Electric Rates Go Up, Legislature Debates Tougher Sentences For Violent Crimes
PNM Details Effects Of Rate Hike For Electric Customers – The Associated Press
Customers of New Mexico's largest electric provider will soon see their bills increase.
The state Public Regulation Commission this week approved the rate increase after more than a year of debate, public hearings and legal challenges.
The new rates take effect now that commission staff signed off Friday on a filing by Public Service Co. of New Mexico that detailed the rates.
Officials initially said the increase would amount to roughly 10 percent, but PNM spokesman Pahl Shipley says calculations show the overall average increase will be closer to 7 percent. For the average residential customer in the utility's northern district, it will be nearly $7 a month more.
PNM initially requested a 14 percent increase to recoup hundreds of millions of dollars that have been spent on infrastructure.
New Mexico Lawmakers Seek Stricter Sentencing – The Associated Press
The New Mexico House of Representatives is starting committee deliberations on three criminal justice bills designed to expand mandatory sentences and reinstate the death penalty.
The Republican-controlled House focused its first policy discussion of a special legislative session on the tough-handed reforms backed by Gov. Susana Martinez. The bills were filed partly in response to the recent killings of two police officers and the horrific sexual assault and killing 10-year-old Victoria Martens in Albuquerque.
Democrats say the anti-crime initiatives are being used to distract public attention away from economic issues and the state budget shortfall, the other topic of the special session.
Republicans want to expand New Mexico's three-strikes law requiring a life sentence for criminals with three or more violent felony convictions and require mandatory life sentences for people convicted of intentional child abuse resulting in death, regardless of a child's age. The death penalty proposal would apply to convicted killers of police, children and corrections officers.
Ex-Albuquerque Policeman Accused Of Leaving Scene Of A Crash – The Associated Press
A former Albuquerque police officer has been accused of leaving the scene of a fatal accident.
Police say 53-year-old Rodney Locke was taken into custody after Thursday night's crash that killed a pedestrian in a wheelchair.
They say 60-year-old Kay Moss-Freese died in a hospital Friday morning.
Officers ran the pickup truck's license plate number reported by witnesses and found Locke parked outside his home and still in the driver's seat.
They say Locke smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech and bloodshot eyes.
Locke refused to take a breathalyzer test so officers got a warrant to draw his blood.
Police say additional charges may be filed against Locke upon the outcome of the blood test.
Locke reportedly was with the Albuquerque Police Department for 30 years before quitting in February.
Ex-Girlfriend Of Man Who Shot Officer Sentenced – The Associated Press
The former girlfriend of a man who shot and killed a suburban Albuquerque police officer has been sentenced to 16 years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit an armed robbery and harboring a felon.
Tabitha Littles appeared at a sentencing hearing before a New Mexico judge Friday afternoon — just hours after Andrew Romero was sentenced to life in prison without parole for shooting and killing Rio Rancho Officer Gregg "Nigel" Benner.
Littles initially was charged in Benner's death with Romero, but struck a deal with prosecutors that called for them to drop a murder count against her in exchange for her testimony against Romero.
Littles testified that the two were on their way to rob a fast-food restaurant when Benner pulled them over. Romero shot the officer and fled.