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Today's News

  • Dems: Popular vote should determine presidential winner

    By Milan Simonich

    The New Mexican

    New Mexico's five electoral college votes would be awarded to the presidential candidate who received the most popular votes nationally, under a bill that state senators approved Monday in a party-line decision.

    All 26 Democratic senators voted for the measure and all 16 Republicans opposed it, perhaps a predictable outcome three months after Republican Donald Trump lost the popular vote but handily won the presidency in the electoral college.

    The sponsor of the bill, Sen. Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque, said the electoral college allows presidential candidates to ignore most voters because it largely functions as a winner-take-all system in individual states.

    "Candidates have no reason to pay attention to states where they are comfortably ahead or hopelessly behind," Stewart said.

    In addition, she said, minority-party voters in heavily Republican or overwhelmingly Democratic states believe that their votes don't matter because the electoral college takes precedence over the popular vote.

  • Democrats push tax, budget plans to House floor

    By Bruce Krasnow

    The New Mexican

    An effort that had broad support to bring in more money to New Mexico government by taxing all internet sales has mushroomed into a measure to raise additional money from hospitals, trucking companies, nonprofit organizations and car buyers.

    Democrats say the amendments to House Bill 202, originally an effort to raise $30 million by expanding the gross receipts tax to out-of-state internet transactions, are necessary to restore cash reserves and put the state on better financial footing to avoid further cuts to school districts and another credit downgrade.

    With the changes, the bill is now expected to bring in $265 million in ongoing revenue. Some $1 million a year would come from the legislative retirement fund.

    A sponsor of the tax bill, Rep. Carl Trujillo, D-Santa Fe, said lawmakers have cut spending, both during the 2016 session and again in an October special session. "We've swept up under every rock" to find the dollars needed to pay for public services, Trujillo said.

    What's left are tax increases. "This is a difficult thing to do, but I believe it's the responsible thing to do," he said.

  • Revised bill on aid in dying could get some GOP support

    By Andrew Oxford

    The New Mexican

    Several Republican members of the state House Judiciary Committee signaled late last week that they could support a bill allowing terminally ill patients to end their own lives. But they raised concerns about whether the measure would provide enough safeguards for patients.

    The sponsor, Rep. Deborah Armstrong, D-Albuquerque, agreed during a committee hearing Friday to rewrite sections of House Bill 171 to address some of those concerns. She is expected to present a revised bill to the committee next week.

    HB 171 would change a 1963 law that makes it a fourth-degree felony for anyone to assist in a person's suicide and would allow medical professionals to prescribe lethal drugs to patients who meet certain criteria. The patients would have to be mentally competent, for example, and would have to administer the drugs themselves.

    Many New Mexicans living with serious illnesses have packed hearings on the bill to share their stories and plead for options in planning for the end of their lives.

    Elizabeth Whitefield, a retired family court judge from Albuquerque, recounted her painful battles with various cancers that have left her struggling to talk, walk and eat.

    Whitefield told the committee she expects her death will be slow and painful.

  • ACT driver pleads guilty

    A former Atomic City Transit bus driver accused of having inappropriate contact with a 13-year-old minor rider pleaded guilty to a fourth-degree felony of criminal solicitation by electronic communication device Friday in First Judicial District Court in Santa Fe.
    As part of a plea agreement, Joseph Dimas, 31, will register as a sex offender for 10 years. He will also receive a deferred sentence with 18 months of supervised probation.
    If Dimas violates the terms of his probation, he will serve to the remainder of his probation in jail.
    The plea agreement was arranged by Assistant District Attorney Kent Wahlquist and Dimas’ attorney Stephen Aarons.   
    Dimas was arrested Oct. 2, 2016 by Los Alamos police after he reportedly confessed to detectives during an interview concerning allegations of a relationship with the minor made by the victim and an adult relative of the victim, according to police reports.
    At the time, he was charged with criminal sexual contact with a minor and enticement of a child. During the interview, Dimas confessed to  kissing the victim while the victim was on his bus and inappropriately touching the victim. He told the police no sexual intercourse took place and that the contact was over clothing and consensual.

  • Legislative Roundup 2-24-17

    Days remaining in session: 23

    Signed: Staving off a breakdown in the state justice system, Lt. Gov. John Sanchez signed a bill Thursday to provide short-term funding for New Mexico’s courts.
    Sanchez was acting as the state’s executive while Gov. Susana Martinez traveled to Washington, D.C., for meetings of the National Governors Association and Republican Governors Association.
    Sanchez’s signing of House Bill 261 ends a battle over the judiciary’s budget that had dragged through the 60-day legislative session.
    The bill includes $1.6 million to pay for jury trials through the end of the fiscal year in June and $80,000 to avoid furloughs at the state Supreme Court.
    Chief Justice Charles Daniels had warned that, without the money, courts around the state would be unable to afford trials by March 1.
    But when Democrats in the Senate attached the court funding two unrelated bills, Martinez vetoed each measure. Martinez suggested that her administration needed to adequately vet the judiciary’s request. The Republican-sponsored bill that Sanchez signed includes about the same amount of money the courts had been requesting for months.

  • Prep boys basketball: LA gets No. 14 seed for state tourney

    The Los Alamos boys basketball team received the No. 14 seed for the Class 5A state tournament.

    The Hilltoppers (13-14 overall) will be at No. 3 Farmington in the first round. It'll be Los Alamos' first trip to the state tournament since 2012. 

    The date and time of the first round matchup is yet to be determined. 

  • ‘Topper baseball set for season opener at Sandia Prep

    The Los Alamos baseball team begins its 2017 campaign with a tough doubleheader.
    The Hilltoppers will visit Sandia Prep Saturday and will play the Sundevils at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. in Albuquerque.
    The defending Class 4A state champion Sundevils are coming off a 27-4 season, where they won their second consecutive state title. However, Sandia Prep started the 2017 season with a 12-3 loss against St. Pius Tuesday.  
    Los Alamos lost a lot of talent from its 2016 squad but does have a young rotation of players, combined with eight returners from last year. The Hilltoppers are coming off a 20-9 season and a state quarterfinals appearance.
    James Neal is expected to fill a void in the infield, while Travis Gonzales and Jake Rutton will look to replace last year’s electric starting pitching duo of Connor Mang and Lane Saunders.
    Los Alamos’ top returners will look to guide the team through a challenging schedule that includes participating in two tough regular season tournaments.
    After the season-opening doubleheader, the Hilltoppers will open the St. Pius tournament  March 2 with a matchup against Class 6A contender Las Cruces High. Los Alamos will also play in the tournament the following two days.

  • Prep boys basketball: LA should make state tourney

    The Los Alamos boys basketball team hasn’t been to the state tournament since 2012.
    That should change Sunday when the New Mexico Activities Association announces its 16-team field for the Class 5A state tournament.
    Los Alamos currently stands at 13-14 overall, finished in fourth place in District 2-5A and was ousted by Del Norte in the second round of the district tournament. Not only should the 13 wins be enough to get the Hilltoppers in, but their win at Belen and against Española Valley will standout to the selection committee.
    Playing in Class 5A’s second toughest district will also enhance Los Alamos’ chances of ending its state tournament drought. The Hilltoppers also got a bit of a boost when Taos had to forfeit eight of its nine wins due to playing an ineligible player. One of those forfeited wins was the Tigers’ triumph over Los Alamos on Jan. 10.   
    The Hilltoppers will likely be on the road for the first round, as the top eight seeds will host first round games. Los Alamos is likely to get a 14, 15 or 16 seed and get matched-up with one of the top three seeds.

    Who will LA see in the first round?

  • Saint Job to host Blini Breakfast

    Saint Job of Pochaiv Orthodox Christian Church will host Blini Breakfast from 9 a.m.-noon Saturday.
    Traditional blini, a type of thin pancake, will be served in the traditional style with smoked salmon, herring, butter and sour cream. Vegetable caviar, eggs, cheese and a variety of berry preserves will also be available.
    Blini are traditionally served in Slavic households during the week before the beginning of the Lenten Fast.
    The thin, crepe-like pancakes are eaten together with fish, sour cream and butter in order to consume all these foods before the beginning of Great Lent.
    These foods – that is, fish and dairy products, along with meat – are not eaten during the 40-day Great Fast period preceding Easter or Pascha, as it is called among Orthodox Christians.
    The practice of fasting, or abstaining from certain foods, dates to Judaism. The practice was recorded in Biblical times, Christ having fasted in the desert for 40 days.
    “Lent” comes from the ancient English word for spring – that  time of natural rebirth which corresponds to the process of inner spiritual regeneration, which every Christian should strive to experience in his or her preparation for celebrating the feast of Christ’s Resurrection.

  • Simple steps can keep IT networks safe

    BY STEVE RESNICK
    Owner, Capitol Computer/Finance New Mexico