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PHOENIX (AP) — Several cities in the western U.S. saw record-breaking temperatures Saturday. The National Weather Service reported record highs in Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah for March 18. In Arizona, Phoenix hit 95 degrees, beating by one degree the record high that had held for 10 years. Meanwhile, Yuma reached a high of 96 degrees and Kingman saw 83 degrees, both tying their 110-year-old records set last century in 1907. California's Death Valley had a high of 99 degrees, surpassing by one degree its record, which was set 70 years ago in 1947.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Scientists say New Mexico's official state tree is threated by the region's warming and drying climate. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports (http://bit.ly/2mXhRsu ) that state scientists and local botanists say signs point to pinon trees across northern New Mexico and other areas of the state being under increasing strain this year. The pinon is known for its nuts and its distinctive smell when used as firewood. Scientists say the changing climate can leave the tree vulnerable to bug infestation, and it isn't clear yet how severe the problem could become.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A fourth-grader from Albuquerque has been named the new state spelling bee champion. Nine-year-old Akilan Sankaran beat 38 other competitors Saturday at the 70th annual New Mexico Spelling Bee held at an Albuquerque school. He took the title by correctly spelling the word "retablo," which Merriam-Webster defines as "a votive offering made in the form of a religious picture typically portraying Christian saints painted on a panel and hung in a church or chapel." The Manzano Day School student will now move on to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on the end of the New Mexico Legislature (all times local): 2:15 p.m. New Mexico Democratic state senators are dismissing predictions by Gov. Susana Martinez that the state is facing a possible government shutdown next month. Sen. John Arthur Smith said Saturday the Republican governor has plenty of money to "limp along" until this summer and urged her to sign the Legislature's budget sent to her this week.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The sister of a man who died at the Santa Fe County Jail in 2015 has filed a lawsuit accusing the county of not properly completing his medical intake screening forms. The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/2n9zWFN ) that 55-year-old Thomas Pederson died in March 2015 after collapsing and having an apparent seizure at the county jail. According to the lawsuit, filed Wednesday, jail officials should have known Pederson needed medical care for alcohol withdrawal.

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (AP) — A committee focused on helping the Los Alamos School Board help the district's Native American population succeed academically will scale back its requests in light of decreases in state funding. The Los Alamos Monitor reports (http://bit.ly/2nQf3wv ) that School Board President Jenny McCumber said at a presentation Tuesday that there's little the district can do with such a small budget. The LAPS Title VII Parent Advisory Committee presented findings to the school board about what the district could be doing to help Native American students.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on the end of the New Mexico Legislature (all times local): 1:00 p.m. New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez says she won't approve minimum wage increases approved by the state Legislature because they hurt the state's business climate. As the legislative session ended Saturday, Martinez said that she might support an increase to a rate lower than $9 an hour. The Legislature approved two options for increasing the state's $7.50 minimum wage for the first time since 2009. They would have increased base wages to $9 or $9.25.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Legislature has approved guidelines to ensure DNA evidence kits from sexual assaults are processed quickly and don't languish in storage. A House vote Friday sent the measure to the Gov. Susana Martinez for consideration. Local law enforcement must send sexual assault test kits for processing within 30 days under the legislation. New Mexico law enforcement agencies have been grappling with a backlog of thousands of untested evidence kits.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A political showdown over proposed new taxes loomed as New Mexico lawmakers sprinted toward the finish of a 60-day legislative session with an agreement in hand to hold spending at most state agency steady and slightly boost education after two bruising rounds of cuts to public schools. As the session concludes Saturday, Republican Gov.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The city of Albuquerque has agreed to pay $8.5 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the parents of a young woman killed in a car crash involving an off-duty police officer. As part of the settlement, the city also agreed Friday to implement new measures in police training and oversight. Authorities say 21-year-old Lindsay Browder died and her 19-year-old sister was seriously injured in an early-morning crash in February 2013. Albuquerque Police Sgt. Adam Casaus was accused of speeding and running a red light in causing the crash.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Authorities in Albuquerque say a fire at an apartment complex damaged or destroyed nearly five dozen cars under a large metal carport-type structure in a gated lot. The Fire Department says no injuries were reported from the fire early Friday morning and that its cause is under investigation. The department says the fire was reported at 12:38 a.m. and that firefighters brought the fire under control in approximately 45 minutes. KRQE-TV (https://goo.gl/emJVKc ) reports that neighbors reported seeing flames as high as 40 feet.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — From the deserts of southern New Mexico and Nevada to islands in the Pacific Ocean, the U.S. government conducted dozens of nuclear weapons tests from the 1940s until the early 1960s. Some of the blasts sent incredible mushroom clouds into the sky and massive fireballs across the landscape. A team from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has now published more than five dozen vintage films salvaged from high-security vaults across the U.S. where they sat idle for decades.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on efforts to resolve a New Mexico state budget crisis (all times local): 4:45 p.m. New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez could call a special Legislative session immediately after the regular session ends at noon on Saturday, and may add non-budget items. Martinez chief of staff Keith Gardner said the Republican governor largely is focused on fiscal matters as New Mexico faces a budget crunch due to declining revenues from oil and gas. However, Gardner says Martinez reserves the right to add "other important" issues.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A veto override attempt has failed in the New Mexico House of Representatives on a bill that would have allowed teachers to take more than three days of annual sick leave without being penalized on performance evaluations. Support for the override fell short of a two-thirds supermajority needed to override the veto by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez, in a 36-31 vote Friday. Martinez said the bill threatened to reverse recent reductions in teacher absentee rates and to increase the use of substitutes in classrooms. The Senate had approved the override in a 34-7 vote.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — President Donald Trump's proposed federal budget is a mixed bag for New Mexico, with less money for some domestic programs but more for defense. One of the poorest states in the nation, New Mexico has struggled to jump start its economy since the recession. And with a downturn in the oil and gas sector, the effects of spending at national laboratories and military bases continue to hold weight in the state. The National Nuclear Security Administration would see an 11 percent increase, or $1.4 billion.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on efforts to resolve a New Mexico state budget crisis (all times local): 12:20 p.m. The New Mexico Legislature has approved $6.1 billion budget plan and companion tax increase for the coming fiscal year that would increase funding to public school and hold spending steady at most government agencies. The Democrat-led House of Representatives voted along party lines Friday to approve $280 million in increases to taxes and fees, followed by a voice vote to approve the budget. The budget and tax bills now goes to Republican Gov.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — Nineteen residents of southern New Mexico and western Texas have been cited in connection to a cockfighting ring discovered in Berino earlier this year. The Las Cruces Sun-News reports (http://bit.ly/2nhNAXZ ) that the suspects were charged with cockfighting, a petty misdemeanor. They were not arrested. Nine suspects have pleaded no contest to the cockfighting charges and will face sentences of probation. Nine other suspects have pleaded not guilty. The citations come after the Dona Ana County Sheriff's Office discovered an alleged cockfighting ring on Jan.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Authorities in Albuquerque say a fire at an apartment complex damaged or destroyed 70 to 80 cars under a large metal carport-type structure in a gated lot. The Fire Department says no injuries were reported from the fire early Friday morning and that its cause is under investigation. The department says the fire was reported at 12:38 a.m. and that firefighters brought the fire under control in approximately 45 minutes. KRQE-TV (https://goo.gl/emJVKc ) reports that neighbors reported seeing flames as high as 40 feet.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Democratic leaders of the New Mexico House of Representatives say two recent veto attempts by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez are invalid. House Majority Leader Sheryl Williams Stapleton announced early Friday that two bills would go into effect without the governor's signature because her vetoes did not include explanations as required. One House-sponsored bill creates a research program for the industrial production of hemp.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has a torn ACL resulting from a skiing injury in Utah. Martinez spokesman Chris Sanchez told The Associated Press an MRI confirmed the Republican governor torn her ACL during her skiing accident. Martinez was in Utah for a meeting of the Republican Governors Association. While in Utah, Martinez has criticized the Democrat-led state Legislature for wasting time on matters such as selecting a state dance instead of addressing a crisis in state finances.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's only Republican in its congressional delegation has scheduled an in-person town hall meeting in the Democratic stronghold of Las Cruces. Congressman Steve Pearce announced this week that he would hold a town hall on Saturday in the largest city in his district amid angry scenes nationally. The Hobbs Republican recently held town hall meetings in Hobbs and Ruidoso. Republicans who want to repeal Obamacare are facing angry pushback at constituent gatherings from Utah to Michigan to Tennessee and elsewhere, even in solidly Republican districts.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on efforts to create an independent political ethics committee in New Mexico (all times local): ___ 7:50 p.m. A proposal to create an independent political ethics commission in New Mexico is being sent to a conference committee to resolve disagreements between the state House and Senate. The House on Thursday refused to endorse Senate revisions to a constitutional amendment that would establish an ethics commission in the wake of a recent string of corruption scandals.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — Authorities say former bus driver in Las Cruces has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for criminal sexual contact with a minor. Prosecutors say 28-year-old Darien Pete also will have to register as a sex offender upon release from prison. He will receive credit for approximately three months he has already served in jail. At the time of the offense in October 2015, Pete was an employee of a private school bus company contracted to provide transportation services for Las Cruces Public Schools.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Gov. Susana Martinez has signed legislation prompted by a potential catastrophe waiting to happen at a busy intersection in the southern New Mexico community of Carlsbad. Experts have warned lawmakers that something needs to be done about the giant cavern that has formed at the edge of the city where two major transportation routes intersect. Nearby is a canal that delivers water to farmers throughout the lower Pecos Valley and a neighborhood of mobile homes.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The state's largest electric utility says a preliminary analysis of options for supplying power in the future shows that closing a coal-fired power plant in northwestern New Mexico in five years could be beneficial for customers. Public Service Co. of New Mexico made the announcement Thursday, saying no decision has been made and that much work needs to be done before the utility approaches state regulators with any kind of plan. Public meetings on the utility's resource plan will be held later this year.

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