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Associated Press

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.

CLOVIS, N.M. (AP) — Officials at an Air Force base in eastern New Mexico say three service members are dead following the crash of a single-engine reconnaissance and surveillance plane during a training flight. Cannon Air Force Base officials say the U-28A crashed Tuesday night in a field about a quarter mile from Clovis Municipal Airport, which is about 3 miles east of Cannon. A statement released by the base says the cause of the crash is under investigation and that identities of the victims will be withheld until 24 hours after families are notified.

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 is holding a training session Wednesday on accompanying immigrants to court and supporting them when immigration authorities arrive. Participants also will learn how to advise immigrants of rights and how to record interactions.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico House of Representatives has voted to ban indoor tanning for people under age 18 and require tanning salons to post notice of health risks. The House on Tuesday approved the bill from Democratic Rep. Andres Romero of Albuquerque that would offset regulatory costs with licensing fees. The bill responds to evidence of increased risks of skin cancer, especially among minors exposed to tanning facilities. Customers at tanning salons would have to sign a form indicating they read the health risks. It now goes to the Senate.

PREWITT, N.M. (AP) — Authorities say the man suspected of gunning down a tribal police officer on the nation's largest American Indian reservation was found hiding on a ridge not far from his rural home in western New Mexico. The McKinley County Sheriff's Office in a report obtained by the Navajo Times (http://bit.ly/2mpVATd ) identified the suspect as Kirby Cleveland. He's in federal custody, but the FBI has remained silent about the suspect and the ongoing investigation.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — Authorities say an apartment fire that killed a Las Cruces man last month appears to have been set intentionally and now is being investigated as a homicide. Las Cruces police say 67-year-old Allie James Hardeman lived alone on a second-floor apartment. Firefighters responded to a fire at the apartment on Feb. 26 and Hardeman was located unconscious in a bedroom. He was transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The state medical investigator's office says smoke inhalation was the primary cause of death.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico lawmakers are withholding funding for a promised overhaul of the state's outdated campaign finance website that helps the public follow the influence of money in politics, even as lawmakers seek new disclosures on political spending. The state's top campaign finance regulator on Tuesday said House- and Senate-approved budget plans leave out funding for an overhaul of the campaign finance web portal. The Legislature mandated the overhaul last year without allocating money.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A Quaker church in Albuquerque says it's joining churches across the country giving sanctuary shelter to immigrants facing possible deportation. The Friends Meeting House announced Tuesday volunteers will help give Emma Membreno Sorto around-the-clock protection from federal immigration authorities while she stays in church facilities. Her attorney Roderick DeAguero said the Honduran woman has lived in the U.S. for 25 years and previously had sought political asylum.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Texas doctors who treat New Mexico patients can breathe easier now that the New Mexico Supreme Court has overturned a ruling in a medical malpractice case that took aim at more restrictive laws in the Lone Star State. The court issued its opinion in the case of Kimberly Montano on Monday, saying her complaint against a former surgeon at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock should be dismissed without prejudice. Montano filed her suit in 2011, claiming her 2004 gastric bypass surgery was botched.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A former IRS employee will be sentenced to prison after pleading guilty and admitting she falsely stated in records that she had completed an audit which she hadn't. Joan D. Mobley's plea agreement says she faces mandatory two-year prison terms on each of two counts and up to five years on the third. The U.S. Attorney's Office says the 54-year-old Socorro resident pleaded guilty Monday in federal court in Albuquerque to a total of three counts of false statement and aggravated identity theft charges.

ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — Roswell firefighters have voted overwhelmingly to unionize. The Roswell Daily Record reports (http://bit.ly/2lXr0Eo ) that the firefighters voted 57-2 in favor of forming the Roswell Professional Fire Fighters Association on Monday. The election results still need to be officially certified by the city's Labor Management Relations Board. In order for the union vote to have been successful, at least 40 percent of the 70 potentially affected employees must have cast ballots.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The windy and warm weather that's forecast to hit eastern New Mexico over the next week is expected to whittle away the state's healthy snowpack. The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/2n68eKB) that National Weather Service meteorologists say parts of the state will reach record or near-record highs this week. Snowpack in New Mexico's northern mountains remained healthy Monday, but meteorologist Kerry Jones says the high-elevation winds and warm weather could cause significant melt-off.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Texas doctors who treat New Mexico patients can breathe easier now that the New Mexico Supreme Court has overturned a ruling in a medical malpractice case that took aim at more favorable tort laws in the Lone Star State. The court issued its opinion in the case of Kimberly Montano on Monday, saying her complaint against a former surgeon at Texas Tech Hospital in Lubbock should be dismissed without prejudice. Montano filed her suit in 2011, claiming her 2004 gastric bypass surgery was botched.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The nation's only Latina governor made a quick visit to Texas to help lawmakers there celebrate Women's History Month. Gov. Susana Martinez's office says the trip to Austin stemmed from an invitation from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. He asked the two-term New Mexico governor to speak during an event Monday. Martinez, a Republican, met with female Texas legislators and other state officials to discuss the importance of women in government. New Mexico is above average at 30 percent when it comes to the number of women serving in the state Legislature.

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