Report Will Highlight Health Effects Of Bomb Test, NM Congressman Praises Former Energy Secretary

Feb 9, 2017

Health Report Set To Be Released On Atomic Bomb Test Effects - By Russell Contreras, Associated Press

A report is scheduled to be released on the health effects of the people who lived near the site of the world's first atomic bomb test.

The Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium will release the health assessment report Friday on residents of the historic Hispanic village of Tularosa near the Trinity Test in the New Mexico desert.

Scientists working in the secret city of Los Alamos, New Mexico, developed the atomic bomb as part of the Manhattan Project. The bomb was tested in a stretch of desert near towns with Hispanic and Native American residents.

Tularosa residents say many of those living in the area weren't told about the dangers and suffered rare forms of cancer. They say they want acknowledgment and compensation from the U.S. government.

New Mexican GOP Congressman Praises Obama's Energy Secretary – The Associated Press

New Mexico's lone Republican congressman is praising former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz for helping restart the nation's only underground nuclear waste repository nearly three years after a radiation leak shuttered the facility.

U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce sent a blessing Thursday to Moniz for his work in reopening the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southern New Mexico. The comments by Pearce came during an address to a joint session of the state Legislature that emphasized cooperation between Republicans and Democrats.

The repository was shuttered in February 2014 after a chemical reaction inside a drum of inappropriately packed waste caused the lid to burst, contaminating parts of the underground disposal area. It reopened last month.

Pearce made no mention of President Donald Trump's nominee to run the Energy Department, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Charges Allege Conspiracy To Sell Fake Native American Art – The Associated Press

A federal grand jury in New Mexico has indicted four people on charges of conspiring to import and fraudulently sell Filipino-made jewelry as made by Native Americans.

The U.S. Attorney's Office says the indictment Tuesday stems from an investigation that began in early 2015, involved several federal agencies and resulted in a previous indictment.

The latest indictment charges four people with conspiracy and one of the four as well as a fifth person with violating the Indian Arts and Craft Act.

U.S. Attorney Damon Martinez says eliminating the flow of counterfeit Native American art and craftwork provides a level playing field for producers of genuine Native American art.

Rio Rancho To Expand Its Mobile Speeding UnitsThe Associated Press

Drivers in the Albuquerque suburb of Rio Rancho will still have to watch out on certain streets. The city has decided to keep and expand its mobile speeding units.

Rio Rancho spokeswoman Annemarie Garcia said the city council voted Wednesday to approve a four-year deal with the camera company Redflex. The company will provide the city with eight mobile speeding units — unmanned patrol cars that take photos of suspected speeders.

Rio Rancho ended its program with Redflex on red-light cameras last year.

The new deal in Rio Rancho comes as some drivers in New Mexico are getting checks from Redflex in the mail. Settlement checks of up to $200 are currently going out to people who took part in a $2 million class-action lawsuit involving automated calls from creditors for unpaid fines.

New Mexico May Require Diaper Tables In Men's Rooms Associated Press

Fathers in New Mexico may soon get a helping hand when it comes to diaper changing.

The state Legislature takes up consideration Thursday of a bill to require baby changing tables for all newly constructed restrooms in public places, whether for males or females.

The regulations would apply to hotel lobbies, restaurants, bars, movie theaters, concert halls, grocery stores, museums, gas stations, doctor's offices and more.

State officials estimate equipment and installation can range from $750 to over $3,000. Failure to comply could result in a fine of up to $250.

Last year, President Obama signed legislation requiring baby changing stations in both men's and women's restrooms in federal buildings that are open to the public. The New Mexico bill is sponsored by Democratic Rep. Andres Romero of Albuquerque.

New Mexico May Allow Medical Marijuana For All Veterans Associated Press

Extensive revisions to New Mexico's medical marijuana program that would automatically allow all military veterans to qualify as patients are advancing in the state Legislature.

The Senate Judiciary Committee endorsed the proposed legislation on Wednesday despite objections from members to the veterans' eligibility provisions. The bill's next stop is the full Senate.

Other proposed changes to a 2007 law legalizing medical cannabis would add treatable medical conditions including substance abuse disorder. State registry cards for approved patients would require renewal every three years instead of annually.

Senate bill sponsor Cisco McSorley of Albuquerque says the provision for veterans addresses the stigma associated with post-traumatic stress disorder. Republican Senator and former Navy Rear Admiral William Payne called the provision offensive because it paints all military veterans as presumptive marijuana patients.

Hobbs Endorses Measure Against Recreational Marijuana Use Associated Press

A southeastern New Mexico city in the heart of oil and gas country is refusing to light up for recreational marijuana.

The Hobbs News-Sun reports Hobbs City Commissioners this week endorsed a resolution opposing the legalization of marijuana for recreational use in New Mexico.

City Manager J.J. Murphy presented the commission with a resolution and says recreational marijuana would be a detriment to Hobbs.

He says growers in California cannot deposit their money in most banks and instead hiding money in safe houses, which become targets of gangs.

A proposal in the New Mexico House seeks to legalize recreational marijuana in the state. New Mexico Gov., Susana Martinez has previously said she didn't support legalizing recreational marijuana use.

Emergency Cash For New Mexico Courts ApprovedAssociated Press

Emergency funding has been approved to ensure jury trials can continue in New Mexico state courts and to stave off unpaid furloughs at the state Supreme Court.

The New Mexico Board of Finance led by Gov. Susana Martinez approved a $600,000 infusion to a fund that compensates jurors and another $83,000 for operations at the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court Justice Judith Nakamura said the decision will extend funding for jury trials through April 14. She says that gives the Legislature time to address an additional $1 million shortfall in funding for juries, witnesses, court interpreters and other expenses.

Board members questioned Nakamura for more than two hours about court spending and suggested implementing user fees on court filings to bring in more money.

New Mexico AG Asks For More 'Cooperation' To Fight CrimeAssociated Press

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas says community-based efforts and better cooperation can be used to prevent crime in one of the nation's poorest states.

Balderas told a joint session of the New Mexico Legislature on Wednesday that more resources for officers and increased funding for prosecutors and judges could help tackle rising violent crime rates.

The FBI says the number of murders reported by New Mexico law enforcement agencies jumped by nearly 16 percent in 2015 from the year before.

The attorney general is a new addition to the list of speakers that address the Legislature in odd years. The list traditionally includes the New Mexico delegation to the U.S. Congress and Senate, as well as the chief justice of the state Supreme Court.

Santa Fe Considers Seeking Legal Ruling On Immigration PoliciesAssociated Press

The Santa Fe city attorney proposed city councilors seek a ruling from a federal court on whether the city’s immigrant-friendly policies align with U.S. law.

The Santa Fe New Mexico reports Kelley Brennan found support for the idea from councilors. San Francisco filed a lawsuit this week against President Donald Trump’s executive order to withhold federal funding from so-called sanctuary cities that don’t cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

Brennan suggested the city first get a legal ruling before following San Francisco’s example. Her proposal came a day after councilors removed the word “sanctuary city” from a proposed resolution reaffirming the city’s immigrant-friendly status in an effort to avoid going go head-to-head with the Trump administration.

That resolution is scheduled to be considered by the Finance Committee Feb. 13. At that time there will be a public hearing. The earliest it could come before the full City Council is Feb. 23.

New Mexico Lawmakers Object To Possible Muslim RegistryAssociated Press

New Mexico lawmakers are advancing a proposed memorial urging the U.S. Congress to prohibit the creation a possible Muslim registry.

President Donald Trump is seeking a temporary ban on travelers from seven Muslim-majority nations and has said the U.S. needs a registry for Syrian refugees entering the country. Whether he wants a registry for all Muslims in the U.S. has been less clear.

A committee in the New Mexico House of Representatives on Wednesday endorsed a memorial that would seek a prohibition on any possible national registry based on religious affiliation. It says such a registry would undermine New Mexico's commitment to human rights.

The memorial is sponsored by Republican Rep. Jason Harper of Rio Rancho and Democratic Rep. Nathan Small of Las Cruces.

Federal Court Denies Re-Hearing Of Ten Commandments CaseAssociated Press

A federal appeals court in Denver has denied a petition asking it to review a lower court ruling requiring the removal of a Ten Commandments monument in New Mexico.

The Daily Times reports that a three-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th circuit had previously left in place the lower court ruling regarding the monument outside Bloomfield's City Hall. Petitioners asked the full court to review the case, and it has declined to do so.

City Manager Eric Strahl says the City Council will likely meet to next week to decide the next step. The city could either remove the monument or appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the 2012 lawsuit on behalf of two Bloomfield residents who objected to the monument.