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Today's News

  • After Senate override, veto unchallenged in House

    BY ANDREW OXFORD
    The New Mexican

  • Bill aimed to keep guns away from domestic abusers heads to governor

    A bill that advocates say will keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers is headed to Gov. Susana Martinez.
    The state House of Representatives voted 43-22 on Wednesday to pass Senate Bill 259, which would require people under domestic violence restraining orders to relinquish their firearms.
    Groups such as New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence argued that the bill is a common-sense measure that will protect victims of domestic violence.
    But several Republicans on the House floor countered that the bill was flawed and would clog up state courts.
    The bill would only apply once a judge has issued a final order following a hearing. Not only would the measure require people under domestic violence restraining orders to turn over their guns. It also would prohibit them from buying new firearms while the order is in effect.
    Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia have passed similar laws. The measure is also in line with federal law and recommendations from the state’s Intimate Partner Violence Death Review Team, which reviews homicides involving domestic violence.
    The Senate passed the bill earlier this month by a vote of 25-15.

  • Bealls shoplifting, hit-and-run suspect arrested

    A Hernandez woman wanted in last week's shoplifting incident at the Los Alamos Bealls Department Store that involved a hit-and-run with a pedestrian in the parking lot was arrested Monday by Rio Arriba County Sheriff's deputies.

    Ashley Garcia, 23, was spotted earlier Monday by a sheriff’s office employee at the Richard Lucero Recreation Center in Española. Deputies responded and arrested Garcia. She was taken into custody without incident.

    Garcia was transported to Los Alamos Detention Center. She remains in custody and will not be assigned a bond until next week, according to the Los Alamos County Magistrate Court.

    “We initially didn’t find her, but after looking around the area they spotted her and arrested her without incident,” Rio Arriba County Sheriffs PIO Captain Randy Sanches said.

    Garcia was wanted by Los Alamos Police after she and a still unidentified suspect allegedly shoplifted from Bealls Department Store Thursday. As they sped off in their car, they hit a 47-year-old Los Alamos man in the parking lot in a silver Volvo.

    The man was transported to Los Alamos Medical Center with injuries.

    Police are still looking for a second female suspect and the car, which has a smashed windshield from the incident.

  • New Mexico Senate backs veto override on teacher sick leave

    SANTA FE (AP) — The New Mexico Senate has voted to override a veto by New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez of a bill that would have allowed teachers to take more than three days of annual sick leave without being penalized on performance evaluations.
    Republican Sen. Craig Brandt of Rio Rancho led the unusual override attempt Tuesday against the GOP governor. The Senate backed the override in a 34-7 vote that fulfilled a two-thirds supermajority requirement. A vote in the House is pending.
    Martinez says the bill threatened to reverse recent reductions in teacher absentee rates and to increase the use of substitutes in classrooms. Brandt says teachers should not be forced to work while sick and that local school boards should set sick-leave policy.
    The last successful veto override was in 2002.
     

  • Today in history March 16
  • Panel rejects expanded background checks

    By Steve Terrell

    The New Mexican

    A legislative committee on Monday effectively killed a bill to expand background checks for gun purchases – an issue that drew large crowds to the Capitol as well as big campaign contributions and intense lobbying and advertising.

    The House Judiciary Committee voted 7-6 to table House Bill 548 after a lengthy hearing. It marked the defeat of the most recent gun-control bill sponsored by Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard, D-Los Alamos.

    Democrat Eliseo Alcon of Milan joined the six Republicans on the panel to stop the measure, which would have required background checks on all sales of firearms at gun shows and from advertisements on the internet or print publications.

    Garcia Richard said other states that have approved similar bills have seen fewer violent crimes and suicides involving guns.

    Earlier in the session, Garcia Richard carried a similar measure, HB 50, which cleared two committees, including the Judiciary Committee. But last month she voluntarily pulled her own bill before it reached the full House of Representatives, asking it go back to the Judiciary Committee.

  • Today in history March 14
  • House OK’s campaign finance reform

    By Steve Terrell

    The New Mexican

    After six years of trying to require "dark money" organizations and other independent-expenditure groups to report their political backers, supporters of campaign-finance reform got their bill through the state House of Representatives on Monday night.

    The House on Monday passed Senate Bill 96, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe, and Rep. Jim Smith, D-Sandia Park. The bipartisan vote was 41 to 24. Six Republicans joined with the 35 Democrats to vote for the bill.

    The Senate had already passed the bill, but it will have to go back there for consideration of House amendments. If the Senate doesn't oppose any of the changes, it will go to Gov. Susana Martinez for signature. She has signaled some interest in the bill.

    "This is huge," said Viki Harrison, executive director of Common Cause New Mexico, which for years has been the major group pushing the issue. "The citizens of New Mexico support this. Our poll found 91 percent support this."

    Harrison said she doubts the Senate will have any trouble with the House amendments – mostly technical changes. She noted that Wirth was in the House chamber during the vote and he had no problem with the amendments.

  • Community Calendar 3-24-17

    TODAY
    Fish Fry Friday from 5-7 p.m. at Immaculate Heart Mary Parish Hall, 3700 Canyon Road. Cost is $10 for Adults, $7 for children.

    Gentle Walks at 9 a.m. at the Nature Center. A gentle walk for which the emphasis is on discovery, not mileage gained. Free. More information at peecnature.org.

    Astronomy Show at 7 p.m. at the Nature Canter. Explore the night sky from the comfort of the planetarium. Cost is $6 for adults, $4 for children. More information at peecnature.org.
    SATURDAY
    Habitat for Humanity is hosting a Hawaiian at the Pajarito Brew Pub and Grill. Live Hawaiian-themed music. A special menu of Hawaiian and Hawaiian-inspired dishes and beverages. What better way to celebrate the arrival of spring? So don your loudest Hawaiian shirt and your best grass skirt and hula over to a tropical island paradise at the Pajarito Brew Pub and Grill.

    Snowshoe Hike in the Valles Caldera at 1 p.m. at the Nature Center. Join a ranger and PEEC on a 2 - 2.5 hour, easy-to-moderate snowshoe hike in the Valles Caldera National Preserve. Preserve entrance fee. More information at peecnature.org.

    Feature Film: Exoplanets at 2 p.m. at the Nature Center.

  • Hike to Window Rock April 8

    Join the Santa Fe National Forest from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. April 8 to as part of the Forest Your Health, a local partnership and health initiative.
    The Window Rock Trail hike will include trash pickup, sign installation, archeological interpretation and campfire finale (hot dogs and s’mores).
    The hike is part of Window Rock and lies north of Española off of the highway to Abiquiu.
    Participants should not bring less than three liters of water, plus lunch, shade hat, sunscreen and clothing layers. The round-trip hike is eight miles.
    Contact Jennifer Sublett for more information and to sign-up for this bi-annual stewardship hike at jasublett@fs.fed.us or 505-753-7331.