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Isolated Confinement Bill Moves To House Floor

on March 4, 2017 - 6:55am


SANTA FE Today in the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas’ (D-Albuquerque) House Bill 175 passed by a 7-6 vote. HB 175 bans the use of isolated confinement for pregnant women and minors in New Mexico prisons and jails. It also sets a 48-hour maximum for solitary confinement of inmates with severe mentally illness.

“Isolated confinement is overused and misused in our great state,” Rep. Maestas said. “It is detrimental to public safety. If you put a human being in prolonged isolated confinement, that human will never, ever be the same.

Youth Summer Job Applications Close March 13

on March 3, 2017 - 7:48pm

Trail work crew getting busy last year. Courtesy/YMCA

YMCA News:

  • Y Bandelier Corps (YBC) Starts Work In June 

Applications for summer employment with The Family YMCA’s Bandelier Corps trail crew closes at 10 p.m., March 13. Hiring for this program is restricted to those ages 16-24.

Application packets and job descriptions are available on the Y’s website at, at the YMCA 1450 Iris St., and at the Los Alamos and Espanola YMCA teen centers. Two reference forms, within the packet, are required if youth did not work for the Y last year.

Burn Planned On Jemez Ranger District Sunday

on March 3, 2017 - 7:31pm

SFNF News:

SANTA FE  If conditions, including air quality and weather forecasts, remain favorable, fire managers on the Santa Fe National Forest plan to conduct the previously announced prescribed burn Sunday, March 5 on the Joaquin fuelwood unit on the Jemez Ranger District.

Members of the public have helped clean up the 80-acre unit to prepare it for treatment. The Joaquin fuelwood unit is at the intersection of Forest Roads (FRs) 376 and 488 for approximately 1 mile to the north.

Prescribed fires are one of the most effective tools available to resource managers for restoring

Udall Statement On His Vote To Confirm Rick Perry As Secretary Of Energy

on March 3, 2017 - 2:40pm
U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Tom Udall released the following statement on his vote to confirm former Texas Gov. Rick Perry as U.S. Secretary of Energy.
Udall is a senior member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee and a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water, which writes the budget for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
"New Mexico's economy and the jobs of thousands of New Mexicans are deeply connected to the U.S. Department of Energy.

State Auditor Launches Probe At City Of Jal

on March 3, 2017 - 2:32pm
State Auditor Tim Keller
SANTA FE State Auditor Tim Keller confirmed that auditors from the Office of the State Auditor (OSA) are in the City of Jal conducting field work for a special audit.
The special audit was initiated to review Jal’s compliance with laws, regulations and policies after concerns related to favoritism and accuracy of water billing came to light. State law calls for auditors to have unrestricted access to relevant documents and City staff.
“Our office has boots on the ground looking into water billing procedures in Jal,” Keller said.

Innovations In Teaching Act Passes House

on March 3, 2017 - 10:04am

  • Bill Supports Teachers Who Engage in New & Cutting-Edge Curriculums

SANTA FE The Innovations in Teaching Act passed the House floor Thursday night by a vote of 37-30. House Bill 105, sponsored by Rep. Andrés Romero (D-Albuquerque) and Rep. Nathan Small (D-Las Cruces), encourages teachers to delve into innovative and cutting-edge curriculums by allowing them to apply for a waiver from standards-based assessments.

“Rather than focus solely on high stakes testing, this bill allows teachers to innovate in their classrooms without being punished on their evaluations,” said

Bill To Level Playing Field For Minority-Owned Businesses Passes House Unanimously

on March 3, 2017 - 9:33am
Rep. Antonio Maestas
SANTA FE ― Rep. Antonio Maestas' (D-Albuquerque) HB198, the Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) Opportunity Act, a bill that will bolster minority-owned small businesses by promoting opportunities, passed unanimously Tuesday through the House.
"In a minority/majority state, if our minority- and women-owned businesses don't grow, our state will not grow,” Maestas said. "This will encourage all state agencies to utilize HUB businesses in contracting and sub-contracting, keeping our tax dollars in New Mexico."
The Historically

Letter To The Editor: Background Checks For Gun Sales

on March 3, 2017 - 8:56am


We have a gun violence problem in New Mexico - the number of deaths and injuries at the hands of people who shouldn’t have their hands on a gun is very distressing. With lives at stake, a background check to buy a gun is not too much to ask! House Bill 50 and Senate Bill 48 would require such checks for ALL gun sales in New Mexico, and as a member of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, I strongly support this bill.


I grew up in England and was actually a good shot with a .22 rifle.

Heinrich Opposes Confirmation Of Rick Perry For Secretary Of Energy

on March 3, 2017 - 8:33am

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich

From the Office of U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) issued the following statement opposing the confirmation of former Texas Governor Rick Perry, President Trump’s nominee for U.S. Department of Energy Secretary.

“I want – and we all need – Rick Perry to be successful as our next Secretary of Energy.

New Mexico House Of Representatives Passes SGR's Bill To Open Combat Roles To Women In Military Service

on March 3, 2017 - 8:14am

Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard of Los Alamos


Bill Updates Outdated Policy

SANTA FE – Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard (D-Los Alamos) presented a measure Thursday that updates an outdated policy and opens combat roles to women.

HB 209 ensures women have the same opportunities as men in the military by allowing appointment or voluntary enlistment of women to any military occupational specialty or career field of the branches and services of the state’s militia consistent with current Department of Defense policy. The bill passed by a 61-6 vote.

Women are already serving,

House Passes Felon In Possession Of Firearm Bill

on March 2, 2017 - 8:44pm
Rep. Nate Gentry
SANTA FE  This evening the House of Representatives unanimously passed legislation to strengthen consequences for felons in possession of a firearm or other destructive device. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Nate Gentry (R-Bernalillo).
House Bill 52 would make the crime of being a felon in possession of a firearm a third degree felony instead of the fourth degree felony it is now. Enhancing the penalty would increase the length of the sentence from 18 months in prison plus a $5,000 fine to a three year sentence with a $,5000 fine.

Tourniquets For Law Enforcement Passes House

on March 2, 2017 - 4:11pm
Rep. Patricio Ruiloba (D-Albuquerque). Courtesy photo


SANTA FE  Feb. 28, the New Mexico House of Representatives passed House Bill 9, a bill that provides law enforcement with the appropriate tools and training to apply tourniquets – a proven life saving measure.
Sponsored by Representative Patricio Ruiloba (D-Albuquerque), HB 9 gives first responders arriving to an emergency the knowledge necessary to properly use a tourniquet to prevent excessive blood loss, saving lives and reducing the damage that can be done by the improper use of tourniquets.
“As a law

Memorial To Protect Chaco Canyon Advances

on March 2, 2017 - 10:36am
SANTA FE  Feb. 28, a memorial introduced by Representative Derrick Lente (D-Sandia Pueblo) that reaffirms New Mexico’s commitment to protect Chaco Canyon’s tribal, cultural and historical sites unanimously passed the House State Government, Indian and Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
HM 70 requests that Bureau of Land Management (BLM) study be completed before any new leases or exploration on the national historic park and other federal lands in Chaco Canyon are issued.
“This is a huge step forward for Native America and others seeking to protect historical and

Udall Statement On Confirmation Of Ryan Zinke As Secretary Of The Interior

on March 2, 2017 - 10:32am
U.S. Sen. Tom Udall
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, ranking member on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies and vice chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, released the following statement on the confirmation of Congressman Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) to serve as Secretary of the Department of the Interior. Udall joined the Senate in voting 68-31 to confirm Zinke. 
“The Department of the Interior is an agency of enormous significance to the lives of New Mexicans, Native Americans, and people across the

Animal Protection Of New Mexico To Shriners: Stop Using Wild Animals In Circus

on March 2, 2017 - 10:31am
APNM News:
ALBUQUERQUE — Pointing to a disturbing video of two elephants backstage during the February 2017 Albuquerque tour stop of the Shrine Circus, Animal Protection of New Mexico (APNM) sent a letter this morning calling on Shriners International to cease using wild animals in its Shrine Circuses.
The letter to Chris L. Smith, Imperial Potentate of Shriners International, states, “Video footage from your event and given to APNM shows an elephant believed to be Carol, exhibited by Brett Carden, who was left backstage, rocking and swaying in apparent distress.

UNM: Cracking The Rap Code

on March 2, 2017 - 10:20am
Group project. Courtesy photo
UNM News:
Phrases and colloquialisms rarely heard in casual conversation are the bedrock of new linguistic research at The University of New Mexico.
Rap artists like Frank Waln and Litefoot might not be what comes to mind when one thinks of university librarians. But those artists and their driving beats, fast rhythms and sometimes shocking lyrics are exactly what brought four UNM librarians together to present original research at the 2016 National Diversity in Libraries Conference in Los Angeles, Calif.
The researchers’ goal was to determine

Education Bills For Vulnerable Students Advance

on March 2, 2017 - 10:20am
SANTA FE  Two bills designed to support New Mexico’s most vulnerable students have passed their first committees in the House.
House Bills 411 and 301, sponsored by Representative and Majority Floor Whip Doreen Gallegos (D-Las Cruces), support at-risk students who, due to varying circumstances, face unparalleled challenges in pursuing their academic career due to their placement in the foster care system, incarceration in the juvenile justice system, homelessness and/or mental health issues.
Both bills increase opportunity and security for New Mexico’s at-risk

IRS Has Refunds Totaling $8,162,000 For New Mexicans Who Have Not Filed 2013 Return

on March 2, 2017 - 10:10am

IRS News:

PHOENIX -- The Internal Revenue Service announced today that unclaimed federal income tax refunds totaling more than $1 billion may be waiting for an estimated 1 million taxpayers who did not file a 2013 federal income tax return.

Here in New Mexico, the IRS estimates $8.1 million may be available to an estimated 8,100 taxpayers who have yet to file for 2013. To collect the money, taxpayers must file a 2013 tax return with the IRS no later than this year's tax deadline, Tuesday, April 18.

"We’re trying to connect a million people with their share of 1 billion dollars in

Rep. Moe Maestas Loses His Cool Again, Insults Fellow Representative During House Committee

on March 2, 2017 - 9:53am

Democratic Rep. Antonio ‘Moe’ Maestas


ALBUQUERQUE – Wednesday afternoon during debate in the House Appropriations Committee, Democratic Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas made a series of unprompted insults directed toward Republican Rep. Sarah Maestas Barnes.

Republican Rep. Sarah Maestas Barnes

Complaining that he'd received bad press for voting to kill a popular proposal to expand Baby Brianna’s law, Rep. Maestas attacked its sponsor, Rep. Maestas Barnes, for “snivelling to KRQE” about the Democrats killing the bill.

He went on to complain about how KRQE

FBI: Sunland Park Heroin Trafficking Ring Leader Pleads Guilty To Federal Narcotics Trafficking Charges

on March 2, 2017 - 8:58am

FBI News:
  • Case Prosecuted as Part of HOPE Initiative, Which Seeks to Reduce the Number of Opioid-Related Deaths in New Mexico


ALBUQUERQUE – Raymundo Munoz, 69, of Sunland Park pled guilty Wednesday in federal court in Las Cruces to heroin trafficking charges resulting from a DEA-led investigation targeting a heroin trafficking ring operating out of Sunland Park.


Under the terms of his plea agreement, Munoz will be sentenced to 72 months in prison followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court.


The investigation targeted a heroin trafficking organization led by Munoz

NNMC And State Auditor Reveal High-Level Theft

on March 1, 2017 - 7:34pm

Northern New Mexico College President Richard Bailey

Staff Report

SANTA FE – The New Mexico State Auditor’s Office and Northern New Mexico College (NNMC) issued separate press releases this afternoon  announcing that an investigation has discovered an estimated $200,000 of the college’s money is missing and is suspected stolen by a senior administrative employee.

State Auditor Tim Keller said of the findings, “These were hundreds of thousands of dollars that should have been serving students and faculty, not the personal benefit of an employee.”

NNMC President Richard Bailey confirmed to

Republicans Walk Out Of Meeting To Protest Inappropriate Treatment Of Colleague

on March 1, 2017 - 7:20pm


SANTA FE – The Republican members of the House Appropriations and Finance Committee walked out of this afternoon’s committee meeting to protest a breakdown of decorum following the tabling of a previously non-controversial bill to protect New Mexico’s children from receiving pornography.

On a party-line vote, the Democrats voted to table House Bill 71, a bill sponsored Rep. Kelly Fajardo (R-Valencia) to clarify and strengthen New Mexico’s criminal sexual communications laws.

NNMC Addresses Financial Issues In Audit

on March 1, 2017 - 4:33pm

NNMC News:

Española – Northern New Mexico College has just been made aware of some past financial irregularities.

The College reported the issue immediately to the New Mexico Office of the State Auditor and local authorities.

The College cannot comment further at this time, but we will fully cooperate with the investigation, and will answer all questions as the ongoing investigation allows.

State Auditor Reveals High-Level Theft At NNMC

on March 1, 2017 - 4:20pm

New Mexico State Auditor Tim Keller


  • Estimated $200,000 in funds missing in ongoing investigation of senior executive

SANTA FE – Today, State Auditor Tim Keller confirmed the theft of an estimated $200,000 in funds at Northern New Mexico College. Auditors began looking into the matter after financial discrepancies were found. A high-level employee in the business office resigned in connection to the missing money. Along with stolen cash, checks were not deposited that deprived the college of additional funds. 

“These were hundreds of thousands of dollars that should have been

Santa Fe Cardiologist Pleads Guilty To Federal Health Care Fraud Charge

on March 1, 2017 - 2:37pm
FBI News:
ALBUQUERQUE  Roy G. Heilbron, 53, a cardiologist practicing in Santa Fe, pleaded guilty Feb. 17 in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to a health care fraud charge, announced U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez and Special Agent in Charge Terry Wade of the FBI’s Albuquerque Division.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, Heilbron will be sentenced to two years in federal prison followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court.
Heilbron was charged with health care fraud and wire fraud charges in a 24-count indictment that was filed in June 2015. The