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Judge Lifts Order That Mandated Albuquerque Stop Throwing Away Homeless People’s Belongings

A district judge stood by his previous finding that the city has seized and destroyed personal property during its homeless encampment removals but said a pending Supreme Court ruling could make his order “unworkable.”

Reporting From the Southwest

ProPublica’s seven-person reporting unit based in Phoenix covers the Southwest, including Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and Utah. Many of these states are among the fastest-growing in the country, and the region is experiencing rapid changes to the climate, economy, demographics and other trends that will shape the nation’s future.

Albuquerque Is Throwing Out the Belongings of Homeless People, Violating City Policy

The city has violated a court order and its own policies by discarding the personal property of thousands of homeless people, who have lost medications, birth certificates, IDs, treasured family photos and the ashes of loved ones.

Welfare States

More States Are Allowing Child Support Payments to Reach Children

Since a ProPublica investigation found that states were seizing child support headed to families as reimbursement for the mother having received welfare, at least six states have changed their policies. Others are debating doing the same.

Unplugged

Oil Companies Must Set Aside More Money to Plug Wells, a New Rule Says. But It Won’t Be Enough.

The new Bureau of Land Management regulation, which applies to nearly 90,000 wells on federal public land, is hampered by math errors and overly optimistic cost projections.

Local Reporting Network Partners

ProPublica is supporting local and regional newsrooms as they work on important investigative projects affecting their communities. Some of our past and present partners in the region:

Arizona Daily Star
Tucson, Arizona
Arizona Republic
Phoenix, Arizona
New Mexico In Depth
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Searchlight New Mexico
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Santa Fe New Mexican
Sante Fe, New Mexico
Rocky Mountain PBS
Denver, Colorado

New Utah Law Prioritizes Child Safety in Custody Courts

The legislation, which limits the use of reunification therapies and increases scrutiny of expert witnesses, follows ProPublica’s reporting on courts’ handling of custody cases involving allegations of violence.

I Moved to Rural New Mexico to Report on the Aftermath of a Massive Wildfire. My Neighbors Were My Best Sources.

Reporter Patrick Lohmann has lived in New Mexico for most of his life, but covering the Hermits Peak-Calf Canyon Fire required building trust in a divided community. Here’s how he did it.

Utah Child Care Providers Are Struggling. Lawmakers Haven’t Helped.

Legislators ended their session without making a direct investment in child care. Instead, they loosened regulations on unlicensed care, a move that operators, parents and other advocates say is unsafe.

An Expert Who Has Testified in Foster Care Cases Across Colorado Admits Her Evaluations Are Unscientific

Diane Baird labeled her method for assessing families the “Kempe Protocol” after the renowned University of Colorado institute where she worked for decades. The school has yet to publicly disavow it.

A Utah Cleft Palate Team Says Its Approach Is Innovative. Others See a Pattern of Unnecessary Surgeries on Children.

At Primary Children’s Hospital in Utah, pediatric surgeons are taking controversial risks with how they care for kids with cleft lip and palate. Outside doctors found that some parents weren’t told their child’s care was different from the norm.

The Rising Cost of the Oil Industry’s Slow Death

Unplugged oil and gas wells accelerate climate change, threaten public health and risk hitting taxpayers’ pocketbooks. ProPublica and Capital & Main found that the money set aside to fix the problem falls woefully short of the impending cost.

Nevada Republicans’ Caucus Adds Chaos and Confusion to the State’s Presidential Primary

While legal, the party’s decision to host a competing contest to the Feb. 6 primary election has angered GOP voters and provided fertile ground for misinformation to take hold, experts say, undermining voters’ trust in the process.

Medicare Certifies Hospices in California Despite State Ban on New Licenses

The agency has rolled out sweeping changes to target end-of-life care providers that were billing for unneeded services, but some fraud hot spots continue to evade scrutiny.

FEMA Leader Overseeing $4 Billion Fund to Pay Victims of New Mexico Wildfire Steps Down

Longtime agency official Angela Gladwell has overseen the fund to pay victims of a wildfire accidentally started by the federal government. Her departure comes amid criticism of FEMA’s handling of payments for damages.

Utah Bills Itself as “Family-Friendly” Even as Lawmakers Have Long Neglected Child Care

Federal relief had improved access to child care. But when funding expired, the state rejected proposals to replace it. Some advocates say the historical influence of the LDS church has added to the resistance.

In the Scar of New Mexico’s Largest Wildfire, a Legal Battle Is Brewing: What Is Victims’ Suffering Worth?

A wildfire accidentally started by the federal government drove them from their homes and destroyed the things they loved most about their land. The government will pay them only for things with a price tag.

¿Preocupada por su visita al ginecobstetra? Una guía sobre lo que debería suceder —y lo que no debería suceder.

Luego de informar sobre la conducta sexual inapropiada por parte de ginecobstetras, muchas mujeres nos dijeron que no sabían lo que era normal. Con la ayuda de proveedores, pacientes y expertos, creamos esta guía.

Mujeres de Utah intentaron denunciar agresiones sexuales a la policía. Dicen que enfrentaron retrasos y barreras lingüísticas.

Mujeres, todas inmigrantes mexicanas, acudieron a la policía de Provo para denunciar al ginecobstetra David Broadbent por agresión sexual. Experimentaron demoras, confusión y negaciones en sus informes debido a la falta de servicios en español.

Utah Women Tried to Report Sexual Assaults to Police. They Say They Faced Delays and Language Barriers.

Several women, all Mexican immigrants, went to the Provo police to report OB-GYN David Broadbent for sexual assault. They experienced delays, confusion and denials over their reports due to the department’s lack of Spanish-language services.

A Former Police Chief Fought to Rebuild After a New Mexico Fire. He Died Before He Could Go Home.

The man and his wife urgently needed payouts from the federal government, which set the fire that burned down their house.

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    How 3M Execs Convinced a Scientist the Forever Chemicals She Found in Human Blood Were Safe

    Decades ago, Kris Hansen showed 3M that its PFAS chemicals were in people’s bodies. Her bosses halted her work.

    How an Alabama Town Staved Off School Resegregation

    In the 1970s, Black students organized protests and a boycott that cost local white businesses money. Today, many families who could afford private school still choose Thomasville’s public schools.

    Committed to Jail

    This Mississippi Hospital Transfers Some Patients to Jail to Await Mental Health Treatment

    Baptist Memorial Hospital-DeSoto doesn’t have a psychiatric unit, so it sends patients elsewhere for mental health treatment. When publicly funded facilities are full, some patients go to jail to wait for help. One doctor said that’s “unthinkable.”

    Local Reporting Network

    Texas’ Attorney General Is Increasingly Using Consumer Protection Laws to Pursue Political Targets

    Ken Paxton has repeatedly used laws that are supposed to protect people from fraudulent or deceptive practices to pursue entities he disagrees with politically, including hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and LGBTQ+ groups.

    Nine Takeaways From Our Investigation Into 3M’s Forever Chemicals

    What you need to know about the inside story of how the company allowed PFOS to seep into all of us while sitting on research that showed the chemical is toxic.