Roundhouse Rundown: Pretrial detention, housing development, elimination of migrant detention centers
SANTA FE, N.M. – There is a new proposal from Democratic state senator, and former prosecutor, Daniel Ivey-Soto that’s specifically targeting the repeat offenders – the ones utilizing the so-called revolving door.
His bill would allow the courts to put suspects in jail before their trial if they are arrested for committing a felony while on pretrial release.
Ivey-Soto noted those conditions of release, specifically stating suspects cannot commit new crimes, and suggested his bill will make sure that rule has consequences.
“This is the solution that will start to change the narrative in terms of people who make it their living to commit crimes and disrupt our lives,” said Ivey-Soto.
Ivey-Soto’s bill already cleared its first committee with bipartisan support and is expected in its second Wednesday night. It would still have to clear the full Senate and then the House, but we know the governor’s office is backing this bill, so it could move quickly.
As for what happened Wednesday, the Senate flew through several bills this afternoon, including a proposal to allow the state to offer digital driver’s licenses to any New Mexican who wants one. And a bill opening up New Mexico’s beef industry by allowing state inspectors to fill in for the USDA.
Both cleared the Senate with unanimous support. However, there was a significant debate on a proposal to eliminate migrant detention operations in New Mexico.
The bill is targeting three facilities facing numerous allegations of inhumane treatment and unsanitary living conditions.
Despite the troubling allegations, state lawmakers questioned the big-picture impact of the proposal.
“Be careful what you wish for, because these detainees may end up in El Paso, they may end up in Texas, where my experience is the welcome is much less pure than it is in New Mexico,” said state Sen. Joseph Cervantes.
The bill failed to move forward after a bipartisan group of lawmakers voted against it. That means it’s officially dead.
Lawmakers in the House also tackled several bills Tuesday, including a proposal to open up state funds for housing development.
The bill’s sponsor told lawmakers, New Mexico needs roughly 30,000 more housing units to keep up with demand. They say her proposal would allow the state to loan out money from a special fund for private development projects that might not be able to secure funding otherwise.
She says there’s a focus on building more affordable housing.
“It just makes it possible for these developers to create and develop housing at a lower cost than they would have otherwise,” said state Rep. Linda Serrato.
The bill cleared the House with strong bipartisan support and now heads to the Senate.
The proposed state budget includes $75 million for this specific housing development fund.