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June 23 First News: State Agency Revives Work Requirements For SNAP recipients Idea (Listen)

New rules proposed by New Mexico’s Human Services Department would require participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—or SNAP—to fulfill work, training or other requirements. The New Mexican reports the new requirements would be imposed on parents of children older than six-years to complete up to 80-hours a month of activities such as community work to continue to receive the SNAP benefits, which used to be known as food stamps. It would also apply to teens who are not in school. The Martinez administration has tried to impose the requirements in the past, only to be blocked by legal challenges. The latest effort comes following a more than 20-percent hike in New Mexico SNAP beneficiaries in the year that ended in April.  Estimates on the number of people affected ranges from less than 30-thousand to 80-thousand.

Since taking office, Governor Martinez has been on numerous trips across the border to meet with officials in neighboring Mexican states. Three trips taken in just the past year cost taxpayers more than 17-thousand dollars. Her office says the visits to Sonora and Chihuahua are part of a larger effort to turn the region into an international economic hub. New Mexico's exports to Mexico nearly doubled in 2014 to more than one-and-a-half billion, marking another record-setting year. The state also is leading the U.S. in terms of export growth to Mexico. In Santa Teresa, officials say they've nearly run out of space at their industrial parks. The competition might be heating up. Arizona’s Governor just finished a trip to Mexico City where he met with executives from major Mexican companies.

Some changes are in store for the New Mexico Department of Public Safety, the agency that includes the New Mexico State Police. The Department plans to merge its three law enforcement agencies into one entity that will become known as the New Mexico State Police Division with the arrival of the new fiscal year on July first.  The plan will see an estimated 150-commissioned officers from the Motor Transportation Police Department and Special Investigations Division transferred out of the classified personnel system and moved into the State Police’s exempt personnel system, effectively becoming state police officers in the process. Officials say the changes will reduce management costs. They say consolidating the three groups into the state police less money has to be spent organizing and keeping track of three different sets of records.

Sandia National Laboratories has made history with the announcement of its new director. The country's largest national lab on Monday named Jill Hruby to Sandia’s top post. Hruby becomes the first woman to lead a national security laboratory. She replaces Paul Hommert, who recently retired.  Hruby most recently has served as a vice president overseeing Sandia's efforts in nuclear, biological and chemical security.  The laboratory is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corp. and a contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration. With main facilities in Albuquerque and Livermore, California, Sandia has research and development responsibilities that cover national security, energy and environmental technologies and economic competitiveness.

Holloman Air Force Base near Alamogordo is readying for a new fighter pilot training program with the delivery last week of more than a dozen F-16 Fighting Falcons. The Alamogordo Daily News reports the 314th Fighter Squadron Director of Operations Lieutenant Col. Heath Wimberly says the decision was made a few years ago to put F-35s at Luke Air Force Base and bring F-16 training to Holloman. Wimberly said that half of the F-16 training program will be at the base starting next month.

Two New Mexico police officers will face second-degree murder charges in last year's shooting death of a homeless man near a tent in the mountains where he had been camping. Special Prosecutor Randi McGinn's office said Monday it will pursue charges against Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez that could land each officer 15 years in prison. Both officers have denied wrongdoing in the case. James Boyd's death sparked angry demonstrations around Albuquerque, with protesters calling for reforms following several police shootings. Authorities later said Boyd was schizophrenic and hadn't received proper treatment. He was shot during a March 2014 standoff in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains. Video of the shooting showed Boyd appearing to surrender before Perez and Sandy opened fire.

Meanwhile, two Albuquerque city councilors have pulled their support of a proposal to limit the powers of a civilian oversight board that was created in response to the federal investigation showing Albuquerque police had a pattern of using excessive force and violating people's rights. Councilors Brad Winter and Rey Garduno had proposed limiting the board's powers in the wake of a lawsuit by a police union that alleged the board's level of access to certain documents violated its contract. Winter and Garduno made the proposal in an effort to resolve the lawsuit. The Albuquerque Journal reports that the proposal has lost steam after Winter and Garduno recently withdrew as its sponsors. Garduno says the proposed changes to the oversight board weren't enough to satisfy the union.

Santa Fe Weather: Mostly sunny today with a slight chance for afternoon showers and thunderstorms, today’s high reaching 86. Tonight, it’ll be partly cloudy with the overnight low, 58 and a continued slight chance for precipitation. Tomorrow: Mostly sunny, a bit cooler with the high, 82 and a 20-percent chance for afternoon showers and thunderstorms.