This category will fill with information on the 30-day legislative session that begins on Jan. 18, 2022.

House Passes Bill Creating the Violence Intervention Program

Bill would provide crucial funds to communities to deter and prevent crime

Santa Fe, NM- HB 96, the Violence Intervention Program Act, a key crime prevention bill, passed the House with a vote of 44 to 20.

HB 96 creates the Violence Intervention Program Act and provides that the Department of Health (DOH) will award grants to eligible state agencies, counties, municipalities, or tribal governments to implement proven violence intervention programs. Grants are directed to entities that DOH finds are disproportionately impacted by violent crimes, including homicides, shootings, and aggravated assaults for focused deterrence efforts.

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Family Representation and Advocacy Act Passes House Floor

Act would provide legal representation to families in child welfare cases

Santa Fe, NM-Tonight, the House voted to pass the “Family Representation and Advocacy Act” to help New Mexico families navigate foster care and the child welfare system. 

This legislation, which is a substitute for HB 46, creates the Office of Family Representation and Advocacy (OFRA), an independent office for the representation of children and families in abuse and neglect matters. OFRA will appoint and retain attorneys and other staff to provide legal representation for parents and children in child welfare cases.

The bill was sponsored by Representative Gail Chasey (D-Albuquerque) and Senator Linda Lopez (D-Albuquerque)

“Too many families navigating the child welfare system do not have knowledgeable and compassionate lawyers. The Office of Family Representation will change that,” said Rep. Chasey. “Now, skilled attorneys will help children and families when they need it most, ensuring better outcomes for all.”

The bill now heads to the Senate. 

Crime Reduction Act Passes the House Floor with Unanimous Vote

Bill would allow community investments to reduce and prevent crime

Santa Fe, NM-Tonight the House voted unanimously to pass HB 84, a critical crime prevention bill, which would amend the Crime Reduction Grant Act to expand the purposes for which grants may be awarded to programs that reduce crime.

With this expansion, the Crime Reduction Act could be used to support efforts that include: establishing law enforcement crisis intervention teams, coordinating access to programs, establishing treatment centers for individuals struggling with substance use issues, transitional homes for individuals recently released from incarceration, and recruiting and retaining public safety and behavioral health workers.

HB 84 was sponsored by Representatives Daymon Ely (D-Corrales) and Dayan Hochman-Vigil (D-Albuquerque). 

“Expanding the Crime Reduction Act means we can invest more in our communities which will help us address the root causes of crime and make our streets safer,” said Representative Ely.

Joint Resolution to Allow Essential Services for New Mexicans Passes House Floor

State Constitution Could be Amended to Assist New Mexicans with Essential Services

Santa Fe, NM- House Joint Resolution 1, which would allow voters to amend the State Constitution to allow the state to provide essential services and utilities to households across New Mexico passed on the floor by a vote of 43-23.

“In too many communities across our state families lack broadband service which prevents children from learning, or lack of water which creates health issues for families,” said Representative Anthony Allison (D-Fruitland). “This amendment would support the most vulnerable communities in our state that need access to essential services.”

HJR 1 would allow voters to pass an amendment to the “anti-donation clause” of the State Constitution to enable the state to provide necessary utilities and services, particularly in rural and underserved areas. Under this constitutional amendment, the Legislature could appropriate state funds for the creation of necessary infrastructure and services, such as water, wastewater, internet, and energy in places where they are needed most. 

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Governor applauds unanimous House passage of priority legislation strengthening penalties for second degree murder

SANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Friday issued the following statement following the state House voting unanimously to approve House Bill 79, increasing penalties and removing the statute of limitations for second degree murder:

“Making dozens of unsolved homicides eligible for prosecution and resolution when they are solved will have an incredible effect on New Mexico families across the state. This important legislation will ensure that the road to justice for families of victims is preserved.”

Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Representatives Daymon Ely, Moe Maestas, Bill Rehm, Katy Duhigg, and Marian Matthews, HB 79 abolishes the statute of limitations for second degree murder and increases the penalty for the charge to 18 years.

Bill Increasing Penalties for Second-Degree Murder Passes House

Bill would make streets safer by holding offenders accountable for serious, violent crime

Santa Fe, NM- HB 79, which would abolish the statute of limitations for second degree murder, passed the House floor today with a unanimous vote. 

HB 79 would also increase the maximum penalty for a second degree felony resulting in death from 15 to 18 years. These changes would give more legal recourse to the families of murder victims and keep demonstrated violent offenders off the streets longer.

“Victims’ families deserve the peace of mind of knowing that the people who hurt their loved ones will be held accountable,” said Antonio “Moe” Maestas (D-Albuquerque). “We have to make sure the punishment fits the crime.” 

HB 79 is sponsored by Representatives Maestas, Daymon Ely (D-Albuquerque), William "Bill" R. Rehm (R-Albuquerque), and Senator Katy M. Duhigg (D-Albuquerque). 

Bill Focusing on Preserving Native Language Passes House Floor

Santa Fe, NM- A bill that would help preserve Native languages and fairly compensate teachers who hold a Native American Language Certificate passed the House today with a unanimous vote.

HB 60 would increase the salaries for teachers of Native languages by making those who hold a certificate in Native language and cultures, also known as a 520 certificate, eligible for a level two license salary. The bill would also put the tribes and pueblos in charge of establishing proficiency criteria and renewal procedures for the 520 certificate.

“Without language, culture does not survive. Native languages must be respected, honored and preserved,” said Representative Derrick Lente (D-Sandia Pueblo), the bill's sponsor. “Teachers of these languages must receive fair compensation for their important contributions.” 

The bill now moves over to the Senate.

House Passes Crucial Education Bill with Unanimous Support

Santa Fe, NM- Today, the House unanimously passed HB 13, the Teacher Residency Act, which would ensure New Mexico schools can retain a diverse and well trained workforce. 

HB 13 appropriates funds for a teacher residency fund, so that new teachers will receive guided training from a veteran teacher while receiving a stipend to avoid financial hardship. 

“This bill creates a pipeline to recruit and retain top-notch teachers for New Mexico schools,” said Debra Sariñana (D-Albuquerque). “This would be a game changer for teachers and students in our state.”

The bipartisan bill is sponsored by Representatives Sariñana, Joy Garratt (D-Albuquerque) and T. Ryan Lane (R- Aztec) and Senators William Soules (D-Las Cruces), and Mimi Stewart (D-Albuquerque). 

“This provides an affordable and tremendously supportive pathway for those pursuing teaching as a second career or entering the profession as a fourth year education student,” said Rep. Garratt. “Rather than taking out student loans or trying to juggle family responsibilities with school work and a job, individuals will be able to focus fully on their teacher residency because of this financial stipend.”

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