Update

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Santa Fe Schools To Enforce Vaccination Mandate For MeaslesThe Associated Press and Santa Fe New Mexican

Santa Fe public school students without up-to-date measles vaccinations or valid waivers for medical or religious reasons won't be able to attend classes starting Feb. 17.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that the district's stricter enforcement of state requirements for student vaccinations comes at a time when measles has been reported recently in other states.

The Norlo / Wikimedia Commons

New Mexico House Panel Eyes E-Cigarette Sales Ban To MinorsThe Associated Press

A New Mexico House panel is set to debate a bill that would outlaw e-cigarette sales to minors.

The House Health Committee is scheduled Thursday to take up a proposal that would add electronic cigarettes to the state's Tobacco Products Act.

Rep. Monica Youngblood, an Albuquerque Republican, is sponsoring the bill.

Battery-powered e-cigarettes heat a liquid solution, usually containing nicotine, to create vapor that users inhale.

City of Santa Fe

Santa Fe Mayor Wants Gender-Neutral Bathrooms, Film PushThe Associated Press

Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales wants his city to have gender-neutral bathrooms and to launch a new push to attract film productions.

Gonzales made the proposals in his first State of the City address yesterday. The address was titled "One Santa Fe, One City, One Family."

www.nmlegis.gov

New Mexico Lawmakers Vote To Table Minimum Wage Increase - The Associated Press

A New Mexico panel of lawmakers voted along party lines to table two bills that called for raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour from the current $7.50.

One of the bills spread the increase over three years and provided for an annual cost-of-living increase.

The vote on both bills was 4-3, with Republicans in the majority.

Courtesy Two Eagles crew

Pilots In Helium-Filled Balloon Land Safely In Mexico - Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press

Two pilots in a helium-filled balloon landed safely off the coast of Mexico on Saturday after a nearly 7,000-mile long trip across the Pacific Ocean.

The pilots landed off Baja California about 300 miles north of Cabo San Lucas, greeted by a team of balloon enthusiasts who assisted with the landing. The pilots came in low and dropped thick trailing ropes into the ocean to help slow the balloon before setting down in a controlled water landing.

Difficult Conditions Reported On Some New Mexico Highways – Associated Press

Forecasters predict heavy snow in the mountains and a mix of rain and snow in lower elevations as a winter storm moves across northern and central New Mexico.

The New Mexico Department of Transportation reported difficult driving conditions Friday morning on some highways, including Interstate 25 between Rowe and Watrous. That stretch of I-25 is wet, snow-packed and icy in spots, and crews are out plowing, salting and cindering.

New Mexico Land Commissioner Puts The Brakes On SunZia – Associated Press

New Mexico Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn has put the brakes on a $2 billion transmission project that would carry electricity generated by renewable resources in New Mexico and Arizona to markets across the West.

Dunn announced late Wednesday that he was issuing a 60-day suspension after meeting with the developers. He says that will give his office time to review the project before any further development affects state trust lands.

Ajnagraphy via compfight

New Head Of New Mexico Child Welfare Agency Lists Priorities – Associated Press

New Mexico lawmakers want the new head of the state's child welfare agency to ensure federal dollars for services are used by the state rather than be returned.

Members of a Senate panel challenged Monique Jacobson, the incoming secretary of the Children, Youth and Families Department, during a meeting Tuesday.

bjmccray via Flickr

Lawmakers Concerned About New Mexico's Unbalanced Books – The Associated Press

New Mexico's top finance officials say the state's checkbook is out of balance to the tune of $100 million.

Department of Finance and Administration Secretary Tom Clifford testified before the Senate Finance Committee on Monday. He says that amount is his agency's best guess at the discrepancy between the state's general cash ledger and what it actually has in the bank.

Biagio Mannaggio via Flickr

Brewery Brotherhood Emerging In Albuquerque Area – The Albuquerque Journal, The Associated Press

Albuquerque breweries are brewing not only beer but budding friendships — with each other.

A majority of the owners of the city's breweries tell the Albuquerque Journal that the industry here is anything but cutthroat.

Christopher Goblet, executive director of the New Mexico Beer Guild, says the brewers are small business owners who want to see others succeed.

OiMax via Flickr.com

Federal Decision Expected On SunZia Transmission Line – The Associated Press

Federal officials are expected to make an announcement regarding a proposed $2 billion transmission line between Arizona and New Mexico that has become a priority for the Obama administration.

U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell will be joined Saturday by members of New Mexico's congressional delegation for a news conference in Albuquerque.

Elvert Barnes via Flickr.com

Bishops Want New Mexico To Restrict Late-term Abortions The Associated Press

Republicans' new control of the New Mexico House has the state's three Roman Catholic bishops urging lawmakers to enact a bill to restrict late-term abortions.

The GOP now has a majority in the House for the first time in decades, while Democrats remain in control of the Senate.

NMRoads.com / NM DOT

Difficult Conditions Reported On Some New Mexico HighwaysThe Associated Press

Snowplows have been working to clear northern New Mexico highways of snow and ice from a major winter storm.

Difficult driving conditions are reported in much of northeast New Mexico and along I-40 east to the Texas line. Severe driving conditions are reported in the southeast.  See NMRoads.com or call 5-1-1 for the latest information.

NMRoads.com / NM DOT

Difficult Conditions Reported On Some New Mexico HighwaysThe Associated Press

Difficult driving conditions are reported on some northern New Mexico highways as a major winter storm begins to drop heavy snow.

Affected highways include Interstate 25 between Glorieta and Watrous.

The National Weather Service says the most significant impacts are expected overnight.

According to the forecasters, areas along and east of the central mountain chain will be hardest hit by heavy snow today.

N salazar

New Mexico Legislature To Convene 60-Day SessionThe Associated Press

Gov. Susana Martinez is expected to outline her priorities as lawmakers gather in Santa Fe for the opening day of the 60-day legislative session.

The Legislature will convene at noon today, and the governor will deliver her State of the State address to a joint session of the House and Senate.

The governor's efforts could end up sailing through at least one chamber since she's starting her second term with the first Republican-controlled House in 60 years.

www.nmlegis.gov

New Mexico Senate Leader Is Last Firewall For DemocratsThe Associated Press and Santa Fe New Mexican

Longtime New Mexico Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez is sure to face more pressure than ever when the legislative session begins tomorrow.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports Sanchez is the last line of defense for Democrats with the Republican-dominated House likely to pass any bills favored by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez.

As majority leader, Sanchez is allowed to pick which bills get heard on the Senate floor.

Robert Smith via Flickr

Santa Fe's Minimum Wage To Increase In March The Associated Press

Santa Fe's minimum wage is set to go up by 18 cents an hour starting March 1.

The annual adjustment is based on the latest Consumer Price Index for the western region. It will raise the local wage floor to $10.84, which keeps it among the highest in the nation.

The federal mandatory minimum remains at $7.25. The state minimum wage is $7.50.

Central New Mexico Community College

College President Warns Budget Problems May Force Cuts The Associated Press and Albuquerque Journal

The president of the community college serving the Albuquerque area says fiscal belt-tightening might have to include cuts of low-enrollment classes.

Central New Mexico Community College President Kathie Winograd told employees and staff that she believes proposed increases in state funding are optimistic and that higher education could actually face funding cuts.

Chris Blakeley via Flickr / Creative Commons license

Arizona Mental Health Provider To Withdraw From New MexicoThe Associated Press and Santa Fe New Mexican

More change is coming to New Mexico's network of behavioral health providers.

New Mexico Human Services Department spokesman Matt Kennicott confirms that an Arizona-based nonprofit will stop serving indigent patients in eastern New Mexico at the end of March.

MoDOT Photos via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Police: Another Albuquerque Officer Involved In Shooting - The Associated Press

Police say an Albuquerque officer has fatally shot a man who had just fired at officers.

Tuesday's shooting marks the department's third this year and comes a day after Bernalillo County District Attorney Kari Brandenburg announced she was seeking murder charges against two officers for the March shooting of a homeless man.

Albuquerque Police Department

Albuquerque Police: Wounded Detective ImprovesThe Associated Press

Authorities say an Albuquerque police detective who was shot and critically wounded by a fellow officer during an undercover drug bust is improving.

A police spokeswoman says the detective, identified Monday as Jacob Grant, has had three surgeries in recent days and more are scheduled.

Authorities say Grant and Holly Garcia, another undercover detective, were conducting a narcotics operation on Friday when the shooting occurred.

Injured Albuquerque Officer Was Involved In Meth StingThe Associated Press and Albuquerque Journal

Police involved in an undercover operation that resulted in an officer shooting an undercover detective were trying to bust two men for selling $60 worth of methamphetamine.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that criminal complaints against two drug suspects describe how one of them met with an undercover officer on Friday to buy "shards," a slang term for meth.

Bennett via Flickr.com

US To Allow Mexican Trucks In With Screening The Associated Press

The U.S. Department of Transportation says it will soon allow Mexican trucking firms to apply for authorization to make long-haul cross-border runs, potentially ending a longstanding dispute.

It says it expects the move to permanently end Mexico's on-again, off-again retaliatory tariffs on $2 billion in U.S. imports.

Andrew Gustar via Flickr

New Mexico Attorney General Balderas Outlines Agenda

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Newly elected New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas says he is reviewing the practice of allowing private lawyers to file lawsuits on behalf of the AG's office.

credit: Nic McPhee

State Cuts Lottery Scholarship - KOB-TV

New Mexico college students attending school on the Lottery Scholarship will not receive 100 percent tuition this spring.

KOB-TV reports the state Higher Education Department notified universities last month there wasn’t enough money in the fund and to let students know.

But some students weren’t informed until this week that the Lottery Scholarship would cover 95 percent of tuition costs for the Spring 2015 semester.

New Mexico Newspaper's Twitter Account Hacked

Federal authorities are investigating a cyberattack on the Albuquerque Journal.

The newspaper's Twitter account was hijacked Tuesday morning. Someone replaced the profile picture with an image that expressed support for Islamic militants.

Numerous posts followed, including photos of driver's licenses belonging to New Mexico residents, inmate profiles and warnings to residents that their confidential information was at risk.

By midday, the newspaper's account was restored.

bark via Flickr / Creative Commons license

US Calls For Improved Ventilation At Troubled Nuclear Dump The Associated Press

The U.S. Department of Energy says more needs to be done to improve ventilation for workers at the federal government's underground nuclear waste dump in southern New Mexico.

The contractor that operates the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant has already acknowledged that air filters used to remove particles following a radiation leak in February have restricted the airflow in the underground working area.

Arianna Sena

UNM Is Second School To Have Sexual Assault Policies Investigation By DOJ The Albuquerque Journal

The U.S. Department of Justice’s review of sexual assault policies at the University of New Mexico is just the second such investigation in the nation.

The Albuquerque Journal reports UNM officials say they still don’t have details on the complaints the DOJ says sparked the investigation.

davidsonscott via Flickr

Police: Albuquerque Cop Shot During Traffic Stop – The Associated Press

Albuquerque police say an officer was shot as he was attempting to conduct an overnight traffic stop, and a search is underway for the gunman.

Police spokesman Tanner Tixier says the driver of a car that was being pulled over at about 2:30 a.m. Saturday got out of the vehicle and began shooting at the officer. Tixier says the officer was shot twice but was able to return fire. He is expected to survive. It's not known if the gunman was struck.

Santa Fe Police Department

Property Crimes Were Down In Santa Fe In 2014The Associated Press and Santa Fe New Mexican

Santa Fe police say policy and staffing changes likely are factors in an apparent drop in property crimes in the northern New Mexico city.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that the city had closed to 1,100 property crimes in the first 11 months of 2014.

December figures are not yet available, but the 11-month figure is down 26 percent from the same period of last year.

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