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Associated Press

The top Democrat in the New Mexico House of Representatives is highlighting commitments to public education funding, health care services and environmental protection. House Speaker Brian Egolf released a video on YouTube on Tuesday that acknowledges recent tough economic times in New Mexico and says Democrats are committed to putting more money toward early childhood education and making sure residents have clean air and clean water. The video segment preceded the governor's midday State of the State address that marks the beginning of the 2018 legislative session.

Gov. Susana Martinez will be giving her last State of the State address as New Mexico lawmakers convene for a 30-day legislative session. The Legislature convenes at noon Tuesday in Santa Fe, and one of the first orders of business will be for lawmakers from both chambers to gather together for the annual address. In what marks the final year of the two-term Republican governor's tenure, she wants to focus on the familiar priorities of schools, job creation and public safety.

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — The nation's only underground nuclear waste repository is undergoing its first maintenance outage since it resumed operations a year ago. Before then, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant had been shut down for three years because radiation contaminated part of the facility. The Carlsbad Current-Argus reports that maintenance crews will be updating power supplies, relocating fiber-optic cables and replacing other parts in the underground mine. The work is expecting to last until Jan. 26. Waste shipments will be on hold until the following week.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Criminal justice initiatives and state spending increases for public education, law enforcement, Medicaid and economic development are at the top of the agenda as the New Mexico Legislature convenes for a 30-day session. The session begins at noon on Tuesday with the State of the State address by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez. State tax income is on the rise as lawmakers begin crafting a spending plan for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico state Sen. Mimi Stewart of Albuquerque has been chosen as Democratic Senate majority whip. Stewart was named to the post Monday. Democratic state Sen. Michael Padilla of Albuquerque was ousted last month as majority whip and ended his campaign for lieutenant governor amid allegations that he harassed women at a previous job a decade ago. He has repeatedly denied the allegations. Stewart joined the Senate in 2015 after serving for 20 years in the state House of Representatives.

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — Students at Navajo Preparatory School researching the lasting impacts of the 2015 Gold King Mine spill have won $10,000 for their work. The Farmington Daily Times reports seven sophomores and juniors in a gifted-and-talented program at the school entered the Lexus Eco Challenge with a project that involved testing green onion roots for iron and zine after they had been submerged into the Animas River. The work won them $8,000 in scholarships, and $2,000 for school equipment. They now are competing in a second phase of the competition.

SILVER CITY, N.M. (AP) — Western New Mexico University has a new athletic director. The school announced Monday that it has hired Scott Noble to run the Mustangs athletic program. His job at the school's Silver City campus begins Feb. 2. For the last several years, Noble has been the athletic director at Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne, Wyoming, where he re-introduced the women's basketball program after a 30-year hiatus. He has a master's degree in physical education and sport administration from Eastern Illinois University.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Analysts for the Legislative Finance Committee say they are undertaking a review of the Bernalillo County criminal justice system. The jurisdiction includes Albuquerque, where crime has been on the rise since 2010. Analysts told lawmakers Monday that they expect to complete a report this spring on factors contributing to Albuquerque's rising crime rate. They are reviewing what — if any — affect a lagging economy, drug abuse and gang activity have had, as well as whether reforms in the last several years have played a part in driving up crime rates.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico state lawmakers are taking anti-harassment training for the first time since 2004. Human resources consultant and attorney Edward Mitnick of Massachusetts on Monday led lawmakers through lessons about harassment policies and how to create a culture of mutual respect in the statehouse. He says harassment often is about people abusing their power and authority over others. The training is part of an effort to make the Capitol work environment safer amid a nationwide debate over sexual misconduct.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The murder of a Hispanic jailer in New Mexico in 1968 — a year of unrest in the United States — has long divided residents, scholars and civil rights advocates. Assailants abducted Eulogio (ee-loh-HEE-oh) Salazar in front of his home in the rural community of Tierra Amarilla (tee-AYR'-uh ah-mah-REE'-yah), and left his body in a ravine. The murder came as Salazar was preparing to testify against Hispanic-rights activist Reies Lopez Tijerina and his followers. The group was accused of leading an armed raid of the Tierra Amarilla Courthouse six months earlier.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico has filed a lawsuit over an Albuquerque panhandling ordinance that went into effect last month. The ordinance passed by the Albuquerque City Council prohibits panhandlers from soliciting motorists at medians and sidewalks. It also makes it illegal for motorists to physically interact with them. City Councilor Trudy Jones sponsored the measure. She says the intent of it is to make streets safer.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A Santa Fe district-chartered school has had its state grade for 2016-17 raised from a "B'' to an "A'' after a data error led to a miscalculation. The New Mexico Public Education Department made the change for the Academy for Technology and the Classics. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that the college-preparatory school that serves nearly 400 students in grades 7-12 now has logged its fifth straight "A'' since the state implemented the school grading system in 2012-13.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Legislation has been proposed that would require greater public disclosure about New Mexico state government payouts to settle legal disputes over workplace harassment and personnel issues. Republican Sen. Sander Rue of Albuquerque announced Friday a bill that would require the state to publish a summary of facts leading to settlement agreements, the agency or office involved, and financial terms including damage payments and attorney fees.

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — Officials at Carlsbad Caverns National Park say the park's secondary elevators will be out of service for required maintenance from Jan. 22-24. The work involves shortening the cables installed on both secondary elevator cars last February. Park officials say stretches in new hoist cables is common, especially in long hoistways like the 750-foot shaft at Carlsbad Caverns. There are two separate elevator systems in two separate elevator shafts at the park.

GALLUP, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico newspaper says former state legislator Sandra Jeff has changed parties, from Democrat to Libertarian. The Gallup Independent reports Jeff changed her voter registration last Thursday at the Bernalillo County Clerk's Office and intends to run for secretary of state. She listed an Albuquerque address on the voter registration card. Jeff was appointed to the Gallup-McKinley County Schools Board of Education last year, but was defeated in her election bid as persistent questions about her residency dogged her campaign.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Murder and evidence-tampering charges against a Santa Fe County man accused of killing his adult daughter in 2015 have been dismissed.

CAMERON, Ariz. (AP) — Federal officials have reached a settlement to have eight abandoned uranium mines assessed on the Navajo Nation. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says EnPro Holdings Inc. will install fencing and signs warning residents and visitors of potential radiation exposure at sites in northeastern Arizona near Cameron and Tuba City. The company also will assess for radiation and conduct biological and cultural surveys ea. The work is expected to cost $500,000 and be complete by the end of the year.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Legislation has been proposed that would require greater public disclosure about New Mexico state government payouts to settle legal disputes over workplace harassment and personnel issues. Republican Sen. Sander Rue of Albuquerque announced Friday a bill that would require the state publish a summary of facts leading to settlement agreements, the agency or office involved, and financial terms including damage payments and attorney fees.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A Dona Ana County physician accused of groping patients has been convicted of criminal sexual contact but jurors acquitted him of a second count of that misdemeanor crime and deadlocked on a third. A jury returned its verdicts against 65-year-old Robert Woody of Chaparral after seven hours of deliberations on Friday, a day after the trial judge dismissed four felony kidnap counts for lack of evidence. The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that prosecutors intend to retry Woody on the deadlocked charge.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Authorities have identified a man who was killed in a shooting involving Albuquerque police as a wanted ex-felon. A police spokesman said Friday the man has been confirmed to be Daniel Saavedra-Arreola. Gilbert Gallegos says Saavedra-Arreola had several aliases and served time in various correctional facilities. According to police, officers responding to a residential burglary call last Sunday were confronted by a suspect with a weapon. At least one officer opened fire, fatally wounding him. A task force is investigating the officer-involved shooting.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The former head of New Mexico's Martin Luther King Jr. Commission and two others have been indicted on numerous charges stemming from a lengthy investigation into allegations of financial impropriety. The indictments handed up Friday accuse former executive director Kimberly Greene of more than a dozen charges that include fraud, embezzlement, larceny, conspiracy and other counts. It wasn't immediately clear if Greene, who was removed by commissioners in 2016, had an attorney.

GALLUP, N.M. (AP) — The Navajo Nation will train its own police officers at its new Navajo Nation Police Academy. Navajo Nation Public Safety Director Jesse Delmar says no other tribe has its own police academy. Delmar says the Navajo Nation Police hired 20 recruits Wednesday who will be trained in Chinle, Arizona. They could begin training as soon as February. The Gallup Independent reports the Navajo academy will use curriculum based off of the Arizona Peace Officers Standards and Training curriculum.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Gov. Susana Martinez's proposal to grant broader immunity to police in use-of-force lawsuits is being met with criticism from attorneys and others on both sides of the debate. The Albuquerque Journal reports that Martinez plans to push for a measure during the upcoming legislative session that would provide somewhat of a legal shield for law enforcement officers sued for actions in the line of duty, so long as they were following their training. Albuquerque has reached settlements in a string of lawsuits in recent years over police shootings.

The New Mexico Supreme Court says prosecutors are not obligated to present live witness testimony at pretrial detention hearings. The ruling Thursday settles a question that had emerged among some prosecutors after voters approved a 2016 constitutional amendment to ensure dangerous or high-risk defendants awaiting trial remain incarcerated, and nonviolent suspects unable to afford bail are let go. Some prosecutors further complained that, in addition to being unclear, bail and pre-trial detention rules that justice crafted after the voters' decision haven't worked as intended.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico-based lobbyists attended voluntary, state-sponsored training Thursday on how to prevent and report sexual misconduct, and lawmakers will be required to undergo similar training next week. It's part of a push by the Legislature to make the Capitol work environment safer amid a nationwide debate over sexual misconduct. The Legislature is revising its anti-harassment policies after women began breaking their silence about sexual misconduct and harassment in the Capitol. Legislators last attended sexual harassment training in 2004.

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