- MARIJUANA-NEW MEXICO
New Mexico House poised for vote on recreational marijuanaSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico House of Representatives is deliberating over a proposal to regulate and tax recreational marijuana sales for people 21 and over.Debate began Thursday on a Democrat-sponsored bill to authorize marijuana sales to the general public at private dispensaries and to issue licenses to commercial producers, retailers and people who grow up to a dozen plants for personal use.The bill seeks to repeal criminal laws governing cannabis offenses and expunge and destroy criminal conviction records. It eliminates taxes on medical marijuana to help ensure sufficient supplies to patients.A rival Senate bill with Republican sponsors would allow recreational marijuana sales through state-run consignment stores.Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham says successful legislation must help prevent child access and address issues of intoxication while driving and workplace safety.
- HEALTH OVERHAUL-NEW MEXICO
New Mexico bill advances to ensure Obamacare protectionsSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico House of Representatives has endorsed a bill aimed at ensuring medical insurance coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.Democratic legislators prevailed over Republicans in the 40-24 vote on Thursday. The bill would adopt provisions of former President Barack Obama’s health care law into state statute in an effort to protect medical patients with pre-existing conditions. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.Advocates for the legislation says provisions of the Affordable Care Act are at risk from a lawsuit by Republican state attorneys general and the Trump administration’s push for cheaper, skimpier health plans.Bill sponsor and Rep. Elizabeth Thomson of Albuquerque says the bill provides basic guarantees to insurance coverage and health care for people with serious ailments.
- GUN CONTROL-NEW MEXICO-THE LATEST
The Latest: Democrat says repeal not possible on gun lawSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Democratic House Speaker Brian Egolf says Republicans lawmakers are wasting their time with an attempt to call a statewide referendum to overturn gun control legislation that would expand background checks to nearly all firearms.Egolf responded Thursday to an announcement by top House Republicans that they will seek to overturn the background-check requirements under obscure provisions of the state Constitution by signature petition and then a statewide vote.Egolf says the referendum procedures do not apply to public safety measures and that the background-check bill is clearly designed to protect the public. New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has indicated she will sign the House- and Senate-approved bill to expand background checks to private, person-to-person gun sales with exceptions for transactions between relatives.Egolf and other supporters of the bill say it is overwhelmingly popular among New Mexico residents, while House Republicans say just the opposite.
- GUN CONTROL-NEW MEXICO
GOP lawmakers seek referendum on gun background checksSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Leading Republican legislators say they will try and overturn a proposed law requiring background checks on nearly all gun sales in New Mexico through a voter referendum.In a letter to state election regulators, House minority leader James Townsend and minority whip Rod Montoya said Thursday that a formal public challenge is being organized through obscure state procedures that can call a referendum by signature petition.The background-check bill has been approved by the state House and Senate and is likely to be signed by Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.Townsend and Montoya say the bill infringes on the 2nd Amendment. They are joining with like-minded county sheriffs to collect signatures.The petition process has lengthy requirements that include the collection of about 70,000 signatures from 25 counties.
- NEVADA GUN CONTROL
Rural Nevada sheriffs balking at strict gun background lawLAS VEGAS (AP) — Two rural Nevada sheriffs are citing the Second Amendment and one is invoking the specter of Nazi Germany in vowing not to enforce a strict new gun background check law just approved by the state Legislature.Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly (WER’-lee) said Thursday she supports Eureka County Sheriff Jesse Watts in promising to defy the law Gov. Steve Sisolak signed last month.They join sheriffs in other Western states including Washington and New Mexico vowing to create gun ownership sanctuary areas.Wehrly says people in her sprawling county love their guns and don’t want the state putting constraints on them.The law due to go into effect next January requires a background check by a licensed dealer on anyone buying or receiving a gun from an unlicensed person.
- CAR CRASH-BABY KILLED
Baby not properly restrained dies in car crash near ThoreauTHOREAU, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico State Police say a baby who wasn’t properly restrained with a seat belt has died in a car crash north of Thoreau.They say 5-month-old Osiris Castillo was pronounced dead at the scene of Wednesday’s crash on State Road 371.Authorities say the child’s mother was driving the vehicle and was airlifted to a hospital with serious injuries.The name of the 28-year-old woman from Albuquerque wasn’t immediately released.State Police say the woman drove across the center line and clipped one car before colliding nearly head-on with an SUV.They say speed and driver inattention are believed to be factors in the crash and the woman could be facing felony charges.
- CLEAN ENERGY-NEW MEXICO
New Mexico poised to change its electricity landscapeALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico is known for its wide-open spaces, wind-swept plains and nearly endless supply of sunshine, and yet the promise of an economy built on renewable energy has been elusive for politicians here.That could change under a measure that won bipartisan approval in the state Senate late Wednesday. The House is under pressure to take up the bill before the Legislature wraps up in about a week.The landmark legislation sets aggressive new quotas for renewable energy production, going so far as to require publicly regulated utilities to produce all of their electricity from carbon-free sources by 2045.While the state’s largest electric provider plans to divest itself from coal-fired generation in a few years, New Mexico would need to see a fivefold increase in renewable energy to reach the goal.
- HIGH SCHOOL-E-SPORTS TEAMS
New Mexico, others allowing high school video games ‘sport’ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico is joining a handful of other states in allowing high school students to participate in a growing sport — video games.Around three dozen high schools are competing in the state’s inaugural e-sports season which began last month, and more schools may join as athletic officials mull adding a fall season.Under the rules set by the New Mexico Activities Association, students compete in three different game titles including League of Legends, Rocket League, and Smite.At least six other states — Rhode Island, Illinois, Connecticut, Kentucky, Massachusetts and Georgia — allow students to compete in e-sports as an officially sanctioned high school activity.Proponents say e-sports offer students who aren’t as athletically inclined to develop the same team-building skills as students who participate in traditional sports.