SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – For at least the third time in the last six legislative sessions, lawmakers appear to be rejecting a proposed front license plate requirement for New Mexico vehicles. A legislative committee voted to table a bill on the topic during a Tuesday hearing.
Five day ago, legislators in the House Transportation, Public Works, and Capital Improvements Committee debated House Bill 56, which would require front plates. The idea was framed as a way to boost public safety.
“It seems like one of the least things we can do to help make our community safer,” bill co-sponsor Rep. Gail Chasey (D-Abq.) said in support of the bill. And Commander Mark Torres with the Albuquerque Police Department agreed: “It gives us just another method to identify a potential criminal or even a missing person or an amber alert of some sort.”
Over the last few days, legislators have worked to adjust the bill slightly. One of those adjustments is an exemption for older vehicles. “If a vehicle is over 30 years old, it just needs one plate,” explained bill co-sponsor Rep. William “Bill” R. Rehm (R-Abq.).
But even after changes and exemptions, the idea seemingly fell apart Tuesday. Legislators in the same House Transportation, Public Works, and Capital Improvements Committee voted to table the bill without much debate.
A tabled bill can still be revived. But given the lack of discussion on the idea, and mixed support from the public, it looks like New Mexico is likely to stay as a one-plate state for now.
Republican Representative Bill Rehm has routinely co-sponsored front-end license plate bills, doing so in the 2023, 2019 and 2018 legislative sessions. In 2018, the bill passed the New Mexico House, but died in a Senate committee.