NM Legislature And Lobbyists Urged To Seek Anti-Harassment Training

Nov 22, 2017

Lobbyists Urged To Seek Anti-Harassment TrainingAssociated Press

The New Mexico Secretary of State's Office is encouraging political lobbyists to undergo voluntary training to prevent sexual harassment or misconduct in the Legislature.

Democratic Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver said Wednesday that she hopes to guard against possible misconduct by giving lobbyists the chance to enroll in anti-harassment training.

The goal is for Lobbyists to be able to check a box on registration forms to indicate whether they have undergone training. Those forms are due in mid-December ahead of the January legislative session.

Toulouse Oliver says that her own agency is reviewing options to make sure employees have completed similar training. Training was last provided in 2015.

At least four state lawmakers are married to lobbyists.

New Mexico Legislature Seeks Anti-Harassment Training Associated Press

New Mexico lawmakers are likely to go through sexual harassment prevention training for the first time in more than a decade, as statehouses nationwide grapple with allegations of sexual misconduct.

Senate majority leader Peter Wirth of Santa Fe says the Legislature's harassment policy covering sexual misconduct is under review.

He is suggesting training for lawmakers before the Legislature convenes in January.

The New Mexico Legislature's two-page "no harassment policy" was adopted in 2008 and applies to misconduct by lawmakers, legislative staff, lobbyists, vendors and others. Initial investigations are handled internally by legislative agency directors or chief clerks.

Democratic State Sen. Michael Padilla has come under renewed scrutiny for decade-old accusations of harassment against women in a prior job as he campaigns for lieutenant governor.

State Rep. Nick Salazar Announces Retirement Plans Associated Press

After serving in the state House for more than four decades, State Rep. Nick Salazar says he plans to retire at the end of his current term.

The Albuquerque Journal reports Salazar is New Mexico's longest-serving lawmaker and is among the 10 longest-serving members of any legislature in the country.

The 88-year-old Democratic lawmaker from Ohkay Owingeh (OH-kay OH'-win-guh) in the Espanola area was first elected in 1972 and has won 23 elections in a row ever since.

He represents a district that includes parts of Rio Arriba, Mora, Colfax and San Miguel counties in northern New Mexico.

Salazar said in an interview Tuesday that he plans to spend time with his family.

New Mexico Sheriff Says Body Cam Video Unfair To Officers Associated Press

The sheriff of New Mexico's most populous county will not require his deputies to use body cameras because he says the media would use the footage to unfairly criticize the officers.

Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales told KOAT-TV in a story published Tuesday that the video "gives a lopsided, one-sided story, which I think is a disservice to the whole community."

His stance has drawn criticism from the American Civil Liberties Union and the New Mexico Foundation of Open Government.

Bernalillo deputies have been involved in nine shootings in the last four months.

Greg Williams of the open government foundation says body camera footage often justifies police actions by showing if proper procedures were followed.

He says the video becomes a teaching tool if it shows mistakes by officers.

3 Indicted In Slaying, Mutilation Of Albuquerque Man Associated Press

Three people have been indicted for murder and other crimes in the killing and mutilation of an Albuquerque man.

Prosecutors say Chase Smotherman and Mariah Ferry face charges of first-degree murder, conspiracy, kidnapping and evidence tampering.

The Albuquerque Journal reported Tuesday a third person, Mitchell Overhand, has been charged with evidence tampering and conspiracy.

Albuquerque police say 41-year-old John Soyka was missing for more than a month when his body was located in September.

Authorities say their search was prompted when a man alleged the trio abducted him and threatened to kill Soyka over a drug debt. The man says he was also shown photos of Soyka's mutilated body.

The three defendants are facing charges in that incident as well.

It was not immediately known if they had attorneys.

US Rig Count Up By 8 This Week To 923; Wyoming Up 4 Associated Press

The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. increased by eight this week to 923.

That's up from the 593 rigs that were active a year ago.

Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes said Wednesday that 747 rigs sought oil and 176 explored for natural gas this week. The weekly tabulation, normally released on Friday, was distributed early this week because of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Among major oil- and gas-producing states, Wyoming gained four rigs while Colorado, Louisiana, New Mexico and Texas were up one apiece.

Utah declined by one.

Alaska, Arkansas, California, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and West Virginia were unchanged.

The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981. It bottomed out in May of 2016 at 404.

New Mexico Mom Arrested After Kids Test Positive For Meth Associated Press

A New Mexico mother is facing child abuse charges after her two children tested positive for methamphetamine.

Las Cruces police say 27-year-old Marissa Gomez was arrested last week in Silver City following an investigation that was spurred by a welfare check conducted on the two children in early October.

Gomez has addresses in both Las Cruces and Silver City. It's not clear if she has an attorney.

Authorities say Gomez indicated to an officer that people who visit her have smoked meth in the apartment she shares with her 8- and 2-year-old daughters.

The children were placed in the custody of the state child welfare agency. They were given drug tests and investigators learned that they both tested positive.

Authorities say children are highly susceptible to the vapors of methamphetamine and surfaces contaminated by the drug.

Northwestern New Mexico Community No Longer Must Boil Water Associated Press

A boil-water advisory that marked the start of a water crisis in San Juan County more than a year ago is ending.

The New Mexico Environment Department confirmed Tuesday it is lifting a water advisory for residents of the Harvest Gold subdivision.

State regulators say the drinking water was exceeding safe standards for turbidity. But water samples now show no sign of contamination or unsafe turbidity levels.

The June 2016 advisory had warned residents to boil tap water before using it for cooking, cleaning or drinking.

The Harvest Gold water system serves 460 customers in the Crouch Mesa area.

AV Water Company previously owned Harvest Gold. Now, it belongs to the Apple Orchard Mutual Domestic Water Consumers Association.