Lawmakers near halfway point of 60-day session
SANTA FE, N.M. – We’re nearing the halfway point of the 60-day legislative session. State lawmakers have until Thursday to submit any new proposals, and they’ve filed more than 900 bills and other measures.
KOB 4 has been following the ins-and-outs at the Roundhouse and has a look at the bills with the most momentum:
The most contentious being HB 9, also known as the Bennie Hargrove Act. House lawmakers debated the proposal to increase penalties for improperly stored guns that get into the hands of children for three hours on the House floor Thursday.
It barely passed a full vote after seven democrats crossed the aisle, siding with Republicans against the bill.
“I think it shows that there are members in the chamber who are open to debate and want to hear actually what the arguments are on both sides and make up their minds,” said House Minority Leader, Ryan Lane.
Meanwhile, HB 43 cleared the House with bipartisan support. The proposal would require schools to teach older students “affirmative consent” or the idea that people must verbally agree to participate in sexual acts.
Things have been much quieter on the other side of the Roundhouse. Six Senate bills have cleared floor votes and all but one were unanimously approved.
An extra $100 million in recovery funds for victims of the Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak Fire received one of those unanimous votes Tuesday.
The Senate also approved a bill banning prescribed burns during red flag warnings, it’s another proposal linked to the largest wildfire in state history.
It was a delayed act of bipartisanship after the bill was tabled in its first committee, forcing its sponsor to fight for a second chance.
“Whether the bill was good or bad, really didn’t matter. But take the time to show the people in New Mexico, that the Legislature’s concerned enough about the issue to talk about it,” said state Sen. Ron Griggs.
It’s safe to say some of the most passionate debates are still yet to come. Several polarizing bills are just wrapping up their first round of committee hearings.
That includes the Reproductive and Gender-Affirming Health Care Freedom Act which would block local governments from creating abortion restrictions.
“It does not require anyone to have a new practice or to do new practices that they haven’t done before. It just ensures that you are not discriminated against,” said state Rep. Linda Serrato.
There’s a long list of bills addressing gun violence, pretrial detention, teacher pay and benefits, voting rights and so on. All of those are still working through committees right now, and so are proposals tackling taxes.
A bill to add a 25 cent tax to every pint of beer, glass of wine, and shot of liquor cleared its first hurdle Friday.
“What this bill does is it will reduce consumption and literally save lives,” said state Sen. Antoinette Sedilla Lopez.
A proposal to send out $750 rebate checks to every New Mexican taxpayer also cleared its first committee.