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July 1, 2014

"Diego Fire grows in Santa Fe National Forest" – Santa Fe New Mexican

A lighting-caused fire in the Santa Fe National Forest’s Coyote Ranger District grew to over 1,000 acres as of Monday afternoon.  The Diego Fire was first detected on June 25.  Donna Nemeth, public information officer for the Santa Fe National Forest, said the fire covered an area of about 100 acres before a 30-acre spot fire sprung up Sunday morning. The latter burned its way into the main fire, expanding the conflagration.

 

"Sheriff's deputies enforcing 100 Days and Nights of Summer" – Las Cruces Sun News

Doña Ana County sheriff's deputies will join 65 other agencies throughout New Mexico in the annual 100 Days and Nights of Summer public safety campaign beginning Tuesday.  The initiative, grant-funded by the New Mexico Department of Transportation Traffic Safety Division, provides overtime pay for saturation patrols, checkpoints and added enforcement during a 100-day period from July through September. – 6/30/2014

June 30, 2014

"New Mexico texting while driving law goes into effect Tuesday" – Las Cruces Sun News

New Mexico drivers will be prohibited from using cellphones to send or view text messages while driving when a new law to prevent distracted driving goes into effect on Tuesday.  In March, Gov. Susana Martinez signed Senate Bill 19, which penalizes drivers for texting while their vehicles are in motion.  The bill becomes law on Tuesday.

 

"Las Cruces sales tax to rise Tuesday" – Las Cruces Sun News

Expect to pay more for that green enchilada plate – or just about anything else you buy in the city.  Starting Tuesday, the gross receipts tax – often called sales tax – is going up in Las Cruces according to City Manager Robert Garza.  That means residents are going to have to pay more — about 37.5 cents on a $100 purchase – for most products and services inside the city.  Though the tax is assessed to businesses, they often pass it on to customers. – 6/30/2014

June 26, 2014

"PRC denies Uber’s application to operate in New Mexico" – Albuquerque Business First

On Wednesday, the state Public Regulation Commission voted 3-2 to deny a request from a company connected to one of the largest ride-sharing outfits in the nation, Uber, for a certificate to provide “specialized passenger service.”  The move comes a little more than a month after the PRC issued a cease and desist order against Lyft, which is trying to establish a presence in the Albuquerque market. – 6/25/2014

 

"Board OKs $26M in Special Education dispute" – Las Cruces Sun News

The NM State Board of Finance has approved $26 million as a safety net if New Mexico loses a dispute with the federal government over special education funding. The board on Tuesday agreed to a transfer of the money from this year's budget accounts. – 6/26/2014

June 27, 2014

"New Mexico court restricts high-interest loans" – Santa Fe New Mexican

The state Supreme Court ruled Thursday that “signature loans” that have interest rates ranging from 1,147.14 to 1,500 percent violate New Mexico law.  The case involved an appeal by Attorney General Gary King against two former payday lending companies, B&B Investment Group Inc. and American Cash Loans.  In its 19-page opinion, the court unanimously found that the companies took advantage of borrowers’ lack of knowledge and directed their employees to describe the loan cost in terms of a “misleading daily rate.” – 6/26/2014

 

"Ruling Grants Patients Direct Access to Lab Results" – Cure

According to a ruling passed in February by the US Department of Health and Human Services, patients no longer have to go through the doctor who ordered clinical tests to learn the results.  Instead they can get the results directly from the lab.  “Information like lab results can empower the patients to track their health progress, make decisions with their healthcare professionals an adhere to important treatment plans,” former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a press release.  The federal rule revises the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) of 1988 to allow labs to provide complete test results to a patient or a patient’s designated representative upon request.  The rule also removes an exception under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 that protected health information at CLIA certified or CLIA exempt laboratories.  Patients can continue to receive lab results from their physicians, but this new ruling provides patients another option for access.  The final rule is available for review at the Federal Register.

 

June 20, 2014

"Water wells will close over any jet fuel contamination" – Albuquerque Journal

On June 18, 2014, the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority unanimously approved a resolution aimed at preventing contamination from a jet spill at Kirtland Air Force Base (KAFB) from threatening the community’s drinking water supply.  The resolution declares “The Water Authority’s position that ethylene dibromide (EDB) at any detectable level will not be allowed to enter the potable drinking water system.”

"State rejects plan to clean up KAFB fuel spill" – Albuquerque Journal

On June 6, 2014, the New Mexico Environment Department sent a certified letter directing KAFB to cease plans to increase pumping on one of the base’s drinking water wells to try to divert the underground flow of contamination. “The proposed strategy would actively enhance the spread of contamination into the very resource NMED seeks to protect, Albuquerque’s drinking water supply,” Environment Department official Tom Blaine wrote in “Disapproval of White Paper on Interim Measure for EDB Dissolved Plume