NM Legislature Backs Pet Food Fee For Sterilizations, Lawmakers Support Spaceport Secrecy Bill

Feb 10, 2018

New Mexico Legislature Backs Pet Food Fee For Sterilizations Associated Press

Bills to expand dog and cat sterilizations across New Mexico by collecting a new annual fee from pet food manufacturers have cleared the New Mexico House and Senate.

The Senate voted 31-8 Friday in approval of a $100 fee on each registered label of pet food distributed in New Mexico. The fee would be phased in over the next three years, starting at $50. It was unclear whether the governor supports the measure.

Sen. Gay Kernan says the initiative is designed to reduce the number of unwanted pets that are euthanized and save related taxpayer dollars. It was unclear whether Gov. Susana Martinez supports the fee.

The $100 fee would raise an estimated $1.3 million annually. Legislative analysts say the financial impact on pet owners would be negligible.

New Mexico Lawmakers Rally Around Spaceport Secrecy BillAssociated Press

New Mexico lawmakers are rallying around a bill designed to provide greater confidentiality for aerospace companies working out of a taxpayer-funded space launch facility in southern New Mexico.

A Senate panel on Friday unanimously endorsed a bill that would provide exceptions to state open-records law for information about tenants at Spaceport America.

New Mexico Foundation for Open Government President Greg Williams says the level of secrecy provided by the bill is unwarranted. He says the bill could keep the public from knowing the names of people doing business with the New Mexico Spaceport Authority.

Managers of the Spaceport America hangar, testing facilities, rocket launch pad and specialized runway say greater confidentiality provisions are needed to compete for new aerospace-industry tenants against competition from a growing list of government-subsidized launch facilities.

The Latest: New Mexico Preschool Proposal Clears Hurdle Associated Press

A New Mexico Senate committee has endorsed a proposal to boost early childhood education programs by tapping into a multibillion-dollar state investment fund.

The Senate is considering a constitutional amendment approved by the House that would increase distributions from a $17 billion sovereign wealth fund to expand preschool, daycare and home visits by social workers with parents of infants and toddlers.

The Senate Education Committee recommended approval Friday with Democrats in support on a 5-3 party-line vote. It moves next to the Senate Finance Committee where it could encounter opposition from fiscally conservative Democrats.

Opponents of the proposal include GOP Gov. Susana Martinez and Libertarian State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn, whose agency channels earnings from oil, gas and mineral leases to the Land Grant Permanent Fund. Approval by the Senate would set up a statewide vote in November. The governor's signature is not required.

New Mexico Father Indicted In Infant Girl's Death Associated Press

Court records show a New Mexico grand jury has indicted a man in the death of his infant daughter.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports a Dona Ana County grand jury indicted Marcus Alton Minnick on Thursday on a count of first-degree child abuse resulting in death.

He is accused in the indictment of violently shaking his seven-week-old daughter, Mattie Minnick, on Jan. 17, and failing to call 911 after unsuccessfully trying to revive the baby.

Minnick's indictment follows one for the child's mother, Caricia Lorena Ceballos, on different charges. She was indicted Feb. 1. on two counts of first-degree child abuse resulting in great bodily harm, each stemming from different incidents.

Both parents are 19.

The Latest: New Mexico Football Coach Appealing Suspension Associated Press

New Mexico football coach Bob Davie says he will appeal a 30-day suspension in connection with following multiple investigations involving misconduct.

Davie said Friday that none of the three investigations conducted over a nine-month period found he violated any school policy.

He says investigators never asked him about one allegation in which he was accused of asking his players to "get some dirt" on a victim of sexual assault. Davie says he never said that.

Reports released Thursday say witnesses reported Davie using racial slurs and seeking information on sexual assault victim.

Davie did not address the alleged racial slurs in his statement but told investigators through his attorney that he never used them.

Interim President Abdallah suspended Davie for 30 days without pay.

Davie says he fully cooperated with all investigations.

Navajo Nation Sues Health Agency Over Funding Cut Associated Press

The Navajo Nation has sued the federal government, saying it denied the tribe an opportunity to appeal a 32 percent cut to Head Start funding.

The lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services is in federal court in Washington, D.C.

The tribe generally receives about $23 million annually for Head Start and Early Head Start programs, based on enrollment numbers.

But the Health and Human Services Department says the tribe's enrollment numbers don't justify the higher amount. It first notified the tribe in September that funding would be cut to under $16 million. The agency declined comment on the lawsuit.

The tribe alleges funding cannot be reduced without reasonable notice and a full hearing. The lawsuit filed last week seeks a judge's order declaring the agency's action unlawful.

Albuquerque Museum To Open Large Da Vinci Exhibit Associated Press

The New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science is getting ready to unveil a long-awaited Leonardo da Vinci exhibit.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the exhibit, which opens to the public Saturday, will be the Albuquerque museum's largest in five years.

The Da Vinci —The Genius exhibit will cover the entire second floor of the museum and a gallery area on the first floor.

The 15,000 square-foot (1,394 square-meter) exhibit will showcase more than 200 works including 75 large-scale or interactive models of da Vinci's inventions and designs.

The exhibit will run through July 29.

Authorities Investigate Shooting South Of Albuquerque Associated Press

Authorities say they are investigating a homicide at Isleta Pueblo, south of Albuquerque.

FBI spokesman Frank Fisher in a release Friday said that a man had been found dead inside a home, and had suffered from multiple gunshot wounds. Fisher says another male is being treated at a hospital for a gunshot wound.

Fisher's statement came three days after he says the shooting occurred, which was Tuesday night. He did not release the men's identities.

There have been no arrests.

He says the FBI and Isleta Pueblo police are investigating.