April 18 First News: NM Senators Udall & Heinrich vexed as background checks bill fails. (listen)

Both of New Mexico's U.S. senators say they are unhappy that there were not enough votes to pass gun control legislation yesterday. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich were in the majority voting for a bill to expand background checks for gun buyers.  But the majority was not enough to get the 60 votes needed to overcome a Republican filibuster.

Rancor is growing after the Railyard Corporation's announcement of a pending deal with an Austin-based movie chain for creation of  a 16,000 square-foot theater complex devoted to arts and Spanish-language films. The winning plan with the Violet Crown company trumpeted that the complex would not require the destruction of El Museo Cultural and the adjacent Santa Fe Clay. Now, the company originally set to develop the project, Maya Cinemas of California, says they were misled by Railyard developers into thinking the elimination of those entities was not an adversarial issue. Meanwhile, the director for the CCA's Cinematheque says the Railyard complex brings unwelcome competition that will jeopardize their operation.

A second dog has died in Eldorado from poisoning and a local veterinarian thinks it might be intentional.  Veterinarian Murt Byrne tells the New Mexican the deaths both took place in the same general area and appear to have been caused by anti-freeze, rat poison or some other deadly agent.

New Mexicans may remember an aspect of the former Richardson administration's pay-to-play scandals involving a state district judge and allegations of bribery. A plea hearing set for today on the felony charges against former Judge Michael Murphy is expected to see those charges dropped and replaced by a misdemeanor violation of the state’s Governmental Conduct Act. Murphy is alleged to have told a judicial candidate that an appointment could be secured by making a contribution to a democratic activist who would pass it along to the governor.

A Rio Rancho man has been sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in federal prison for violating federal firearms laws.  30 year old Christopher Rooks was arrested last August on charges of being a felon in possession of guns stemming from prior felony conviction in California. After his arrest, he admitted during investigation that he had also stolen five firearms from a federal firearms licensee doing business as the Rio Rancho Armory. 

A wildfire currently burning on 200 acres in the  Lincoln National Forest is a reminder that fire season in New Mexico is upon us.  The Curtis Fire is said to be 10% contained with 20 nearby homes voluntarily evacuated. The cause of the blaze which erupted Wednesday on forest service and private lands is under investigation but human element is suspected.

Weather for Santa Fe – mostly sunny today with high temperatures much below seasonal norms, only making the low 40s.  A Hard Freeze warning tonight as temperatures are expected to drop into the upper teens. Sunny tomorrow and a little warmer with highs in the mid 50s.