 30, with the remaining vehicles getting naloxone by the end of the year.
Mayor Richard Berry still needs to approve the resolution, which speeds up deadlines for implementing a naloxone program the council previously approved in October.
The City Council has approved $10,000 for the naloxone program.
Albuquerque Police Department union President Shaun Willoughby says he is not sure police should be administering the drug, as they aren't trained medical technicians.
Fate Of Child Abuse Bills Frustrates New Mexico Official- Associated Press
The head of New Mexico's child welfare agency is frustrated that a string of measures aimed at closing loopholes and toughening penalties for those convicted of child abuse and similar crimes failed to reach Gov. Susana Martinez's desk.
The 60-day legislative session wrapped up March 18, leaving on the table bills that had the support of Monique Jacobson, secretary of the Children, Youth and Families Department.
Facing a state fiscal crisis, the Democrat-controlled Legislature spent some time wrangling over the provisions of budget plans that called for millions of dollars in tax increases and other fee hikes despite the governor's promise not to raise taxes.
The governor chided lawmakers for wasting time on legislation she did not support, adding to the chorus of criticism from various advocacy groups that the Legislature was spending too much time on non-binding measures such as designating special songs and a state green chile cheeseburger rather than addressing serious problems stemming from poverty.
Health Company Appealing Orders On Records, Legal Costs- Santa Fe New Mexican & Associated Press
A company that formerly provided medical services to New Mexico prison inmates is appealing court orders for disclosure of certain records and for payment of legal fees of two newspapers and an advocacy group seeking the records.
The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that state District Judge Raymond Ortiz ruled this month that Corizon Health must pay $37,535 to attorneys for the New Mexican, the Albuquerque Journal and the Foundation for Open Government.
Ortiz ruled that payment is required because the newspapers and the foundation successfully sued to enforce the state Open Records Act.
Ortiz had ruled last August that the records of settlement agreements between Corizon and prisoners who sued the company were subject to disclosure.
The state last year announced it wasn't renewing Corizon's four-year contract.
TV Production Begins On Nun Who Stood Up To 'Billy The Kid' – Associated Press
Filming has begun on a television pilot about on Italian-born nun who once challenged Billy the Kid, calmed angry mobs, opened schools in the American Southwest.
Saint Hood Productions announced Tuesday that production on "At the End of the Santa Fe Trail" has started in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Chama.
The company said in July it was working on a project involving the 19th-Century nun whose clashes with Old West outlaws and work with immigrants has been the stuff of legend.
"At the End of the Santa Fe Trail" aims to be a fictional account based on Segale's life and largely will use material from her 1932 book with the same name.
The Roman Catholic Church is examining Segale for Sainthood.
UNM Regents To Remain After Nominees Don't Get Hearing – Associated Press
The University of New Mexico's two longest-serving regents will remain on the board, as Gov. Susana Martinez's nominees didn't get confirmation hearings.
Jack Fortner and Bradley Hosmer will remain on the school's governing council at least until next year's legislative session despite their expired terms.
Martinez nominated lobbyist and former Republican state lawmaker and John Ryan and Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce CEO Alex Romero to the Board of Regents, but neither received a confirmation hearing from the Senate Rules Committee during the recently concluded 60-day legislative session.
Martinez accused Senate Democrats who control the confirmation process Tuesday of neglecting constitutional requirements.
Nominees for some low-profile positions, such as the State Land Trusts Advisory Board, received hearings from the Senate Rules Committee but many of the nearly 100 did not.
Complaint: Man Charged With Killing Navajo Officer Was Drunk – By Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press
A man charged with killing a Navajo Nation police officer who was responding to a domestic violence call had been drinking and was intoxicated the night of the shooting, according to a criminal complaint released Tuesday.
The complaint details the call that sent Officer Houston James Largo to a home on the nation's largest American Indian reservation and what followed when the 27-year-old decorated officer stopped a vehicle on a dark road near that home in rural New Mexico.
Kirby Cleveland, 32, is accused of shooting Largo with a .22-caliber rifle after the officer stopped a pickup truck that was taking him home. Cleveland walked home with the rifle and told his wife that he had shot Largo and that she needed to go help the officer, the complaint said.
Cleveland has been charged with murder and made his first appearance in federal court in Albuquerque on Tuesday.
State Agency Considers Medicaid Copays – Santa Fe New Mexican
Officials with the Human Services Department are considering adding copays and fees for some recipients of Medicaid.
The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the state is eying $5 copays for outpatient visits for some Medicaid recipients as well as $50 copays for hospital stays and for surgeries.
Officials said it would save between $500,000 and $1.5 million annually. Advocates argued the fees penalize struggling families and those with chronic health conditions who need care more frequently. They also worry the copays would discourage some providers from taking Medicaid patients.
HSD would implement the copays by July 1. Kyler Nerison, spokesman for HSD, says other programs for children and the working disabled already have copays and this proposal means some of those copays would decrease.
Some services such as prenatal care and contraceptives would not be subject to copays. Native Americans and people with developmental disabilities would also be exempt.
Vigil Held In Memory Of Cannon Airmen – Associated Press
Hundreds of people gathered in eastern New Mexico to honor three Air Force service members who died in a crash while on a training flight.
The Eastern New Mexico News reports that a crowd prayed, sang hymns and lit candles outside the Curry County Courthouse on Monday.
Also, Gov. Susana Martinez on Tuesday called for flags to be flown at half-staff until sunset to honor 1st Lt. First Lt. Frederick "Drew" Dellecker, Capt. Kenneth Dalga and Capt. Andrew Becker.
They were killed March 14 in a crash near Clovis Municipal Airport. They were 26, 29 and 33 years old.
Col. Ben Maitre told the mourners in Clovis that his unit is tight-knit so the crash last week hit hard.
Budget Prompts Officials To Consider Park And Museum Closures – Albuquerque Journal
As Gov. Susana Martinez and lawmakers continue grappling with budget issues, finance officials are looking at partial closure of some state parks and museums.
The Albuquerque Journal reports Finance and Administration Secretary Duffy Rodriguez said his office is concerned about state reserves, which have dropped, and anemic operating funds.
But some lawmakers said there is enough funding to maintain programs through the rest of the fiscal year, which ends on June 30.
Democratic Rep. Patricia Lundstrom of Gallup said Gov. Martinez signed a $190 million solvency package in January that gave the state $120 million in reserves.
The state has been struggling with low oil and gas prices, which has meant lower revenues. The ongoing fiscal problems prompted a downgrade in the state’s top credit rating.
Martinez has said she wants a special session to hammer out a balanced budget.