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SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico will study opportunities to provide Medicaid coverage through a fee to people who earn too much to qualify for the health care program for the poor, under an initiative approved by the state Legislature on Wednesday. The Democrat-led state Senate voted 33-8 on Wednesday to commission a year-long study of possibilities for expanding health care coverage by allowing more people to buy into Medicaid. The House approved the measure. Decisions about whether to proceed with a buy-in program would be left until next year, after Republican Gov.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A state-by-state initiative aimed at regulating and possibly limiting the role of money in politics through an amendment to the U.S. Constitution has won its first endorsement from a state legislative chamber. The New Mexico House of Representative voted 41-28 on Wednesday to urge Congress to restore greater federal and local regulation of political spending that influences elections and governance. State Senate action is pending.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The highly anticipated opera adaptation of Rudolfo Anaya's famed novel "Bless Me, Ultima," one of the most recognizable works of Mexican-American Literature, is set to premiere. And the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque announced this week that all five dates for the "Bless Me, Ultima" opera later this month already have been sold out.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — State lawmakers are embracing a proposal to help pay for dog and cat sterilizations by collecting a new annual fee from pet food manufacturers. A panel of Senate lawmakers on Tuesday unanimously endorsed the annual $100 fee on each brand name of pet food distributed in New Mexico. New Mexico's Department of Agriculture says there are more than 13,000 pet food and treat labels registered with its offices. Legislative analysts say the financial impact on pet owners would be negligible.

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — Gov. Susana Martinez has appointed a new district judge to fill an empty position in San Juan County. The Daily Times reports that Sarah Weaver was appointed on Friday to the Division 3 district seat for the 11th Judicial District. The vacancy occurred when Sandra Price retired from the bench at the end of last year. Weaver's first day on the bench is set for March 5. She says she's humbled and excited for the opportunity. Members of the 11th Judicial District Judicial Nominating Commission selected Weaver, who has practiced law for more than 24 years.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico House lawmakers have approved a proposal to increase funding for early childhood education in New Mexico by distributing more money from a multibillion dollar state sovereign wealth fund. The House voted 36-33 on Tuesday in favor of the constitutional amendment to increase annual distributions from the Land Grant Permanent Fund by 1 percent. It now heads to the Senate for consideration. Last year, a similar measure stalled in the Senate. Supporters say a substantial increase in state spending is needed to improve and expand preschool education.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A scientist's father says his son is recovering from surgery after being shot in the head in an apparent road rage incident. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office says no arrest had been made as of Monday. A police report says the victim, a Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist, was driving behind a Jeep when the vehicle braked several times. The victim slowed down. The report says the driver of the Jeep then pulled over at an intersection, waited for the victim and got back on the highway behind the victim's vehicle.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A 24-year-old Albuquerque man convicted of killing a 10-year-old girl after police said he crashed into her family car during a race on Interstate 25 is set to be sentenced. Xavier Nelson is scheduled Tuesday to be sentenced following his December 2017 conviction for homicide by vehicle and reckless driving. The New Mexico Attorney General's Office is seeking a six-year prison sentence. The November 2016 collision sent the vehicles rolling, ejecting 10-year-old Carmen Esmeralda Rivera and killing her instantly. Police say Nelson was traveling 107 mph (172 kph).

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The deadline has arrived for major party candidates in New Mexico to turn in nominating petitions in order to run for statewide or federal office. Candidates have until 5 p.m. on Tuesday to turn in declarations and signatures so that they appear on the 2018 primary election ballot in June. Candidates for statewide office must also submit a financial disclosure form that includes sources of annual income over $5,000. The Libertarian Party recently qualified as a major party alongside the Democratic and Republican parties.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico lawmakers are pushing a measure aimed at curbing suicides at one of the state's most famous bridges. Two northern New Mexico Democrats want the state to divert money to reassign three state police officers to monitor the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge outside of Taos, New Mexico and south of Colorado. Officials say there have been more than 125 suicides from the bridge in the last two decades. It is the second highest bridge on the U.S. Highway System and sits 650 feet (198 meters) above the Rio Grande.

HOBBS, N.M. (AP) — Activists advocating for religious freedom are targeting a Ten Commandments monument in a southeastern New Mexico public building and a city's sponsorship of a Martin Luther King, Jr. event. The Hobbs News-Sun report members of the Freedom From Religion Foundation says the Ten Commandments monument and the King event violate the separation of church and state. Hobbs resident and foundation member Jeremy Wood asked the Hobbs City Commission at a recent meeting to remove the Ten Commandments monument at Hobbs City Hall.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico would study opportunities to allow almost anyone to buy Medicaid health care coverage under a measure approved by the state House of Representatives on Monday. Lawmakers voted 42-22 to move forward with initial studies about opening up access to Medicaid services for a fee to more people. A Senate vote was still needed to initiate the year-long study by the Legislature and state insurance regulators. Democratic Rep.

TUCUMCARI, N.M. (AP) — Authorities say a Tucumcari Municipal Court judge has been arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. New Mexico State Police say 71-year-old Joe Dominguez was taken into custody Sunday. It's unclear if he has a lawyer yet. State Police say a patrol officer saw a pickup truck go through a stop sign in Tucumcari and pulled the vehicle over. The officer says he smelled alcohol when he approached the truck. He says Dominguez admitted to drinking and failed sobriety tests.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A comedy series about teens battling alien invaders is set to film a second season in New Mexico. New Mexico Film Office Director Nick Maniatis announced Monday that digital series "Snatchers," which streams on Verizon's go90 media brand, will begin principal photography in early February through mid-March in Albuquerque. "Snatchers" is a horror comedy series about high school studenyt Sara, played by Mary Nepi, who has sex and wakes up pregnant 24 hours later with an alien baby.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Two key New Mexico Democratic lawmakers are pouring cold water on Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller's plea for state help to hire 400 officers. KOB-TV in Albuquerque reports Sen. John Arthur Smith and Rep. Patty Lundstrom say the new mayor shouldn't expect any new appropriations to fulfill a campaign promise to increase police staffing. Both, who chair important appropriation committees, say Albuquerque has its own tax base and can fund the new officers if that's what its city council wants.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is describing a House-approved budget as soft on crime in a push to increase salaries for state police, corrections officers, prosecutors and public defenders. The Senate Finance Committee on Monday was preparing amendments to a $6.3 billion state general fund spending plan for the coming fiscal year. Democratic Finance Committee Chairman John Arthur Smith of Deming says legislative leaders understand the need to increase law enforcement and judiciary salaries.

SANTA TERESA, N.M. (AP) — A cargo lane for trucks has sped up border shipments from a Foxconn plant on the Mexican side of the Santa Teresa border crossing as part of a new pilot program. It's one of two pre-inspection pilot programs that have weapons-carrying U.S. Customs officers on site in uniform inspecting cargo in Mexico. Once shipments are inspected, trucks can haul the cargo across the border using a dedicated and secure lane, the Albuquerque Journal reported .

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico lawmaker is seeking to expand an early-college high school initiative involving Chicano studies. Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero is sponsoring a bill that would appropriate $250,000 to expand the Albuquerque-area program with the Chicana and Chicano Studies Department at the University of New Mexico. Officials say the project has increased admissions and retention rates for first-generation college students from Albuquerque high schools.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A Democratic U.S. Coast Guard veteran raised the most money of any candidate last quarter for an open congressional race in southern New Mexico, reports submitted to the Federal Election Commission show. But federal records also show Madeline "Mad" Hildebrandt remains far behind Republican and former Hobbs mayor Monty Newman with total cash on hand in a closely watched election that may help determine which party controls Congress. Hildebrandt raised $132,497 at the end of 2017 and had $118,464 cash on hand, the reports said.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Environmentalists are taking aim at legislation that would address how New Mexico's largest electric provider recovers hundreds of millions of dollars in stranded costs related to the planned closures of two coal-fired power plants. They're planning to show up in opposition Saturday when the bill is scheduled for debate before the Senate Conservation Committee. Critics contend the proposal only protects shareholders. Public Service Co.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A proposal to require New Mexico high school juniors to apply to college or begin to make other post-high school plans as a condition of graduation has cleared its first legislative hurdle. The bi-partisan legislation would make New Mexico the first state to mandate that high school students submit an application for a two- or four-year college, vocational school, apprenticeship or job — although individual districts in the past have set in place similar requirements.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — American Indian tribal leaders are converging on the New Mexico Statehouse for an annual celebration of indigenous communities and culture. Amid Friday's festivities, a state Senate panel is scheduled to hear testimony about oil and natural gas development in the vicinity of Chaco Culture National Historical Park and legislative efforts to ensure local tribes are consulted before federal mineral leases are issued. An upcoming lease sale by the U.S.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico lawmaker is seeking to expand an early college high school initiative involving Chicano Studies. Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero is sponsoring a bill that would appropriate $250,000 to expand the Albuquerque-area program with the Chicana and Chicano Studies Department at the University of New Mexico. Officials say the project has increased admissions and retention rates for first-generation college students from Albuquerque high schools.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — An insurance provider that lost its contract with the state to provide Medicaid services is seeking an injunction against the New Mexico Human Services Department and the agency's secretary. The Albuquerque Journal reports that Molina Healthcare also plans to seek a temporary restraining order.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on the death of a 13-year-old New Mexico boy (all times local): 2:35 p.m. Authorities say a 13-year-old boy whose body was found buried along a rural highway in northern New Mexico had been tortured in the weeks leading up to his death. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports an amended arrest warrant for Thomas Wayne Ferguson, the lead suspect in the death of Jeremiah Valencia, details additional accounts of the alleged abuse. The boy's mom, Tracy Ann Pena; Ferguson; and his 19-year-old son, Jordan Nunez, are all charged in the case.

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