SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – As Democrats focus on tackling the state’s crime problem during the Legislative Session, Republicans are saying it’s about time. One Albuquerque representative has been pushing crime-fighting bills for more than a decade.
The governor and fellow Democrats are pressing for new laws to tackle the state’s crime problem. “We diligently, in a bipartisan, nonpartisan fashion work to do everything we can about the incredible public safety issues that require immediate attention,” said Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.
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Republicans have been firing back saying they’ve been trying to do just that for years. “You know, for golly for the last several years, we have been ridiculed about being for crime all the time,” said Representative Jim Townsend (R-Chaves, Eddy and Otero counties).
Rep. Bill Rehm (R-Bernalillo County) has introduced crime-fighting bills dating back to 2007. The governor did invite him to last week’s news conference. “She invites him to come stand silently as she introduces bills that she thinks are important enough this legislative session and they’re bills that Bill has been carrying for years and years. So, I thought that was disingenuous,” said Rep. Townsend said.
“It’s an election year and all of a sudden…they’re deciding that hey..we better make crime part of our package, well I’ve been shouting that ever since 2007,” said Rep. Rehm.
Democrat Antonio ‘Moe’ Maestas (D-Albuquerque) is sponsoring a bill that would lift the statute of limitations on second-degree murder which sponsors say would help secure convictions in cold cases. “It’s more of a copy of my bill. We are the only state in the nation that has a statute of limitation on second-degree murder,” Rep. Rehm said. He says he’s introduced that bill 12 times.
Democrats argue these bills take time to pass. “Well, a lot of those bills have been introduced before but a crime bill takes years to get past because once you put it on the books you can never take it off,” said Rep. Maestas.
Rep. Rehm says he’s just glad Democrats are finally on board. “I’m glad now that the legislature is realizing that crime in New Mexico is a problem,” he said.
Rep. Rehm is once again sponsoring several crime-fighting bills including one that would create penalties for people who conspire and organize to rob retail stores.