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SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on efforts to resolve a New Mexico state budget crisis (all times local): 4:00 p.m. A rally in support of greater state funding for public education in New Mexico has drawn hundreds of teachers, parents and students to the state Capitol.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico voters will decide next year whether to create an independent political ethics commission in the wake of a recent string of corruption scandals. The New Mexico Legislature gave its approval Thursday by a 30-9 vote of the Senate to amend the constitution and create a seven-member body to investigate and sanction ethics violations. The amendment goes to a statewide ballot initiative in November 2018.

GANADO, Ariz. (AP) — Authorities say an infant's remains have been found on the Navajo Nation in Arizona. The Gallup (New Mexico) Independent reports that Navajo Police Chief Phillip Francisco said a child's severed head was found Monday in a field in the Ganado area. Francisco told the newspaper the FBI is investigation and he didn't have additional details. Francisco's office says he's attending the funeral Thursday of a Navajo Nation police officer fatally shot on duty.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on efforts to resolve a New Mexico state budget crisis (all times local): 11:50 a.m. A proposal to increase New Mexico's tax on cigarettes to $3.16 a pack to boost funding for public schools has voted down by a panel of lawmakers. The House Taxation and Revenue Committee on Thursday voted 9-5 against the Senate-approved tax increase on a variety of tobacco products including electronic cigarettes. The tobacco tax was not part of a broader Senate-approved budget plan that slightly increases education funding. Democratic Sen.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Roman Catholic Church in New Mexico is denouncing state lawmakers for failing to move a proposal that would have boosted spending on early childhood education. Santa Fe Archbishop John Wester says state senators should negotiate a compromise over a constitutional amendment to fund early childhood education with money from a state sovereign wealth fund. The Senate Rules Committee tabled the initiative Wednesday on a 6-5 vote, ending chances for approval this year. Democratic Sens. Mary Kay Papen and Clemente Sanchez joined Republicans in opposition.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The author of books that inspired "Game of Thrones" is starting a new film project in Santa Fe. George R.R. Martin announced this week that a 10,000-square-foot building he owns in north Santa Fe will serve as an office and production space for film and television groups. Martin says his new nonprofit the Stagecoach Foundation will focus on making filmmaking accessible for local filmmakers and newcomers.

CLOVIS, N.M. (AP) — The Air Force has released the identities of three service members killed Tuesday night in the crash of a reconnaissance and surveillance plane during a training flight in New Mexico. Cannon Air Force Base officials say the 33-year-old pilot, Capt. Andrew Becker from Novi, Michigan, 29-year-old Capt. Kenneth Dalga from Goldsboro, North Carolina, and 26-year-old co-pilot, 1st Lt. Frederick Dellecker from Daytona Beach, Florida, were killed. Dalga was a combat systems officer. All three were assigned to the 318th Special Operations Squadron at Cannon.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — One of New Mexico's largest school districts is dismissing school students and teachers early so they can urge state lawmakers and the governor to reach a budget compromise on educational funding. Parents prepared to pick up Santa Fe Public School district students at midday on Thursday after Superintendent Veronica Garcia ordered the schedule change. Garica is urging parents to join a rally at the state Capitol building and says further state spending cuts to education would shorten the school year and reduce staff. The office of Gov.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A Muslim civil rights group is asking federal and New Mexico authorities to investigate a couple suspected of urinating on copies of the Quran at a library. The Council on American-Islamic Relations says it wants authorities to look into the matter for "possible bias" motives. Santa Fe Public Library workers told police they believed a man and a woman may have urinated on copies of Islam's sacred text and damaged a copy of the 2004 autobiography by former President Bill Clinton last week.

REHOBOTH, N.M. (AP) — A Navajo Nation police officer gunned down while responding to a domestic violence call in a remote part of western New Mexico is being remembered for his sense of humor and as someone who always wanted to help others. Funeral services for Houston Largo are expected to draw a crowd of family and fellow law enforcement officers from around the region. A procession from Gallup to the nearby community of Rehoboth will begin Thursday morning. Following the funeral, Largo will be buried at the Sunset Memorial Park in Gallup.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico would gradually set aside up to $5 million to help repair damaged or polluted state trust lands under a bill awaiting the governor's signature or veto. The Senate voted Wednesday to create the State Trust Lands Restoration and Remediation Fund. The fund could be tapped to clean up illegal dumping, restore watersheds from wildfire damage or deal with invasive plant species. The restoration fund was first proposed by Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn as his agency grappled with waste-water spills by a financially troubled oil-well company.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Both chambers of the New Mexico Legislature have approved new gun safety measures designed to prevent shootings in domestic disputes. The House voted 44-22 Wednesday to ban the possession or purchase of firearms by people under permanent protective orders for domestic violence incidents. The Senate must sign off on minor revisions to send the bill to Gov. Susana Martinez. It is unclear if Republican governor supports the measure. The bill would potentially affect thousands of people involved in domestic disputes.

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye has ordered flags across the American Indian reservation to be lowered in honor of a tribal police officer who was gunned down while on duty. Begaye says it's moments like the shooting of Officer Houston Largo that cause people to pause and reflect on the work that each police officer does to protect their communities. Largo died Sunday after being shot while responding to a domestic violence call on tribal land in rural western New Mexico. Federal authorities have released few details, but say a suspect is in custody.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A measure that would prohibit visitors to the New Mexico state capitol from openly carrying firearms inside the building has been endorsed by a panel of House lawmakers. The House Judiciary Committee voted 8-5 Wednesday to recommend approval of the initiative limiting firearms in the capitol to law enforcement and concealed-weapon license holders. The measure still needs to be considered by the full House, and the Senate would have to sign off on any changes before the Legislature adjourns Saturday.

CLOVIS, N.M. (AP) — A mother and her son accused of having an incestuous relationship have entered a no contest plea. KOB-TV reports that 37-year-old Monica Mares and her 20-year-old biological son, Caleb Peterson, accepted plea agreements Wednesday before jury selection was to begin for the mother's trial in Clovis. It wasn't immediately clear what sentences Mares and Peterson will get. The two were facing separate jury trials on one count each of incest. A neighbor confronted the two about their relationship in February 2016.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A Senate panel in New Mexico has voted down a constitutional amendment to boost spending on early childhood education with money from a state sovereign wealth fund. The Senate Rules Committee tabled the initiative Wednesday on a 6-5 vote, ending chances for approval this year. The Democrat-sponsored amendment would have increase annual withdrawals from the state's $15 billion Land Grant Permanent Fund by 1 percentage point to fund education programs for children ages 0-5. Democratic Sens. Mary Kay Papen and Clemente Sanchez joined Republicans in opposition.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A measure that would outlaw coyote killing contests for prizes or entertainment has cleared its latest legislative hurdle. The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday voted 7-4 in favor of the bill, which would make it illegal in New Mexico to organize, sponsor or participate in a coyote killing contest. No restrictions would be placed on hunting or trapping the animals. The initiative won Senate approval in early March. It now moves to the full House for consideration.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Members of the New Mexico Senate are listening to public comments on a proposal to overhaul much of New Mexico's tax code. The House-approved initiative would eliminate a wide array of tax exemptions, deductions, credits in an effort designed to stabilize state revenue streams and lower overall tax rates. Republican Rep. and bill sponsor Jason Harper of Rio Ranch told a Senate panel Wednesday that the plan is designed to improve the overall business climate in New Mexico.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The fatal shooting of a Navajo Nation officer has renewed focus on the dangers that Indian Country's remote landscapes can pose for police. The FBI has released few details stemming from its investigation into the shooting that killed Officer Houston Largo on Sunday, except to say he was gunned down while en route to a domestic violence call.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico activists are joining advocacy groups across the country in providing training to people seeking to help immigrants avoid deportation. The SouthWest Organizing Project hosted a training session Wednesday on accompanying immigrants to court and supporting them when immigration authorities arrive. Participants also learned how to advise immigrants of rights and how to record interactions.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and Attorney General Hector Balderas may be members of opposite political parties. However, both agree on one thing: New Mexico State's men's basketball team will reach the NCAA's Sweet Sixteen. The Republican and Democrat released their brackets Wednesday that showed both believe the 14th-seeded New Mexico State would defeat Baylor and SMU. They also predict the Aggies would go down against Duke. Martinez says Arizona will win it all. But New Mexico's top law enforcement officer predicts Arizona only would make it to the Final Four.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A proposal to create an independent political ethics commission in New Mexico is headed to the Senate floor for a vote after winning a crucial committee endorsement. The Senate Rules committee on Wednesday endorsed a constitutional amendment to create a seven-member ethics commission with the authority to issue subpoenas and civil penalties. Full Senate approval would send the initiative to a statewide vote in November 2018.

ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — Authorities have conducted a second search of a home belonging to a missing woman who was found dead alongside a highway in eastern New Mexico. The Roswell Daily Record reports (http://bit.ly/2msyWbY) Maria Elena Tilton Aragon of Roswell was found dead on the side of U.S. 285 on March 6. State police searched her home the following day and again on Tuesday. The victim's husband, Castulo Aragon Jr., says police returned to the home to see if they missed something the first time. Police are investigating the 49-year-old woman's death as a homicide.

ALAMOGORDO, N.M. (AP) — Alamogordo and a former city utility billing manger have reached a settlement in his federal discrimination lawsuit. The Alamogordo Daily News reports (http://bit.ly/2mJwBuZ ) that the city will pay Armando Ortega $500,000 to settle the lawsuit that claims he was discriminated and retaliated against by city officials in 2014 because he is Latino. According to court records, Ortega was hired by the city in 1997, received a number of promotions and raises, and then was ultimately fired by the city in 2015.

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce is calling for an extended public comment period on a federal proposal to release more endangered wolves into the wild. The Carlsbad Current-Argus reports (http://bit.ly/2m0ENKe) the public comment period was open for less than a month and ended March 8. Pearce has asked Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke for an additional 90 days for public input. Pearce has been an outspoken critic of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Mexican wolf recovery program.

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