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Burn Ban Proposal
New Mexico News This Week
In this week’s Chile Street:
A state senator has prefiled a bill that would prevent government agencies from conducting prescribed burns from March through May
Ranchers in southern New Mexico seek help in wake of devastating fires, flooding
Governor appoints high-profile attorney as DA
Former Pecos basketball coach pleads guilty to federal sex crimes
Police investigate shots fired at homes of multiple politicians
Governor undergoes total knee replacement
And much more!
Good morning and happy New Year! Today is Friday, Jan. 6. Here’s a look at the past week in New Mexico news.
Legislator seeks to ban springtime burns
Two fires set by federal agencies last year meant to manage vegetation and reduce hazardous fuels ultimately grew out of control and led to the largest wildfire in New Mexico history. This week, a state senator prefiled legislation aimed at making these types of government-managed burns illegal from the beginning of March to the end of May each year, Ryan Lowery reported for Source New Mexico.
Sen. Ron Griggs, a Republican from Alamogordo, prefiled legislation on Tuesday that would prohibit the use of prescribed burning during the spring by any government entity.
“I know it may put some challenges on some of the agencies, but when you look at the challenges that people are facing while trying to recover from fires that got out of control, challenges that the agencies face are inconsequential to them,” Griggs said.
Griggs prefiled the bill on the first day lawmakers could do so ahead of the 60-day legislative session that will begin on Jan. 17.
The bill, if passed into law as written, would preclude federal, state, local and even tribal governments from conducting any burns in the spring. Whether such a law could be legally enacted or enforced is not clear.
Wendy Mason, a spokesperson for New Mexico’s Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, said the department had not had the opportunity to review the bill so she could not comment on any provisions of it at this time.
Ivan Knudsen, a spokesperson for the U.S. Forest Service said it would be inappropriate for the Forest Service to speculate on any proposed legislation.
Ranchers look for help after massive 2022 wildfire in southern NM
Ranchers in the Gila National Forest thought the Black Fire would cause the worst of their damage. Then flooding tore apart the land, leaving a burn scar that has the possibility of kindling disasters and danger for years to come.
The personal damage is becoming more evident as some families with generations of experience ranching in the area are unable to afford to fix the destruction, due to high costs and unreliable emergency funding from the state and federal government, Megan Gleason of Source NM reported.
Read the story here (no paywall): sourcenm.com/2023/01/05/what-are-we-going-to-do-ranchers-look-for-help-after-massive-2022-wildfire-in-southern-nm/
Governor appoints Sam Bregman as Bernalillo County DA
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham appointed prominent Albuquerque attorney Sam Bregman as the Second Judicial District Attorney. Bregman will replace Raúl Torrez, who is was recently sworn in as New Mexico Attorney General, KRQE-TV reported.
Watch or read the story here (no paywall): krqe.com/news/politics-government/governor-appoints-sam-bregman-as-bernalillo-county-da/
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham kicked off her second term with a private party sponsored by the oil and gas industry
Major oil companies and the pharmaceutical industry were among the sponsors of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s inaugural celebrations on Jan. 1, a day of events that marked the start of her second term and that were largely unregulated by state campaign finance laws, reported Andrew Oxford of the Santa Fe Reporter.
Read the story here (no paywall): sfreporter.com/news/2023/01/04/friends-like-these/
Outgoing AG says teen’s death in police standoff was avoidable
One day before leaving office, outgoing Attorney General Hector Balderas announced the results of a review of the July death of 15-year-old Brett Rosenau and said that “less-lethal tactics to detain the suspect earlier would have mitigated fatal risks,” the AP reported.
Read the story here (no paywall): apnews.com/article/albuquerque-hector-balderas-fires-new-mexico-24bde120969cd47840dc5e0fe1b6220f
Former Pecos coach pleads guilty to federal sex crimes
A former Pecos High School boys basketball coach has pleaded guilty to federal charges of coercion and enticement of four girls ranging in age from 14 to 16 years old, Ryan Lowery reported for the Las Vegas Optic.
Read the story here (no paywall): lasvegasoptic.com/news/crime/former-pecos-coach-pleads-guilty-to-federal-sex-crimes/article_ae54a9d8-8d1c-11ed-af1a-af3afbac549f.html
Police investigate shots fired at politicians’ homes
Albuquerque police are investigating three recent shootings that left bullet holes in the houses of two Bernalillo County commissioners and a state senator over the past month around Albuquerque, Jessica Dyer and Matthew Reisen of the Albuquerque Journal reported.
Read the story here (paywall): abqjournal.com/2562145/albuquerque-police-investigating-shots-fired-at-homes-of-local-leaders.html
Governor undergoes knee surgery in D.C.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham traveled to Washington, D.C., on Tuesday for total knee replacement of her right knee.
The surgery was performed by an orthopedic surgeon the governor previously received treatment from, according to Nora Meyers Sackett, a spokesperson for the governor. The surgery was deemed necessary following the re-aggravation of an injury.
“The governor’s surgery was a success and she is recovering well,” Sackett told Chile Street. “She is scheduled to return to New Mexico late next week.”
Biden Appoints Albuquerque Museum Director to National Committee
President Joe Biden this week appointed Albuquerque Museum Director Andrew Connors to serve as a member of the Cultural Property Advisory Committee.
Connors joins 10 other presidentially appointed members to review requests for import restrictions submitted to the U.S. by foreign governments.
“I am honored to have been asked to help our country protect international cultural property, and I look forward to learning from the impressive scholars and experts I will join on the committee,” Connors said in a statement.
The committee includes two members who represent the interests of museums; three members who are expert in archaeology, anthropology, ethnology, or related fields; three members who are expert in the international sale of cultural property; and three members who represent the interest of the general public.
Connors has served as director of the Albuquerque Museum since 2018 and has worked with the City of Albuquerque’s Department of Arts & Culture since 2009.
That’s it for now. Have a great weekend!
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