Child Poverty Rate Remains High Despite Progress, Lawsuit Renews Focus On Mobile App Privacy

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Figures Show Improvement In New Mexico's Child Poverty RateAssociated Press

Federal figures show the poverty rate among children 5 years old and younger improved in New Mexico last year, but the state still has one of the highest child poverty rates in the nation.

The U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey results were released Thursday. They indicated 28.9 percent of the state's young children — or 123,000 total — were living at or below the federal poverty line in 2017. The percentage represented a more than 7-point decline from the year before.

An analysis from New Mexico Voices for Children found that the state tied with Louisiana in ranking second-to-last in child poverty, after ranking dead last in 2016.

Mississippi was the state with the nation's highest poverty rate in 2017.

New Mexico Reformats Ballots Ahead Of Midterm ElectionsAssociated Press

New Mexico's top elections administrator is going back to the drawing board to draft ballots for the upcoming midterm elections.

The Secretary of State's Office had already started work on the ballots to include the option for straight-ticket voting before the New Mexico Supreme Court blocked the effort Wednesday.

The court found that Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver did not have the authority allow for the option, which would enable voters to select candidates from a particular party in all races by marking a single box.

Toulouse Oliver's office is working with the vendor to reformat the ballots.

Spokesman Alex Curtas said Thursday the office will meet the Sept. 22 printing deadline to ensure ballots get to registered voters overseas, including members of the military. He said there's no additional cost for reworking the ballots.

Ex-Navajo Nation Chapter Employee Pleads No Contest To FraudAssociated Press

Navajo Nation officials say a former K'ai'bii'to' chapter accounts maintenance specialist has pleaded no contest to one count each of fraud and forgery.

Tribal authorities say Berniece Pinto-Denetdeal used her position to forge signatures of other chapter officials to issue checks to herself that she wasn't entitled to.

In order to conceal her actions, authorities say she falsely recorded information in the chapter's accounting software.

The total loss to the chapter and the tribe was about $32,500.

Pleas of no contest are treated as guilty for sentencing purposes.

Pinto-Denetdeal has entered into a plea agreement and agreed to pay nearly $30,000 in restitution to the chapter.

She will be on probation for two years with the Navajo Nation and three years with the federal government.

Navajo VP Faces Challenge In Bid For Presidency - By Felicia Fonseca, Associated Press

The Navajo Nation's vice president is facing a challenge in his bid for the tribe's top elected post.

One of Jonathan Nez's primary election opponents alleges Nez failed to disclose a misdemeanor conviction for drunken driving in 2002.

Nez's campaign acknowledges the conviction but says Vincent Yazzie is wrong in arguing it should disqualify Nez from the race.

Tribal law prohibits Navajos from seeking the presidency if they've been convicted of a felony or certain misdemeanors within the past five years.

The tribe's Office of Hearings and Appeals has set a Sept. 26 hearing in the case.

Nez's campaign manager, Clara Pratte, says the campaign will file a motion to dismiss Yazzie's complaint.

Another grievance challenging presidential contender Joe Shirley Jr. on term limits was dismissed Wednesday.

NAACP Vets Candidates For Governor Of New Mexico At ForumAssociated Press

Candidates for governor of New Mexico are scheduled to talk about issues affecting the state's African-American community at a forum organized by the NAACP.

Republican Congressman Steve Pearce and Democratic Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham planned to attend Friday's forum as they compete to become the state's next governor in November elections

Albuquerque NAACP Vice President Pamelya Herndon says the forum will delve into topics including civil rights, criminal justice, public education and job creation. She said the event is a unique opportunity for the African-American community to engage with the top candidates for statewide office.

About 2 percent of New Mexico residents identify themselves as black or African-American.

Republican Gov. Susana Martinez cannot run for a consecutive third term.

Lawsuit Renews Focus On Privacy Policies For Mobile Apps - By Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press

Researchers have warned that many popular free mobile apps aimed at children are potentially violating a U.S. law designed to protect the privacy of young users.

Some brushed off the findings, but a federal lawsuit filed this week by New Mexico's top prosecutor is renewing focus on the public's growing concerns about whether information on online interests, browsing and buying habits are slipping into the hands of data brokers without their consent.

Serge Egelman, a member of the research team based at the International Computer Science Institute at the University of California, Berkeley says there's no easy way even for a fairly savvy user to figure out whether an app is collecting location data and other personal information.

The institute has been awarded a grant by the National Science Foundation to continue analyzing apps and expanding a database that parents can search for more information.

Government Offers Split Families A Second Shot At AsylumAssociated Press

The Trump administration has agreed to reconsider asylum claims of many parents and children who were separated at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The move came under an agreement to settle lawsuits over Trump's zero-tolerance policy on illegal crossings.

Two groups involved in the litigation — Muslim Advocates and Legal Aid Justice Center — say the settlement could give more than 1,000 parents a second chance at asylum.

The agreement was reached late Wednesday and subject to the approval of U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego.

It follows weeks of negotiations over claims by lawyers for separated parents and children that their clients didn't have a fair shake when seeking asylum.

The judge is expected to consider the deal at a hearing on Friday.