New Mexico Rep. Pearce Describes Shooting, Secretary Of State Proposes Campaign Disclosure Rules

Jun 14, 2017

New Mexico Rep. Pearce Describes ShootingThe Associated Press

New Mexico Congressman Steve Pearce says the gunshots started to ring out as he left the batting cage during an early morning congressional baseball practice.

The Republican lawmaker recounted Wednesday's shooting in a video posted on his Facebook page that shows him sitting at his desk on Capitol Hill. Pearce says it was a traumatic and tragic morning.

Pearce also described the chaotic scene in a phone interview with KOAT-TV of Albuquerque shortly after the shooting.

Wounded in the attack was House GOP Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana and several others as congressmen and aides dove for cover.

The rifle-wielding attacker died after being shot by police. He was identified as an Illinois man who had several minor run-ins with the law in recent years and belonged to a Facebook group called "Terminate the Republican Party."

New Campaign Disclosure Rules Proposed For New Mexico – Associated Press

New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver is proposing changes to the state's campaign finance reporting rules for candidates and committees designed to provide more detailed and accurate disclosures of political contributions.

Toulouse Oliver published Tuesday proposed rules that address contributions to political committees that both coordinate with candidates and operate independently. Three public hearings on the rules will be held during July at Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe.

The draft rules follow in the footsteps of legislation vetoed in April by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez that would have made more information available about unlimited independent political donations from corporations, unions and other groups.

Martinez said the bill would have hampered advocacy work by charities.

Toulouse Oliver wants reforms in place before the next statewide elections in 2018.

Bullet Strikes New Mexico Official's Truck At Canyon RoadThe Associated Press

An unoccupied pickup truck used by New Mexico State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn has been hit by a bullet during a shooting incident on a road in Santa Fe lined with galleries and restaurants.

Santa Fe Police on Wednesday were scouring Canyon Road and side streets for evidence on the morning after several shots were fired. No injuries or arrests were reported.

Dunn found Wednesday morning that a bullet had punctured the windshield of his state-owned pickup truck on the driver's side.

He said the discovery was disorienting and troubling given news of a shooting in Washington of a Republican congressman.

Dunn says he did not know whether he might have been targeted in any way.

A restaurant chef says she heard about six shots fired on Tuesday afternoon.

Lawyer For Silver City District Attorney Rebuts ChargesThe Associated Press

Silver City District Attorney Francesca Estevez's lawyer says the criminal charges filed against his client are "a shameful political attack" and are in retaliation for the prosecutor going public about problems with a police evidence locker.

Lawyer Jim Foy says Estevez denies all charges against her.

The Attorney General's Office last week charged Estevez with five misdemeanor counts. She is accused of violating ethical principles as a public official in connection with a traffic stop in June 2016. Officers thought Estevez was drunk but didn't test her for alcohol.

Foy says Estevez cooperated with all the officers' requests and did not ask for any special treatment. But Estevez is accused of telling officers she would hate to see the U.S. Justice Department take over their department because of officers' failings.

UNM's Regents Approve $2.91B Budget For The 2018 Fiscal YearAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

The University of New Mexico's board of regents has unanimously approved a $2.91 billion budget for the 2018 fiscal year that begins July 1.

The budget approval comes a few weeks after the regents settled on a tuition model for the 2017-18 academic year. That includes an increase of $18 per credit hour on upper-division classes.

According to The Albuquerque Journal, UNM's Health Sciences Center accounts for more than $2 billion of the budget.

The center encompasses UNM Hospital, Sandoval Regional Medical Center, the medical group and academic wings like the medical school.

UNM's main campus in Albuquerque is getting nearly $834 million in the new budget.

The university continues to grapple with diminished state funding. Its appropriation will fall by another 1 percent in 2018.

Tuition Increase Approved For New Mexico State UniversityLas Cruces Sun-News, Associated Press

New Mexico State University's Board of Regents has approved a 6 percent tuition-and-fee increase for the university's main campus and community college system.

Las Cruces Sun-News reports the regents approved the tuition hike at a special meeting on Monday.

An in-state, main-campus student taking 12 credit hours will pay $184 more per semester under the approval, taking the total tuition-and-fee cost to $3,230. A student taking 15 credit hours or more will pay $197 more per-semester.

NMSU administrators asked for the increase, saying the institution has faced steep cuts from the state Legislature in recent years, as well as declines in enrollment.

New Mexico Governor Touts Training Incentives In WashingtonAssociated Press

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez plans to travel to the nation's capital to share ideas about job creation.

Martinez spokesman Michael Lonergan announced Tuesday the New Mexico governor intends to meet in Washington this week with President Donald Trump, officials from his administration and other state governors.

Martinez will be touting the results of an incentive program that uses state funds to offset job training expenses for businesses that relocate to New Mexico or expand in the state.

New Mexico's April unemployment rate of 6.7 was the highest in the nation. The national unemployment rate is 4.3 percent.

The state will pay for the governor's travel. She returns to New Mexico on Thursday.

Governor Touts New Mexico As 'Best Place' To Live, WorkAssociated Press

Gov. Susana Martinez is touting New Mexico as the best place to live, work and raise a family, pointing to success over the past year of a California-based company that has set up shop in the state.

Martinez on Tuesday was among those celebrating the anniversary of PCM opening its sales center in Rio Rancho. She says the company has hired 201 workers and plans to meet its 2020 hiring target two years ahead of schedule.

Company officials say state incentives have helped.

PCM has been awarded more than $1.6 million in job-training funds and New Mexico plans to provide $700,000 from a closing fund for investments in infrastructure improvements to accommodate PCM's expansion.

Officials have been working to attract more business to New Mexico, where the jobless rate has been the highest in the nation in recent months.

Bill Clears Hurdle To Expand Amber Alerts In Tribal LandsAssociated Press

Federal legislation that calls for expanding the Amber Alert system in Native American communities across the country has cleared its last hurdle before heading to the full U.S. Senate for consideration.

The measure was endorsed this week by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. It's supported by Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona and a bipartisan contingent of lawmakers from New Mexico, Montana and North Dakota.

The legislation is in response to the 2016 deadly abduction of 11-year-old Ashlynne Mike on the Navajo Nation, the largest American Indian reservation in the U.S. The Navajo Nation spans parts of New Mexico, Arizona and Utah.

The measure would make permanent and expand the tribal Amber Alert pilot program. This would allow tribes to manage and operate their own alert systems.

New Mexico Utility Blames Vandals For Recent Power OutageAssociated Press

New Mexico's largest electric utility is blaming vandals for a recent power outage that affected customers in several areas.

Officials with Public Service Co. of New Mexico said Tuesday they're working with law enforcement to identify the person or people responsible for damaging electrical equipment the night of June 10.

The damage resulted in an interruption that lasted about a half-second. No serious effects were reported.

Just before midnight, security systems showed a suspect approaching a substation. The surveillance footage is being reviewed by authorities.

Tampering with electrical equipment or facilities is a crime, and the utility has partnered with Crime Stoppers to offer a $1,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of the vandals.

The utility serves about 500,000 customers in communities around the state.

Investigations Blame Officers For New Mexico Jail EscapeAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

Investigations into a New Mexico jail found officers improperly placed an inmate accused of a murder in a minimum security unit and failed to notice "compromised" fencing through which two inmates managed to escape.

The Albuquerque Journal reports Sandoval County posted redacted versions of internal and external investigations Monday into the May 5 escape of Paul Garcia and Blake McPherson from the Sandoval County Jail.

According to a Sandoval County spokesman, two jail officers assigned to the minimum restrictive housing unit are facing disciplinary action and all detention center officers will undergo refresher training.

Investigators determined the two officers in the unit failed to properly monitor inmates as they moved in and out of the recreation yard.

New Mexico City Considers Plan For $35M Airport TerminalAssociated Press

Officials in one of the Southwest's most notable tourist destinations are developing plans for a $35 million passenger terminal at the Santa Fe Municipal Airport.

Mayor Javier Gonzales' administration is crafting the proposal but financing for the five-year project — which includes roads, parking lots and aircraft parking ramps — hasn't been sorted out.

The proposal is part of a larger effort by Santa Fe to boost air traffic, making the city-owned airport an economic development hub.

Aviation officials say the current terminal is more than 60 years old and cramped. About 154,000 passengers pass through the airport annually on flights connecting to Dallas, Denver and Phoenix.

The city is part of a public-private alliance that has been promoting the airport to travelers as an alternative to Albuquerque's international airport.

New Leadership Takes Over At Federal Nuclear Waste DumpAssociated Press

The manager of the federal government's only underground nuclear waste dump in southern New Mexico has a new president and project manager.

Officials announced this week that Bruce Covert is replacing Phil Breidenbach as president of the Nuclear Waste Partnership, the contractor that oversees the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.

Covert has more than three decades of experience in the management and operation of nuclear and high-hazard facilities for the U.S. Energy Department and the U.K.'s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

Breidenbach for the past two years has led recovery work at the New Mexico repository following a radiation release that forced its temporary closure and stalled the nation's multibillion-dollar cleanup program for Cold War-era waste.

Shipments from national laboratories and other sites around the country resumed in April.

American Medical Association Elects NM Doctor PresidentAlbuquerque Journal

The American Medical Association has selected a New Mexico oncologist to lead the national organization.

The Albuquerque Journal reports Dr. Barbara McAneny will serve as president-elect of the AMA through June 2018 and will then be president. She was chosen by physician delegates at the group’s annual meeting in Chicago.

McAneny  is CEO of New Mexico Oncology Hematology Consultants and has served as president of the New Mexico Medical Society, the Greater Albuquerque Medical Association and the New Mexico Chapter of the American College of Physicians.

She says her focus as AMA president will be to advocate for patients and ensure doctors continue to lead on decisions about care.