Here’s a look at today’s headlines:
The Grant County Sheriff’s Office and American Legion Post NM 18 put together a Christmas basket donation for residents in Grant County that could use a gift. All these items were donated by members of the Sheriff’s Office and the American Legion Post. Items in the baskets were a ham, potatos, pie, milk stuffing and other misc items. All the Christmas presents were marked for a boy or girl with an age group on them.
Representative Conrad James pre-filed two bills to strengthen protections for New Mexico’s children. The measures will increase penalties for child abusers and expand the number of children covered under Baby Brianna’s Law. HB 68 will increase the penalty for the first offense of intentional child abuse from a third degree felony to a second degree felony. The penalty for subsequent offenses would be increased from a second degree felony to a first degree felony. The other bill, HB 69, will broaden Baby Brianna’s Law to include all children under the age of 18. The law is named after Brianna Lopez, an infant who was killed by members of her family in 2002. Currently, individuals who intentionally abuse a child resulting in the death of the child face life in prison only if the child is under the age of 12. James’s proposal would make all acts of child abuse resulting in the death of the child punishable by life imprisonment, regardless of the age of the child.
U.S. Senator Tom Udall announced that he secured a provision in the “omnibus” appropriations bill signed by the president last week requiring the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to report on the status and findings of its burn pit registry. The registry — which was created by Udall’s Burn Pits Registry Act — is the first step toward providing medical care and research for service members and veterans who were exposed to toxic chemicals and fumes from open-air burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan. Udall is working to ensure the VA and Department of Defense (DOD) strengthen and build on the creation of the registry and continue to advance their understanding of how burn pit exposure has affected veterans’ health. The VA’s findings are a crucial step in that process.
The New Mexico Human Services Department announced an additional clothing allowance that will help more than 15,000 children throughout New Mexico. Effective Jan. 1, eligible households will receive an additional $50 per child to buy clothes for the second half of the school year.