Here’s a look at today’s headlines:
On Sunday around 8 pm, New Mexico State Police Officers responded to a fatal vehicle crash on State Road 198 south of Deming. The initial investigation revealed that the 38 year-old driver from Oklahoma was northbound when he lost control, slid off the west side of the road and rolled down a steep embankment. The driver was reportedly not wearing a seatbelt and died at the scene. A passenger sustained minor injuries. The incident is still under investigation.
In legislative action: A bill that will give judges access to the full criminal histories of violent offenders passed the House Regulatory and Public Affairs Committee by a 7-0 vote. Jaydon’s Law would change the Criminal Procedure Act to allow judges to review an adult defendant’s prior record as a youth offender. It will also give judges access to other information, such as evidence presented during past hearings for youth offenses. The bill would not apply to juvenile offenses committed prior to the age of 14 or to juvenile delinquent offenses.
A bill by Representative Sarah Maestas Barnes to provide an additional $1.2 million to the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to reduce the backlog of unprocessed rape kits in New Mexico unanimously passed the House Judiciary Committee today. Maestas Barnes’ request, HB 130, would allow DPS to hire additional full-time staff to process the backlog of over 5,000 untested rape kits in New Mexico. Some of these unprocessed kits date back to the 1980s.
Compromise legislation that will end the dangerous practice of giving New Mexico driver’s licenses illegal immigrants passed the House Judiciary Committee by a vote of 7-6 today. This bill is an effort compromise with Senate Democrats by granting illegal immigrants driving privilege cards instead of New Mexico driver’s licenses.
Today bipartisan legislation that would authorize local governments to impose curfews on minors under the age of 16 from midnight to 5 a.m. passed the House Regulatory and Public Affairs Committee by a 4-3 vote. The legislation was crafted in response to recent violent incidents involving minors. Steven Gerecke was gunned down in his driveway by six minors at 3 a.m. in June last year. Also, a 14-year-old student, Isaiah Albright, was shot and killed around 2 a.m. at Pat Hurley Park on Albuquerque’s Westside by another minor a month later.
New Mexico lawmakers are considering a proposal to open Democratic and Republican primary elections to any voter amid a surge in independent voter registration.