Feb. 6 First News: State Lawmakers Consider Bill Banning Coyote-Killing Contests (Listen)

Feb 6, 2015

A bill with bi-partisan support that seeks to enact criminal penalties for organizers and participants in coyote killing competitions is under consideration at the State Capitol. The legislation is among the reactions to a number of coyote hunting contests held statewide that award hunters who tally the most kills. Those contests sparked protests among animal rights advocates who say the practice gives New Mexico a bad reputation. Animal Protection Voters of New Mexico is leading the push for the proposed ban. Phil Carter is the group’s Wildlife Campaign Manager: *****020615-Carter-1 :14***** Carter adds that the bills are specifically written to not interfere with people’s ability to protect their property, including livestock through “lethal control of coyotes.” The Senate version of the bill is sponsored by Albuquerque Republican Mark Moores. *****020615-Moores-1 :14***** Moores’ bill has cleared the Senate Conservation Committee and now moves on to the Senate Judiciary panel. A companion bill in the State House has been introduced by Las Cruces Democrat Jeff Steinborn.

The New Mexico House Health Committee has passed a bill that would outlaw e-cigarette sales to minors. The Health panel approved a proposal that would add electronic cigarettes to the state's Tobacco Products Act. Battery-powered e-cigarettes heat a liquid solution, usually containing nicotine, to create vapor that users inhale.

The House Agriculture, Water and Wildlife Committee today is scheduled to discuss a bill sponsored by Rep. Bill McCamley that would legalize marijuana in New Mexico. The Mesilla Park Democrat wants to allow the state to license marijuana producers to grew and sell the drug to adults. The move comes after a proposal to let New Mexico voters decide whether to legalize recreational marijuana stalled in a Senate committee last year. That proposal would have made it legal for adults 21 and over to possess and use marijuana. It would have been left to the Legislature to later establish a system for regulating and taxing marijuana. Gov. Susana Martinez has said she opposes marijuana legalization in New Mexico.

Santa Fe County officials say some 55 Super Bowl fans enjoyed the big game out and then a Cab-Ride Home after the exciting conclusion. The County’s five-dollar Cab Ride Home anti-DWI effort was in place last Sunday…and the county reports that the 55 people took thirty seven cab rides instead of driving on Super Bowl Sunday.  The program runs on Friday and Saturday nights from 5:30 PM to 2:30 AM.

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 Bio surveillance Gateway. The website will offer "credible information" and will be the most comprehensive place online for the latest research. California health officials say a measles outbreak originating at Disneyland has grown to 99 cases in the state. Since then, cases have been diagnosed in 11 other states. New Mexico isn’t one of them, but Dr. Randall Knott, an assistant professor in the UNM School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics says it’s only a matter of time. *****020615-Knott-1 :23***** The California Department of Public Health says two-thirds were infected when they visited Disney theme parks last month or had contact with a sick person who went there. While the U.S. has not seen homegrown measles in years, outbreaks still occur when people travel overseas and bring the virus back.

Leaders of New Mexico's health insurance exchange say they are considering how to pay for retooling the exchange's eligibility and enrollment system in the wake of a federal agency's denial of an application for 97 million dollars in grant funding. The Albuquerque Journal reports that the health exchange learned in December that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services had denied the exchange's application. The money primarily would go for technology upgrades to comply with CMS requirements for individual-insurance exchanges. Health exchange CEO Amy Dowd said there's no plan to request state funding or to increase the fees that the exchange charges insurers to cover the exchange's operational costs.

Santa Fe Weather: Sunny skies today through tomorrow with highs both days in the upper 50s. Tonight: Mostly clear skies with the overnight low down to 32.