New Rule Lets Pharmacists Offer Birth Control, Amber Alert Cancelled

Jun 9, 2017

Pharmacists Can Now Provide Birth ControlSanta Fe New Mexican

A new rule taking effect Friday allows women to get birth control directly from pharmacists.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the regulation allows pharmacists to write prescriptions for hormonal contraceptives, allowing women with limited access to doctors to more easily get birth control.

The New Mexico Pharmacists Association has been advocating for the rule for years along with advocates, who say it will help reduce the state’s high number of unplanned pregnancies.

Denicia Cadena with Young Women United in Albuquerque said women in rural areas often face wait-times of up to six months to see doctors, delaying their ability to get birth control pills and other hormonal contraceptives.

Pharmacists must go through training before they can write prescriptions.

Deming Police: Young Girl Allegedly Abducted By Mom Is SafeThe Associated Press

Police in Deming say an 8-year-old girl who was allegedly abducted by her mother in a custodial interference case has been located and she is safe.

They say an Amber Alert was issued about 11 a.m. Friday requesting the public's assistance in locating Chelsea Boomgaarn.

Police say 47-year-old Laurie Curtis has no legal custodial rights to her daughter.

The girl's grandmother contacted police to report her missing.

Deming police say they spoke to her father and grandmother investigating the alleged abduction.

Details about where the girl was found weren't immediately released.

It's also unclear if Curtis will face any charges.

Gov. Martinez Lifts Hiring Freeze After Finances StabilizeThe Associated Press & The Santa Fe New Mexican

A hiring freeze New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez ordered in March is being lifted after state finances stabilized.

A state Personnel Office spokesman told the Santa Fe New Mexican  Thursday that the restrictions on new state hiring were lifted because it appears the state budget year won't end with a deficit on June 30.

Martinez implemented the hiring freeze and threatened to furlough state workers on March 25 amid a political standoff with lawmakers over the next year's proposed budget. The freeze had exemptions for public safety or revenue-generating posts.

New Mexico has seen an uptick in tax revenue and received assurances from the federal government that past-due payments for public land leases would arrive by the end of June.

Some lawmakers called the freeze unnecessary.

Sex-Trafficking Victim Who Dialed 911 Sues Responding PoliceThe Associated Press & KOB

A woman who called 911 to report she was being held hostage is suing the Albuquerque Police Department and two of its officers on grounds that they did not rescue her when they could have.

KOB-TV reported Friday that the lawsuit claims police failed to adequately investigate after she called for help, which created a situation where her captor then raped her, beat her and shaved her head in retaliation. The woman was a victim of sex trafficking and remained a hostage days after she secretly found a phone and called for help.

She escaped from Tito Fajardo, who has since been imprisoned, by coming up with a plan where Fajardo took her near a sheriff's office. She was then able to run toward deputies and beg for help.

Communications Director For New Mexico Gov. Martinez Resigns – Associated Press

The communications director for New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has stepped down.

Chris Sanchez resigned this week to move out-of-state in the second recently announced departure this week from the Martinez Administration.

Public Education Secretary Hanna Skandera said Thursday she was resigning later this month.

The governor's federal affairs coordinator Larry Behrens is now her new communications director. Behrens previously worked as the spokesman for the New Mexico Public Education Department and the New Mexico Higher Education Department.

ICE Shutters Detention Alternate For Asylum-Seekers - By Frank Bajak, Associated Press

The Trump administration is shutting down the least restrictive alternative to detention available to asylum-seekers who have entered the U.S. illegally.

A letter obtained by The Associated Press says the Family Case Management Program involving 630 families in five major metropolitan areas is shutting down June 20.

Immigration activists consider the move a callous insult to migrants fleeing traumatic violence and poverty in dysfunctional nations by a White House that has prioritized deportations over assimilating refugees.

Nearly all the program's participants are Central American mothers and children.

Under Trump, Old Deportation Orders Get New Life - By Amy Taxin, Associated Press

For years, immigrants facing deportation have been allowed to stay temporarily in the U.S. provided they show up for regular check-ins with federal deportation agents and stay out of trouble.

Now, in cases spanning from Michigan to California, some of them are being told their time here is up.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement says it is tracking nearly 970,000 immigrants with deportation orders. The agency says the vast majority have no criminal record.

It isn't clear how many are required to report to immigration agents or how many are being arrested.

Immigration lawyers say it is undoubtedly more than under the Obama administration and the group is an easy target for Trump's enforcement plans since with deportation orders they can be removed from the country more quickly.

New Mexico DA Faces Charges Over DWI Traffic StopAssociated Press

A southwestern New Mexico district attorney who was facing calls to resign following a suspected DWI traffic stop is being accused by the state's top prosecutor of misusing her position as a public official.

The New Mexico Attorney General's Office on Thursday filed a criminal complaint against Francesca Martinez-Estevez, whose district includes Grant, Luna and Hidalgo counties.

She's facing five misdemeanor counts that include reckless driving and the use of the powers and resources of public office to obtain personal benefits.

The charges stem from a June 2016 traffic stop near Silver City and subsequent fallout.

Martinez-Estevez's state-issued Dodge Charger was spotted swerving and speeding. Lapel video captured one local officer describing Martinez-Estevez as "loaded," but police did not give her a field sobriety test or a citation.

Her attorney has previously characterized the investigation as political grandstanding.

Outgoing New Mexico Ed Chief Has No 'Regrets'Associated Press

Outgoing New Mexico Public Education Secretary Hanna Skandera, who often clashed with Democrats and teachers' unions, says she has no regrets about her tenure.

Skandera said Thursday she is stepping down later this month and is proud of the work teachers and the state's Public Education Department accomplished under her leadership.

She pointed to improved graduation rates and a move to a standardized student test with tougher requirements.

Skandera told The Associated Press she will take time off before deciding on "new opportunities."

Betty Patterson, New Mexico president of the National Education Association, says Skandera tarnished the value of local teachers and ignored their concerns.

Patterson says the teacher evaluation system Skandera introduced brought hardship and forced some teachers to leave the field.

New Mexico, NEA Underwrite Arts Grants To 195 GroupsAssociated Press

New Mexico has awarded grants to 195 arts organizations throughout the state for the fiscal year starting July 1 despite uncertainty about future support from the federal government.

The New Mexico Arts Commission on Thursday approved $954,000 in grants to support artistic endeavors from opera to film festivals, fine-art school workshops, playwriting and Native American museum exhibitions.

The National Endowment for the Arts underwrites 45 percent of that grant funding, and New Mexico's state general fund provides the rest.

President Donald Trump has proposed eliminating funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, though a short-term federal budget compromise in May slightly increased funding to the two agencies.

New Mexico Arts Executive Director Loie Fecteau says continued federal support is crucial and uncertain.

Judge Backs New Mexico Settlement In Pay-To-Play DealsAssociated Press

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas says a district court judge has approved settlements that allow the state to recover $24.5 million in connection with politically influenced investment deals.

The Attorney General's Office confirmed Thursday approval of the settlement with Vanderbilt Capital Advisers and Austin Capital Management. Judge Louis McDonald dismissed rival claims on behalf of the state by former state pension fund officer Frank Foy.

Foy and attorney Victor Marshall have asserted that they could help New Mexico recover far more money from state investment deals brokered during the administration of Gov. Bill Richardson.

The Attorney General's Office has argued the state was in a better position than Foy to recover funds, limit legal fees and avoid costly delays.