Lawmakers talk failed proposals in legislative session

Lawmakers talk failed proposals in legislative session

House majority leaders say picking what bills to push forward is all about timing and strategy.

SANTA FE, N.M. – It’s safe to say a handful of gun restriction bills will not survive this session. That goes for other proposals that had a lot of support by our governor too. 

House majority leaders say picking what bills to push forward is all about timing and strategy.

House lawmakers sponsored two of the three gun bills that got momentum this session. Those would be the 7-day waiting period for all gun purchases – which is heading to the governor – and tougher penalties for felons who continue to use firearms to commit crimes. 

Lawmakers say the reason those progressed is that they were able to fine tune previous versions that didn’t make it over the years. 

But there are other gun bills that didn’t have as much success. Those include changing the state’s red flag law, the Firearm Industry Accountability Act, a ban on semi-automatic guns, and raising the purchasing age to 21.

Lawmakers say, in a 30-day session, you have to choose your battles and prioritize bills you believe will make it to the governor’s desk. 

“Great legislation takes time. So some of the bills that you mention, this might’ve been the first year though here. And so sometimes the right proposals that are really going to impact people, safety and security, take a little bit of time to get the details right, because you actually wanna make sure that the policy works,” said House Majority Whip Rep. Reena Szczepanski.

Szczepanski sponsored some of the legislation that didn’t get a lot of attention this session. But she and other representatives say they aren’t giving up on these bills just because they didn’t make it far this year.

“I know it’s disappointing but recognize it’s part of the process,” said state Rep. Christina Chandler. “Next year is a 60-day. We’ll have more time to work on the bills and advance them, I think we have a much better chance next year.”

And it’s not just public safety initiatives that failed this year. The governor backed a strategic water supply effort to clean up brackish water for manufacturing, freeing up clean water for households and agriculture. 

It seemed all but dead Tuesday, but it got another shot on Wednesday. It still has to go through a committee, and it doesn’t sound like that’s going to happen by Thursday noon. 

There’s also the Paid Family and Medical Leave bill that narrowly failed in the House Wednesday. It would have had workers and employers pay into a fund to give employees paid time off for medical reasons. 

That is another proposal that has been shot down in the Roundhouse multiple years in a row. 

Both chambers are still going at it Wednesday night, and we will expect some final actions Thursday. The final gavel hits at noon Thursday, and that will put this session into the history books.