Our 60-day legislative session ended March 21st. Liberty and Justice Coalition (LJC) is pleased to report that: (1) we had a successful two-day exhibit display in the rotunda of our capitol on March 5-6 and (2) none of the legislation we were tracking made it to the finish line.
We have held the capitol exhibit for many years now, and each year the reaction is mostly positive. By the time the dates for the booth exhibit rolled around, we were feeling confident that our behind the scenes efforts would be enough to bog down most of the bad legislation. We enjoyed the benefits of educating a receptive audience because most strolling the capital are doing so because they care about important issues. We interacted with concerned citizens, lawmakers, and most importantly, key legislative analysts. We had maybe two or three negative responses out of hundreds of encounters which is typical of past exhibits. We happened to be scheduled on “education day,” which meant there were several special needs teachers present. Some expressed serious concerns for these types of young offenders that are ruined by a sex offense conviction.
The legislative proposals on our radar that did not pass were:
- HB 270: Sponsored by Representative Yvette Herrell (R).
- SB 380: Sponsored by Senator Jacob Candelaria (D).
- SB 151: Sponsored by Senator Mimi Stewart (D).
- HB 387: Sponsored by Conrad James (R).
HB 270 did passed the House of Representatives but ultimately died in the Senate Public Affairs Committee. This legislation proposed adding five new offenses to New Mexico’s list of registerable sex offenses. The proposed offenses are: (1) patronizing prostitutes when the person believed to be a prostitute is under the age of 18; (2) promoting prostitution; (3) accepting the earnings of a prostitute; (4) voyeurism; and (5) human trafficking. In addition, conspiracy to commit any registerable sex offense would also require registration. The Department of Public Safety has unsuccessfully sought the addition of these offenses for many years; however, stopping this proposal was not possible in the House of Representatives due to the change to the Republican Party being in control.
SB 380 did pass its first committee but ultimately died due to it receiving three (3) committee referrals. It was not heard in the Senate Finance Committee. SB 380 would have imposed a $140.00 fee on a person at his/her initial registration. It also appears that the proposal would have imposed the fee for each time a person registered with the sheriff.
SB 151 would have clarified the state’s burden of proof for those individuals it seeks to keep on an indeterminate parole after the initial five years. In addition, the legislation would have established a regular review process for those whose parole has been revoked for a technical violation. This bill was amended in the Senate Public Affairs Committee and subsequently approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee. It died on the Senate Calendar partially because of fear that the Senate would be portrayed as pro sex offender in the 2016 elections. We took no public position on SB 151.
HB 387 would have terminated parental rights for individuals convicted of certain crimes including sexual offenses. This legislation did pass the House of Representatives but was stalled in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Our opinion is that SB 387 is overly broad and includes those convicted of any form of CSP. The problem is that CSP can include consensual acts with a minor between 13 and 16 years of age.