Legislative Update #7, March 3, 2019
The 2019 session is moving into the final two weeks and the pace of activity is horrendous.
We are pleased to report that we had another exhibit in the capitol on Tuesday which is our last exhibit for this session. The attendance was lower than last week, but we estimate we engaged with at least 30 people during the day and nearly all interactions were positive. These two exhibits are made possible by your financial support of LJC.
We have been busier than ever even though there is no comprehensive SORNA bill for us to fight this year. Our optimism that there will be some criminal justice reform measures passed this session appears to be coming to fruition. We are now pleased to report that HB 342, the omnibus criminal justice reform legislation, is approaching the finish line. A strategic decision was made to split the bill into two parts to prevent it from dying due to anticipated opposition to the second component which deals with good time for those on probation. That component was introduced as a separate bill which is now HB 564. LJC supports the legislation and we are working to move both bills through the process. Bothbills have passed the House of Representatives and are now in the Senate.
Bills LJC Opposes:
HB 307 Fortunately, this terrible legislation is not moving, and you should know that LJC worked hard to derail this bill. The intent is to significantly increase penalties for sexually related offenses as well as the registration periods for corresponding crimes. It was scheduled to be heard on Tuesday, February 5th in the House Consumer & Public Affairs Committee (CPAC) and has not been rescheduled. For all practical purposes, the proposal is dead for this session, but it will return in a future session because the sponsor will not give up.
HB 104 This bill is dead for this session. The proposal would extend the statute of limitations on certain offenses. It received a “do pass” recommendation from the House Consumer & Public Affairs Committee and was heard by the House Judiciary Committee. Fortunately, the Judiciary Committee voted to table the legislation which means it is likely dead for this session. This proposal will return because the law enforcement apparatus will not stop trying to abolish the statute of limitations.
HB 190 This legislation is probably dead for this session. The intent is to issue permanent no contact orders to restrain convicted sex offenders. This bill was scheduled to be heard on Tuesday, February 5th in the House Consumer & Public Affairs Committee (CPAC). HB 190 was removed from the calendar and has not been rescheduled. We can be certain that this legislation will return in a future session because the sponsor will not give up.
SB 55 sponsored by Senator Jeff Steinborn (D) from Dona Ana County. This bill would increase the statute of limitations for many crimes. We have been saying for some time that that abolition of the statute of limitations is a top priority of victim advocacy organizations. In addition, the trend all over the country is to extend or abolish the statute of limitations so the proposal is not unique to New Mexico. We did reduce the potential reach of the bill in the Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) from what was originally proposed. The SJC substituted the bill and put forward a revised bill that only increases the time permitting an accuser to come forward to age 35 for allegations of sexual misconduct that occurred while he/she was a minor. The bill was approved by the full Senate and is now in the House of Representatives. Even though it passed the Senate, eight Republican Senators and Seven Democrats voted against the measure. It is now in the House of Representatives and LJC will continue trying to amend it or kill the proposal altogether.
HB 103: THREE STRIKES EQUALS LIFE SENTENCE
This ridiculous legislation sponsored by Representative Bill Rhem has been tabled. It is nearly identical to legislation that he has previously sponsored which has not passed. 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.
HB 190: PERMANENT NO CONTACT ORDERS TO RESTRAIN CONVICTED SEX OFFENDERS
This bill is sponsored by Kelly Fajardo from Valencia County and is similar to legislation she has carried in previous sessions. 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. As we reported above, this bill is likely dead for this session.
HB 307: CRIMINAL SEXUAL CONTACT WITH A MINOR PENALTY
This bill is sponsored by Kelly Fajardo as well. 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. The SORNA amendments are generally cleanup language but there is a provision that would increase the notification requirement imposed on county sheriffs. Currently sheriffs are required to notify schools and other child-care providers within a one-mile radius. This bill would increase that requirement to a five-mile radius of the registrant’s address. LJC opposes the legislation. As we reported above, this bill is likely dead for this session, but it too is likely to return.
HB 342: CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM
This bipartisan legislation is nearing the finish line. The bill is sponsored by Senators Sander Rue, Richard Martinez, Representatives Antonio Maestas and Gail Chasey. The intent for the legislation 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
This bill was heard February 12th in the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee (CPAC). The five-member committee voted to recommend that the bill pass, and it is also received a “do pass” from the House Judiciary Committee (HJC) on February 23rd. We are excited to report that the bill passed the full House on February 26th by a vote of 52-17. The bill is now in the Senate where it must clear two committees and pass the full Senate before the session ends in two weeks. LJC feels that enactment of this legislation is long overdue because arrest records and criminal convictions are a significant barrier to employment and living a productive life. LJC will work very hard with the sponsors to get this legislation to the governor’s desk.
HB 564 PROBATION GOOD TIME
This bipartisan legislation was split from HB 342 and is sponsored by Representatives Antonio Maestas, Gail Chasey, and Senator Sander Rue. The bill provides clarification and guidance for probation and parole; allowing for a person on probation to have the time required for probation to be decreased for good behavior. The proposal would provide good time to be credited to the person’s term of supervision with the goal moving the offender from supervised to unsupervised status. The proposal has passed the full House of Representatives and is now in the Senate. It must clear two committees and the full Senate within two weeks. LJC strongly supports this legislation.
SB 96: BAN THE BOX
This bill is sponsored by Senator Bill O’Neill (D) from Bernalillo County. This legislation states that “the employer shall not make an inquiry regarding an applicant's conviction on the employment application but may take into consideration an applicant's conviction after review of the applicant's application and upon discussion of employment with the applicant. This bill has received a “do pass” from the Senate Public Affairs (SPAC), the Senate Judiciary Committee and a substitute version was approved by the full Senate. The proposal must now clear two committees and the full House of Representatives within two weeks. It is scheduled to be heard on Wednesday, March 5th by the House Labor, Veterans' And Military Affairs Committee. LJC strongly supports this legislation as it represents a first step in eradicating employment barriers.
SB 323 DECREASING PENALTIES FOR POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA AND OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA
This bill is sponsored by Senator Joseph Cervantes (D) from Dona Ana County. It would dramatically reduce the penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana and paraphernalia. The bill was heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Saturday and received a “do pass” recommendation. Now the proposal is on the Senate Calendar awaiting a vote of the full Senate. We do anticipate it will pass the Senate, but time is running short to get the proposal through the House of Representatives before adjournment. LJC supports this legislation because harsh penalties for simple possession are detrimental to society.
SB 521 INTERNET BLOCKING AND NEW REGISTRATION FOR HUMAN TRAFFICKING
This legislation was just introduced and is sponsored by Senators Richard Martinez and Carlos Cisneros. If enacted, it would require certain felons (sex offenders) to install blocking software while under supervision; require the those convicted of human trafficking to register under New Mexico’s sex offender registration and notification act; impose a $200.00 fee for those convicted of human trafficking; and create the human trafficking and child exploitation prevention fund. LJC opposes this legislation and will work to defeat it.
The full text of all bills is available on the New Mexico Legislative website (bill tracker). Go to www.nmlegis.gov/Legislation/BillFinder/Number.