Sept. 16 First News: Sec. Of State Duran Enters Pleas And Returns To Job (Listen)

Sep 16, 2015

New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran has made her first visit to her office since being charged more than two weeks ago with fraud, money laundering and other counts. She pleaded not guilty Tuesday to the 64 counts outlined in a criminal complaint filed by the state attorney general's office. Meantime, the New Mexico Legislative Council voted to budget up to 250-thousand dollars to fund a special committee recently appointed by House Speaker Don Tripp to investigate the charges against Duran, as a step toward possible impeachment proceedings. Tripp says if state lawmakers do opt to impeach her, the process will take time. *****0891615-Tripp-2 :27***** Back to Duran, Secretary of State Spokesman Ken Ortiz says she met with her top staffers to discuss upcoming deadlines and projects related to the 2016 election season. The office oversees enforcement of the state's election and campaign finance laws.

There are seven candidates thus far the open City of Santa Fe Police Chief’s job. The New Mexican reports that Gallagher announced his decision to seek the post on Tuesday. Gallagher most recently worked as the city’s training and development specialist in the Human Resources Department. He has 27 years of law enforcement experience with the New York City, Truth or Consequences and Santa Fe police departments.

The judge in the Las Cruces trial of the former Santa Fe County sheriff's deputy charged with shooting and killing a fellow deputy last October has delayed the trial for six months. Tai Chan is charged with killing 29-year-old Jeremy Martin during an alcohol-fueled fight in a Las Cruces hotel. The trial was originally scheduled to begin on September 28th. In late August, Chan's attorneys filed a motion with Chief District Judge Fernando Marcias to postpone the trial. They cited a number of delays in obtaining evidence from prosecutors, including crime scene photos and recordings of Chan and witnesses. Chan has pleaded not guilty.

New Mexico Public Education Secretary Hanna Skandera says new state-issued 100-dollar debit cards will help teachers buy supplies and she doesn't understand a union's objections. Skandera told The Associated Press on Tuesday she's "utterly disappointed" the Albuquerque Teachers Federation is advising educators to decline the offer for the card. The union says it has concerns that the fine print on purchases may put teachers' licensures at risk. Albuquerque Teachers Federation President Ellen Bernstein also says the cards were "an insult" to educators since they come as districts face teacher shortages. Skandera says teachers can use the cards at approve vendors and a required signed agreement to get the cards are aimed at protecting tax dollars. State officials say 23,000 teachers will get the debit cards.

Emergency call boxes are being removed from an Albuquerque college campus, an action school officials say is meant to cut down on expensive maintenance and repair costs. KOAT-TV reports the tall blue poles with "push for help" buttons dispersed throughout Central New Mexico Community College have served as resources for students who might need to call for help. The devices are now covered with gray sleeves or bolted over with metal. Student Angela Fredlund says the boxes are there for students who don't have access to a cellphone and are in need of help. She says she doesn't think the change is safe. But school officials say the technology is outdated and have cited costs as a reason to remove the boxes.

Santa Fe Weather: Mostly sunny today with the high reaching 79. Tonight: Partly cloudy with the overnight low dipping to 53. Tomorrow: Sunny with the high, 79.