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Mar. 14 First News: N.M. Attorney General Takes Action to Protect State Assisted Suicide Law-Listen

New Mexico Attorney General Gary King is appealing a court ruling that terminally ill patients can seek a physician's help in dying. King tells the Albuquerque Journal that one of the problems with District Judge Jan Nash's January ruling is that it doesn't apply statewide. King adds that he wants to protect the assisted suicide law. That law classifies helping with suicide as a felony.

The case centers on Santa Fe resident Aja Riggs, who was diagnosed with an aggressive uterine cancer. Her cancer is in remission, but doctors expect it to return. Nash ruled that terminally ill patients have the right to aid in dying, and that "such deaths are not considered 'suicide' under the assisted suicide law.


The contractor that runs the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant has made a change at the top. Nuclear Waste Management has replaced Farok Sharif as Project Manager with Bob McQuinn. The Carlsbad Current-Argus reports McQuinn is a former Los Alamos National Laboratory manager. Sharif has been moved to a new job overseeing the program for moving nuclear waste to other locations while WIPP is not operational. He is to work with other Department of Energy sites to develop plans for the temporary storage of their waste. The change comes as teams are investigating back-to-back incidents that shuttered the nation's only deep underground nuclear waste repository last month.


New Mexico alcohol-related fatalities have reached a record low—Governor Susana Martinez on Thursday released numbers show the state saw 133 fatal alcohol-related crashes last year, a nearly 14 percent drop from 2012. Officials say that's the lowest number of alcohol-related traffic deaths in the state's recorded history. The state's previous low was in 2008 when New Mexico saw 143 alcohol-related traffic deaths. The New Mexico Department of Transportation also said preliminary numbers show that New Mexico saw 309 traffic deaths last year. That's a drop from 2012 when state officials reported 367 cases.


The University of New Mexico is working to reach out to Latin America. A news release says UNM's special assistant to the president on global initiatives, Mary Anne Saunders and others, have been encouraged by U.S. embassy officials to develop a larger presence in Mexico. After establishing an office in Beijing, China, UNM is poised to open an office in Mexico City. The City of Albuquerque and UNM are partnering in a site that will be used for educational and trade purposes.


Insurance rates for people covered by New Mexico's high-risk pool will go up nearly 24 percent. The Albuquerque Journal reports the pool director says it's partly because enrollment is shrinking as more previously uninsurable people find coverage through health insurance exchanges. The pool now has 83-hundred people enrolled.


Santa Fe Weather: Cloudy today with scattered showers and a high near 52. Mostly cloudy tonight with a low of 30 and chance for showers. Tomorrow: Partly sunny, breezy and a high near 57.