Gov. Martinez signs legislation including bill to curb auto thefts

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Gov. Susana Martinez has signed a slew of new bills into law, including one that aims to curb auto thefts in the state.

Out of more than 100 bills sent to the governor’s desk, she’s signed about 45 from this legislative session and vetoed two so far.

One of the bills she’s signed creates an automobile theft prevention authority as part of the Office of the Superintendent of Insurance.

It basically creates a centralized system in which the fraud bureau helps connect law enforcement agencies to find and recover stolen cars quickly. It also allows agencies to work together to identify suspects and connect them to multiple thefts.

Rep. Bill Rehm of Albuquerque introduced the bill. He says it’s based off something Colorado is already doing successfully.

Enforcement Division Director for the New Mexico Insurance Fraud Bureau, Roberta Baca says she agrees that cars thefts are a huge problem in the state.

“I really think the bottom line is crime is up, people are fed up and we live and work in these communities and we want people to feel safe in their community,” Baca said.

The creation of the authority also makes it possible to fund these programs from donors and grants.

Among the other new bills the governor has signed is one that makes strangulation and suffocation an aggravated battery charge in domestic violence situations.

A bill to expedite teacher licenses for military members and their spouses moving to the state was also signed.

Other bills signed improve daycare for toddlers and encourage businesses to hire youth raised in foster care.

Gov. Martinez still has more than 60 bills on her desk and has until March 7 to either sign or veto them.

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