2020 Legislative Session
January 27, 2020
The 2020 session of the New Mexico Legislature convened Tuesday. Since this is a 30-day session limited to adoption of a state budget and items specifically requested by the Governor, there are additional steps legislation must go through prior to consideration. Bills must be determined to be germane to the session which means that all bills must be accompanied by an executive message and go through an additional committee process. House Bills are referred to the House Rules and Order of Business Committee and Senate Bills are referred to the Committees’ Committee.
We are hoping to build on some positive reforms passed during the 2019 session. Since the governor has some ambitious goals including legalization of marijuana, we are hopeful that some of the undesirable proposals already introduced by Bill Rhem do not pass. Examples of bad bills he routinely introduces are three strikes results in life imprisonment and the abolition of the statute of limitations for second degree murder and other offenses.
HB 43, a SORNA bill, was pre-filed and has been determined to be germane by the House Rules and Order of Business Committee. Because legislation must move quickly in a short session, the proposal is scheduled to be heard in the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee (CPAC) on Tuesday afternoon. HB 43 would impose New Mexico’s SORNA on anyone convicted in another state if that state requires registration, regardless of what offense the person was convicted of in the other state. Proponents of HB 43 are using Jeffrey Epstein as the boogeyman to justify this misguided legislation. LJC is gearing up to oppose this bill and any other SORNA enhancements DPS may attempt to insert as HB 43 moves through the legislative process. The legislation is a sinister attempt by the state to moot our lawsuit currently pending in the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico.
The bills we are tracking are listed below and we hope to have a tracking table as well by the end of the week. Keep in mind that there will be more bills introduced which means we will be adding to this list. The period for introduction closes on the 15th day of the session.
The full text of the bills is available on the New Mexico Legislative website (bill tracker). Go to www.nmlegis.gov/Legislation/BillFinder/Number
PRIORITY LEGISLATION LJC HAS IDENTIFIED:
HB 33: THREE STRIKES EQUALS LIFE SENTENCE
This proposal is sponsored by Representative Bill Rhem and is a reintroduction of a bill that has been defeated multiple times in previous years. It provides for additional violent felonies in the Criminal Sentencing Act for the purpose of mandatory life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for three violent felony convictions. An exception provides for parole eligibility for certain inmates who are at least 60 years old.
HB 34: HABITUAL SENTENCING EXPANDED
Providing that a prior felony conviction within twenty-five years of a subsequent felony conviction be considered for the purpose of habitual offender sentencing. Our current statutory scheme does not permit habitual enhancement for convictions more than 10 years old. LJC will oppose this change.
HB 35: USE OF FIREARM–ALTERATION OF BASIC SENTENCE
This proposal would increase the firearm enhancement from one to three years for a first offense and from three to five years for a second offense.
HB 36: NO TIME LIMIT FOR 2ND DEGREE MURDER
This bill is sponsored by Representative Bill Rhem and is identical to legislation he has carried the last two years. The proposal amends the Criminal Code to remove the statutory time limitation for commencing prosecution for the crimes of murder in the second degree, felony trafficking of controlled substances, and for capital felonies or first-degree violent felonies.
LJC will oppose this proposal as we have done in previous years.
HB 43: SORNA PROPOSAL
The proposal as written would require anyone convicted in another state to be required to register in New Mexico. Proponents are using Jeffrey Epstein as the boogeyman to justify this misguided legislation. In addition to requiring registration for all out of state convictions, the proposal is to reduce the period of time a person can be present in New Mexico before a duty to register is triggered. Law enforcement has expressed concerns to us privately that this provision is impossible to enforce.
HB 237: OMNIBUS SORNA AND CRIME BILL
This comprehensive bill was just introduced on Friday which means we have not had time to fully analyze it. We can see based on our first reading that this is a very dangerous bill and LJC will be in strong opposition. HB 237 would:
- revise the definitions used in the sex offender registration and notification act;
- expand the definition of sex offender;
- change the definition of “conviction” to cover offenses without adjudication, including conditional discharges, fines and sanctions in ANY jurisdiction;
- expand the convictions that are considered sex offenses requiring registration;
- expand the definition of resident to include those who merely own property here;
- abolish the statute of limitations for the crime of human trafficking;
- increase the age of a child from 16 to 18 for the crime of sexual exploitation of children by prostitution;
- amend the crime of human trafficking;
- require mandatory restitution;
- provide for forfeiture;
- expand the definition of criminal offense in the Victims of Crime Act; and
- expand the definition of serious violent offense.
SB 97: NO STATUTE OF LIMITATION FOR SEX CRIMES AGAINST CHILDREN
This bill is sponsored by Senator Jeff Steinborn and would amend the Criminal Code to amend the statute of limitations in cases of sex crimes against children. If passed, the state could commence prosecution at any time until the alleged victim (minor) reaches age thirty. LJC will vigorously oppose this legislation.
LJC plans to have a booth in the capitol on February 11, 2020. We have done this for many years now and the reaction from lawmakers and the public continues to be overwhelmingly favorable. We would be grateful for anyone wishing to volunteer to help us. We prefer that you join for the entire day, but we are grateful for any amount of time you can contribute. Contact Rick at email@example.com or call (505)832-4291, if you would like to volunteer. Lunch will be provided to you.