Headlines: Driver's License Repeal Bill Pre-Filed, Dunn Still Ahead After Recount...

Dec 17, 2014

Credit New Mexico Dept of Taxation and Revenue

Another NM Immigrant Licenses Repeal Effort BeginsThe Associated Press

Two New Mexico lawmakers have launched a new effort to repeal a state law that allows immigrants suspected of being in the country illegally to obtain driver's licenses.

Rep. Paul Pacheco, of Albuquerque, and Rep.-elect Andy Nunez, of Hatch, pre-filed a proposal yesterday just as Republicans were preparing to take control of the House. Pacheco and Nunez are both Republicans.

Previously, similar repeal measures have failed through Gov. Susana Martinez says she would have signed the legislation.

Marcela Diaz, executive director of the Santa Fe-based Somos Un Pueblo Unido, called the proposal "anti-family." She says it would hurt parents who are working to support their U.S.-born children.

The move comes as California is preparing to issue similar driver's licenses on Jan. 2.

Challenger In Land Race Still Ahead After Recount - The Associated Press

New Mexico officials say results of a statewide recount still show Republican Aubrey Dunn ahead of Democratic incumbent Ray Powell in the race for state land commissioner.

The Secretary of State's Office says results of the recount finished last night show Dunn with a margin of 656 votes out of nearly 500,000 ballots cast in the race.

Dunn's margin in the recount results is smaller than in original election results. Those results had Dunn ahead by 704 votes.

The State Canvassing Board is scheduled to meet tomorrow to certify the results.

Thefts Raise Security Concerns At Los Alamos LabThe Associated Press & The Santa Fe New Mexican

Thefts from a secure area at Los Alamos National Laboratory are raising concerns about security at the federal facility.

The lab reported tools stolen on at least three occasions from Technical Area 54, the largest waste disposal zone on the lab's campus in northern New Mexico.

Police reports obtained by The Santa Fe New Mexican say impact wrenches, weed trimmers and other tools were reported stolen between May and August and remain missing.

A national expert on radiation exposure says the tools likely pose little health risk but could be dangerous if they were exposed to toxic chemicals present in the area where the tools had been used.

Los Alamos police were forced to close the case because the lab refused to give investigators the names of workers who had access to the area.

Driver Shot And Killed During Bernalillo County Traffic StopThe Associated Press

Bernalillo County Sheriff's officials say a deputy fatally shot a motorist during a struggle after a traffic stop.

Officials on Tuesday identified the man as 34-year-old Adam Padilla.

They say Padilla had a gun that was recovered after the incident.

The Bernalillo County DWI traffic deputy pulled over a vehicle near Central and 75th Street before 11 p.m. Tuesday.

During the traffic stop, sheriff's officials say a struggle ensued, resulting in the deputy firing his department-issued weapon at Padilla.

He was taken to a hospital in Albuquerque, where he was later pronounced dead.

New Mexico State Police, Albuquerque police and the District Attorney's Office were called to the scene to investigate the shooting.

The deputy is on standard paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

Candidates Set For Navajo Presidential Contest The Associated Press

A ruling Wednesday by the Navajo Nation Supreme Court clears the way for election officials to set a date for the presidential contest.

The high court upheld the dismissal of a challenge against Russell Begaye, who will face Joe Shirley Jr. for the tribe's top elected post.

The tribe's Office of Hearings and Appeals had rejected arguments that Begaye did not demonstrate unswerving loyalty to the tribe as required of presidential candidates.

Former presidential hopeful Myron McLaughlin then appealed to the high court.

The Supreme Court justices did not address Begaye's qualifications. Instead, they ruled that McLaughlin's challenge was untimely filed.

The presidential race was separated from the Nov. 4 general election after Chris Deschene was disqualified in a language fluency case. Begaye replaced him.

Developer To Build Hotel In Albuquerque's Old Town - The Associated Press and Albuquerque Journal

Albuquerque's historic Old Town district will be getting its first new hotel in four decades.

Heritage Hotels and Resorts founder and CEO Jim Long says the development will be named Hotel Chaco in honor of one of the greatest architectural achievements in North America.

He tells the Albuquerque Journal that the hotel will serve as a link between the past and a bright future.

The five-story, 118-room hotel is estimated to cost about $25 million to construct. Work is expected to be done in the spring of 2016.

In addition to the guest rooms, the hotel will have a rooftop restaurant and lounge, a spa and about 3,000 square feet of street-level retail space.

This will be Heritage Hotels' 11th property in New Mexico. The company also owns the adjacent Hotel Albuquerque.

Albuquerque Police: No Charges In Fatal Shooting - The Associated Press

Albuquerque police say no charges will be sought against a man who shot and killed an intruder who'd broken into the man's home.

Police say the intruder had broken into the home Tuesday shortly after trying to break into a neighbor's house and then running off.

Police didn't release the dead man's name.

Person Shot During Bernalillo County Traffic Stop - The Associated Press and Albuquerque Journal

Bernalillo County Sheriff Dan Houston says a person was shot during an Albuquerque-area traffic stop conducted by a sheriff's deputy.

Sheriff Dan Houston says the person shot was sent to a hospital while the deputy was not injured in the late Tuesday night incident.

The sheriff would not say whether the wounded person was shot by the deputy or whether the person who was shot had a weapon.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that a white sedan remained on the shoulder of Central Avenue between 75th Street and Unser Boulevard during the investigation. Its trunk and a door were open.

Houston says New Mexico State Police and Albuquerque police were helping with the investigation.

Further details are not immediately available.

Chinese Man Pleads Guilty In Sensor Smuggling Try - The Associated Press

A second Chinese national accused in New Mexico of trying to smuggle sensors made for the U.S. military has pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the Arms Export Control Act.

Wentong Cai pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in Albuquerque. His guilty plea followed that of a cousin, Bo Cai.

Authorities say the men met in October 2013 with an undercover agent about buying the sensors made in New Mexico for military guidance systems.

At the time, Wentong Cai was a graduate student at Iowa State University studying microbiology and Bo Cai was employed by a technology company in China.

Bo Cai faces 20 years in prison while Wentong Cai's plea agreement calls for a year and half sentence.

NM Racing Panel Concerned With Enforcement Backlog - The Associated Press

Regulators who oversee New Mexico's horse racing industry are grappling with a significant enforcement backlog after adopting tougher sanctions and boosting testing for illicit drugs.

Racing Commission Director Vince Mares told members of the Legislative Finance Committee yesterday it could take until mid-2016 for the panel to clear its backlog of cases against owners and trainers accused of violating state racing and doping rules.

Mares says the bottleneck comes when cases are challenged in court, a process that can take a year.

Defendants often win the right to keep racing while the findings are appealed. Racing officials say that has created a perception that the state isn't doing anything to crack down on cheaters.

Commission and court data show there were 500 drug violations since 2012.