New Mexico’s 30-day legislative session begins Tuesday

New Mexico’s 30-day legislative session begins Tuesday

We're less than a day away from lawmakers returning to the Roundhouse for the 30-day legislative session.

SANTA FE, N.M. – We’re less than a day away from lawmakers returning to the Roundhouse for the 30-day legislative session. 

On Friday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced more than 20 crime and gun safety initiatives.

It is a lot to toss at lawmakers, who will already be busy figuring out how to spend or save an anticipated $3 ½ billion budget surplus.

“I firmly believe that we have a violence epidemic. Guns are at the heart of that and certainly, it’s playing out every day on the streets of Albuquerque and the rest of New Mexico. And it has to be addressed,” said Lujan Grisham.

Lujan Grisham says it’s time to update the price criminals must pay.

“I do think that we aren’t modernizing and doing the right criminal penalties often enough to make sure that really bad actors are being held accountable in a meaningful way,” Lujan Grisham said. 

The governor, who controls the agenda for this 30-day session, wants a balance between accountability and longer-term crime solutions like education and mental health care.

“It has to be both. And I think where this state and the country got a little lost is that you do one or the other; that you forgo compassion and understanding the roots of addiction and related issues, or you’re so angry you want everyone to get a life sentence,” said Lujan Grisham. 

She will need allies in her own party to get it all done.

In a Friday press conference so packed it barely had room for the press, one noticeable absence was Sen. Joe Cervantes. One of a group of lawmakers who have deep concerns about a plan to keep people accused of some violent crimes in jail before conviction.

Matt Grubs: “Have you had a heart-to-heart with him (on pretrial detention)?”

MLG: “I have. I will keep doing that.  I don’t have him on pretrial detention today. But I have him closer on any number of bills.” 

That detail means a lot to people who follow Roundhouse action closely.

We get it, thousands of New Mexicans are interested, but can’t devote their time to tracking hours-long committee hearings or even floor debates. That’s why we built a tool we’re calling Tracker 4 that’s focused on public safety this year.

Tracker 4 is a rundown of key public safety bills that passed, and died, in last year’s session. 

We have links to vote records, video that takes you right to the moment of key debates, and all kinds of useful stuff in a few quick, easy-to-read paragraphs.

As soon as the Legislature starts rolling on Tuesday, we’ll update it with this year’s action all session long.