New Mexico Unemployment Rate Holds At 5.1%, New Mexico Election Regulator Seeks US Senate Seat In 20

Apr 20, 2019

New Mexico Unemployment Rate Holds At 5.1%

New Mexico officials say the state's seasonally adjusted rate of unemployment held steady at 5.1% in March.

The Workforce Solutions Department said Friday that the unemployment rate remained unchanged from February, while the national unemployment rate fell to 3.9% for March.

Only Alaska and the District of Columbia have higher unemployment rates.

During a year ending in March, payroll employment across New Mexico grew by 10,300 jobs or 1.3%. That doesn't include agricultural work.

The mining and construction sectors recorded the fastest job growth over the past year, followed by leisure and hospitality.

The public sector shed about 1,100 jobs, a 1.3% decline in government work.

New Mexico Election Regulator Seeks US Senate Seat In 2020

New Mexico's top election regulator has filed paperwork to run for U.S. Senate in 2020.

Democratic Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver on Friday registered a campaign account with the Federal Election Commission. Political adviser Heather Brewer confirmed that Toulouse Oliver had filed new paperwork to pursue the seat that Sen. Tom Udall plans to vacate at the end of 2020.

The Democratic nomination also is being sought by sixth-term U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján.

Toulouse Oliver previously served as Bernalillo County Clerk and won election as secretary of state in 2016.

In 2018, she won re-election by handily defeating Republican Gavin Clarkson. Clarkson now is running for U.S. Senate as a Republican.

Toulouse Oliver has aggressively pursued reforms aimed at expanding ballot access, including election-day voter registration.

US Authorities Issue Warning After Group Stops Migrants

U.S. authorities are warning citizens not to take the law into their own hands after a group patrolling the U.S.-Mexico border stopped hundreds of migrants when they crossed into southern New Mexico this week.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued the warning through social media Friday, saying interference in law enforcement matters could have public safety and legal consequences.

Several hundred migrants crossed into New Mexico within a 24-hour period Tuesday. That included 360 people who the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico contends were held at gunpoint near Sunland Park.

Video of Tuesday's encounter shows members of United Constitutional Patriots telling the migrants to sit while authorities were called. Group spokesman Jim Benvie says members never pointed guns at the migrants and they weren't forced to stay.

County Declares State Of Emergency Regarding Immigration

Alamogordo Daily News

A southern New Mexico county is demanding that Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham use the National Guard to re-open Customs and Border Patrol checkpoints that were closed last month.

The Alamogordo Daily News reports that Otero County on Wednesday declared a state of emergency, noting the need for open checkpoints to stop drugs and illegal activity at the border.

Otero County Commission Chairman Couy Griffin says if the county's demand is not met in one week's time, it will provide its own security for the checkpoints. Griffin also threatened taking legal action against the state.

Governor's office spokesman Tripp Stelnicki says the National Guard "does not and would not operate federal checkpoints."

Checkpoints in the area shut down last month, as agents were pulled to help process an influx of migrants claiming asylum at the border.

New Mexico Reaches Deal To Settle 32-Year-Old Lawsuit

A recent settlement outlines a path to ending a 32-year-old lawsuit in New Mexico.

The state on Thursday reached a preliminary settlement in the class-action Jackson lawsuit over the rights of developmentally and intellectually disabled individuals.

The state says it will take roughly a dozen actions within the next 18 months and provide quarterly data reports intended to demonstrate "reasonable progress."

New Mexico Department of Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel says she is confident the department will meet its commitments within the proposed time frame, work that will include hiring additional state investigators and nurses, as well as significant reallocation of funds.

At issue is the well-being of 241 New Mexico residents, the remaining population of two now-shuttered, state-run facilities at Fort Stanton and Los Lunas.

The lawsuit is named for lead plaintiff Walter Stephen Jackson.

Armed Robbery Suspect Shot, Wounded In Encounter With Police

Albuquerque police say an armed robbery suspect who reportedly fired first was shot and wounded by at least one officer following a home invasion.

Officer Simon Drobik says the suspect is hospitalized in stable condition and that no officers were injured in the Thursday night incident.

Drobik says the suspect was shot during an encounter with police after officers responded to a call about a door being kicked in and the occupant being robbed at gunpoint.

According to Drobik, at least one witness told police that the suspect fired first.

No identities were released.

Judge: Resumption Of US Coal Sales By Trump Needs Review

A federal judge says the Trump administration failed to consider the environmental effects of its decision to resume coal sales from federal lands, but stopped short of halting future sales.

U.S. District Judge Brian Morris in Montana on Friday ordered government attorneys to enter negotiations with states and environmental groups that sued to stop the lease sales.

More than 40 percent of U.S. coal is mined from federal lands, primarily in Western states.

The Obama administration imposed a moratorium on most federal coal sales in 2016. The move followed concerns that low royalty rates paid by mining companies were shortchanging taxpayers and that burning the fuel was making climate change worse.

President Donald Trump lifted the moratorium in March 2017 as part of his efforts to revitalize the slumping coal industry.

'La Llorona' Movie Promotion With Mexican Healers Draws Fire

A promotion for the new movie "The Curse of La Llorona" using traditional Mexican healers for "spiritual cleansings" before screenings is drawing strong criticism from healers and scholars.

Critics say the movie, released Friday, is based on a Mexican folktale that has nothing to do with healers known as curanderos. They say the promotion exploits traditional healing practices used by Mexicans and Mexican Americans just to sell a film.

San Diego-based curandera Grace Sesma says social media posts showing curanderos performing supposed cleansings before previews are offensive.

Virginia Commonwealth University religious scholar Andrew Chesnut called the promotion "reprehensible."

Warner Bros. declined to comment when contacted by The Associated Press.

"The Curse of La Llorona," starring Linda Cardellini and Raymond Cruz, centers on the Mexican folklore of La Llorona, a crying female spirit who takes children.