NM's Infant Mortality Rate On The Rise - Associated Press
New Mexico health officials are concerned about an increase in the state's infant mortality rate.
The state Department of Health says New Mexico's rate has exceeded the national rate for the first time since 1994. The latest figures show an increase from 5.2 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in 2011 to 6.9 in 2012.
Health Secretary Retta Ward says the department will monitor the numbers closely to see if the increase signals a trend.
NM Teachers Object To Evaluation System - Associated Press
Unions representing teachers and other educational employees organized protests Wednesday against a teacher evaluation system by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez's administration that heavily bases ratings on student performance on standardized tests.
National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers encouraged teachers to wear black and participate in rallies across the state.
Albuquerque Votes On Late-Term Abortion Ban - Associated Press
Voters in New Mexico's largest city will decide Tuesday whether to ban late-term abortions.
The municipal referendum is believed to be the first of its kind in the country and is being watched as a possible new front for activism in the abortion wars that have typically been waged at the federal and state levels.
The outcome is anyone's guess following an emotional and graphic campaign that brought in national groups and hundreds of thousands of dollars on advertising.
State: 15 NM Teachers Get Stipends For Transfers - Associated Press and The Las Cruces Sun News
New Mexico Education Secretary Hanna Skandera says the state is "off to a good start" with 15 teachers each approved to receive a $5,000 stipend for transferring from a top-graded school to a low-graded one.
According to the Las Cruces Sun-News, the teachers worked for the Las Cruces, Taos, Las Vegas City, Espanola, Estancia and Gallup school districts.
Albuquerque's police chief says one of his officers has shot a drunken-driving suspect during a traffic stop.
Chief Allen Banks says the shooting happened early Friday after an officer pulled over a car. Banks tells KOAT-TV that after the car stopped the driver inside showed a gun and the officer shot the person.
The unidentified suspect is hospitalized in critical but stable condition. The officer was not hurt.
Tribal Leaders Gather For White House Conference - Associated Press
American Indian leaders are gathered in Washington, D.C., to talk directly with officials in President Barack Obama's administration about their needs.
The White House Tribal Leaders Conference is scheduled for Wednesday. Obama is set to deliver remarks to representatives invited from 566 tribes across the country at the U.S. Department of the Interior.
NM County's Investments Probed By State Officials - Associated Press and The Albuquerque Journal
The State Securities Division has launched an inquiry into Bernalillo County's investment practices.
The Albuquerque Journal reports the agency is trying to determine if a turnover of the county's $300 million investment portfolio was the result of a misguided effort in pursuit of higher interest rates or something more sinister.
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.
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.
2 Hurt When Balloon Hits Power Line In New Mexico - Associated Press
Officials have identified the two men hospitalized with burns and injuries after a balloon in Albuquerque's International Balloon Fiesta hit a power line yesterday morning. Police in Rio Rancho say 59-year-old Mark Kilgore, of Albuquerque, was the pilot. They say 66-year-old Daniel Lovato, a passenger, was shocked when he reached out to free the gondola from power lines.
NM AG Says Abortion Ban Unenforceable - Associated Press
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."