Legislative Update #2
This is our second Legislative Report for the 2021 legislative session. Due to the fact the first week of the session was largely cancelled due to potential violence, we did not send a report last week. As we stated in Update 1, this is a 60-day, which means there are no limitations on what legislators can propose. Due to the fact the Capitol is closed, we will not be permitted to have a booth or to be present in the capitol this year. This will make it more challenging to collaborate with our legislative allies.
As we have previously reported, LJC took a voluntary dismissal on our out-of-state translation case due to some adverse rulings from Judge James Parker. The dismissal was without prejudice which means we can file again with new plaintiffs if necessary. We remain convinced that the case has merit, and we believe that the state of New Mexico recognizes this as well.
The New Mexico Department of Public Safety has proposed a regulatory framework for translating those who move here from other states. The public has been invited to submit comments and the deadline for those comments is February 23rd. The DPS hopes that the proposed a regulation will make the problem go away. We do not believe it will because the proposal is unworkable and would essentially move the responsibility from the states to the sheriffs. If adopted, this proposal will be incorporated into the New Mexico Administrative Code (NMAC). A virtual public hearing is scheduled on February 23, 2021. We have significant concerns about their proposal and intend to submit those concerns for consideration.
Several bad bills have already been introduced and more will be forthcoming. Our top priority is the SORNA threat which has emerged with the proposal of House Bill 56. HB 56 would make substantial changes to our SORNA by: (1) adding additional offenses to the list requiring registration; (2) requiring a person to register if they own property in New Mexico; (3) requiring registration for individuals if their state of conviction requires registration; (4) adding offenses to our lifetime list; (5) increasing some penalties; and (6) eliminating the current exemption from registration for those who receive a “conditional discharge.” LJC strongly opposes HB 56 and will work to prevent passage. In addition to HB 56, there are the usual bills dealing with the statute of limitations and increasing penalties for criminal conduct. We will have more on the other bills in our next update. Many of these proposals return year after year so we are familiar with what to expect. Nonetheless, we have to work hard to beat back the relentless efforts of the law enforcement apparatus and prosecutorial entities as they always want to enact harsher laws.
HB 56 can be found here:
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