From pet abuse to PARCC, new bills address range of issues
Is abusing an animal domestic violence? A New Mexico state representative says it is and has introduced a bill to codify it. House Bill 52, introduced by Rep. Joanne Ferrary, D-Las Cruces, would recognize any harm or threatened harm to companion animals as domestic abuse.
Ferrary’s bill was one of nearly 200 that were prefiled by state legislators by 5 p.m. Tuesday in advance of the upcoming 60-day legislative session, which begins in mid-January. Here’s a quick look at 15 other bills, some of which have been introduced without success in previous years.
• House Bill 39, introduced by Rep. Miguel Garcia, D-Albuquerque, would offer a $3,000 bonus to six New Mexico-born educators a year for five years to encourage them to teach in the state’s public schools.
• HB 42, also introduced by Garcia, offers a similar deal to educators who agree to teach in schools that are rated D or F or have at least 90 percent of students on the free- or reduced-price lunch program — a federal indicator of poverty.
• HB 51, introduced by Ferrary, would repeal a decades-old state law that bans abortion except in narrow circumstances, a hedge against the possibility that the right-leaning U.S. Supreme Court might act to limit or ban abortion on the national front.
• HB 56, introduced by Albuquerque Reps. Gail Chasey and Christine Trujillo, both Democrats, would exclude prostitution as a crime for delinquent children 18 or under and take steps to place those children in protective custody.
• HB 73, introduced by Rep. Roberto “Bobby” Gonzales, D-Taos, would exempt New Mexico from the federal law requiring it to adhere to daylight saving time.
• HB 84, introduced by Rep. Daymon Ely, D-Corrales, would ensure automatic registration of voters when they apply for a driver’s license or license renewal at the Motor Vehicle Department.
• HB 93, also introduced by Ely, would allow voters who have not registered for either of the state’s two main political parties to participate in the primary election process by choosing to affiliate with a major party by requesting a ballot.
• House Joint Resolution 1, introduced by Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas, D-Albuquerque, would draw money at the rate of 1 percent per year from the state’s Land Grant Permanent Fund to support early childhood education programs.
• Senate Bill 3, introduced by Sen. Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe, would require candidates running for office to report independent expenditures of at least $1,000 for non-state elections and $3,000 for state elections within days.
• SB 8, introduced by Wirth and Sen. Richard Martinez, D-Española, would require background checks for anyone selling firearms and charge anyone with a criminal background with a misdemeanor if they don’t pass that test.
• SB 31, introduced by Sen. Michael Padilla of Albuquerque, would appropriate $3 million from the state’s general fund to place a social worker in every high-poverty public school in New Mexico.
• SB 57, introduced by Sen. Sander Rue, R-Albuquerque, would require the Educational Retirement Board, the Office of the State Treasurer, the State Investment Council and the Public Employers Retirement Association to submit additional financial information to the state auditor when their annual financial audits are due.
• SB 76, introduced by Sen. Mark Moores, R-Albuquerque, and Sen. Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces, would prohibit coyote-killing contests and charge anyone involved with such contests with a misdemeanor.
• SB 81, introduced by Sen. Gay Kernan, R-Hobbs, would establish a college affordability scholarship endowment fund that would give up to $1,500 per semester to qualifying students starting in 2020, with $50 million pulled from the state’s general fund.
• SB 110, introduced by Sen. John Sapien, D-Corrales, would do away with the state’s use of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, standardized exams for public school students and require schools to use a new exam designed by the Public Education Department.