Military Wants To Keep Using Forest For Training - Associated Press and The Albuquerque Journal
Kirtland Air Force Base's request to renew a decades-old agreement that allows military training in portions of a national forest in central New Mexico is stirring controversy.
Kirtland has had an agreement since 1977 to use parts of the Cibola National Forest for training. That training includes establishment of helicopter landing zones, high-altitude training for aircraft and remote deployment of ground teams.
NM Pension System Finances Improve Under New Law - Associated Press
A retirement system for New Mexico's state and local government workers reports its long-term financial outlook has improved in large part because of a recently enacted pension overhaul.
The Public Employees Retirement Association said Thursday the projected cost of future pension benefits was $4.6 billion more than the retirement fund's assets in the 2013 fiscal year. That's down from an unfunded liability of $6.2 billion the previous year.
NM Could Lose Up To $25M In Tobacco Revenues - Associated Press
Gov. Susana Martinez's administration plans to cut spending on several health and education programs because New Mexico faces the loss of up to $25 million from a nationwide settlement with tobacco companies.
The state expected to collect about $39 million in tobacco payments in the current budget year. However, the attorney general's office said Wednesday that amount will be lowered because of an arbitration ruling against New Mexico and five others states in September.
State, Kirtland Begin Fuel Spill Cleanup Test - Associated Press
State environment and Kirtland Air Force Base officials are beginning the first large-scale test of a system for pumping and cleaning up contamination from a huge underground jet fuel spill.
Officials are holding a news conference Wednesday to showcase the system, which will pump 70,000 gallons of contaminated water from the underground aquifer that feeds Albuquerque's water supply . The water will be pumped to nearby mobile tanks for filtering and treatment.
NM Officials Sued By Man With West Nile Virus - Associated Press
A federal appeals court is allowing a Texas man to sue southern New Mexico officials for not promptly providing him medical care after being arrested for drunken driving although he was suffering from West Nile virus.
The Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday turned down a request by Eddy County officials to reject a lawsuit by Irving Marquez of El Paso, who was arrested by a sheriff's deputy in 2009.
Reports Possible Soon On Some Mental Health Fraud - Associated Press
Attorney General Gary King says his office may soon finish investigations into some fraud allegations against more than dozen behavioral health providers shut off from Medicaid payments by Gov. Susana Martinez's administration.
Amber Alert Canceled For 5 Boys From NM Youth Camp - The Associated Press
An Amber Alert has been canceled for five teenage boys who authorities reported missing from a rural New Mexico ranch for troubled youth Friday.
New Mexico state police said the five boys - ages 13-17 - were physically accounted for Sunday. Four other teenage boys who also were a part of the group that authorities originally said was missing were found safe and were back their parents Saturday.
Democrats Assail GOP Governor Over Chopper Flight - The Associated Press
Republican Gov. Susana Martinez is drawing fire from Democratic campaign challengers for using a state helicopter to fly to Albuquerque so she wouldn't miss a commercial flight to Texas to attend political fundraisers.
Nuclear Labs In New Mexico Prepare For Shutdown - Associated Press, The Albuquerque Journal, and The Los Alamos Monitor
Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories are preparing to shut down by Oct. 21 and furlough of most of their 18,000 workers if Congress does not reach a deal to end the federal government's partial shutdown.
RNC Hires Hispanic Director For NM - Associated Press
As part of its ongoing effort to woo more Latinos, the Republican National Committee is building a permanent ground operation in New Mexico.
The RNC, along with the Republican Party of New Mexico, says it has hired Jose Orozco as New Mexico Hispanic Engagement Director. Orozco's job, the GOP says, will be to "work in partnership with the RNC to ensure a year-round presence in Hispanic neighborhoods" in advance of next year's gubernatorial and congressional elections.
Commission To Select NM Chief Public Defender - Associated Press
An 11-member commission is preparing to select the state's chief public defender, who administers a newly independent agency providing legal representation to criminal defendants who can't afford a lawyer.
The commission meets Tuesday in Albuquerque to interview five semi-finalists and must make a selection by Oct. 15.
NM Not Offering Aid To Reopen Federal Parks - Associated Press
Gov. Susana Martinez's administration isn't considering offering state money to try to reopen popular tourism stops in the national park system closed because of the federal government shutdown.
Martinez spokesman Enrique Knell said in a statement that national parks are a federal responsibility and the failure "to perform even basic functions like funding government operations is a sign of the terrible dysfunction and inability to work together in Washington."
Heinrich Proposal To Expand Access To Public Lands - Associated Press
New Mexico Sen. Martin Heinrich is proposing legislation to expand access to federal lands for hunting, fishing and other recreation.
Heinrich introduced the measure last week in Washington, D.C., and said it will require federal agencies to identify lands they manage that lack routes for public access. The agencies will have to develop a plan for access to those lands with a significant recreational potential.
GOP Lawmakers Oppose Gay Marriage In Court Filing Associated Press
Nearly two dozen current and former Republican legislators are urging New Mexico's highest court to declare that state law prohibits same-sex marriage.
The Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom filed a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of the legislators with the state Supreme Court in a case that could resolve whether gay marriage is legal in New Mexico.
Gay marriage supporters also filed written arguments with the court on Monday.
King Disagrees With Governor On Same-sex Marriage - The Associated Press
Democratic Attorney General Gary King is taking issue with Republican Gov. Susana Martinez's suggestion that voters should decide whether to legalize same-sex marriage in New Mexico.
King, who's running for governor against Martinez next year, said Friday the best approach is for the state Supreme Court to resolve whether gay marriage is legal in the state. He said it's a civil right issue.
Tribes, Feds Partner On Colorado River Water Study - Associated Press
The federal government has pledged to work with American Indian tribes in the Colorado River basin to address projected shortages of water.
A group of 10 tribes from around the West and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation signed an agreement Wednesday to study tribal water resources. The agency provided $100,000 to initiate the study that is expected to be complete by December 2015.
NM Regulators Approve Water Protection Rules - Associated Press
New Mexico regulators have approved a proposed set of rules aimed at protecting groundwater at copper mines despite claims by the attorney general's office that the proposal contradicts existing state law.
Tuesday's hearing before the state Water Quality Control Commission marked the culmination of months of wrangling over how best to deal with potential contamination at mining sites.