New Mexico House Democrats outline criminal justice efforts

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A group of New Mexico House Democrats outlined a package of criminal justice bills intended to combat crime that includes penalties for failing to safely store guns, enhanced pay for police and changes in the pretrial supervision and bail system.

A record-setting number of homicides in Albuquerque this year is spurring concerns about violent crime and shortcomings of the police and justice system.

In a statement Thursday, 17 House Democrats including majority floor leader Javier Martinez and Rep. Antonio Maestas of Albuquerque announced a lengthy list of goals for next regular legislative session in January.

Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham says she’ll put criminal justice initiatives on the agenda for the 30-day session that is confined to budget negotiations and a few additional governor-picked topics.

Republican lawmakers are asking the Legislature to reconsider a long list of their recent crime bills that were rejected.

House Democrats listed legislative goals in 16 bullet points. To address gun violence, the legislators want to place new restrictions on high-capacity magazines and establish an office of gun violence prevention.

Enhanced penalties are part of the plan. Democrats want a longer statute of limitations on second-degree murder charges and tougher sanctions. A crackdown is proposed on property damage in the theft of copper and catalytic converters in automobiles.

New spending is being proposed on street lighting and the workforce that provides service for mental health and addiction.