The 2019 session completed its second week of work. As we stated in last week’s update, this is a sixty-day session, which means there are no limitations on the bills that can be considered. As of this writing, there are 377 bills pending in the House and 372 pending in the Senate. This number does not include Memorials and Resolutions.
We are encouraged and hopeful that there will be some bipartisan cooperation on criminal justice reform this session. We see that potential with HB 342 which is an omnibus bipartisan bill relating to criminal justice reform. LJC will most likely vigorously support the legislation once we’ve completed our analysis.
We are gearing up to oppose HB 307. This legislation proposes to significantly increase penalties for sexually related offenses as well as the registration periods for corresponding crimes. We will intensify our opposition to SB 55 which would increase the statute of limitations for many crimes. Abolition of the statute of limitations is a top priority of victim advocacy organizations and prosecutors. Regrettably, we must inform you that SB 55 received a unanimous “do pass” recommendation from the Senate Public Affairs Committee and is now pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Although no SORNA bill has been filed so far this session, we do anticipate one in the next couple of weeks. This means that LJC will need to be prepared to oppose SORNA enhancements when they (DPS) inevitably present their legislation.
Bills LJC has identified;
HB 52: HARM TO COMPANION ANIMALS AS DOMESTIC ABUSE
This is sponsored by Representative Joanne J. Ferrary This proposal recognizes harm or threatened harm to companion animals as domestic abuse under the Family Violence Protection Act.
HB 103: 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 age 60 years older.
HB 104: TIME LIMIT EXTENDED FOR CRIME PROSECUTION
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 controlled substances, and for capital felonies or first‑degree violent felonies.
HB 190: PERMANENT NO CONTACT ORDERS TO RESTRAIN CONVICTED SEX OFFENDERS
This bill is sponsored by Kelly Fajardo and is similar to legislation she has carried in previous session. The bill requires the sentencing court to determine if a permanent no‑contact order should be issued to protect the victim. Also provides for a hearing, written findings of fact and statement of grounds to be incorporated into the sentencing judgment, a violator’s arrest, misdemeanor conviction and punishment, conditions for rescission, and entry of the order in the NCIC protection order file.
HB 307: CRIMINAL SEXUAL CONTACT WITH A MINOR PENALTY
This bill is sponsored by Kelly Fajardo. It proposes to increase the penalties for criminal sexual penetration perpetrated against a child; increase the penalties for criminal sexual contact of a minor; and amend sections of the sex offender registration and notification act.
HB 342: CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM
This bill is bipartisan sponsored by Senators Sander Rue, Richard Martinez, Representatives Antonio Maestas and Gail Chasey. The intent is to reform of the criminal justice system by providing for assistance to offenders with behavioral health diagnoses; revising procedures related to a person incarcerated in a county jail; revising protections for persons involved with an alcohol-or drug-related overdose; providing procedures for post-conviction petitions; revising requirements for pre-prosecution diversion programs; revising procedures related to probation and parole; revising requirements for presentence reports; revising requirements for crime victims' reparations; enacting the accurate eyewitness identification act; revising duties of the New Mexico sentencing commission; requiring eyewitness identification policies and training.
HB 370 LIMITED EXPUNGEMENT OF ARREST/CRIMINAL RECORDS
Enactment of this legislation is long overdue because arrest records and criminal convictions are a significant barrier to employment and living a productive life. Although we expect considerable opposition from the business community and some conservatives, LJC will work hard to get this legislation to the governor.
SB 55: NO STATUTE OF LIMITATION FOR SOME CRIMES
This bill is sponsored by Senator Jeff Steinborn and would amend the Criminal Code to totally remove the statute of limitations in cases of certain crimes against children.
SB 323 DECREASING PENALTIES FOR POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA AND OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA
The full text of all bills is available on the New Mexico Legislative website (bill tracker). Go to www.nmlegis.gov/Legislation/BillFinder/Number.
LJC plans to have a booth in the capitol on 2/21/19 and 2/26/19. We have done this for many years, and the reaction from lawmakers and the public has been 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 protected] or call (505)832-4291, if you would like to volunteer. Lunch will be provided.