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TUES: Bill to revise NM malpractice law to get rushed in session’s final days, + More

Darko Stojanovic

Bill to revise NM malpractice law to get rushed in session’s final days — Albuquerque Journal, KUNM News

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Senate leadership announced Tuesday that a bipartisan compromise has been reached to amend the state’s medical malpractice law, allowing independent clinics to stay insured and available for New Mexico patients.

The Albuquerque Journal reports a 2021 policy set to go into effect next year would cap damages for malpractice suits at $5 million. An emergency bill backed by the governor would lower that to $1 million tied to inflation.

At issue is clinics encountering barriers to securing insurance for lawsuits with such a high limit on damages in place.

Senate leadership and the governor negotiated with doctors and patient advocates to reach the middle ground that all parties say is a workable solution.

Doctors had demonstrated at the Roundhouse calling for the change after proposals they supported failed to pass. Dan Weaks with the New Mexico Hospital Association spoke in favor of the emergency legislation as it was quickly heard in the Senate tax committee Tuesday afternoon.

“Appreciate the efforts of the committee, I hope it passes quickly,” he said. “We need to get our doctors back — they’ve all been up here.”

It passed out of committee unanimously. It now needs approval of the full Senate and then the House if it’s to pass by the time the Legislature adjourns midday Saturday.

Committee tables Paid Family and Medical Leave bill, likely ending bill’s hopes this yearSusan Dunlap, New Mexico Political Report

A House committee tabled a bill that would provide paid family and medical leave to workers statewide by a vote of 6-4 in the final week of the session, likely ending its ability to pass this Legislative session

The vote to table the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act was bipartisan, with some Democrats voting alongside Republicans to table the bill.

SB 11, sponsored by Senate Pro Tem Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque, would have appropriated $36.5 million from the general fund to establish a program which would have allowed workers to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave from work for a new child or a serious medical condition. The opposition’s primary concern was that it would be too much of a burden on small business owners. There were also questions about the program’s ability to remain solvent.

The bill’s Fiscal Impact Report states that the fund administered by the state would become insolvent by 2028. The bill sponsors and bill experts have maintained that the FIR relied on incorrect data and that the fund would not only remain solvent but within six years of its initiation would be able to pay back the general fund the $36.5 million the bill appropriated to start up the program.

The University of New Mexico Bureau of Business and Economic Research, which studied the program, estimated that 35,126 yearly claims would likely be made while the LFC estimated the yearly claims would be 87,125. The larger number of claims constitutes the difference in why the FIR found that the fund would not be solvent by 2028.

Serrato said “we’ve seen it succeed in other states.”

There are 11 other states that have implemented a similar program.

State Rep. Marion Matthews, D-Albuquerque, who voted to table the bill, called the program an “unfunded mandate” on childcare workers and nonprofits who have contracts with the state.

State Rep. Linda Serrato, D-Santa Fe, who presented the bill, said the Legislature is passing a bill that will decrease Gross Receipts Tax for early childcare facilities and that the reduction in GRT would offset the costs this program would incur those businesses.

Matthews also had concerns about public schools and firefighters, which have employee ratio mandates.

Stewart said those employees are getting sick now and the employers are “dealing with it.”

The bill underwent a three-hour debate on Friday that ended with Serrato agreeing to amend the bill over the weekend and present it again the next time the committee met. Matthews spoke at length at the previous committee hearing about the bill, criticizing it by saying small business owners are “workers as much as anybody,” and also questioning the solvency of the fund the Department of Workforce Solution would be administering.

But when Serrato presented the amended bill on Monday, state Rep. Patty Lundstrom, D-Gallup, said, as she listed the new amendments, “this does not meet what my expectation was.” Lundstrom also voted to table the bill.

The amendments defined terms such as “medical provider” and also tried to address questions about the fund’s solvency by capping how much the Department of Workforce Solutions could raise the contributions.

Matthews said she was a part of the negotiations over the weekend to amend the bill but she said the bill sponsors rejected some of the efforts to amend the bill further.

“For ages, businesses have worked it out. We heard testimony from small businesses working with their employees on issues, not because of law, but out of respect and support for one another,” she said.

Stewart said this bill would enable all business owners the ability to provide paid time off, not just the business owners who can afford to do so.

'Voting rights expansion bill heads to governor - Megan Gleason, Source New Mexico

A bill to expand voting rights and accessibility is on its way to the governor’s desk for her signature.

The House of Representatives on Monday concurred with amendments made to House Bill 4 by a vote of 42-25, split along party lines.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has expressed her support for the voting rights bill and is expected to sign the legislation. Similar legislation died after a filibuster last legislative session.

This bill would require ballot drop boxes in every county, restore the right to vote for someone convicted of a felony once released from a correctional facility and enact the Native American Voting Rights Act, which includes measures to expand early voting opportunities, boost resources and change precinct boundaries.

That would all start up in July 2023 if the legislation is signed.

There are also provisions to create a permanent absentee voter list and make elections a school holiday. If signed, those sections won’t go into effect until Jan. 1, 2024, meaning it wouldn’t be in time for the regular local election in November 2023.

Another section that’ll take a while to start is automatic voter registration, with an opt-out option for voters, at local or state public offices. That would take effect July 2025.

The Senate lawmakers changed a couple of things to the bill while it was on their side. The discussion on Monday was limited to those changes.

One of the amendments clarified the definition of a correctional facility — a public- or private-owned jail, prison or other detention facility confining an adult.

Rep. Randall Pettigrew (R-Lovington) asked if someone convicted of a felony who’s released from detainment but still has to comply with parole standards and wear an ankle bracelet can still vote under this legislation.

Bill sponsor Rep. Gail Chasey (D-Albuquerque) answered yes but said repeatedly that this question is beyond the scope of that definition amendment.

“I do appreciate you giving me a little bit of latitude,” Pettigrew said. “I was just trying to understand with the new definition of correctional facility if that fell within or outside of that.”

Rep. Stefani Lord (R-Sandia Park) said she’s disappointed a halfway house isn’t a correctional facility under this bill. Rep. Greg Nilbert (R-Roswell) also expressed concern with another change not made to add monitoring provisions to ballot box locations. 

Affirmative Consent bill stalled in Senate Committee - By Megan Taros, Source New Mexico

More than 30 students – mostly from Capital High School in Santa Fe – flooded the mailboxes of the Senate Judiciary Committee as part of an action with Girls Inc. of Santa Fe last week with pleas that the committee schedule a hearing for HB 43, which would set affirmative consent as a standard for teaching consent in public schools.

Proponents of the bill said the letters were “heartbreaking,” and showed a need for adults to step up and take action to protect young people from sexual violence.

“We’ve seen students who’ve been supporting this bill since 2019 when they were freshman and they’re now seniors,” said Alexandria Taylor, executive director of New Mexico Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs. “So we have a whole class of students who will not receive this education.”

The bill appears to be stalled in the Senate Judiciary Committee, its final hurdle before a senate floor vote. The bill’s last hearing was almost a month ago when the Senate Education Committee unanimously approved the bill.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Joseph Cervantes (D-Las Cruces) was not available in his office multiple times and did not respond to a message from Source New Mexico left at his office.

Rep. Liz Thomson (D-Albuquerque) implored the committee to schedule the bill to give it a chance at a floor vote. Thomson condemned misinformation posted online against the bill, including the falsehood that the legislation would condemn anyone for physical contact with each other if there was no proof of affirmative consent.

She said some criticism was “too ridiculous to even repeat,” and reiterated that the bill was preventative, not punitive.

“All we want is for everyone to know that only yes means yes,” Thomson said. “No more, ‘Oh, she was passed out so she didn’t say no.’ We want youth, and by extension all of us, to understand that you don’t owe anyone anything.”

The bill was first introduced in the Roundhouse in 2019 and hit several roadblocks, including dying on the senate floor in 2019. Last year, it was ruled not germain for a 30-day session.

Advocates pointed out that the bill has previously passed the Senate Judiciary Committee and had strong support in each committee this year. Thomson and supporters of the bill said the public’s support for the bill has only grown since its introduction.

Jess Clark, director of sexual violence prevention for the New Mexico Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs, said young people have been the primary supporters of the bill and have made it clear that affirmative consent is needed in schools to keep them safe.

This year and last year students marched on the Roundhouse to urge lawmakers to pass the bill.

In a video posted to the Girls Inc. of Santa Fe Facebook page on March 7, students encouraged the passage of the affirmative consent bill because they believe it is important to know that they have the right to control who they want to touch their bodies. A banner across the video encouraged viewers to “imagine a world without sexual violence.”

Clark said the bill not passing is a signal to youth that adults are failing them.

“These conversations are happening in really fantastic ways from young people who can envision a safer world than even the one we grew up in,” he said. “This is young people saying, ‘This is what I need to be safe.’ And some of them never got it because we didn’t listen to them.”

Thomson said she remains optimistic. Along with advocates, she’s emphasized the importance of passing the bill to bring meaningful change to young people.

Taylor said it makes her emotional to think the bill would have to wait another two years to get passed when it could be in place and change the lives of students.

“Legislation is only meaningful when people can feel it in their lives,” she said.

N.M. Legislature passes Second Chance Bill - By Austin Fisher, Source New Mexico

Whether or not New Mexicans serving long adult sentences in prison for crimes they committed as children will get a chance at regaining their freedom will depend on the state’s governor.

The New Mexico House of Representatives passed the Second Chance Bill, sending it to the desk of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

The House voted 34-25 after three hours of debate extending from Sunday night into Monday morning.

House Majority Floor Leader Rep. Gail Chasey told lawmakers the bill would bring New Mexico in line with best practices used nationwide, constitutional standards, and in line with what every person — especially parents — know: “children are works in progress.”

“We need sentencing laws that leave room for their potential to experience positive transformations,” said Chasey (D-Albuquerque), who sponsored the bill along with Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez (D-Albuquerque).

ProPublica reports the governor “has indicated that she will likely sign the legislation, if it is passed, by early April.”

However, Maddy Hayden, a spokesperson for the governor, said on Monday evening that she is “still evaluating” Senate Bill 64.

“It is critical that the right balance is struck between the rights of victims and their families and the chance for youthful violent offenders to be rehabilitated,” Hayden said. “To that end, we continue to have conversations with victims and their advocates as well as criminal justice advocates, which have been ongoing since last year.”

Chasey said the bill’s sponsors worked during the interim to “address concerns of diverse stakeholders,” and made bipartisan modifications to the bill to address the concerns of victims and victim’s rights advocates. That’s why it has a tiered sentencing review system, which reflects an effort to account for heightened consequences in extreme cases, she said.

The vote in the House means second chances for loved ones who have grown up in prison is now in sight, the New Mexico Coalition for the Fair Sentencing of Youth said in a written statement on Monday afternoon.

The Coalition has worked with national advocacy groups including the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth and Families Against Mandatory Minimums.

FAMM Vice President of Policy Molly Gill on Monday morning applauded the House and Senate for passing the bill and urged Lujan Grisham to sign it into law.

“New Mexico isn’t just the Land of Enchantment. It’s the Land of Second Chances,” Gill said. “The days of New Mexico locking up young people and throwing away the key need to end. New Mexicans can change, and this law will create the opportunity for a second chance when they do.”

Senate approves plan to create state civil rights office - By Austin Fisher, Source New Mexico

The New Mexico Senate has honored a request by the state’s top prosecutor to create a new state agency devoted to civil rights.

Senate Bill 426 would create the first-ever civil rights division inside the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office. Attorney General Raúl Torrez asked Sen. Joseph Cervantes (D-Las Cruces) to carry the bill.

The division would have a primary responsibility to ensure that no New Mexican is discriminated against under traditional civil rights laws, but would also offer protections for vulnerable populations in the state, Torrez told the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 8.

On Monday afternoon the Senate voted 23-15 to pass the legislation. To become law, it still needs to go through at least two committees and a floor vote in the House of Representatives before the legislative session ends at noon on Saturday.

“We’re trying to catch up with some of the other states in the nation,” Torrez said.

He pointed to other examples including the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division that was created in 1957 and the California Civil Rights Department established in 1959.

The New Mexico AG’s office already has broad authority to look into civil rights matters, Torrez said, “but this bill includes specific tools that wouldn’t otherwise be authorized under statute.”

If passed, state civil rights prosecutors could ask a potential target of an investigation for records and collect them. If the target complains that the request is too broad or burdensome, they could ask a state district court to refine it, Torrez said.

Other state laws dealing with antitrust and unfair trade practices allow the AG’s office to collect information and investigate alleged violations before going to court, Torrez said, but not in the area of civil rights.

The bill would also allow the office to step in or join other civil rights cases that may have been started by someone else, Cervantes said.

Torrez said he anticipates hiring between five and 10 attorneys to work full-time in the division.

States shield addresses of judges, workers after threats - By David A. Lieb Associated Press

Following threats and attacks on public officials, state lawmakers across the U.S. have stepped up efforts to shield personal information from being publicly disclosed about judges, police, elected officeholders and various public employees.

The measures generally are winning widespread support in state capitols — adding a layer of secrecy, in the name of safety, that could make it more difficult to determine whether public officials are complying with residency laws and paying their property taxes.

The efforts to exempt more information from public disclosure come despite the fact that many governments are more transparent than ever when it comes to their meetings — making permanent the online streaming options spurred as a response to coronavirus-related restrictions on public gatherings.

That's led to a split assessment of government openness during Sunshine Week, an annual recognition of public information laws that began Sunday and runs through Saturday.

Though meetings may be more accessible, "basically, government is getting more secretive every year," said David Cuillier, an associate journalism professor at the University of Arizona who has been analyzing data about government compliance with open-records laws.

People requesting records from the federal government are successful only about one-fifth of the time, down from a greater than 50% success rate more than a decade ago, according to Cuillier's research.

Information requests under state laws typically fair better, Cuillier said, but "every year, we get exemptions being passed in state legislatures all across the country, and that just seems to be accelerating."

On a case-by-case basis, many public records exceptions may appear reasonable and justified. The movement to shield the home addresses of judges provides one good example.

In 2020, a man disgruntled with U.S. District Judge Esther Salas came to her New Jersey home disguised as a deliveryman and fatally shot her 20-year-old son while wounding her husband. New Jersey officials responded later that year by enacting a law that exempted the home addresses of current or retired judges, prosecutors and law enforcement officers from disclosure under public records laws. The measure, called Daniel's Law in honor of the judge's son, also allowed covered officials to ask businesses or individuals to remove their home addresses from internet sites they control.

Though some states already had similar laws, the New Jersey case provided an impetus for action elsewhere. Most states now have laws prohibiting governmental entities from disclosing the home addresses of at least some public employees, with judges among the most commonly protected, according to research by Jodie Gil, an associate journalism professor at Southern Connecticut State University.

A study panel of the Uniform Law Commission, a nonprofit organization that drafts potential legislation for state lawmakers, plans to recommend this spring that a common policy be drafted to exclude judges' home addresses and certain personal information from public-record disclosures, said Vince DeLiberato, director of Pennsylvania's Legislative Reference Bureau and chair of the study panel. The policy also could include an option to shield information for other public officials facing threats, he said.

Meanwhile, states are pressing forward with their own information-exemption laws for certain officials.

The Missouri Senate recently voted 30-1 for legislation that allows judges and prosecutors to request that their home addresses, phone numbers, personal email addresses, marital status, children's identities and other information be removed from public display. The shield would apply not only to government records and websites but also to privately run sites such as online phone directories and internet search engines. That bill is now pending in the House.

On the same day as the Missouri vote, the Georgia Senate voted 53-0 for legislation allowing federal, state or local public employees to request that their residential addresses and phone numbers be removed from online property records posted by local governments. That bill is now pending in the House.

"We don't want people to be able to track these folks down and cause harm," Georgia state Sen. Matt Brass, a Republican, said while explaining his bill to a Senate committee.

But Richard Griffiths, a former president of the Georgia First Amendment Foundation, raised concerns about the unintended consequences, asserting that the New Jersey law "turned into a bit of a train wreck." Some governments shut down entire databases because of uncertainty about exactly whose information should be removed from which public records, he said.

New Jersey lawmakers responded in January 2022 by tweaking the process in Daniel's Law and establishing a state Office of Information Privacy — funded with $3 million — to create an online portal through which judicial and law enforcement officials can request that their information be redacted.

Public records listing the home addresses of government officials can function as an important tool for journalists working on public accountability stories, Gil said. Addresses in voter registration files and property ownership records can be used to determine whether officials actually live in the district they represent or are delinquent on property taxes.

When she was working as a journalist a decade ago, Gil reported that a local tax collector was certifying that some public officials had paid their vehicle taxes when they actually had not.

"It's something that I could have never even attempted if public records were not connecting public officials and their addresses," Gil said. "I didn't publish any address — I didn't say the mayor lives at this house — but I needed his address to confirm that he was paying his taxes."

Lawmakers are taking a variety of approaches to address confidentiality this year. An Oregon bill would prohibit the home addresses of elected officials and candidates from being publicly disclosed on voter registration lists. A Connecticut bill would add court marshals, attorney general's employees and workers in a state unit that determines services for people with disabilities to a list of about a dozen types of public employees whose home addresses are confidential under the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act.

The Connecticut bill is backed by state Attorney General William Tong, a Democrat who told lawmakers that his assistants are getting targeted online.

"People get really angry when they're the subject of an enforcement action," Tong said, "and sometimes they retaliate and they threaten people in my office with violence."

But redacting public employee addresses from state records won't necessarily prevent threats and "provides employees with a false sense of comfort and security," said Colleen Murphy, executive director of the Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission, a state agency that administers and enforces open-records laws.

"For better or worse, the fact is that the residential addresses of most people are now readily available for free, or for a nominal charge, on the internet and through other commercial services," Murphy said.

In New Mexico, a series of drive-by shootings at the homes of Democratic elected officials prompted the Senate to pass legislation that would let public officials keep secret their home addresses on election-related documents and government websites. The provision was included in a broader election bill that is now pending in the House.

Among the supporters is Democratic state Sen. Linda Lopez, of Albuquerque, whose home was hit by multiple shots while her 10-year-old daughter was sleeping.

"I understand the issue on transparency," Lopez said, "but the day and time that we're in, we really have to rethink what we are doing."


Associated Press writers Susan Haigh in Hartford, Connecticut, and Morgan Lee in Santa Fe, New Mexico, contributed to this report.

New Mexico lawmakers hash out record $9.6B spending plan - Associated Press

New Mexico lawmakers have tapped into a financial windfall linked to robust oil and natural gas production to craft a nearly $9.6 billion state budget that includes record-high spending, but some lawmakers are concerned that such spending isn't sustainable.

The proposal cleared the Senate late Sunday but not before tweaks were made by a key committee to restore funding that had been cut earlier in the process.

The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee said he tried to be transparent in his handling of the spending bill while it worked its way through the chamber, and he was among those suggesting the state could be in for another roller coaster ride of dramatic spending increases followed by painful cuts.

"New Mexico had better be prepared in our future for the plateauing of oil and gas, and that's not too many years away," said Sen. George Muñoz of Gallup, the committee chairman.

Democratic Sen. Shannon Pinto of Tohatchi joined all 15 Republican senators in voting against the proposed budget. It now goes back to the House to consider the Senate's changes.

Some senators said the last minute changes were necessary to ensure Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham would sign the budget.

Those changes included revised language for how roughly $250 million should be spent to extend New Mexico's public school calendar. Another item restored $2 million for the Department of Game and Fish to protect threatened species.

Republican Sen. Pat Woods called the Senate vote the culmination of "some of the worst policymaking in this state's history."

"Our booming energy industry gave us an opportunity to make a generational difference in this state. Instead, the Legislature has caved to the political will of the governor and those who have her ear," he said in a statement.

Some Democrats also voiced frustration. Democratic Sen. Bill Soules of Las Cruces said more could have been done to fund programs aimed at preventing child abuse at a time when the state is seeing a financial windfall.

As it stands, the budget would provide average 6% salary increases for state workers and teachers. It also would appropriate $100 million in one-time funding for recruiting law enforcement officers.

The governor and lawmakers had entered the 60-day session with similar spending plans. Key disagreements then surfaced, with those areas centering on funding levels for child care assistance programs and a tuition-free college scholarship program that has been championed by Lujan Grisham.

In the House, lawmakers on Sunday endorsed a package that includes $500 tax rebates for each filer. The measure, which needs Senate approval, also calls for income tax cuts and reducing the gross receipts tax paid by shoppers.

Republican Rep. Jason Harper of Rio Rancho and six of his GOP colleagues joined with the Democratic majority in voting for the measure. Harper said the size of the tax package was significant.

"We've never seen something like this before," he said. "This is really an opportunity to do some great things."

Gun laws, campus policies perplex college sports programs - By Eddie Pells Ap National Writer

At Alabama, one of the team's best players allegedly delivered a gun that was used in a fatal shooting. At New Mexico State, a player avoided charges for shooting and killing a student in what he said was self-defense, even though he was carrying a gun in violation of school rules.

At Michigan State, sports were suspended after gun violence on campus left three students dead. At LSU, the team's leading wide receiver was arrested, but not charged, for carrying a gun through the French Quarter in New Orleans.

The headlines over the past few months illustrate the challenge for athletic departments in determining how gun laws in their states and regulations at their schools should be applied to their programs and communicated to their players. An Associated Press analysis of more than a dozen schools in the NCAA tournaments shows a wide range of policies that govern guns at those schools and uneven efforts to regulate them.

"I have no idea," Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo told AP when asked what he should say to players who legally possess a gun. "Whatever the law is, you can't supersede the law on your team or in your program."

Mississippi State coach Chris Jans, when asked about his own team's gun policy: "That's a good question. Not sure I know the correct answer to that right now."

The NCAA has no gun policy on its books, calling it a law-enforcement issue. That means rules for sports teams, if they exist, are derived from a mixture of state laws, university policies and, in some cases, supplements to those policies in the student-athlete handbooks. In some instances, coaches implement their own team rules. But as cases across the country have shown — just in the past four months alone — there is confusion, mixed messages and what some perceive as seat-of-the-pants decision-making on issues that can have life-or-death consequences.

Marquette coach Shaka Smart said he's been "yelled at by my superiors" over the years when he brings up sensitive topics such as guns to his players. So, he says, he treads lightly on the subject.

"Now, should you be driving around with a gun in your glove compartment or whatever?" Smart said. "I'm not passing judgment on anyone anywhere else as it relates to that. But no, our players should not be doing that and I should not be doing that. And so I don't, and they don't."

Guns are prohibited in buildings on the Marquette campus in Milwaukee. At Kansas State, concealed weapons are allowed on campus, so long as they are legally owned.

"We have to explain to them why we feel like one decision may be, in this moment in time, a little more prudent than another decision in another moment of their life," K-State coach Jerome Tang said. "Like, later on in life, if they want to get a license, that's fine. But right now, in this moment, it may not be as wise for you."

The AP's analysis found that in many instances, school policies differ from state to state, and sometimes from campus to campus within the same state. Most student-athlete handbooks simply reiterate school policy regarding weapons.

In Texas, open carry is not allowed at either the University of Houston or at the University of Texas in Austin, the site of a 1966 mass shooting from the clock tower on campus. But concealed carry is allowed in some areas of each campus, the listings of which are available on the school websites.

The NCAA bans guns on the premises of its championship events, presumably meaning the Final Four sites — in Dallas (women) and Houston (men) — will be gun free.

In Alabama, a state law that went into effect this year made it legal to openly carry a gun without a permit. Still, guns are prohibited on campus. Police say Alabama star Brandon Miller delivered a gun to a teammate and another person who are charged with the Jan. 15 fatal shooting of 23-year-old Jamea Harris.

Miller has not been charged with a crime and has continued to play for his team, which is the overall top seed in the tournament that gets into full swing Thursday. But the school's handling of Miller's status in the aftermath of the shooting underscores the confusion over the topic.

There was more than a month between the killing and police testimony that Miller had brought the gun to his teammate, Darius Miles, who was removed from the team after he was charged, then later indicted, in Harris' death.

"Our role in a criminal investigation is to support law enforcement, not to conduct our own investigation -- and not to interfere with their efforts," athletic director Greg Byrne said in an ESPN interview.

At New Mexico State, campus officials appeared unprepared to deal with a shooting that resulted in the death of a student from University of New Mexico. NMSU forward Mike Peake said he was acting in self-defense when he shot and killed Brandon Travis last November while the Aggies were on a road trip in Albuquerque.

Guns are prohibited on New Mexico State's campus and on school road trips. Still, police say Peake brought the gun with him on the team bus; it took the school 16 days to permanently suspend him from the team after the shooting.

"I don't know if it's a rule you talk about with the players, that you can't bring a gun on the bus," said Rus Bradburd, a former coach and current professor at New Mexico State whose book, "All the Dreams We've Dreamed," tells the story of gun violence and basketball in Chicago. "But do you need to write that down? It's like, I always wear pants to a faculty meeting, but that's not anywhere in the bylaws. It's sort of understood."

LSU receiver Malik Nabers was disciplined by the school (no specifics were given) but will not miss games next season after being arrested for illegally carrying a weapon on Bourbon Street last month. Had the incident happened on a busy street in Texas, where permits are not required to carry a concealed weapon, he wouldn't have been arrested in the first place.

"Are we concerned about guns with the student athletes? Yeah, we are," an LSU employee familiar with the situation told AP on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject. "There's a prevalence of guns everywhere right now. It is something we address specifically among a number of other issues."

Last fall at Virginia, the football team canceled the season's final game after a former member of the team, Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., was charged with murdering three players and wounding two students on campus. Authorities later found guns in his dorm room on the campus where, with few exceptions, weapons are not permitted.

It illustrated the impossibility of monitoring every student at any campus, and magnified the plight of sports leaders whose programs can be thrust into the spotlight in the aftermath of gun violence.

"The violence is right there with drug use and other sorts of things we hope to guide them away from," said Mike Marlow, the athletic director at Northern Arizona, where guns are not allowed. "You hope that you have the type of culture in place that discourages the behavior, even if there is some legality to it."

Agents stop crowd at Texas border crossing amid asylum woes - Associated Press

A large group of migrants in Mexico who were poised to barge into the U.S. over the weekend were blocked from crossing a bridge leading from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, to El Paso, Texas, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman said.

The migrants were "posing a potential threat to make a mass entry," and physical barriers were put up to restrict their entry at the Paso Del Norte International Bridge on Sunday afternoon, spokesman Roger Maier said in a statement to The Associated Press on Monday.

Barricades also were used in El Paso for a short time Sunday afternoon at other border crossings including the Bridge of Americas and the Stanton-Lerdo bridge, Maier said.

Video of the scene at the Paso Del Norte bridge on Sunday showed hundreds of migrants brush past Mexican National Guard officers on the Mexican side, some carrying children on their shoulders. Many appeared to be Venezuelan, by their accents.

Shouting "We want to get through!," the migrants ran up to the center line of the bridge, where U.S. authorities had erected concrete and plastic barriers strung with concertina wire.

The migrants were stopped by the barrier, and remained on the Mexican side, shouting "Open up for us!" to the U.S. officers. After a time, the migrants ran back toward the Mexican side.

Traffic was reopened and flowing in both directions as of Sunday evening, Maier said. It wasn't immediately known what caused the attempted mass crossing. A message seeking comment was left with the mayor's office in El Paso.

The rush across the bridge may have been sparked by false rumors, said Camilo Cruz, who works with the U.N. migration office in Ciudad Juarez.

Cruz said there was "a rumor that they were going to let them cross massively, particularly people who arrived with children."

Cruz said the rumors are a recurrent problem. About a month ago, messages began circulating "that there were going to be buses on the U.S. side to take them to Canada ... and when they arrived, they were told it was a lie."

The worst thing, Cruz said, is that migrants often leave the shelters where they are staying to attend such mass crossing attempts, only to find the shelters full when they return.

Many of the migrants on Sunday appeared to be asylum seekers. One woman held out what appeared to be an appointment slip at the barricade. Migrants seeking asylum, a legal immigration pathway for people fleeing persecution in their own country, have been frustrated by newly-implemented limits on those showing up at the southwest border, as many Venezuelans do.

There has been frustration with the U.S. government's CBPOne mobile app for making appointments to apply for asylum, which has been overloaded since the Biden administration introduced it Jan. 12. New appointments are available each day at 6 a.m., but migrants find themselves stymied by error messages.

Also causing frustration is a pandemic rule, scheduled to end May 11, that denies migrants a chance to seek asylum on grounds of preventing the spread of COVID-19. Under the public health rule, known as Title 42, Mexico recently began taking back Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans who crossed.

In addition, the Biden administration has said it will generally deny asylum to migrants who show up at the U.S. southern border without first seeking protection in a country they passed through.

Police: 2 teens arrested in a fatal shooting near Las Cruces - Associated Press

Two 16-year-old boys have been arrested in connection with a fatal shooting near Las Cruces, according to authorities.

New Mexico State Police said 17-year-old Benjamin Archuleta was wounded by gunfire from another vehicle on Interstate 25 and pronounced dead at a hospital March 3.

The vehicle's driver and a passenger who is the suspected shooter were later arrested and their names were being withheld because they're juveniles, police said.

Police said the two teens are facing charges of first-degree murder, shooting from at or from a motor vehicle resulting in great bodily injury and assault with intent to commit a violent felony.

According to the Las Cruces Sun-News, Archuleta was enrolled at Las Cruces High School but had dropped out before the shooting occurred.