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C-Store Safety Precautions Implemented in New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- New safety precautions designed to protect convenience store clerks from violence have gone into effect, but the Petroleum Marketers Association (PMA) is fighting the new rules, reported

As of Sunday, convenience stores must have exterior lighting during all operating hours, an indoor and outdoor surveillance system must be operating between 5 p.m. and 5 a.m. and a personal, portable panic alarm must be available to all employees. All stores must either have two workers on the late-night shift or bulletproof glass.

The new rules were inspired by the brutal murder of a woman working at a convenience store in Hobbs two years ago.

The head of a group representing some 500 convenience stores in New Mexico says the state has gone too far and that the changes should have been implemented legislatively.

"They circumvented the whole legislative process and said, 'Well, if we can't pass legislation, we'll write regulations,' which is terribly wrong," said the PMA's Ruben Baca.

The PMA has a hearing with the state on the new rules on Sept. 7, and has filed suit against the state. Still, state officials say they have begun enforcing the new regulations. "When we find stores out of compliance with the regulations, there will be citations issued," said Jim Norton of the New Mexico Environment Department, which will oversee the regulations.
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