Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — An Albuquerque-based wildlife group has gathered hundreds of petition signatures in support of halting plans to develop New Mexico's share of the Gila River. The New Mexico Wildlife Federation is delivering the petition signatures to Gov. Susana Martinez's office on Thursday. The group contends the project would be a burden on taxpayers and lead to environmental damage. Under the Arizona Water Settlements Act, New Mexico is entitled to about 14,000 acre-feet of water a year from the river, or about 4.5 billion gallons.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — The president of the National Education Association is coming to southern New Mexico to help launch a new "community school." Lily Eskelsen Garcia is scheduled to visit Lynn Middle School in Las Cruces on Thursday to celebrate the opening a school the union says is a multipurpose center. Community schools are usually jointly operated through a partnership between the school and at least one lead community agency. The union president is slated to attend a student rally and speak at a presentation.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — An Oklahoma-based American Indian tribe is accusing the National Indian Gaming Commission of shirking a federal court order to reconsider an earlier decision that prohibited the tribe from conducting gambling on its land in southern New Mexico. Attorneys for the Fort Sill Apache filed a motion Tuesday, calling for the commission to be held in contempt. A previous order required the commission to reconsider its 2015 decision as part of a settlement process after receiving an opinion from the U.S.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico lawmakers are diving into efforts to close a lingering budget gap for the current budget year on the second day of their legislative session. Lawmakers begin deliberations Wednesday on a package of solvency bills designed to close a $69 million budget deficit for the fiscal year ending June 30. The plan would replenish state operating reserves to more than 2 percent of annual general fund spending. That would mark a significant step toward safeguarding the state's credit rating and low borrowing costs.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- Albuquerque police say a crash has killed a passenger in a vehicle that collided with a stolen vehicle and that police are searching for two people who fled from the scene. Police say officers had spotted the stolen vehicle and tried to stop it Wednesday morning but discontinued their attempt because of what police called "reckless actions" by the driver of the stolen vehicle. According to police, officers then found the stolen vehicle after it was involved in a crash with the second vehicle.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The University of New Mexico has told its College Republicans organization it must pay a security charge for a scheduled campus appearance by far-right commentator Milo Yiannopoulos (yuh-NAH'-poh-lihs). The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/2j9lJnx ) that the school's College Republicans have been ordered to pay $3,400 for the Jan. 27 event. UNM College Republicans President Marina Herrera called the charge a "free speech fine" and accused to university of attempting to censor the controversial speaker.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A new lawsuit says the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions isn't investigating claims of "wage theft." The lawsuit filed Wednesday in Santa Fe District Court on behalf of four workers and various advocacy groups says the agency is refusing to look into claims and doesn't hold employers liable for wage violations In addition, court documents accuse the Department of Workforce Solutions of not investigating or taking any enforcement action on wage claims that go back more than one year.

SHIPROCK, N.M. (AP) — The father of an 11-year-old Navajo girl who was abducted and left to die on the Navajo Nation is suing the tribe for failing to have an emergency notification system that he claims would have saved his daughter's life. The Farmington Daily Times reports (http://bit.ly/2izf3CO) that Ashlynne Mike's father, Gary Mike, has filed a civil complaint against the tribe. He's demanding a jury trial. Ashlynne was found dead May 3, the day after she was abducted near her school bus stop. An Amber Alert wasn't issued until around 2 a.m. the morning after her disappearance.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico lawmakers are proposing a change to the state constitution that would automatically provide voter registration through driver's license records unless individuals chose not to participate. Several Democratic lawmakers and the state's top elections regulator announced the proposed constitutional amendment Wednesday at the state Capitol. New Mexico currently provides voter registration services at Motor Vehicle Division offices, placing the onus on individuals to fill out an additional form.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Several storm systems are expected to blow across New Mexico starting Thursday and continuing into the weekend, producing strong winds, colder temperatures, rain in lower elevations and significant snowfall in high country. The National Weather Service says the state will be under an unsettled weather pattern into at least early next week. Forecasters say high temperatures will fall Friday and Saturday, starting the weekend with temperatures 5 to 15 degrees below average.

HOBBS, N.M. (AP) — A southeastern New Mexico sheriff has died in an apparent car crash. The Lea Country Sheriff's Office said Sheriff Steve Ackerman was killed Tuesday in a crash and was pronounced dead at the scene. No other injuries were reported. The office says New Mexico State Police is handling the investigation. It is believed that Ackerman may have been heading to Santa Fe for the start of the New Mexico Legislative session. Ackerman was elected in 2014. No other details were available.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The trial of a 22-year-old man accused of killing two teens over a drug debt is underway. Attorneys made opening statements Tuesday in the trial of Ricardo Martinez, who is accused of killing 18-year-old Venancio Cisneros and Cisneros' 13-year-old girlfriend Anamarie Ojeda in 2014. The victims' bodies were found Oct. 25, 2014 in a car parking on a residential road off State Route 14, south of Santa Fe. The girl had been shot once and Cisneros had been shot three times in the head.

PHOENIX (AP) — The federal government has reached another settlement for cleanup work at abandoned uranium mines across the Navajo Nation. The U.S. Justice Department, Environmental Protection Agency and tribe announced a settlement agreement Tuesday with two affiliated subsidiaries of Freeport-McMoRan for the cleanup of 94 abandoned uranium mines on the vast reservation. The mining operations stretched from western New Mexico into Arizona and southern Utah. The last uranium mine shut down in 1986. Under a proposed consent decree filed in U.S.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — ExxonMobil could become one of southeast New Mexico's top oil producers after announcing plans to acquire 275,000 acres of oil leases in the Permian Basin, which also covers parts of western Texas. The Albuquerque Journal reported (http://bit.ly/2jWWYuW ) Tuesday that ExxonMobil is paying $5.6 billion to the Bass family of Fort Worth, Texas, to acquire the family's lease acreage and operating entities. Daniel Fine with the New Mexico Center for Energy Policy at New Mexico Tech says ExxonMobil is likely to begin drilling in the area by the end of the year.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico lawmakers are diving into efforts to close a lingering budget gap for the current budget year on the second day of their legislative session. Lawmakers begin deliberations Wednesday on a package of solvency bills designed to close a $69 million budget deficit for the fiscal year ending June 30. The plan would replenish state operating reserves to more than 2 percent of annual general fund spending. That would mark a significant step toward safeguarding the state's credit rating and low borrowing costs.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Senate will webcast all of its committee meetings and will archive the proceedings. Democratic Senator Majority Leader Peter Wirth announced Tuesday that the legislative body will store recordings of the committee meetings online so citizens can watch them later. The New Mexico Legislature has streamed committee meetings online but did not archive them. State lawmakers are expected to hold a number of committee meetings on the state's budget amid possible cuts.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Police have released the identities of the officers who fatally shot a man suspected of armed robbery in Albuquerque. Albuquerque police released a statement Tuesday saying the three officers fired on 38-year-old Gilbert Zambronio Lovato after he pointed a BB gun at them earlier this month. Lovato was taken to a hospital, where he later died. Police say the officers involved in the Jan. 7 shooting have been identified as Sgt. Eric Brown, a 17-year police veteran; Detective Russ Carter, a 19-year veteran; and Detective Nava Marquez, a seven-year veteran.

3:45 p.m. New Mexico Democrats say they will resist efforts by Gov. Susana Martinez to balance the state's budget by cutting teachers' salaries. Sen. Joseph Cervantes said Tuesday the Republican governor's proposal to force teachers to pay more into the pension system was "against New Mexican" values and vowed Democrats would fight it. The Las Cruces Democrat also faulted Martinez for failing to mention child and rural poverty in her State of the State speech. New Mexico ranks at the bottom nationally on both.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The leaders of several Navajo communities are asking federal officials to cancel an upcoming oil and natural gas lease sale over concerns about the protection of cultural resources in northwestern New Mexico. Nine Navajo chapter presidents met with the Bureau of Land Management in Santa Fe on Tuesday as dozens of supporters turned in petitions and letters in opposition to the Jan. 25 lease sale. The four parcels up for bid include more than 842 acres that opponents say are part of the "greater Chaco area" that surrounds Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Two former U.S. Postal Service employees in New Mexico have been sentenced to probation after pleading guilty to destruction of mail. Prosecutors say 30-year-old Christopher Vigil, of Albuquerque, was sentenced Tuesday in federal court to one year of probation and ordered to pay a $200 fine. They say 33-year-old Alonzo Gallegos, of Pena Blanca, was sentenced to six months' probation and ordered to pay a $250 fine. Prosecutors say Vigil admitted to intentionally opening mail not directed to him last Aug.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on Gov. Susana Martinez's State of the State address (all times local): 2:10 p.m. Gov. Susana Martinez says New Mexico is weathering declines in the oil and natural gas sector much better than other states but she acknowledges there are major challenges that lawmakers face during the 60-day session. In her State of the State address Tuesday, she called for a bipartisan approach to fill a budget gap and asked the Legislature not to take the easy way out.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — Authorities are unable to identify a driver who died after crashing a stolen sports utility vehicle into a pecan tree outside of Las Cruces. The Las Cruces Police Department says the man in his late teens or early 20s died at a hospital from injuries suffered in Sunday's crash. The SUV was stolen after its owner momentarily left it unattended while its engine was warming up. The crash occurred when the driver was speeding, left the roadway and crashed into the tree. The driver was the only person in the vehicle. No driver's license was found for the driver.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on the start of the New Mexico legislative session (all times local): 12:50 p.m. New Mexico's incoming speaker of the House of Representatives is urging his Democratic allies and Republicans to work in cooperation to help provide greater economic security for local families and businesses. House Speaker Brian Egolf of Santa Fe told lawmakers Tuesday that businesses are struggling to find qualified employees even as people leave the state in search of jobs. He says schools must be fixed to resolve that equation.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The weekend storm delivered healthy rainfall totals across much of New Mexico and dumped snow on high-altitude areas. The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/2k0Kuqg) that Albuquerque International Sunport received 0.66 inch of rain Sunday, while Roswell recorded 0.33 inch of rain. The heaviest snowfall was recorded at the 10,000-foot Magdalena Ridge Observatory west of Socorro, which racked up at least 18 inches. Several ski areas picked up a foot or more of snow.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A state lawmaker wants to close a loophole that lets members of the New Mexico Legislature accept campaign money while they're in session. Current law prohibits members and candidates for the Legislature from soliciting contributions from Jan. 1 until they adjourn, but still lets them accept donations. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports (http://bit.ly/2iJjauA) that Democratic Rep. Matthew McQueen of Galisteo filed a bill to close the loophole.