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Associated Press

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A proposal to ban drones from flying within 500 feet of power plants and refineries in New Mexico has cleared its first hurdle. With making any recommendation, the Senate Public Affairs Committee advanced the bill sponsored by Republican Sen. Greg Baca of Belen to its next committee. Under the proposal, drones would be prohibited from flying close to critical-infrastructure facilities and from interfering with firefighters battling wildfires. In addition to federal regulations, Baca says it's important for the state to have rules protecting certain facilities.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Public school superintendents from across New Mexico are urging lawmakers to restore school funding cuts even if it means raising more money from taxes. Superintendents from more than a dozen rural and urban school districts of Friday urged members of the Democrat-led Legislature and Republican Gov. Susana Martinez to reach a budget compromise that increase school revenues at a news conference.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has signed an executive order designed to save money by shifting human resources functions to a single executive agency. Martinez issued an order Friday that would consolidate human resources services for executive agencies under the existing State Personnel Office. It was unclear how much money the reorganization would save and whether state employees would be laid off reassigned as a result. The order describes human resources operations until now as fragmented and inefficient.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A newly installed district attorney in New Mexico is expected to announce if he will retry two former Albuquerque police officers charged with killing a homeless camper. Second Judicial District Attorney Raul Torrez has scheduled a news conference Friday to discuss the case involving former Albuquerque Officer Dominique Perez and Detective Keith Sandy. Both stood trial in October for the 2014 police shooting of James Boyd, but the trial ended in a hung jury.

LORDSBURG, N.M. (AP) — Authorities say a California woman and a Florida woman have been killed in a New Mexico freeway crash during a dust storm. New Mexico State Police on Friday identified the two victims as 64-year-old Gail Boulanger of Redondo Beach, California and 83-year-old Helen Mitchner of Spring Hill, Florida. They say a passenger car got sandwiched between two semi-trucks on Interstate 10 west of Lordsburg on Thursday afternoon. Police say visibility was low at the time of the accident due to a dust storm. They say Boulanger and Mitchner both were declared dead at the scene.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Senate has confirmed David Jablonski as secretary of the Department of Corrections. Senators voted unanimously Friday to confirm Jablonski to lead an agency that oversees about 7,500 prisoners in state and privately contracted facilities. Jablonski previously worked as a member of the executive staff for Gov. Susana Martinez, where he oversaw multiple agencies involved in public safety.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Federal agents are searching for a man they say robbed a northeast Albuquerque bank while wearing a Wal-Mart vest. The FBI said Friday the man hit the bank Tuesday while sporting a blue Wal-Mart vest and a black rag on his head. Agents say he gave a demand note to a BBVA Compass Bank teller and made verbal threats before leaving with an undisclosed amount of money. Authorities say the man was last seen around Albuquerque.

LORDSBURG, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico authorities say two people died after being ejected from a car that struck a road sign, entered a highway median and overturned several times while fleeing from U.S. Border Patrol agents. State Police said the wreck occurred Thursday on Interstate 10 between Lordsburg and Deming in southwestern New Mexico. The eastbound car's third occupant was injured and airlifted to a hospital in El Paso, Texas.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Bills aimed at regulating payday and title loan lenders in New Mexico are up for a hearing before a panel of House lawmakers. One of the measures would cap rates at 36 percent on small loans issued by lenders that are not federally insured, while another calls for a much higher interest rate. Short-term, high-interest lending practices have been a target of consumer advocates for decades in New Mexico, but efforts to rein in the business fall flat year after year.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Public Education Department officials say they are "hopeful" the lifting of federal transgender bathroom guidance will allow school districts to tackle the issue. Department spokesman Robert McEntyre says state education officials believe transgender bathroom use in public schools should be left to local New Mexico school districts to decide. The Trump administration has lifted federal guidelines that said transgender students should be allowed to use public school bathrooms and locker rooms matching their chosen gender identity.

QUESTA, N.M. (AP) — An economic development organization in northern New Mexico has been awarded a federal grant aimed at diversifying the area's economy following the closure of Chevron Mining's molybdenum operation near Questa. Members of New Mexico's congressional delegation announced the $70,000 grant on Thursday, saying it will be used to develop a strategy to support private capital investment and job creation. U.S. Sen.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A proposal to ban drones from flying within 500 feet of power plants and refineries in New Mexico is scheduled to face its first hurdle. The Senate Public Affairs Committee is slated Friday to hear the bill sponsored by Republican Sen. Greg Baca of Belen. Under the proposed bill, drones would be banned within 500 feet of critical-infrastructure facilities and from interfering with firefighters battling wild fires. Baca says it's important for the state to have regulations protecting critical facilities in addition to federal regulations.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez plans to meet with Health and Human Services Sec. Tom Price during her visit to Washington, D.C. A spokesman for the second-term GOP governor says she traveled Thursday to the nation's capital to participate in meetings with other governors, including a group meeting at the White House with Donald Trump. Spokesman Michael Lonergan offered few details about the engagement with Price. New Mexico residents and state government have a lot at stake in the pending health care overhaul by Republicans in Washington.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico is providing emergency funding to the judiciary to avoid the suspension of jury trials. With the governor away on travel, Lieutenant Gov. John Sanchez signed a bill Thursday that provides $1.6 million to ensure payment to jurors through the end of the fiscal year in June. Under state law, jurors must receive compensation for their service. The get about $50 a day. The jury funding shortfall underscores the depths of a state budget crisis linked to an oil industry downturn and corresponding loss of stat tax revenues.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez plans to meet with Health and Human Services Sec. Tom Price during her visit to Washington, D.C. A spokesman for the second-term GOP governor says she traveled Thursday to the nation's capital to participate in meetings with other governors, including a group meeting at the White House with Donald Trump. Spokesman Michael Lonergan offered few details about the engagement with Price. New Mexico residents and state government have a lot at stake in the pending health care overhaul by Republicans in Washington.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A Santa Fe cardiologist accused of health care fraud and wire fraud has changed his plea to guilty. Prosecutors say 53-year-old Roy Heilbron entered his plea Thursday in a federal court in Albuquerque. They say Heilbron will be sentenced to two years in federal prison and term of supervised release to be determined by the court, which also will determine the restitution amount.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on 2:30 p.m. on a New Mexico proposal to ban alcohol for repeat DWI offenders (all times local): 2:15 p.m. A Democratic-control House committee has tabled a proposal that would have banned alcohol for New Mexico's repeat drunken drivers. The House Consumer and Public Affairs voted 3-2 on Thursday to sideline a bill that would have mandated a lifetime alcohol ban for those convicted of a third drunken driving conviction. The measure would have been one of the most restrictive DWI laws in the country. Republican Rep.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Efforts to increase the enforcement powers of New Mexico oil and natural gas regulators over drilling and environmental violations has earned an initial nod of approval from a panel state lawmakers. A state Senate panel endorsed legislation Thursday that would restore the state's authority to impose administrative penalties of up to $10,000 when aquifers are polluted or threatened by drilling operations, and lesser fines for other violations of the New Mexico Oil and Gas Act. Texas allows daily penalties of $10,000.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — The city of Las Cruces has agreed to pay $400,000 to a man who claims police officers used excessive force on him when he was detained in a holding cell. The Las Cruces Sun-News reports (http://bit.ly/2mbXeeJ ) that the settlement figure between the city and Ross Flynn was confirmed Wednesday. Flynn filed the lawsuit in 2015, claiming his Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and 14th Amendments were violated when he was arrested by Las Cruces police officers in December 2014.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Actor Shia LaBeouf is citing safety concerns in cutting the livestream from the political performance art piece that was installed in downtown Albuquerque just days ago. The actor informed his followers via social media Thursday that the stream was taken down after gunshots were reported in the area. He says the safety of participants was paramount. LaBeouf and two other artists on Saturday mounted a camera to a wall with the message "He will not divide us," referring to President Donald Trump.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Staff at Albuquerque Public Schools will not face layoffs or furloughs this year as the district has found other ways to cover a $12.5 million budget cut. The Albuquerque Journal reported Wednesday (http://bit.ly/2moQhCS ) that instead of making the money through staff changes, the district is taking $6.65 million out of cash reserves and making up the rest from a number of areas, including substitute teacher funds and staff reductions by attrition. The $12.5 million budget cut came Jan. 31 when Gov.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A new proposal would ban alcohol for New Mexico's repeat drunken drivers in what would make for one of the most restrictive DWI laws in the country. The bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Jane Powdrell-Culbert of Corrales is scheduled to be heard by a House committee Thursday. Under the legislation, those convicted of a second drunken driving offense would be prevented from purchasing and consuming alcoholic beverages for a year. A lifetime ban would be imposed after a third conviction.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Law enforcement officers would be required to get search warrants before delving into private electronic communications under a measure approved by the New Mexico Senate. Sens. Peter Wirth of Santa Fe and Jim Dines of Albuquerque say the bill would update the state's antiquated privacy laws to cover emails, text messages and other digital information. The bipartisan legislation has support from the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico. The proposal would be an extension of a 2014 U.S.

ESPANOLA, N.M. (AP) — A lawsuit filed by parents against the former boys basketball coach at Espanola Valley High School has moved to federal court. Lawyers for the parents of four former players filed papers last week to move the lawsuit against Richard Martinez to U.S. District Court. The lawsuit says Martinez regularly battered one player during the last basketball season and assaulted the father of another player. Martinez's attorney, Sam Bregman, says the former coach did nothing wrong. The parents are seeking an undisclosed amount in damages and attorney's fees.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on efforts to resolve New Mexico's state budget crisis (all times local): 8:40 p.m. The New Mexico House of Representatives has approved a proposal to increase state revenues for the coming fiscal year to prevent further state spending cuts. The Democratic majority backed the legislation on a 37-32 party-line vote on Wednesday. Republicans said they favored greater austerity measures and delays to construction projects to shore up the state general fund, among other measures.

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