State lawmakers divided over public safety

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SANTA FE, N.M. – State lawmakers passed some measures on public safety during the 60-day legislative session, but the majority of the proposals on the topic did not make it through. 

Some state leaders say they feel accomplished in the addressing of crime, but many others say they are disappointed. So, the next question is when will they come back to the Roundhouse to address crime? 

“If you don’t get the bills you’d like to see up to your desk will you call a special session?

“Let’s wait and see once everything is up collectively,” said Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham with four days left in the legislative session.

Fast-forward to Saturday after the session ended, and the governor is confident we won’t need one this year.

“I think the public is going to ask me and these Legislatures know, so they’re not surprised by that. I’ll be asked to look into a public safety special session, and we usually find ourselves it’s an imperfect world where we didn’t anticipate. So the special sessions we have called have been unforeseen and dramatic circumstances,” said Lujan Grisham. 

She explains we aren’t in one of those dramatic circumstances right now and highlights some crime bills did pass—just not all the ones she wanted.

“We have about a handful up and out of 40, it’s 10 and not all of those constitute what I consider strong public safety measures,” Lujan Grisham said. 

Bills that did not pass include bail reform and changes to pretrial detention, these were priorities of both the governor and the Republican Party. 

Now that the session is over the Republicans say not enough was done.

“I was really disappointed in this session, we basically had a couple criminal bills succeed, that actually would do anything would be in the retail organized crime bill. But other than that, we never addressed pretrial detention and never moved anywhere bail reform, or even punishing our most violent offenders,” said state Rep. Andrea Reeb. 

But not all hope is lost as the governor looks forward to the 30-day session next year.

“I know you want me to say that I’m disappointed, but I’m motivated. I’m very motivated to find additional ways to make sure we do everything in our power to make our communities, cities, and our state safer,” said Lujan Grisham. 

The governor did say Sunday the only reason she would have called a special session this year is if they weren’t able to pass the medical malpractice fix, but they were able to figure that out before time ran out this year.