Legislative session: Status report on public safety proposals

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SANTA FE, N.M. – State lawmakers have less than three weeks to approve bills and send them to the governor’s desk for a signature, that includes every single public safety proposal introduced this year.

Plans to address organized retail crime are picking up speed.

House Bill 234 – which is one of several retail crime bills – is now headed to the House floor for a vote, and it’s looking like that could happen later this week.

Both Democrats and Republicans have said tackling the growing surge in retail crime is a top priority, so if this bill clears the House, it could get fast-tracked through the Senate.

It’s a much different story when it comes to guns.

House Bill 9 – otherwise known as Bennie’s law – is the closest to the finish line. It cleared the House a few weeks ago and narrowly made it through the senate Judiciary Committee Monday but with several changes.

The bill is working to increase penalties for gun owners who don’t properly store their weapons, and they end up in the hands of children.

Committee Chair Sen. Joseph Cervantes believes it may be one of the few gun proposals that could survive in a courtroom.

“I’m convinced this bill will stand constitutional scrutiny from that Supreme Court decision. It might be one of the few gun bills we’re seeing that might withstand that scrutiny, but I think this is a constitutional law, or else I wouldn’t be voting for it,” said Cervantes. 

Cervantes later referenced recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions before voting against another bill banning the sale of certain guns and ammunition.

It appears Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is also narrowing her gun control priorities to proposals that actually have a shot.

During an event at the Roundhouse Tuesday, she said she’s focused on establishing a 14-day waiting period on gun sales, and raising the age to buy guns to 21-years-old.

Bennie’s law is also expected in its second Senate Committee Wednesday. Other proposals including an assault weapons ban are likely off the table this year, that bill is stuck in a House committee with several lawmakers already raising legal concerns. 

Legal concerns also appear to be slowing down bills aimed at reworking pretrial detention, especially rebuttable presumption. It’s looking less likely any of those bills will cross the finish line.

Track HB 234 during the legislative session.

Track HB 9 during the legislative session.