Expanded crime bill wins legislative approval in New Mexico

SANTA FE, NM (AP) — A wide range of crime-fighting initiatives won legislative approval Thursday as New Mexico grapples with concerns about a rise in violent crime in Albuquerque and beyond .

The bill is the Legislative Assembly’s response to calls from Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham for a hardline response to crime-related frustrations as she campaigns for re-election in November.

This would expand surveillance of defendants awaiting trial with round-the-clock monitoring of ankle bracelet tracking devices. Lawmakers balked at proposals by the governor and prosecutors to bar the bail of those charged with certain violent and sexual crimes.

The bill would expand the ranks of district judges across the state, increase retention pay for city police and sheriff’s deputies, and provide $1 million in death benefits to relatives of police officers killed in the exercise of their functions.

The legislation establishes requirements for crime reduction grants that seek alternatives to traditional prosecution and incarceration and expands intervention programs to curb gun violence.

The Crime Bill also expands police training to help officers better deal with stress, interactions with homeless people and techniques for de-escalating confrontations involving police.

And he’s revamping oversight of police misconduct investigations under a new governor-appointed nine-member board made up of law enforcement officers, a judge, a civil rights attorney and criminal defense attorneys from both public and private sectors.

Democratic Sen. Joseph Cervantes of Las Cruces said the bill should have quick and lasting effects on policing and crime rates.

“When we add ankle bracelet monitoring, 24 hours a day, seven days a week across the state, it’s going to have immediate effects,” he said. “The long-term perspective is (that) grants for violence prevention, law enforcement training, law enforcement retention, that’s going to take a long time.”

The bill comes with new criminal penalties designed to protect state and local judges and their immediate families from threats and the malicious sharing of personal information such as home addresses. This provision addresses concerns about not only the physical safety of judges, but also efforts to influence or disrupt court proceedings.

Criminal penalties are increased for possession of a firearm by a serious violent criminal, brandishing a weapon in the commission of an illegal and aggravated drug transaction fleeing law enforcement in certain circumstances.

The Democratic-led Legislature on Wednesday approved a record $1 billion annual budget increase that bolsters spending on public schools, Medicaid, public safety initiatives and a range of grants, loans and relief. taxes for the private sector.

The budget bill calls for a general fund spending plan of $8.48 billion for the fiscal year beginning July 1, a 14% increase over current year spending. Lujan Grisham supports the main provisions and can veto any party.

Separately, the state Senate has proposed a half-billion-dollar package of tax refunds, reductions and credits to a pivotal debate in the House, as well as a package of anti-corruption initiatives. criminality. The Legislative Assembly has until 12 p.m. Thursday to approve the legislation before adjourning.

The budget relies on a windfall of state government revenue from increased oil production and federal pandemic assistance.

Wage increases of at least 7% are planned for school district and state government staff statewide, with a minimum hourly wage of $15 for public employees and higher base salaries for teachers.

Annual K-12 public education spending would increase by $425 million to $3.87 billion, a 12% increase. Annual Medicaid spending would rise by about $240 million to $1.3 billion as the federal government ends pandemic-related subsidies to the program that provides free health care to the poor.

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