The pace is picking up and our lawmakers have completed three weeks of the 2019 session. The number of bills has increased considerably since last week. There are now 463 bills pending in the House and 454 pending in the Senate. This compares to 377 and 372 respectively. And this number does not include many Memorials and Resolutions.
We expressed some optimism that there would be some bipartisan cooperation on criminal justice reform this session and we identified HB 342. This is an omnibus bill relating to criminal justice reform strongly endorsed by leading Democrats and has some Republican support. LJC has not taken a position on the legislation yet but we will once we’ve completed our analysis.
No SORNA bill has been filed so far this session, but we keep hearing that something is in the works. This means that LJC will be prepared to oppose SORNA enhancements when and if the law enforcement apparatus inevitably presents its legislation.
Bills Moving LJC Opposes:
HB 307 sponsored by Kelly Fajardo (R) from Valencia County. This legislation proposes to significantly increase penalties for sexually related offenses as well as the registration periods for corresponding crimes. This bill is scheduled to be heard on Tuesday, February 5th in the House Consumer & Public Affairs Committee (CPAC).
HB 104 This bill extends the statute of limitations on certain offenses. Unfortunately, it received a “do pass” recommendation from the House Consumer & Public Affairs Committee and is now before the House Judiciary Committee.
HB 190 sponsored by Kelly Fajardo (R) from Valencia county. This legislation proposes permanent no contact orders to restrain convicted sex offenders. This bill is scheduled to be heard on Tuesday, February 5th in the House Consumer & Public Affairs Committee (CPAC).
SB 55 sponsored by Senator Jeff Steinborn (D) from Dona Ana County. This bill 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. Even though SB 55 received a unanimous “do pass” recommendation from the Senate Public Affairs Committee, we are hopeful that we can stop or reduce the reach of the bill when it is heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
HB 103: THREE STRIKES EQUALS LIFE SENTENCE
This ridiculous legislation 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 (R) 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.
HB 307: CRIMINAL SEXUAL CONTACT WITH A MINOR PENALTY
This bill is sponsored by Kelly Fajardo (R) from Valencia County. 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
This bill is sponsored by Representative Antonio Maestas (D) from Bernalillo County. 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
LJC opposes this bill sponsored by Senator Jeff Steinborn which would amend the Criminal Code to totally remove the statute of limitations in cases of certain crimes against children.
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.
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. LJC supports this legislation because harsh penalties for simple possession are detrimental to society.
The full text of all bills is available on the New Mexico Legislative website (bill tracker). Go to www.nmlegis.gov/Legislation/BillFinder/Number.
We are reminding you that LJC plans to have a booth in the capitol on two different dates this year. We will be there on February 21st and again on February 26th. We have done these exhibits for many years and the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. Some have responded and signed up already which is great, and we would grateful others wish to volunteer to help us with the project. We prefer that you join for the entire day, but we are grateful for any amount of time you can contribute. Since we already have some volunteers committed, we can shorten the shifts allow you to work whatever amount of time you can commit to. Contact Rick at [email protected] or call (505)832-4291, if you would like to volunteer. Lunch will be provided for those working during that portion of the day.