UPDATE: This story and headline have been updated to include clarification on the governor’s veto of restrictions on legislation to recruit and retain law enforcement officers.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Wednesday signed House Bill 68, a bipartisan package of initiatives designed to tackle crime in New Mexico communities and invest in public safety personnel across the state. The bill was part of the record $8.5 billion spending plan for the coming year.
“Every New Mexican deserves to feel safe in their community – and they demand action from their government,” said Lujan Grisham. “House Bill 68 expands on the transformative work we have done in previous years, strengthening our state’s public safety system and making the streets safer in every community in New Mexico. ”
While the governor left most of the spending proposed by the legislature, she used her veto to reduce some restrictions in the $50 million in funding for the recruitment and retention of law enforcement officers to administer. through allowances. The package provided funding only for agencies that use a community policing model. The community policing stipulation was left out, which the governor said would make funding more accessible to law enforcement agencies across the state.
- Establishes programs to recruit and retain law enforcement officers, along with $50 million in the budget to establish an officer recruitment fund;
- Strengthens penalties for crimes committed with a firearm, including a criminal in possession of a firearm and the use of a firearm in the commission of a crime;
- Creates criminal laws relating to violent threats, property damage and chops;
- Eliminates the statute of limitations for second degree murder;
- Increases death benefits for families of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty to $1 million, establishing New Mexico’s policy as the most generous in the nation;
- Establishes the Violence Intervention Program Act, accompanied by $9 million in the budget to establish violence intervention programs statewide; and
- Allocates crime reduction grants, along with $2 million in the budget for crime reduction grants.
“This legislation will help our justice system better deal with and reduce dangerous crime,” Rep. Meredith Dixon said. “Stronger penalties, coupled with investments in addressing the underlying causes of crime, will help us make our communities safer, now and in the long term.”
“Our constituents have demanded that we respond to crime in our city and state and we have heard them. HB 68 is an important step that will improve the effectiveness of our criminal justice system in deterring crime,” said Rep. Marian Matthews.
“Crime must be the priority of every session until we have a system that works top to bottom to protect families in New Mexico. This is a real first step, to gain support for our officers and to get tough on gun violence,” said Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller. Mexicans who live in metro Albuquerque.
The legislation also requires that recent GPS data kept on people on bail be more easily provided to law enforcement officers; redefines the role and composition of the Law Enforcement Academy Council and divides its functions into two separate entities; and creates new judges in the 2nd, 5th and 13th judicial districts.