Special session called: Death penalty, legal marijuana likely up for debate

Kasia Gregorczyk and J.R. Oppenheim
September 30, 2016 06:40 AM

State lawmakers will be arriving in Santa Fe Friday for a much-anticipated special session, where they will try to hammer out a solution to the state’s budget crisis and possibly talk about reinstating the death penalty.


New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez plans to introduce three bills Friday, and she said they should not come as a surprise. The bills include the death penalty for those who kill children, law enforcement and correctional officers, along with the three strikes law and legislation to expand Baby Brianna’s Law.

Though the special session will largely deal with the budget crisis, Martinez discussed why this special session should address the three additional bills.

“The people are demanding that the death penalty be made available for people that are evil like them, but the ultimate punishment be made available,” she said. “And they want it now, not later. They want that punishment available now.”

The governor issued a proclamation Thursday afternoon to call the special session. Click here to read it.

Martinez made her intentions on the death penalty legislation known following the deaths of two police officers and two children earlier this year.

As for the law named after Baby Brianna, the governor wants a life sentence to apply to anyone who abuses or kills a child of any age. As the law is written now, it only protects children 12 years old and younger.

KOB asked Finance Committee Chairman Sen. John Arthur Smith about these three bills on the table. He said his focus during this special session will be on the budget.

“I’m strictly the financial guy. The most critical thing in front of us right today is the budget,” he said. “I’m trying to avoid furloughs of law enforcement, correction officers, educators and other critical people.”

Even with those bills from the governor, the state must still tackle its financial issues. A sagging oil and gas industry has caused revenue shortfalls in the state’s budgets.

One House representative has an idea for how to being revenue to state. To combat the state’s budget woes, state Rep. Bill McCamley, D-Doña Ana, will propose the Cannabis Revenue and Freedom Act, which would make it legal for adults 21 years and older to use marijuana for recreational purposes.

The state currently allows for marijuana use for medical reasons.

“Very similar to what they’re doing very successfully in Colorado and Oregon, it’s estimated to bring in around $60 million in revenue to the states,” McCamley said.

A Martinez spokesperson said the governor does not support such legislation.


Kasia Gregorczyk and J.R. Oppenheim

Copyright 2016 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

Police: SWAT scene developing near Carlisle and Comanche
School board member denies role in embezzlement case
State Police: Pickup's driver arrested after hit-and-run
US provides $1M grant for business incubator in Albuquerque

Like Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on LinkedIn Follow Us on Google+ RSS Email Newsletters Android Apps iOS Apps