March 3 First News: Governor Martinez Signs Texting While Driving Ban Into Law (Listen)
Governor Susana Martinez signed legislation on Sunday prohibiting texting while driving in New Mexico. The bill sponsored by Santa Fe Senator Peter Wirth bans texting while behind the wheel, except when summoning medical or other emergency help. Wirth says this year was the second time he worked for the texting-while-driving ban. *****030314-Wirth-2 :35***** When the bill takes effect in June, drivers will be prohibited from sending or reading text messages and emails, or making Internet searches from smartphones or other hand-held wireless devices. There will be a 25-dollar fine for a first violation—that goes up to 50-dollars for subsequent violations.
Santa Fe Mayoral Candidate Bill Dimas says he wants city government to get back to the basics of providing services for the community. Dimas, who spoke to KSFR at a campaign event Saturday, was asked to differentiate his candidacy from his mayoral opponents, City Council colleague Patti Bushee and former Santa Fe County Commissioner Javier Gonzales. *****030314-Dimas-1 :14***** Dimas, who chose not to participate in various mayoral forums, says a top priority would be re-establishing the Santa Fe Police Department's narcotics unit to combat the city's drug-related crime issues. The city elections take place tomorrow.
A Taos Pueblo resident was killed in a motor vehicle crash on Highway 64 near El Prado Sunday morning. The Taos News reports three individuals were involved in the crash, and that one person was arrested for unspecified charges. Gender and age of the victim were not immediately available. All three involved in the crash were tribal members. Taos Pueblo Police are investigating the crash along with the Bureau of Indian Affairs with assistance provided by the New Mexico State Police, who are analyzing evidence.
Prompted by demand for medical marijuana that exceeds supply, New Mexico Department of Health officials have announced two proposals--one calls for increasing the limit that producers can have from 150 plants and seedlings to 150 mature plants and up to 300 seedlings. The other proposal calls for opening the application process to add as many as 12 licensed, nonprofit growers. There are currently 23 licensed growers in the state. The department will hold a public hearing this spring to formally propose the necessary rule changes.
University of New Mexico officials are investigating how its Law School Student Bar Association spent its funds between 2012 and 2013. KOAT-TV reports that an audit found expenditures from the Bar Association's 20-thousand dollar account from the University and law student fees included nearly seven-thousand dollars' in cash withdrawals, 24-hundred on liquor and restaurant meals, among other questionable spending. University officials said if they can determine who spent the money on unauthorized expenses, the students could be suspended, expelled or even prosecuted.
It's a bumper crop for New Mexico pecan growers, who say they may be seeing their largest crop in years. The Las Cruces Sun-News reports farmers indicated this year's haul at 75 million pounds. The U-S Department of Agriculture estimates New Mexico's last big pecan crop was 74 million pounds in 2007. Growers say the feat is surprising since last year was considered the worst river-water irrigation year in a century.
Santa Fe Weather: Partly sunny, with a high near 53, and a slight chance of showers this afternoon. Tonight, Partly cloudy, with a low around 31. Tomorrow, partly sunny with a high near 58.