- Judge OKs regulators’ subpoena for ‘Rust’ assistant director
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A judge has decided that the assistant director who handed Alec Baldwin a prop gun that killed a cinematographer on a New Mexico film set must make himself available for an interview with state workplace safety regulators. Local news outlets reported that a district judge on Friday granted the state officials’ request to issue a subpoena to Dave Halls, assistant director for the movie “Rust.” Halls’ attorney did not immediately respond to a request by The Associated Press for comment. Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed and director Joel Souza was wounded in the Oct. 21 shooting on the Bonanza Creek Ranch film set near Santa Fe.
- New Mexico Legislature sends redistricting plan to governor
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A Democratic-led Legislature has approved an overhaul of New Mexico’s three congressional districts that would reshape a Republican-dominated district in a southern oil-production region. The state House voted Saturday to approve a redistricting bill from Democratic state Rep. Georgene Louis of Albuquerque and Democratic state Sen. Joseph Cervantes of Las Cruces. The vote sends the bill to Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham for consideration. The redistricting plan bolsters the Hispanic, voting-age majority in New Mexico’s southern 2nd District. It also divides a conservative, oil-producing region in southern New Mexico into multiple districts, stoking outrage among Republicans.
- Navajo Nation reports 52 additional COVID-19 cases, 3 deaths
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — Navajo Nation officials on Saturday reported 52 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases and three more virus-related deaths. Tribal health officials said the total number of deaths now stands at 1,561 with a total of nearly 40,500 cases. The reservation covers 27,000 square miles and extends into parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.
- Albuquerque cuts ties with Orion Center aerospace company
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque officials are cutting ties and moving on from plans for for what they had hoped would be a flagship addition to New Mexico’s burgeoning aerospace industry. The city announced Friday that the aerospace company behind the planned Orion Center never signed a lease agreement that was prepared months ago. Albuquerque chief operating officer Lawrence Rael says the company hasn’t followed through on its commitments. Plans at one point called for building a large campus that could have employed as many as 2,500 people. The parent company of Group Orion is TGI and faced financial and legal trouble. Company officials did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
- 4 women met Maxwell as teens. They’re accusing her as adults
NEW YORK (AP) — An aspiring musician, a young British model, a struggling middle school dropout and an impressionable high school student were the four key witnesses to testify against British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell in her sex-abuse trial. The four women’s testimony in Manhattan federal court offered sordid details about allegations Maxwell groomed them to participate in sexual massages with Epstein. Three of the four women testified using pseudonyms or only their first names to protect their privacy. The defense says Maxwell is taking the fall for Epstein, who died by suicide in 2019. The government’s case finished Friday. Defense attorneys are expected to put on their case next week.
- New Mexico Senate endorses Democrats’ redistricting map
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico’s Legislature has pushed forward with Democratic-sponsored redistricting plans to draw new political boundaries for three congressional seats and the state House. The state Senate voted 25-15 Friday in support of a congressional redistricting plan from Democratic state Sen. Joseph Cervantes that bolsters the Hispanic majority to 56% in New Mexico’s southern 2nd District. It divides a conservative, oil-producing region into multiple districts. The proposal now moves to the Democrat-led House for consideration. Cervantes says his plan brings together rural and urban communities in all districts to better reflect the overall composition of the state. Republican are unified in their opposition.
- Pandemic relief spending bill passes in New Mexico House
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico House has passed a $500 million bill that would direct federal pandemic relief funding to broadband internet improvement projects and road infrastructure. The largest spending categories in the bill passed Friday include $123 million for internet infrastructure and $142 million for roads. Additional spending items were added to the bill, including $50 million for a rural hospital. While a location for the hospital has not been determined, some legislators lean toward building it in Valencia County. The legislation also includes $2 million for teaching scholarships. The state is trying to fill about 1,000 teacher vacancies. Legislators say the teacher shortage is acute.
- New Mexico school enrollment flat even though kids in class
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Classrooms are open and children are back in school, but New Mexico’s enrollment woes are far from over. The Public Education Department said Friday that fall enrollment is flat. With schools primarily in remote learning last year, thousands of families pulled their kids out of school or delayed enrolling them. Data indicates that fewer students are homeschooling than last year but that more are homeschooling than before the pandemic. K-12 public school enrollment dropped 4% during the pandemic. That prompted a decrease in public school funding. In Albuquerque, the drop led to a $35 million deficit this year.