Legislative roundup, March 14, 2021 | Legislature | New Mexico Legislative Session

Days remaining in the session: 7th

Change session length? For years, state lawmakers have grappled with how best to get their jobs done within the deadlines of legislative sessions, which alternate between 30 and 60 days every two years.

On Saturday, members of the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee voted 9-2 in favor of a resolution that will allow voters in the next general election to decide whether they would prefer to hold a 45-day session each year.

Rep. Rod Montoya, a Republican from Farmington and one of several sponsors of House Joint Resolution 13, said it was not a perfect solution, but it was a start. Other members of the committee agreed, although some said it might be more effective to have 60-day meetings a year, or maybe 90-day meetings, or maybe 60 days in one year and 45 days in the next.

Montoya said no matter how you look at it, “30 days is not the right number.”

Efforts to postpone similar bills over the past few years have stalled and HJR 13 probably doesn’t stand a great chance right now, with only one week left in session and the need to go through the House of Representatives and then the Senate for the time being final approval.

MEP Matthew McQueen, a Galisteo Democrat and one of two committee members who voted against the proposal, alluded to this when he told Montoya that the bill was “likely dead” because the session was nearing its end. However, the debate on the law prompted the legislature to consider other ideas to improve the legislative process.

“Homosexual Panic” Defense: A measure that would end the use of “gay panic” defenses in criminal matters was enforced by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Saturday.

Senate Bill 213, sponsored by Sens. Jacob Candelaria from Albuquerque, Leo Jaramillo from Spain and Liz Stefanics from Cerrillos, all Democrats, voted 8-0. Candelaria, who had voted for the bill to be scrutinized by the committee, said defending against “gay panic” is a legal strategy that requires a jury to determine that a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression is for Responsible for a defendant’s violent response, including murder. He also said the District of Columbia and nine states have banned the use of such defense strategies and that the legislation is also pending in Congress.

“When a defendant uses LGBTQ panic protection, he claims that a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity not only explains but excuses the loss of self-control and the attack that followed,” Candelaria said. “By acquiring all or part of the perpetrators of crimes against queer victims, this defense implies that LGBTQ lives are worth less than others, that my life and that of my husband are simply worthless.”

Stefanics said a dear friend of hers was burned in his car for coming to see another man. “The person’s defense was that they panicked when a man approached them and it just wasn’t appropriate,” she said.

Looking ahead: With a week to go until the 60-day legislature, there is next to nothing to count on other than that it ends on Saturday lunchtime and the legislature will somehow get a state budget to be signed by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.

But you can probably expect fewer committee hearings as time is running out for the potential of many bills to reach the finish line.

Speaking of the clock, given that people may have woken up a little moody on Sunday mornings from having to put the clocks forward, knowing that the House’s Committee on Commerce and Economic Development sponsored the House on Monday can bring some consolation Senate Bill 102 will hear from Sen. Cliff Pirtle, R-Roswell.

Pirtle is an advocate for the state to have daylight saving time all year round.

The Senate approved the measure earlier this month. If the committee releases it on Monday, it will go to the final vote on parliament.

Preference for charter registration OK’d: The House of Representatives voted 67-3 to approve Senate Act 51, which allows charter schools to give priority to enrollment for children of school employees.

Charter schools – public schools that operate with more autonomy – generally have a lottery system in place to determine enrollment, although state law allows enrollment preferences for returning students and siblings of enrolled students. A Legislative Education Study Committee for SB 51 says the additional “preference of enrolling staff’s children would impact the selection process for students who are currently unaffiliated with school through prior enrollment or a sibling.” This has the potential to minimize the number of uncommitted enrollment places at a school for students who were not previously enrolled or who have a sibling enrolled at the charter school. “

The bill is going to the governor’s desk now.

Child benefit bill zooms in on: The House of Representatives voted 62-0 without debate in order to give a final legislative push to Senate Law 140, which is now going to be signed on the governor’s desk.

The bill, sponsored by Senator Gay Kernan, R-Hobbs, and Rep. Daymon Ely, D-Corrales, updates and refines state child support laws to bring them in line with federal law – a move which includes limiting the number of years of overdue child support a parent may owe and revised the way child support is calculated so that the state can ultimately collect more child support payments.

The legislation also allows the state to focus on providing employment opportunities and job security to non-caring parents to help them meet their obligations.

And when the law goes into effect, it will save the state around $ 147.5 million in federal funds that it would lose if it failed to comply with these federal laws.

In a statement on Saturday, Human Services Secretary David Scrase said, “By focusing more on parenting employment, we know from experience that we can significantly increase the flow of money to children in New Mexico to make them bigger To give chance to enjoy life children. Fathers and mothers who do not live with their children can spend more time with them and develop closer relationships.

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