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February 10, 2015

CBP officials stepping up effort to prevent diseased, pest-infected flowers from entering El Paso, U.S.El Paso Times

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers have stepped up efforts as Valentine's Day approaches to prevent pest-infected and diseased flowers and other plants from entering the country. El Paso area CBP agriculture specialists prevented more than 50,310 quarantine material, including fruits, vegetables, plants and plant parts from entering the country in the 2014 fiscal year. Among those, 3,751 were found to be pest-infected, officials said. -- 2/10/2015


New Mexico House approves bills protecting children– Las Cruces Sun News

A pair of bills bolstering protections for New Mexico's children has passed the House of Representatives. One closes a loophole in existing law and makes it a crime to send naked pictures of people to anyone under 16. The other makes it mandatory for parents or guardians to receive court-ordered family services when there is strong evidence of child neglect or abuse, even when the victim is not taken into state custody. House Bill 125 sponsored by Belen Republican Kelly Fajardoand approved Wednesday now move to the Senate for consideration. -- 2/5/2015


Los Alamos National Lab creates website for measles fight– Las Cruces Sun News

The Los Alamos National Laboratory has developed a website designed to help public health officials in their fight against measles and other infectious diseases. KOAT-TV reports lab scientists recently compiled information into what's called the Biosurveillance Gateway. Gateway project director Alina Deshpande says the website will offer "credible information" and will be the most comprehensive place online for the latest research. -- 2/5/2015


New Mexico House panel OKs e-cigarette sales ban to minorsLas Cruces Sun News

A New Mexico House panel has passed House Bill 42 that would outlaw e-cigarette sales to minors. The House Health Committee approved Thursday a proposal that would add electronic cigarettes to the state's Tobacco Products Act. Rep. Monica Youngblood, an Albuquerque Republican, sponsored the bill. Battery-powered e-cigarettes heat a liquid solution, usually containing nicotine, to create vapor that users inhale. -- 2/5/2015


New Mexico Senate panel Oks drone hunting ban bill– Las Cruces Sun News

A New Mexico Senate panel has voted to approve a bill that officially would ban the use of drones for hunting. The Conservation Committee voted 9-0 on Tuesday to move the proposal. Sen. Howie Morales sponsored the bill that outlaws unmanned devices used to hunt game. -- 2/4/2015


New Mexico House votes to clarify duty to report child abuse- Las Cruces Sun News

The New Mexico House of Representatives has passed legislation that would clarify a law requiring the reporting of suspected child abuse and neglect to authorities. The bill by Santa Fe Democrat Brian Egolf removes reference to the 10 categories of people, including physicians, nurses and teachers, who were previously specified in law as having to contact authorities about suspected abuse. -- 2/4/2015


January 29, 2015

NM land commissioner puts the brakes on SunZia -- Albuquerque Journal / Associated Press

New Mexico Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn has put the brakes on a $2 billion transmission project that would carry electricity generated by renewable resources in New Mexico and Arizona to markets across the West.

Dunn announced late Wednesday that he was issuing a 60-day suspension after meeting with the developers. He says that will give his office time to review the project before any further development affects state trust lands. -- 1/29/2015

January 20, 2014

Governor Martinez Delivers State Of The State Address

New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez delivered the 2015 State of the State address this afternoon at the Roundhouse in Santa Fe. 

The full text is available from the Santa Fe New Mexican. The audio of the address is available from KUNM.

January 28, 2015

Flu cases up 50 percent to 2,372 in El Paso, health officials sayLas Cruces Sun News

Flu cases in El Paso have jumped more than 50 percent while the influenza season continues across the United States, local health officials said Tuesday. The El Paso Department of Public Health reported that there have been 2,372 flu cases this season compared with 1,217 cases at this time last year. The flu season started in October and typically peaks in January and February. -- 01/28/2015


Report: LANL officer’s lax practices led to disclosure of national secrets -- Santa Fe New Mexican

Federal investigators say the employee in charge of keeping classified material secret at Los Alamos National Laboratory misclassified documents in several instances and failed to report security incidents, resulting in the improper release of national security information.

A [draft] review by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Inspector General also found the classification officer was lax about keeping his staff apprised of up-to-date guidelines for determining whether information should be publicly released. The report criticizes the consortium of private contractors that manages the lab for ignoring the problems, even though it was aware of them. -- 1/27/2015

January 6, 2015

In new report, feds rip WIPP’s emergency plans -- The Santa Fe New Mexican

A new federal report about safety conditions at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad criticized the contractor that operates the below-ground nuclear waste repository for inadequate and unreliable information in the plans it developed to guide decision-makers during an emergency.

The report, based on a review conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Enterprise Assessments, which evaluates federal contractors, focused on WIPP’s recovery plan for operating diesel equipment with restricted airflows. airflows inside WIPP have been limited to about one-seventh of their normal level since a Feb. 14 radiation leak that began with the rupture of a drum of nuclear waste from Los Alamos National Laboratory. -- 1/5/2015


New Mexico land office postpones solar land auctions for Santa Teresa, Chaparral acreage -- El Paso Times

The New Mexico State Land Office indefinitely postponed two Monday auctions for state land leases for proposed solar projects on 2,770 acres near Chaparral and Santa Teresa.

The auctions, set by former New Mexico Land Commissioner Ray Powell, were postponed until further notice, reported Lilia Urrutia, a spokeswoman at the land office in Santa Fe. No reason was given for stopping the auctions. 1/6/2015