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Governor announces crime legislation for 2022 session

Posted

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham was joined Jan. 13 by Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller, Attorney General Hector Balderas, Bernalillo County District Attorney Raúl Torrez and Albuquerque legislators as she announced a comprehensive public safety package ahead of the 2022 legislative session.

The governor’s priorities include:

  • Imposing a “rebuttable presumption,” which seeks to ensure that those accused of murder, gun crimes, rape or other sex crimes do not pose a danger to the community before being released pending trial, keeping more violent offenders off New Mexico streets.
  • Increasing penalties for second-degree murder from 15 years to 18 years and removing the statute of limitations.
  • Increasing penalties for gun crimes, including increasing the penalty for unlawful possession of a handgun from misdemeanor to fourth-degree felony; creating a crime of “criminal threat” as a fourth-degree felony; adding penalty of third-degree felony for fleeing law enforcement that results in injury and second-degree felony for fleeing that results in great bodily harm; enhancing penalties for brandishing a firearm in the commission of a drug transaction.

In December, state Sen. Joseph Cervantes of Las Cruces, who is chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said the governor’s anti-crime legislation is in response to an increase in violent crime in Albuquerque that is also “now present in Las Cruces,” he said, and calls for “aggressive action.”

An increase in violent crime in the state, he said, has contributed to a slower population growth in New Mexico than in surrounding states, he said.

The governor is also supporting public safety in New Mexico through a recommendation for nearly 20 percent raises for state police officers and the creation of a $100 million fund to be used to recruit, train and hire law enforcement at departments around the state.