The BREATHE Act becomes hot topic in 1st Congressional District race. What is it?

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Mark Moores, the Republican running to represent New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District in congress, is using Democratic candidate Melanie Stansbury’s support of the BREATHE Act as a political weapon against her.

He mentioned the act repeatedly in KOB’s televised debate.

"Melanie, as we mentioned, you put out a tweet saying congress must pass the BREATHE Act, and I encourage everyone to go to, and ask themselves– is this really the agenda we need in New Mexico. Do we need this in Albuquerque where its one of the most violent cities in the country," Moores said.

The BREATHE Act is a proposed piece of federal legislation, written by activists in the Black Lives Matter movement.

It’s never been introduced into congress, and no votes or debates have taken place on the issue.

The act is 128 pages long, and calls for major reforms in policing. Some of the highlights include:

  • Reducing the Defense Department budget by 10% and ending all foreign wars
  • Prohibiting federal law enforcement from using military grade guns, tasers and body cameras
  • Decriminalizing prostitution, simple drug possession and sales and legalizing cannabis at the federal level
  • Ending mandatory minimum sentences, three strikes laws, sentencing enhancements, including hate crime enhancements, the death penalty, life sentences and immigration detention.
  • Reducing funding for local police departments and re-allocating those funds for grants that would help minority communities
  • Establishing a universal child benefit, giving every family gets $400 per child, per month
  • Providing universal healthcare

When pressed on her support of the BREATHE Act in the KOB 4 debate, Stansbury said she supported police reform.

"In fact, it is critical that we address policing and criminal justice reform issues in this country, but it is also critical that we invest in public safety, which is exactly what I’ve done as a state legislator," she said.

In an emailed statement to KOB 4, Stansbury’s campaign added, "The BREATHE Act is just a proposal, not a piece of legislation. If the final legislation includes sections that she cannot support because they are wrong for New Mexicans, then she’ll look to other solutions. Rep. Stansbury will not stop until we find a solution that embraces our diverse communities and keeps all New Mexicans safe."