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Bernalillo Sheriff Says Body Cams Unfair To Officers, Regulators Approve Utility's Power Plan

Fernando Tomas

New Mexico Sheriff Says Body Cam Video Unfair To OfficersKOAT-TV, 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 for 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.

State Attorneys General Bash Plan To Hike National Park Fees - By Geoff Mulvihill, Associated Press

A group of state attorneys general is urging the National Park Service to scrap its proposed entrance fee hike at 17 popular national parks.

The top government lawyers from 10 states and the District of Columbia, including New Mexico, sent a letter Wednesday saying they don't want national parks to be "places only for the wealthy." All the signers are Democrats except for Arizona's Mark Brnovich.

The Park Service is accepting public comments on the plan, which would more than double the fee to $70 per vehicle at some of the most-visited parks. They include Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Acadia and Shenandoah.

The AGs say the increase is inconsistent with the laws governing the park system. They also question the rationale, saying President Donald Trump has proposed reducing the service's overall budget.

New Mexico Regulators Approve Utility's Power PlanAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

New Mexico's largest electricity provider will add another 50 megawatts of solar energy to its portfolio.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the state Public Regulation Commission voted 3-2 last week for Public Service Co. of New Mexico's plan to comply with the state's renewable energy standards.

The utility will also be able to boost output from its current wind and geothermal resources. It will pay Albuquerque-based Affordable Solar to build five small solar farms.

A hearing examiner had recommended the panel reject the proposal.

An environmental group argues the utility stacked the deck to gain ownership over new solar farms rather than consider purchase agreements with independent power producers.

New Energy Economy says it will appeal to the state Supreme Court if a petition to get the commission to reconsider fails.

New Mexico Legislature Seeks Anti-Harassment TrainingAssociated 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.

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.

State Rep. Nick Salazar Announces Retirement PlansAlbuquerque Journal, 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 in the Española 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 Police To Patrol I-40 Over Holiday WeekendAssociated Press

New Mexico State Police will be out in force over the Thanksgiving holiday as part of a traffic safety initiative focused on Interstate 40.

Numerous states are involved in the effort, from California and Arizona to Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, North Carolina and Tennessee.

Motorists will see increased patrols along the interstate corridor as highway patrol officers look to curb fatalities during the busy holiday weekend.

Authorities say the I-40 corridor is a major commuter roadway within the United States, stretching 2,555 miles. That includes 376 miles in New Mexico.

The initiative fits in with the state's ongoing campaign to get drivers to slow down, stay off their cellphones and not drive while impaired.