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Today's News

  • State representatives help get veterans' Fisher House project moving

    Veterans and their families may soon get a place to stay in Albuquerque while they wait for their loved ones to get care at the VA Medical Center.

    U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs officials joined with officials from the state Historic Preservation Office, the Fisher House Foundation and state legislators Wednesday to agree on final plans to build a Fisher House on the campus of the Raymond G. Murphy VA Medical Center in Albuquerque.

    The agreement provides the framework for construction to proceed on a proposed facility that will house the families of military personnel and veterans while their loved ones are receiving medical care.

    The agencies and the foundation reached the agreement at the urging of the Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) and New Mexico House Republican Caucus. Pearce and state representatives reached out to state and federal officials to resolve obstacles blocking construction.

  • Gov. seeks more police immunity

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Gov. Susana Martinez’s proposal to grant broader immunity to police in use-of-force lawsuits is being met with criticism from attorneys and others on both sides of the debate.

    The Albuquerque Journal reports that Martinez plans to push for a measure during the upcoming legislative session that would provide somewhat of a legal shield for law enforcement officers sued for actions in the line of duty when they had followed their training.

    She said she doesn’t think officers should be under a “constant threat of lawsuits.” Martinez, a Republican, is a former prosecutor.

    Albuquerque has reached settlements in a string of wrongful death and excessive force lawsuits filed in recent years.

    The city also is under federal court order to reform its police department after a U.S. Justice Department investigation four years ago found a “culture of aggression” among officers.

    Randi McGinn, who has litigated lawsuits brought against police, was the special prosecutor who tried two Albuquerque officers in the 2014 shooting death of homeless camper James Boyd. The officers’ 2016 trial ended in a hung jury, and the second-degree charges against them were later cleared by a new prosecutor who decided not to retry them.

  • State hosts AMC’s ‘Better Call Saul’ for another season

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — New Mexico is hosting another season of AMC’s “Better Call Saul.”

    Production work on the television series is underway in Albuquerque.

    The network had initially announced last year that the “Breaking Bad” spinoff would return in 2018 for a 10-episode fourth season.

    Starring Bob Odenkirk, the series follows Jimmy McGill, who eventually becomes Walter White’s lawyer Saul Goodman on “Breaking Bad.”

    Officials with the state film office say about 150 crew members and several dozen principal actors from New Mexico are a part of the production.

    “Better Call Saul” season three was among the more than 60 film and television productions shot in New Mexico during the past fiscal year. Others included “The Night Shift,” ‘’Longmire,” and Netflix’s “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.”

  • Legislative Council to review anti-harassment policy

    The New Mexico Legislative Council is scheduled to review and possibly adopt a new anti-harassment policy Monday for the state Legislators.

    But during a review of the policy by the State Bar of New Mexico Jan. 5, given by Reps. Nate Gentry (R-Bernalillo) and Antonio “Moe” Maestas (D-Bernalillo), some lawyers questioned what qualified as harassment.

    Richard C. Minzner, the emcee of the event, and an Albuquerque attorney thought the new anti-harassment policy could interfere with the legislative process.

    “My concern about adopting this general harassment policy as opposed to just sexual harassment, it seems to me to outlaw the job of whips, of which both of you have had, which is to try to get people to vote the way you want them to when they don’t want to,” Minzner said.

    Minzner, a former state representative for 10 years, gave examples of that type of harassment, such as threatening to remove committee chairs that aren’t towing a certain political party’s line, or not supporting a candidate in the next election if they didn’t change their point of view or lend their support to legislation.

  • States rethink sexual misconduct policies after complaints

    By DAVID A. LIEB, Associated Press

    JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — After a tumultuous few months that saw numerous lawmakers accused of sexual misconduct, a majority of state legislatures across the country are considering strengthening sexual harassment policies that have gone unheeded or unchanged for years.

    A 50-state review by The Associated Press found that almost all legislative chambers now have at least some type of written sexual harassment policy, though they vary widely, and many are placing a greater emphasis on preventing and punishing sexual misconduct as they convene for their 2018 sessions.

    This week alone, lawmakers in Arizona, Idaho and Rhode Island underwent detailed training about sexual harassment, some for the first time.

    Yet about a third of all legislative chambers do not require lawmakers to receive training about what constitutes sexual harassment, how to report it and what consequences it carries, the AP's review found.

  • Duane Smith Auditorium set to open in February

    “We’re hoping to get in there the week of Feb. 12,” School Bond and Construction Coordinator Herb McLean said. The building was supposed to open in mid January, but many of the workers assigned to the project were diverted to other assignments, and to assist when the country was hit with three hurricanes earlier this year. 

    They also had some trouble getting hold of a specific type of steel to complete the project.

    “There was a lot of construction going on before we started, and getting contractors in has been really hard,” McLean said. “Second, a lot of workers went to work in the hurricane zones.”

    The steel, McLean said, should be in this week.

    In 2016, the Los Alamos School Board approved a new design for the theater that adds an additional 3,600 square feet onto the front of the building. The additional space will include rooms for concessions, a box office and a space for storage and merchandising. 

  • Registration begins for UNM-LA

    With a high number of faculty who have Ph.Ds in their teaching fields, UNM-LA provides an exceptional quality of instruction. 

    Small class sizes allow for personal attention that is critical for student learning and success. The student support in advising and career exploration is vibrant and personal. According to Kathryn Vigil, Student Enrollment Director at UNM Los Alamos, “There is no better value in New Mexico, and families can feel comfortable knowing that they’ve made a good investment. Compared to the two larger Universities in New Mexico, the savings at UNM-LA can be viewed as a 45 percent discount. Money can also be saved in rent, food and transportation for students who choose to live at home for a year or two.”

    In addition to traditional face to face classes, UNM-LA offers online and hybrid classes (a combination of face-to- face and online) to help meet the various scheduling preferences and learning styles of students. There are also a variety of short courses, including classes that will start later in the semester.  

  • 2 N.M. lawmakers propose criminal justice reforms

    At a news conference, Rep. Nate Gentry and Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto touted their proposals as representing a sweeping approach to the city’s crime problem with measures that target nearly every level of New Mexico’s criminal justice system – from boosting police staffing levels to trying to ensure more access to behavioral health treatment for inmates leaving prisons or jails.

    Gentry is a Republican and Ivey-Soto a Democrat. Both represent districts in Albuquerque.

    It’s not clear ahead of the bills being debated in the 30-day legislative session that begins next week in Santa Fe how much support the measures would garner among lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, though they so far have gained the support of Bernalillo County sheriff and the Albuquerque police union.

    “It’s a common sense approach to a very dynamic problem,” said Shaun Willoughby, president of the Albuquerque Police Officers Association.

  • Lawmakers propose pet food tax to help spay, neuter pets

    Democratic State Reps. Carl Trujillo and Debbie Rodella sponsored a bill that would impose an increase on commercial pet food registration fees from $2 per label to $100 per label of food each year, The Santa Fe New Mexican reported .

    The increase would raise over $800,000 to help impoverished citizens pay to have their dogs and cats spayed and neutered, Trujillo said. He estimates the fund could pay for services for some 8,000 to 10,000 pets annually.

    “This is a needed tool to combat an overpopulation of dogs and cats in the state,” he said. It also will cut down on the number of pet euthanizations, he added.

    But Laura Moore, owner of The Critters and Me pet store in Santa Fe, has concerns.

    “This is either going to increase the price of dog and cat food or manufacturers are going to want to stop supplying these foods to New Mexico,” she said. “There has to be a better way to facilitate spay and neuter services than having bureaucrats get involved in it.”

  • N.M. Supreme Court overturns domestic violence ruling

    The court in an opinion issued Monday said such behavior can have the same result as making an overt threat to ensure a victim’s silence.

    The justices found that the district court should have allowed prosecutors to use some of the victim’s statements in the case of Joshua Maestas.

    Despite talking with police and testifying before a grand jury, the woman later decided not to cooperate with prosecutors, resulting in the case being dropped.

    The state attorney general’s office and victim advocates consider the court’s opinion a positive step in the fight against domestic violence.