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In Brief - New Mexico News - Jan. 1, 2014

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The Associated Press

2 Young women killed in Rio Rancho wreck ID’d

RIO RANCHO — Rio Rancho police have identified two young women killed in a two-vehicle collision at an intersection over the weekend.
Police say 21-year-old Audree Jones was driving one of the vehicles involved in the collision Saturday and that 22-year-old Dakota Chino was a passenger in the same vehicle.
Police say Jones’ driver’s license has a Las Vegas, N.M., address and that Chino’s license listed an address in Acoma.
However, police say they’re not certain whether the young women were actually living in Rio Rancho or just visiting family for the holidays.

Lawmaker aims to confront truancy problem

ALBUQUERQUE — A state lawmaker has proposed taking away the driver’s licenses of New Mexico students who habitually play hookey from school.
The Albuquerque Journal reports that Sen. Craig Brandt wants to give school authorities the ability to work with the Motor Vehicle Division to deny or suspend licenses of students who have a pattern of truancy, poor grades and are at risk of dropping out.
Current state law puts the burden on parents to ensure kids don’t skip school, giving probation officials, district attorneys and courts the authority to take action and levy fines of up to $500 for repeat offenses.
Brandt believes the current law puts pressure on an overloaded court system and that the possibility of losing a license to drive would send a strong message to teens.

Overtime costs increase for state employees

SANTA FE — The number of overtime hours New Mexico state government employees are working is on the rise and the cost of that overtime was up significantly for the 2013 budget year.
Personnel figures released this month show the state paid out nearly $36.7 million in overtime, representing nearly 1.6 million hours. Three years earlier, the cost of roughly 1 million in overtime hours was $24.4 million.
Rep. Luciano “Lucky” Varela tells the Albuquerque Journal he’s concerned about the trend.
He questions why some state agencies have not been using the full amount of money appropriated to them by the Legislature for filling vacant jobs.
State Personnel Director Gene Moser says the rise in overtime cost and usage is attributable to an aging workforce and a spike in retirements.