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Out West Roundup: Native American artists slam proposed jewelry sale rules

Author: Associated Press - April 6, 2018 - Updated: April 12, 2018

In this file photo Donna and Joseph Nieto, left, of Santo Domingo Pueblo, New Mexico, sit under the portal at the Palace of the Governors as they sell their jewelry to passersby. Native American artists are attacking a plan that would impose more regulations to sell their jewelry at the historic site. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan, File)In this file photo Donna and Joseph Nieto, left, of Santo Domingo Pueblo, New Mexico, sit under the portal at the Palace of the Governors as they sell their jewelry to passersby. Native American artists are attacking a plan that would impose more regulations to sell their jewelry at the historic site. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan, File)

New Mexico

Native American artists slam proposed jewelry sale rules

SANTA FE — Native American artists have criticized a plan that would impose more regulations on sales of their jewelry at New Mexico’s historic Palace of the Governors museum in Santa Fe.

The Native American artists said the proposed changes are burdensome and disruptive to existing rules, the Santa Fe New Mexican reports .

Proposed changes by the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs address topics ranging from day-to-day vendor oversight to which artists can sell their goods in front of the historic building at its portal, a shaded entryway area with wood-hewn columns.

Native American artists, who have long resisted attempts by non-Native Americans to sell similar jewelry and crafts in the plaza, said they didn’t see a reason for changes from existing rules.

The building’s portal is reserved for the sale of Native American crafts to preserve the culture of New Mexico’s pueblo and tribal cultures.

The draft regulations state applicants must demonstrate their crafts at their residences, using their own tools, for at least two committee members. They also create violations, from being absent from an assigned site at the portal to selling unauthorized products to sexual harassment and criminal conduct. Proposed penalties range from a two-week suspension from the portal for a minor violation to banishment for a third serious offense.

“It seems like a set of rules aimed at a penal colony rather than an artists’ community,” said Michael Gorman, a Navajo silversmith and chairman of the portal committee.


Wyoming legislative committee lacks desire to strengthen pot laws

CHEYENNE – Efforts to strengthen Wyoming’s marijuana laws are likely dead for now.

The Wyoming Legislature has found itself at an impasse in the last several sessions over attempts to address concerns put forth by law enforcement and courts with regard to products flowing in from Colorado, where recreational and medical use are legal.

Wyoming’s laws were written several decades ago, when the plant form of the drug was by far the most prevalent manifestation. Today, in addition to concentrates such as shatter and wax, edible and liquid-infused products are increasingly commonplace.

Wyoming law states possession of 3 ounces or more of marijuana in plant form is considered a felony in the state, but it lacks definition when it comes to other products that are often higher in the drug’s intoxicating ingredient, THC.

“The dilemma for the Legislature is that two judges looked at a pile of (cannabis-infused) gummy bears and said, ‘I don’t see any green-leafy, therefore you can’t tell me that gummy is green-leafy,’” said Byron Oedekoven, executive director of the Wyoming Association of Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police. “So we have wrestled with defining that infused product, trying to come up with some equivalency to the green-leafy. Essentially, how many gummy bears does it take to make a felony?”

Sarah Barrett of the Wyoming State Crime Lab reported to lawmakers in Wheatland last year that no new advances have been made since the 2017 session that might make it easier to discern how many doses are contained in a particular product. That led to some hesitancy on the part of lawmakers worried they would be voting for laws that could apply felony charges for relatively minor offenses.

“I think it has to do with not being able to accurately measure the THC,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Dan Kirkbride, R-Chugwater. “That process is not widely or inexpensively available, and there’s a number of legislators who would be reluctant to charge and incarcerate people if they think it’s done unfairly. We’ve worked on it for three to four years, and we’re just kind of stuck.”


Idaho to require personal details of women getting abortions

BOISE — Idaho will require abortion providers to report how many times their patients have terminated a pregnancy in the past and other personal information under the latest anti-abortion law approved in the conservative state.

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter signed the legislation last week, just two days after approving a measure requiring women seeking abortions to be informed that the drug-induced procedures can be halted halfway. That is despite opposition from medical groups that say there is little evidence to support that claim.

The laws that take effect July 1 align with a national trend among Republican-dominant statehouses seeking new ways to test the legal ability to restrict a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy.

Some of the personal information required in the new Idaho measure is already collected by the state’s health and welfare agency. However, providers now will be mandated by law to report a woman’s age, race, how many children she has, if any of their children have died and how many abortions they have had in the past.

The legislation outlines a list of abortion complications — such as infection, blood clots and hemorrhaging — that providers, hospitals and clinics must report to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. Depression, anxiety and sleeping disorders also are on the list.


Endangered Colorado River fish no longer an extinction risk

FLAGSTAFF, Arizona — An endangered fish that makes its home in the Colorado River basin no longer is at the brink of extinction.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said it will consider reclassifying the humpback chub as threatened within the next year.

The fish that can navigate turbulent waters and have a fleshy bump behind their heads first were considered endangered in the late 1960s. As dams were built to control water in the river and its tributaries, turning the once warm and muddy waters cold and clear, the fish struggled to survive. Invasive species also preyed on them.

The number of adult humpback chub in the Grand Canyon went from nearly 11,000 in 1989 to less than half that number a decade later before stabilizing around 2008. Now, the Grand Canyon has the largest population of about 12,000 adults.

Four smaller, wild populations are found upstream of Lake Powell in Utah and Colorado canyons.

Tom Chart, director of the Fish and Wildlife’s Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program, said those working on recovery of the species had to learn how the populations fluctuate over time, how to mimic the natural conditions of the river that the fish need to reproduce, and to control non-native fish like rainbow and brown trout, green sunfish and smallmouth bass to give the humpback chub a better at survival.


Kansas considers making schools liable for not arming staff

TOPEKA, Kansas — Kansas schools that refuse to allow teachers to carry guns could be held legally responsible in the event of a tragedy under a proposal drafted after February’s mass shooting at a Florida high school.

Opponents of the measure, which got its first hearing last week in front of the House Insurance Committee, expressed concern it could effectively mandate arming teachers rather than allowing it, as several states have done.

“It would certainly open the door for that conversation,” said Democratic Rep. Brett Parker, an Overland Park school teacher. “The further we go down this rabbit hole, the more chance there is for even more obnoxious legislation moving forward.”

At least nine other states have provisions in place giving teachers the option of carrying guns in schools, but the Kansas plan seems to go further than most other laws in place or under consideration.

Rep. Blake Carpenter, a conservative Derby Republican who helped write the legislation, said he is confident armed and trained teachers will save lives. Police could be minutes away, and in smaller districts where modest funding means school-resource officers aren’t hired, the bill would allow for “next best thing,” he told the committee.

“It is not, if our kids will be killed. It is, when will they be killed and what are we doing to prevent it?” Carpenter said.

Kansas law has allowed teachers to carry concealed guns since 2013 but school districts across the state have disallowed the practice after EMC Insurance Companies, the state’s primary school insurer, refused to provide coverage to schools with armed staff.

Parker said he has received 284 pieces of written testimony opposing the bill, much of it from teachers unhappy with the prospect of being armed and working alongside others who may or may not be.

“We’re inventing new ways, it seems, to drive people out of the teaching profession in Kansas,” Parker said.

Associated Press

Associated Press