SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) –There are only a handful of days left in the 2022 legislative session. With a looming deadline, the calendar is packed with committee meetings for Monday, February 14.

Several committees will meet to discuss crime-related legislation. Among other bills, legislators will consider Senate Bill 231, which sets out a host of changes to statewide law enforcement.

The bill requires the Department of Public Safety to create a central database with information about excessive uses of force by officers. The data could be used to track repeat instances and administer terminations, or even criminal convictions of offending officers if necessary. Some of the data would also be made public, according to the bill.

The bill would also raise the death benefits paid to the family of officers killed in the line of duty. Currently, the payout is a quarter of a million dollars. Senate Bill 231 would raise that to $1 million.

Legislators will also discuss House Bill 86, which aims to keep law enforcement officers from leaving the profession. The latest, amended version would pay police officers a retention payment when they reach four, nine, 14, and 19 years of service.

Today, legislators will also consider legislation to help victims of crime. They’ll consider House Bill 96, which would create a violence intervention program.

Since 1992, New Mexico’s violent crime rate has been at least 19% above the national average, according to a fiscal report by the Legislative Finance Committee. The report broadly blames poverty, drug use, and sustained unemployment for the state’s crime.

To tackle the issues, House Bill 96 would create a fund for the state’s Department of Health to access. The Department of Health could use the money to make grants to state agencies, counties, municipalities, or tribal governments that are disproportionally impacted by violent crime. The money would fund programs aimed at reducing gun violence.

In addition to big-picture crime-related legislation, here are some other key topics to watch:

GPS data for accused criminals

  • Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee will meet to discuss legislation.
  • In addition to other topics, they’ll consider Senate Bill 225. The bill would require any public entity or agency that tracks accused criminal defendants via Global Positioning System (GPS) to share that data with law enforcement officers in certain instances.
  • KRQE News 13 previously reported on high-profile cases where defendants were released before trial only to commit crimes in the interim. This bill aims to better monitor violent criminals as they await trial.
  • Senate Bill 225 is a replacement for the original version of House Bill 5, a bill relating to detaining accused people before trial.

Children’s Code and statewide gambling

  • Today, the Senate Rules Committee will meet to discuss several resolutions and memorials.
  • On the agenda is Senate Memorial 20, which asks a commission of the New Mexico Supreme Court to examine the state’s Children’s Code.
  • The Children’s Code is the statewide law relating to child health, safety, and care. The memorial points out that community members have asked for a more “responsive” Children’s Code.
  • The memorial asks the commission to see if there are any potential improvements to be made. It also asks the commission to consider input from a long list of stakeholders.
  • The Senate Rules Committee will also consider Senate Memorial 25, which asks several agencies to take a look at statewide gambling and horse racing.
  • The idea would be to make the gaming industry competitive with other states, according to the memorial.