Child Abuse Legislation Moves Forward, Democrat Takes Fund-Raising Lead In Congressional Race

Feb 3, 2018

New Mexico Governor Clears Way For Child Abuse Legislation – Associated Press

Gov. Susana Martinez has cleared the way for New Mexico lawmakers to consider a measure that would expand obligations under state law to report child abuse or neglect.

The state's top prosecutor and others are concerned that the current law calls for reporting abuse by parents, guardians and custodians of children but leaves out abuse by other people such as school personnel.

The proposed legislation would broaden reporting obligations to cover abuse and neglect by almost anyone.

The governor in a message sent to lawmakers Thursday called for adding the proposal to the agenda.

Supporters, including New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas, are hopeful the measure can be debated and reach the governor's desk before the 30-day legislative session wraps up in mid-February.

Democrat Takes Lead In Fund-Raising In Congressional Race – Associated Press

A Democratic U.S. Coast Guard veteran raised the most money of any candidate last quarter in a congressional race in southern New Mexico.

Still, federal campaign reports show Madeline "Mad" Hildebrandt remains far behind Republican Monty Newman, a former Hobbs mayor, in total cash on hand in the closely watched election that may help determine which party controls Congress.

Reports submitted to the Federal Election Commission show Hildebrandt raised $132,497 at the end of 2017 and had $118,464 cash on hand. That's more than any other Democrat seeking the nomination.

Meanwhile, records show Newman raised $130,168 during the same period and had $356,656 cash on hand.

State Rep. Yvette Herrell, an Alamogordo Republican, reported $106,169 in total contributions during the fourth quarter and $202,557 cash on hand.

New Mexico House Passes Bi-Partisan Crime Bill – Associated Press

The New Mexico House has passed crime-fighting legislation that aims to put more police on the streets, and prioritize treating inmates with substance abuse and mental illness as a way to reduce recidivism.

The omnibus bill includes measures proposed by both Democrats and Republicans. Among the other bills in the package is a measure to increase prison time for violent felons found in possession of a firearm.

The bi-partisan legislation won near unanimous approval in the House on Friday, and now goes to the Senate.

Gentry said he worked closely with the Democratic House Speaker Brian Egolf to bundle together evidence-based legislation that can "move the needle" on public safety.

Addressing rising crime rates in the state has been a focus of this year's 30-day legislative session.

The Latest: Lawmakers Want Drilling Boundaries Near Chaco – Associated Press

A panel of New Mexico lawmakers wants the federal government to consult with the Navajo Nation before allowing more natural gas production in the area surrounding the Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

A Senate committee on Friday endorsed a nonbinding state memorial that also urges the Bureau of Land Management not to allow hydraulic fracturing within 10 miles of the Chaco archaeological site.

Pre-colonial ruins at Chaco Canyon are a popular tourist attraction and hold ancestral and spiritual significance for some Native Americans. An upcoming sale of drilling rights by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management is stoking tensions about gas development in the area.

Navajo President Russell Begaye testified in support of the measure and cautioned that restrictions beyond a 10 mile radius of Chaco could infringe on income opportunities for Navajo families.

Memorial sponsor and Sen. George Munoz of Gallup says he expects to see a companion federal measure proposed by Democratic U.S. Sen. Tom Udall.

Police: Suspect In Jail Standoff Shot Himself In The Jaw – Eastern New Mexico News, Associated Press

Authorities in eastern New Mexico say a standoff at the Curry County Adult Detention Center ended when a prisoner shot and wounded himself with a gun he earlier pulled out while being booked into the jail.

Clovis Police Capt. Roman J. Romero says 28-year-old Wesley Flores has life-threatening injuries after shooting himself in the jaw Thursday evening following four hours of unsuccessful negotiations.

Romero says Flores is hospitalized in Lubbock, Texas.

Authorities say Flores was originally taken into custody on a warrant for failure to appear in court.

Doctor Who Faked Cancer To Avoid Sentencing Enters Plea – Associated Press

A Santa Fe cardiologist accused of trying to impede his sentencing for health care fraud with a fake cancer diagnosis is pleading guilty to obstructing justice.

Federal prosecutors said Friday that Roy G. Heilbron agreed to the plea in an Albuquerque court. They say he could face as much as 30 years in prison.

The 54-year-old used phony medical documents indicating he needed prostate cancer treatment in Costa Rica to support a request to defer his August 2017 sentencing.

He was indicted last September on false statement and obstruction of justice charges.

Heilbron has already pleaded guilty to a health care fraud charge in exchange for a two-year prison sentence.

He will remain in federal custody pending sentencing hearings, which have not been scheduled.

Air Force's Next Look At Attack Planes Set For Arizona Base – Associated Press

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in southern Arizona will be the site of continued experimentation aimed at collecting data to enable the Air Force to buy an off-the-shelf light-attack aircraft at low cost.

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson says in a news release issued Friday in Washington that the experimentation May through July will involve using the AT-6 Wolverine and the A-29 Super Tucano.

Wilson calls those aircraft "the two most promising" among four included in tests conducted last summer at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico.

The release says further experimentation will examine logistics and maintenance requirements, weapons and sensor issues and other characteristics.

Davis-Monthan hosts a unit that flies the A-10, an attack jet first flown during the Cold War and still in service to support ground forces.

Baby Dies After Left In Car Overnight Night Outside Gallup – Associated Press

A 2-month-old baby was found dead in western New Mexico after authorities say the child was left in a car overnight.

The Gallup Independent reports the parents called authorities Wednesday morning after the child was discovered to be not breathing outside their rural home west of Gallup.

According to a Gallup Fire Department report, the parents drove to meet an ambulance. EMTs pronounced the baby dead.

The cause of the death has not been determined. The body was sent to the state Office of the Medical Investigator in Albuquerque.

Tribal police are investigating the death because the parents' home is located in the Navajo Nation. The FBI is investigating as well.

An autopsy is pending.