Here’s a look at today’s headlines:

Out-of-town hikers reported suspicious activity on the Continental Divide Trail near Twin Sisters Peak on Feb. 23. In a letter addressed to no one in particular, but obtained by the Beat, the writer stated. The hikers encountered two men who obviously were not hikers.  Not only were they not dressed for kinging, but they were pulling a small yard wagon.  The wagon, which was covered in a plastic tarp, overturned and revealed 2-3 gallons of containers filled with liquid.  According to officials, the easiest way to report suspicious activity, especially if you are a visitor to Grant County, is simply to dial 911. The event will then be routed to the appropriate agency for investigation. The more information a caller to 911 gives, including description of individuals and vehicles, clothing, and direction headed, the easier it will be for responding officers.

At the Silver City Grant County Chamber of Commerce luncheon, Silver City Mayor Michael Morones talked about two major state statutes that have an impact on municipalities.  The Municipal Local Options Tax Act allows communities the size of Silver City to have six ¼ of 1 percent increments that the town can impose by ordinance.  He said the town must maintain a 1/12 reserve so it can pay ongoing bills when cash is not coming in as fast.  The town is also supporting a few bills at the legislature that would help the town maintain about $2 million it receives from the Hold Harmless Act when the program phases out.

In legislative action:

A measure setting strict guidelines when a middle or high school student athlete could return after suffering a concussion has cleared its first hurdle.  The bill, if passed, would create rules for coaches when they could allow an athlete back in a game after showing signs of brain injury.  The measure would also require coaches to go through training on recognizing brain injuries.

Two bills that could affect UNM’s lottery scholarship recipients are making headway in the state Legislature.  Senate Bill 286, which would send forfeited lottery prizes to the scholarship fund, will advance to the Senate after the Senate Finance Committee approved the bill. And Senate Bill 355, approved with a 25-16 vote, would allow debit cards to be used to purchase lottery tickets. Supporters of SB 355 said it could increase lottery ticket sales and lead to larger prize amounts, which would in turn boost funding to the scholarship in the long run.

Recent legislation involving the illegal doping of horses in New Mexico now moves to the House for approval.  Regulatory changes in the state’s horse racing industry continue and come after a 2013 New York times investigation highlighting drug use, horse deaths, and jockey injuries at tracks across the nation, including New Mexico.

A proposal that would tighten eligibility rules for all sheriffs in New Mexico has cleared its first hurdle.  The House Safety and Civil Affairs Committee voted unanimously to approve the bill which would call for sheriffs to have at least seven years of professional experience in law enforcement.