Grants Mayor Martin Hicks led the city's 4th of July parade last weekend, despite Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s order to forego celebrations.
According to KOB the governor specifically forbade public gatherings on Saturday for Independence Day. “You cannot do that this weekend. The behavior this weekend alone can be sufficient to create incredible transmission and risk for everybody else in the state,” Lujan Grisham said during a press conference.
The Grants City Council voted against the decision to hold a public parade two weeks ago—at a meeting in which Hicks reportedly stormed out—and the Department of Transportation denied organizers the required permits. But Hicks decided to hold the city’s 115th annual 4th of July parade anyway. “Who is she to tell us we can’t do this? Our constitutional rights guarantee us that we can do this,” said Hicks. Cibola County Sheriff Tony Mace told reporters that the gathering was a chance to “peacefully protest what’s going on in our state.”
The mayor reportedly drove an ATV vehicle in the illegal parade while yelling slogans. Nearly 50 cars, motorcycles and other vehicles followed him. A spokesperson for the governor’s office reportedly called Hicks a “disgrace and a criminal.” However, it is unclear if any charges have been filed against the mayor.
State Police to Enforce Health Order
New Mexico State Police are issuing citations to individuals and businesses for failing to comply with the most recent public health order.
According to KRQE anyone caught violating the mandate to wear a face covering while in public spaces will be issued a citation carrying a fine not to exceed $100 or imprisonment in the county jail for a definite term not to exceed six months. All state and local law enforcement agencies can issue citations.
State health officials amended the Public Health Emergency Order last week. The new rules require individuals to wear face coverings while in public and require businesses to enforce the rule on their customers. The order also requires a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all out-of-state visitors. Phase 2 of reopening has been put on hold and the revised health order—which was set to expire May 31—now expires July 15.
N.M. Suicide Rate Highest in the US
The suicide rate in New Mexico reached record levels in 2018—the highest in the nation at the time.
The Albuquerque Journal reports that suicides in New Mexico have been steadily rising since 2009. In 2018, the number of suicides saw a 9 percent bump—rising from 491 in 2017 to 535. That year the state carried a rate of 25.6 suicides per 100,000 people. The number of suicides rose in five of the nine age groups in 2018.