The 2022 legislative session will adjourn at noon on Thursday. The session has had some surprises that we had not anticipated. Although this year’s session has proven to be focused on cracking down on crime, nothing has passed through the process as of this writing. Due to the fact that 2022 is an election year for the office of Governor as well as all members of the House of Representatives, we anticipate there will be a special session dealing primarily with crime later this spring.
Liberty and Justice Coalition has analyzed all the proposals as well as those put forward by other legislators. As we have stated previously, we are not convinced that the proposals are in the best interest of New Mexico.
The two issues that continue generating the most controversy is reform of New Mexico’s pre-trial release system and the extension of the statute of limitations. The solution being proposed in terms of pre-trial release is to make it harder for those accused of crimes to be released while they await trial. The issue of the statute of limitations has been very controversial for years. Those who advocate for victims have been relentless in their pursuit for extending or total elimination of the statute of limitations. One of their talking points is that “justice should not have an expiration date.” That is a very powerful argument in terms of public opinion on the issue.
LJC’S LEGISLATIVE FOCUS
We have not previously reported on HB79 because we had not detected it until last week.
HB 79 – Seeks to increase the statute of limitations for Second Degree Murder as well as the penalty for those convicted of this offense. This is a bipartisan proposal that has the support of key members of both political parties. The proposal passed the House of Representatives and is now in the Senate. The momentum could very well take this over the finish line.
SB 117 – Eliminating the Civil Statute of Limitations for All Childhood Sexual Abuse Crimes. This bill has not moved yet, which means it is probably dead for this session. This is a proposal that will come back year after year until something eventually passes.
SB 189 – Pre-Trial Detention Changes. This bill was just introduced in the Senate prior to the deadline for introduction of legislation. Our concerns remain the same as with the versions pending in the House of Representatives. The legislation is probably dead for this session. As we have stated, we believe that proposed language is an unconstitutional shifting of the burden to the accused.
HB 5 & HB 27 Pre-Trial Detention Changes
HB 5 This bill has been amended to eliminate the rebuttable presumption and includes some new language requiring that GPS tracking data be provided to law enforcement for those on pre-trial release.
HB 27 is probably dead for this session.
LJC is a non-partisan entity, which means we will work to alter or defeat proposals that we believe are not wise or in the best interest of our state, regardless of which political party is promoting the legislation.
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