Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham expected to address panhandling during 30-day session
SANTA FE, N.M. – Beyond the budget, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has a lot she wants to accomplish this session. One goal is to tackle an issue people see on lots of streets corners in the metro – panhandling.
The City of Albuquerque tried to outlaw panhandling a few years ago, but it turned into a legal battle.
Lujan Grisham kind of ran for re-election on the promise of doing something about panhandling.
When KOB 4 hosted the gubernatorial debate in 2022, she told us she wanted to restrict panhandling and trespassing for the homeless.
Now, leading into the session, she says it’s a way to keep our streets safer for pedestrians and drivers. But it’s a mixed bag as to whether folks in the metro think it’s a good idea:
“Outlawing homelessness isn’t the option, it’s not the solution,” said Eliot Salgado.
“Sometimes it bothers, and sometimes you feel really sorry for them, it can go both ways,” said Albert Saavedra.
In 2019, a federal judge ruled the ordinance unconstitutional and said it violated rights to free speech. That’s not stopping Lujan Grisham from trying to bring it back statewide. She’s been talking about it for years.
During KOB 4’s 2022 gubernatorial debate, we asked her: Why is our state having so many problems with homelessness, and what can you do to help?
“I plan to propose in the next legislative session restrictions on panhandling and trespass for this population,” said Lujan Grisham in 2022.
It appears she’s going to do that this session. Last week, the governor told us banning panhandling is a priority, and it falls under her public safety agenda.
“It is a public safety issue, we have the highest pedestrian deaths per capita in the country,’ said Lujan Grisham.
She says it would make streets safer for drivers and pedestrians. Not everyone agrees.
“I appreciate the effort, but I’m not sure this is the best way to accomplish that goal,” said Salgado.
“It doesn’t bother me too much. If it looks like they’re about to walk out it starts to bother me, but if they’re just standing there not at all,” said Casey Craft.
“Everybody gets up and goes to work every day. If they panhandle they’re getting up and going to work, I see it as an honest job,” said Glow Salaz.
KOB 4 reached out to the governor’s office Monday, a spokesperson told us they’re still looking for someone to sponsor the bill.