Update

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

NM Officials: Flu Sickened More This Year; Season Not OverThe Associated Press

New Mexico health officials are warning that the flu season is not over.

Officials say more people have been hospitalized in the state this season than in many years.

According to the state Department of Health, the virus hospitalized 40 people per 100,000 this flu season as compared with 29 per 100,000 during 2012-13.

Children under 5 and the elderly are particularly vulnerable.

Arianna Sena

Transparency Bills A Casualty In NM Legislative Session - The Associated Press

Open government advocates say it wasn't a good legislative session for boosting transparency as lobbying disclosure and campaign finance bills failed.

Of about a dozen bills — from requiring independent groups to disclose campaign donations to a two-year break for legislators who turn lobbyist — only a couple of measures made it to Gov. Susana Martinez's desk.

Jim Clark / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service / public domain

Partisan Fighting Also Killed New Mexico 'Kendra's Law' - The Associated Press

Lost in the partisan bickering of the New Mexico Legislature's final moments was a measure aimed at helping some residents with severe mental illness.

Since lawmakers failed to pass the bill, New Mexico remains one of only a handful of states without a "Kendra's Law."

It would have allowed judges in some counties to order patients to take medication and undergo treatment if they are deemed a danger to themselves and their community.

Randy Montoya

Report: Feds To Exceed Costs For Cleaning Up Nuke Waste – The Associated Press

A government watchdog says work to clean up radioactive waste at one of the federal government's premier nuclear laboratories is costing more than expected.

The Government Accountability Office says by the end of the last fiscal year, the National Nuclear Security Administration spent about $931 million to remove contaminated equipment and soil from Los Alamos National Laboratory.

That's $202 million more than the agency's 2006 estimate.

Curtis Gregory Perry via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Albuquerque Police: 1 Dead, Others Hurt In Park ShootingThe Associated Press

Albuquerque police say one person is dead and others are injured following a shooting at a skate park.

A police statement early Monday says the shooting at Los Altos Park was reported shortly before 10 p.m. Sunday.

Officer Fred Duran says there are "multiple subjects injured and one subject deceased from the shooting."

Information was still sketchy with Duran saying that many details haven't been determined, including the identities of the victims.

401(K) 2012 via flickr

NM Legislature Rips Through Bills; Wrangling Capital OutlayThe Associated Press 

State lawmakers continue putting finishing touches on dozens of bills as the 52nd New Mexico Legislature's first session heads for the history books.

Among bills lawmakers sent to Gov. Susana Martinez for consideration Friday was a massive $6.2 billion budget. It includes pay raises for new teachers and state police. It also boosts spending for education, the state's child welfare agency, public safety, tourism and economic development.

New Mexico Legislature Heads Into Final StretchThe Associated Press

New Mexico lawmakers are scrambling to wrap up work on dozens of bills before noon Saturday, and some significant initiatives are still hanging in the balance.

A $6.2 billion budget bill is still sparking last-minute bickering among Republicans and Democrats.

And the fate of hundreds of millions of dollars in capital outlay projects is still undetermined, as is a bill aimed at boosting state lottery sales.

Prayitno via Flickr

Budget, Gambling Compact Pending In New Mexico House - The Associated Press

The fate of a proposed $6.2 billion spending plan that would fund public schools and other government services during the next fiscal year is still unsettled as the New Mexico Legislature approaches adjournment.

Also pending is approval of hundreds of millions of dollars in capital outlay projects and a gambling compact that would clear the way for a handful of American Indian tribes to keep their casinos open.

The 60-day session wraps up Saturday.

Ed Williams-KUNM

Albuquerque To Award $2M In Contracts To Combat HomelessnessThe Associated Press

The city of Albuquerque will award more than $2 million to six nonprofit organizations to help address homelessness and mental health issues.

Mayor Richard Berry announced the funding Tuesday. He says this shows Albuquerque has a heart for the most vulnerable and that it backs up its concern with substantial resources.

Jena g. . Einar E. Kvaran aka 98.20.23.52 23:59, 1 June 2009, via Wikimedia Commons

NM Senate Approves A $6.2 Billion Budget Bill - The Associated Press

The New Mexico Senate has approved a $6.2 billion spending proposal for the next fiscal year.

Senators Monday night took up a budget bill largely unchanged from what the House approved last month.

The spending plan includes pay raises for new teachers and state police officers. Most department budgets remain flat, but education, the state's child welfare agency and tourism department get more money.

Rusty Blazenhoff via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Senate Passes Bill Lessening Penalties For Pot Possession - The Associated Press and Albuquerque Journal

Two marijuana-related bills have cleared hurdles in the New Mexico Senate and House.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that legislation that would not include jail time for offenders having less than an ounce of pot passed the Senate on Saturday in a 21-20 vote.

Navajohistory via Wikimedia Commons

Navajo Council Approves Referendum On Language Requirements The Associated Press

Funding for the long-delayed Navajo presidential election took a back seat Friday to a provision that would allow voters to decide whether candidates should speak and understand the tribe's language.

Navajo language fluency has loomed over the election ever since a candidate was disqualified last year for failing to prove he met the requirement for the tribe's top post.

Ken Lund / Flickr

Injunction Issued On Services For People With Disabilities - The Associated Press

A federal judge is ordering New Mexico state agencies to reinstate services for people with disabilities pending reassessments.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that U.S. District Judge Judith Herrera this week issued an injunction, ruling that there'd been violations of peoples' rights to due process.

Groups which requested the injunction contended that people receiving benefits and services through a Medicaid program were being harmed, and Herrera agreed.

US National Park Service

Groups Sue Feds Over Drilling In Northwest New Mexico - The Associated Press

A coalition of environmental groups is suing the federal government over the approval of oil and gas drilling permits in northwestern New Mexico.

The groups filed their lawsuit Wednesday as they prepared to rally at the State Capitol. They contend that more development and hydraulic fracturing could harm the environment and sites such as the Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

The suit names the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Interior Department.

Stephanie Fitzgerald

NM Senate Panel Votes No On Right-To-Work Bill - The Associated Press and Albuquerque Journal

A Senate panel has stopped the advance of a right-to-work bill that has drawn scores of people to the State Capitol for hours of hearings.

The Public Affairs Committee voted 5-3 yesterday to block a bill that prohibits requiring workers to join a union or to pay dues as a condition of employment and includes a 50-cent-per-hour minimum wage increase.

via Engaging Peace

Arguments Heard In New Mexico PARCC Testing Contract FightThe Associated Press

Lawyers have submitted arguments in a legal challenge to New Mexico's contract with a testing company that may halt a much-debated assessment exam in the state.

Santa Fe District Judge Sarah Singleton heard arguments Tuesday in a case that could overturn a contract awarded to London-based Pearson and potentially tangle up other states using the same test.

Rio Grande Sun

Fire Inside Espanola Newspaper Office Suspected As Arson - The Associated Press and Santa Fe New Mexican

Authorities believe a fire that broke out in the office of a northern New Mexico newspaper is the work of an arsonist.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that firefighters were called to a fire at the Rio Grande Sun in Espanola around 5:30 a.m. Saturday.

Crews contained the blaze to an office before it could spread.

Gareth Williams via Flickr

New Mexico House Panel Eyes State Cuban Trade Office The Associated Press

A New Mexico House panel is set to discuss a proposal that would create a state Cuban Trade Office.

The House Business and Employment Committee is scheduled Saturday to debate the bill sponsored by Rep. Miguel Garcia.

Under the proposal, the office would identify potential buyers in Cuba for New Mexico goods and services. The office also would assist New Mexico businesses with marketing in Cuba.

lu_lu via flickr

New Mexico Releases Details Of Child Vaccine Exemptions - The Associated Press

New Mexico health officials have released the number of vaccine exemptions per school district for 2014, and Quemado tops the list.

The sparsely-populated district in western New Mexico has the highest rate of exemptions per 1,000 students at 40.3. The Santa Fe district has a rate of nearly 21, while the state's largest district in Albuquerque stands at 7.2.

Whitepaw / Wikimedia Commons

Scientists Outline Research Wish List For Nuclear EnergyThe Associated Press

Engineers and researchers from national laboratories and universities around the country are trying to narrow the list of critical research problems the nation needs to address when it comes to nuclear energy.

The group gathered at the University of New Mexico is expected to detail its findings Thursday.

The group includes representatives from UNM, Colorado State University, Texas A&M and Sandia and Los Alamos national labs.

NM County Courthouses / Flickr

69 Dismissals So Far From Speedup Of Bernalillo County Cases - The Associated Press and KOAT-TV

The Albuquerque area's top prosecutor says dozens of criminal cases have been dismissed at least temporarily since new state-mandated deadlines kicked in about a month ago.

According to KOAT-TV, the 69 dismissed cases cited by Bernalillo County District Attorney Kari Brandenburg include ones against people charged with sex crimes involving children.

my_southborough via Creative Commons

New Mexico Solitary Confinement Bill To Go Before Committee - The Associated Press

A New Mexico House panel is expected to revisit a solitary confinement reform proposal a week after a heated exchange sparked by a Democratic member ended a meeting.

The House Safety and Civil Affairs Committee is set Tuesday to discuss a measure that would ban the use of solitary confinement on juveniles and inmates suffering from mental illness.

New Mexico Senate Approves Bill To Eradicate BullyingThe Associated Press

Allencrack dövmeci / Wikimedia Commons

Senate Passes Bill To Create State Board For Tattoo Artists - The Associated Press and Santa Fe New Mexican

Legislation that would create a state board to regulate New Mexico tattoo and piercing artists has received overwhelming approval from the Senate.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that the Senate voted Friday 39-1 in favor of the bill that proposes a five-member Board of Body Art Practitioners.

killbox via flickr

Ice, Snow Cover Some New Mexico Roads After StormsThe Associated Press 

Officials were warning motorists about difficult driving conditions Saturday morning along some New Mexico roadways as a result of stormy winter weather.

Late Friday, Albuquerque police cautioned people about doing any driving because of treacherous conditions that caused numerous traffic accidents.

Snow Forecast For New MexicoNational Weather Service

A parade of disturbances will continue to impact New Mexico with areas of accumulating snow through the first half of the coming week.  

Snow will diminish by the middle of today across southern and eastern areas but it should continue and actually re-intensify across central and northwest area this afternoon and tonight.

Additional heavy and wet snow accumulation through Sunday will be measured in feet across the northern mountains where damage to some structures will be possible.

Arianna Sena

NM House Passes Revamped Right-To-Work BillThe Associated Press

The GOP-controlled New Mexico House of Representatives has approved a contentious right-to-work bill that tacks on an increase in the minimum wage from $7.50 to $8 an hour.

The Republican-sponsored bill prohibits requiring workers to join a union or to pay dues as a condition of employment and applies to both public and private sectors.

The House voted 37-30 Wednesday to move the bill along to the Senate, where it faces resistance.

Rusty Blazenhoff via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Four Corners Sees Spike In Marijuana SeizuresThe Associated Press and Daily Times

New statistics show that a Four Corners regional narcotics taskforce has seized around six times as much marijuana in 2014 than the previous year.

The Daily Times reports that the Region II Narcotics Taskforce seized 245 pounds of marijuana, which has an approximate street value nearly $200,000.

Craig Wilkinson via Flickr / Creative Commons License

New Mexico Joins Other States In Grappling With Drones - The Associated Press

Lawmakers in New Mexico are trying to grapple with new drone technology and how much freedom law enforcement agencies should have in using them.

And even New Mexico sheriffs' offices don't know how to respond.

A New Mexico legislative panel is expected soon to debate a measure that would limit the use of drones by law enforcement agencies without a warrant.

Photo by Darkpatator courtesy of Creative Commons

Water Pipeline To Be Shut Down Temporarily In SE Albuquerque - The Associated Press

Albuquerque's major water provider is temporarily shutting down a transmission pipeline in a southeastern area of the city.

The Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority will take the pipeline out of service starting at 6 p.m. Sunday in order to replace a large-diameter valve.

Officials say the project is expected to last until 6 a.m. Thursday.

Jan Marlyn Reesman via Flickr

New Mexico House Committee Votes In Favor Of Abortion Bills – The Associated Press

A New Mexico legislative committee has voted along party lines on a second abortion-related bill, this one requiring minors to notify parents within 48 hours before ending a pregnancy.

The House Regulatory and Public Affairs Committee voted 4-3 Friday, with Republicans in the majority. More than an hour earlier in an identical vote after a five-hour hearing, the panel approved a bill banning late-term abortions.

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