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Briefs 02-27-14

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By Associated Press

SF bag ban in effect

SANTA FE (AP) — Santa Fe’s new ban on merchants providing shoppers with plastic carryout bags is now in effect but the city is postponing enforcement and also dropping a planned 10-cent fee for paper shopping bags.
The City Council on Wednesday voted to drop the fee after lawyers for the city said it can’t be levied under New Mexico law.
The council also voted to postpone enforcement of the plastic ban taking effect Thursday until March 27 in order to provide merchants with a 30-day grace period.

N.M. lawmakers average $16K

SANTA FE (AP) — State records show that New Mexico legislators averaged a little over $16,000 in compensation last year although they receive no annual salary.
The New Mexico Legislature is part-time. House and Senate members collect a daily expense payment, called a per diem, when the Legislature is in session and while attending or traveling to committee meetings throughout the rest of the year.
Four state senators were the highest compensated members of the Legislature last year, according to information from the Department of Finance and Administration obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request.
Democratic Sen. John Pinto of Gallup collected $27,463. Democratic Sen. Carlos Cisneros received $26,905, and Republican Sen. Lee Cotter of Las Cruces got $26,800. Senate President Mary Kay Papen, a Las Cruces Democrat, received $26,289.

29 face charges in NM drug trafficking case

FARMINGTON — Federal and local authorities say 29 people are facing charges in connection with a drug trafficking ring in northwestern New Mexico.
The investigation culminated early Wednesday when Homeland Security agents and members of a regional drug task force arrested 26 of the defendants.