Associated Press

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Time may be running out for an extension of New Mexico's rooftop solar tax credit as legislators weigh whether to forgo $5 million in annual state revenues to encourage more generation of solar energy by households, farms and small businesses.

The tax credit offsets up to 10 percent of costs for new solar energy systems and expires at the end of the year. A bill to extend the credit through 2024 cleared its first hurdle on Monday with approval by a House energy committee.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The nation's only Latina governor continues to face accusations by advocates for pushing an "anti-immigrant" agenda over her push to revise New Mexico's immigrant driver's license law.

Those charges come even though New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has been one of the few elected Republicans to denounce GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump for his remarks on Mexican immigrants. The El Paso, Texas-born Martinez also has pressured Republicans to tone down rhetoric on immigration.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A GOP-sponsored bill that would make New Mexico compliant under the REAL ID Act and allow some allow immigrants to obtain driver's permit cards has cleared another hurdle.

The proposal passed 7-6 on Monday in the House Judiciary Committee along party lines after a nearly three-hour meeting.

The measure passed despite charges of racism from immigrant advocates.

New Mexico currently allows immigrants in the country illegally to obtain driver's license and this bill would only allow them get the driver's permit cards.

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — A sobering center to help people with alcohol addiction in San Juan County is on track to open in less than two months.

The Daily Times in Farmington reports that the facility is scheduled to begin operations March 1.

County officials say the sobering center is being built to fill a gap left by the Four Winds Recovery Center.

The center is closing a detox center and will offer residential and outpatient substance abuse treatment.

Four Winds Recovery has long been the only detox center in the county.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico lawmaker is pushing for a ban on reserved seating during joint sessions of the state Legislature.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez spoke out Friday after seeing some guests attending the governor's State of the State address had color-coded passes for seats.

The Belen Democrat says it is "unconscionable" to deny the public a chance to sit in on such events.

House sergeant at arms Steven Shaw says some seats were reserved for the public.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Search and rescue teams rescued two hiking parties who became stranded in the Sandia Mountains.

New Mexico State Police say crews initiated efforts to help a total of five hikers down safely Saturday night.

State Police spokeswoman Elizabeth Armijo said Sunday the hikers were taken to a base camp and checked out by Albuquerque firefighters.

The Bernalillo County Sheriff's Department says one group became stuck near the Crest and another got lost on the La Luz Trail.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Sandia National Laboratories says it spent more money in 2015 than the previous year and more than $381 million went to New Mexico businesses.

The national laboratory released its latest economic impact report Thursday. It covers spending from October 2014 through the end of September 2015.

It shows spending on goods and services was just shy of $1 billion at $983 million. That's up nearly $21 million from the previous year.

SOCORRO, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico State Police say a man detained after being found with a stolen vehicle escaped from the back seat of a State Police officer's car and drove off in it before crashing into drainage canal about two miles away.

State Police Sgt. Elizabeth Armijo said the suspect was taken back into custody Thursday after the incident that started at a truck stop in Lemitar north of Socorro in west-central New Mexico.

Armijo said the State Police commercial vehicle enforcement officer whose car was fired shots during the escape but that nobody was injured.

SANTA TERESA, N.M. (AP) — Business leaders in New Mexico say the partisan stalemate in the Legislature over a REAL ID fix have them nervous about the state's economy.

Border Industrial Association president Jerry Pacheco says potential investors may overlook New Mexico if workers can't get REAL ID compliant driver's licenses. Pacheco says he worries the uncertainty may hurt efforts to attract new companies to places like the booming border city of Santa Teresa.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico legislators are conferring with energy experts about plunging oil prices as they craft a new state budget.

The price of U.S. crude sank almost seven percent to below $27 a barrel Wednesday amid a glut in oil supplies.

New Mexico may put plans for $77 million in salary increases on hold because of falling revenues from taxes and royalties linked to oil production. The salaries represent about one-third of new spending under a $6.5 billion state budget recommendation from Republican Gov. Susana Martinez.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Defense says it will no longer accept New Mexico driver's licenses at its installations nationwide.

Defense Department officials announced Wednesday that driver's licenses from New Mexico — along with those from Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri and Washington state — can't be used as proof of identity to enter its bases.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The state of New Mexico is suing Volkswagen over an emissions cheating scandal that involves millions of cars worldwide.

Attorney General Hector Balderas filed the lawsuit in state district court in Santa Fe late Tuesday. He alleges Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche and their U.S. subsidiaries violated state air quality regulations and engaged in deceptive trade practices.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Santa Fe will have its own film commission to help lure productions and cultivate independent filmmakers.

The Santa Fe City Council unanimously approved establishing a 16-member commission last week amid inquiries about how it would use its $50,000 budget.

Councilor Joseph Maestas says he will "reluctantly support" the commission but wants more discussions about the film industry's potential in Santa Fe.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Former New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran was released Sunday from a Santa Fe County jail after a 30-day sentence for using political campaign funds to fuel a gambling spree.

A judge ordered Duran to be released at 9 a.m.

Duran pleaded guilty to felony counts of embezzlement and money laundering. Her transgressions have led to calls for a major overhaul of New Mexico's campaign finance and ethics laws during the legislative session that starts on Tuesday.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — An environmental group is challenging New Mexico regulators' decision that cleared the way for the partial closure of a coal-fired power plant in the northwest corner of the state.

New Energy Economy filed its appeal with the New Mexico Supreme Court on Thursday.

The Santa Fe-based group has been critical of Public Service Co. of New Mexico's plan for replacing the capacity that will be lost with the shuttering of two units at the San Juan Generating Station.

The group claims PNM didn't prove it identified all the alternatives.

The small, slots-only casino about 16 miles north of Santa Fe will be open to the public from 6 p.m. to midnight Sunday, ending years of negotiations and planning.

Nambe Pueblo has been talking about getting into the casino business for 20 years. Initial plans were for a 50,000-square-foot building with 500 slot machines and a theme park.

The Nambe Falls Casino is a fraction of that size at only 7,310 square feet and features 180 slot machines.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's first private medical college will include a think tank focused on health at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The new Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine opens this fall. The school will unveil its Burrell Institute for Health Policy and Research during a Friday event at the University of New Mexico.

Chairman Dan Burrell says the institute will take a data-driven and forensic approach to examining cross-border health issues like disease surveillance, health care disparity and data tracking.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico lawmakers will consider a first-time tax on e-cigarettes along with increased levies on cigarettes and chewing tobacco.

The proposal for a 66 percent tax on e-cigarettes was introduced on Wednesday by Democratic state Senator Howie Morales of Silver City. Taxes on conventional cigarettes would increase by $1 to $2.66 and taxes on other tobacco products would rise from 25 percent to 66 percent of initial sales.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas says the legal battle with Texas over management of the Rio Grande is moving ahead and this is no time for the Legislature to cut funding.

Balderas testified Wednesday before the House Appropriations and Finance Committee, one of the key panels that will be crafting the state budget when the legislative session begins next week.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — House Rep. Jim Dines is proposing a measure that would give New Mexico voters the option during the next election to create an independent ethics commission.

He says the goal would be to crack down on unscrupulous public officials and employees of the legislative and executive branches of government.

New Mexico is one of just several states without an ethics commission. Calls for creating such a panel were reignited last year after former Secretary of State Dianna Duran was prosecuted for misusing campaign donations to fuel her gambling addiction.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Defense attorneys for an 18-year-old who pleaded guilty to killing five family members have called a neuroradiologist as their first witness in a hearing to determine whether the teen can be rehabilitated through psychiatric treatment.

After more than two days of testimony from medical experts, sheriff's deputies and other witnesses called to the stand by prosecutors, Nehemiah Griego's public defenders began building their case Wednesday.

The defense says Griego was abused by his father and likely suffered traumatic brain injury.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A 47-year-old man who was shot and wounded by an Albuquerque police officer now faces a federal charge of attempted bank robbery.

A federal complaint accuses Darrel Salazar of Albuquerque of trying to rob a Bank of America branch late Monday.

An FBI agent's affidavit says Salazar was followed by a customer who called 911 after Salazar ran from the bank when he failed to get any money from a teller. The affidavit says a police officer shot Salazar drew a handgun and pointed it at officers.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — An Arizona man has been sentenced to more than five years in federal prison for narcotics trafficking in New Mexico.

Prosecutors say 36-year-old Jorge Antonio Rangel of Phoenix was sentenced Tuesday to a 63-month prison term in federal court in Las Cruces.

He will be on supervised release for four years following his incarceration.

Rangel was arrested in November 2014.

He was charged in a criminal complaint with possession of heroin and methamphetamine with intent to distribute in October 2014 in Lordsburg.

Ex-New Mexico Corrections Officer Sentenced in Drug Case

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A former corrections officer in New Mexico has been sentenced to more than three years in federal prison in a drug smuggling case.

Prosecutors say 39-year-old Luis Delgadillo of El Paso, Texas was sentenced Tuesday in federal court in Las Cruces to a 40-month prison term followed by three years of supervised release.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A sheriff's detective has told a judge he collected firearms, large amounts of ammunition and bullet casings from the New Mexico home where authorities say three children and their parents were killed by the young siblings' older brother in 2013.

Bernalillo County Sheriff's Deputy Miguel Rivas took numerous photos and collected evidence at the Griegos' home south of Albuquerque the night authorities discovered the bodies of five family members inside.

Nehemiah Griego was 15 when authorities say he opened fire inside the home.

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