Roundhouse Roundup: Medical malpractice, gun bills, and education
SANTA FE, N.M. — With more than a thousand bills introduced during this legislative session, there’s still a long to-do list for New Mexico lawmakers.
There are a few key efforts to catch up on.
Last Friday, senators set aside a plan to delay higher dollar limits for some malpractice cases. However, there is still hope for striking a deal.
The goal was to get trial attorneys and doctors to sit down again and try to hammer out a compromise. KOB 4 heard Sen. Benny Shendo urge that before his committee tabled the bill mentioned above.
That is happening – doctors who own outpatient facilities have met with trial attorneys and with Republican Senate Minority Leader Greg Baca, as well as Democratic Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth. Lawmakers do not want to be at the Roundhouse at the end of the year for another emergency fix like they passed two years ago.
“There is a need to get this done,” said Sen. Peter Wirth. “So I’m committed to doing everything I can to get it done and really encouraging the parties to fashion the solution themselves.”
Those doctors who own outpatient facilities have said they can’t find insurance, leading some people to worry about access to medical care in a state where it is already a struggle.
The issue is so urgent now that it is possible that there will be a leadership bill that rockets through both the Senate and the House without committee hearings.
Bennie’s Bill passed the Senate Friday afternoon. The Senate Judiciary Committee is hearing two other gun bills Wednesday.
One is Republican Sen. Craig Brandt’s bill to make it a crime to threaten a mass shooting, similar to calling in a bomb threat.
There’s also a bill to create a 14-day waiting period for buying a gun. It would apply only to people who don’t already own a gun. A version of that bill is ready for action on the House floor.
It looks likely that families will face longer school days next year – or more school days altogether. That’s seen as an important step to lifting up sagging performance by New Mexico students.
There’s also a measure to let voters decide whether the state’s experiment with education secretaries has failed. The proposed constitutional amendment would do away with that office and go to an elected state school board that would hire a superintendent.