2021 Legislative update #4

The past week has been eventful for the bills we have been tracking. The biggest change is House Bill 56 making it through the committee process and is now on the House Calendar awaiting final passage. Unfortunately, that bill made it past the House Judiciary Committee after the House Appropriation and Finance Committee referral was withdrawn. That is a sign that this bill is heading to the finish line in the House and we will have to make our stand in the Senate. We will continue working and re-working our efforts to stop bills like these from moving any further.

House Bill 56 – Oppose

As we discussed last week, this bill deals primarily with amendments to New Mexico’s SORNA scheme by requiring persons with a non-equivalent out-of-state sex offense conviction to register in New Mexico solely based on their requirement to register in another state. The amendments by the House Judiciary Committee have reworded the bill to exempt those with conditional discharges from having to register once they have completed their conditional discharge’s supervision; this would mean that only upon successful conditional discharge would the duty to register be relieved. The other change to the bill is defining the requirements for exempting non-equivalent out-of-state sex offense convictions; the wording specifies that a court must find “good cause that the individual’s registration will not advance public safety in New Mexico.” Both amendments are a marginal improvement on the original bill’s text, but we still do not support the bill as it stands. We will continue to work on derailing this bill’s progress.

House Bill 62 – Oppose

This bill extends the statute of limitation on 2nd degree murder by removing it altogether. The House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee has formally tabled this bill as of 2/15/21. Similar bills by Representative Rehm have also been tabled by their committees. We will continue to monitor any developments or substitute bills, but this makes the bill essentially dead for the legislative session.

House Bill 73 – Oppose

This bill seeks to create a new human trafficking grant fund by requiring extra fees from live adult entertainment businesses and internet-device retailers. It has been a month since this bill was formally referred to the HCPAC. This lack of activity leads us to believe it may be dead for this session, but the content of this bill may resist a formal tabling like HB 62. Once again, we will continue to monitor the bill daily and update our bill tracking table accordingly.

House Bill 201 – Mixed

This bill proposes minimum or medium risk probationers have their probation terminated early upon completing half of their probation term and fulfilling all their probation’s obligations. As it currently stands, the bill has passed the HCPAC and is formally referred to the House Judiciary Committee. No changes have been made to the wording, so our previous concerns regarding this bill still stand. We believe that it is moving in the right direction, but without specificity regarding which types of probation obligations need to be met or the validated scoring instrument to be used, we cannot take a position on this bill.

Senate Bill 141 – Support

This bill is similar to probation and parole reform bills we have supported in the past. As discussed, it creates distinctions between SVO/SO supervision and standard supervision by instituting a mandatory technical violation program (STEPS) and a mandatory arrest program for SVO/SO supervision only. No changes have been made to the bill since it emerged from the Senate Health and Public Affairs Committee last week. We support this bill in its current form as it requires a judge’s ruling before any offender is put on notice regarding mandatory arrest violations; we also support engraining the STEPS program into a statutory scheme that requires NMCD to follow it in all cases.

Senate Bill 310 – Oppose

This bill is an effort by lawmakers to extend the statute of limitations for certain child sex crimes to age 35. Since its introduction at the beginning of the month (2/1/21), the bill has had no activity. Like HB 73, the content of the bill resists a formal tabling. We will continue to monitor any activity regarding this bill and work to derail it should it begin to move forward.

House Bill 74 – Oppose

This is one of the House bills that is already awaiting Senate intro. At first glance, the bill champions reform by eliminating voter restrictions on convicted felons that are out-of-custody on parole or probation. A closer read of the bill requires sex offenders to register under SORNA before their voting rights are restored upon conviction; it also goes on to limit the effects of a governor’s pardon only to restore the right to hold public office. For both reasons, we cannot support the bill.

We have an exhaustive list of relevant bills this legislative session we have been tracking daily. For more information, visit https://libjusco.net/2021/02/11/legislative-session-2021-bill-tracker/.

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