From the Roundhouse: A Premature Compromise?

February 7th, 2013 at 7:25 pm by under Latest Posts, Politics

The driver’s license debate has consumed a lot of news coverage since Gov. Susana Martinez was elected and pledged to repeal the state law that allows illegal immigrants to get driver’s licenses.

But it’s had a hard time going anywhere in the Democratic-controlled Legislature. Although the repeal has gotten past a House vote before, it hasn’t made it to the governor’s desk.

This year two separate proposals were shot down in committee.

There’s been a fair amount of talk about a possible compromise with a looming federal deadline for states to get REAL ID-compliant so that state driver’s licenses could be used to board a plane or enter a federal building. Without a change, New Mexicans would have to bring a passport to the airport possibly as soon as 2014.

The whispers around the Roundhouse are that compromise bill will be introduced in the Senate first.

Believe it or not, there’s already an interesting option on the table, one proposed by Rep. Paul Bandy, R-Aztec.

House Bill 144 wouldn’t take away licenses from illegal immigrants and wouldn’t award a separate driver’s permit like Utah has decided to do.

Instead, Bandy’s bill would put the burden on New Mexico taxpayers to get themselves REAL ID compliant.

What the bill does is it allows the Motor Vehicle Division to issue “REAL ID” cards which would have to be separate from driver’s licenses and photo IDs.

If New Mexicans wanted to board a plane or enter a federal building once REAL ID kicks in, under Bandy’s bill they would have to use the “REAL ID” card and not their own driver’s license. To get a card, you’d have to pay MVD $15 for a four-year card or $30 for an eight-year card.

The proposal is drawing some praise from lawmakers across the aisle as a true compromise solution from a House Republican.

But while the governor reportedly is open to compromise, something that costs taxpayers may not be so palatable.

Bill of the Day: House Bill 465

Our neighbor to the north, Colorado, has legalized marijuana.

While there’s talk of a constitutional amendment that could accomplish that being introduced in the Senate by Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino, D-Albuquerque, another solution was introduced in the House today.

Freshman Rep. Emily Kane, D-Albuquerque, is proposing the state decrease penalties associated with marijuana possession.

The changes are a little complicated, but my chart below breaks it down:

———

CURRENT LAW:

Possession of marijuana…

< 1 ounce

  • 1st offense charged with a petty misdemeanor and a $50 – $100 fine
  • 2nd and subsequent offense charged with a misdemeanor, $100-$1,000 fine or up to a year in jail

1 – 8 ounces

  • All offenses charged with a misdemeanor and a $100-$1,000 fine or up to a year in jail

> 8 ounces,

  • All offenses charged with a fourth degree felony

KANE’S PROPOSAL:

Possession of marijuana…

< 1 ounce

  • 1st offense $50 fine 2nd and subsequent offense charged with a petty misdemeanor, up to $100 fine
  • 1-4 ounces 1st offense $100 fine, 2nd offense charged with petty misdemeanor, up to $200 fine

4-8 ounces

  • All offenses charged with misdemeanor, up to $300 fine

> 8 ounces

  • All offenses charged with a fourth degree felony

———–

Penalties for using Spice would remain unchanged.

HB 465 has to go through two committees in the House, starting with House Consumer & Public Affairs.

4 Responses to “From the Roundhouse: A Premature Compromise?”

  1. [...] Goldsmith at KRQE looks at a REAL ID bill in the state legislature. House Bill 144 wouldn’t take away licenses from illegal immigrants and wouldn’t award a [...]

  2. Lory Phillips says:

    To put this issue at rest the best compromise would be to put it to a ballot question ! That the Democratic majority has decided not to respond to the citizen”s wishes is quite evident in the poll numbers on the issue ! That we elect people to respond to our concerns then after election they go against them seems to me a serious problem. Why do they do this ?

  3. greg bates says:

    if your going to make the good people of new mexico pay to get real id compliant and carry another card the cost should be lower or nonexistant! If its not a drivers licence why would it expire? it should be good for as long as your a resident of new mexico.We did nothing wrong to create this issue but you still want to punish us with more fees and trips to dmv.I’m not against immagration, so if they are legal residents then they can have a drivers licence and pay taxes just like the rest of us. it seems to me its the few bad apples making it hard on the rest of us. sincerly greg bates

  4. whiskeyriver says:

    Is Rep. Bandy out of his mind? As a born and raised New Mexican it offends me to all ends to be treated like a second class citizen because the fools in the Round Outhouse refuse to do what needs to be done.

    Why should I have to pay for a second I.D. card when I was born here? Why should any legal citizen in our state have to pay for a second I.D. card? It has been proven over and over again that allowing illegal aliens to get a drivers license has done nothing to reduce the number of uninsured drivers on our highways. It has been proven over and over that illegals from all over the country come here to try to illegally obtain a drivers license.

    What will it take for our elected elite to get the message, this is a bad situation and the law needs to be repealed? Will this foolishness go on until we New Mexicans are considered to be foreigners in our own country? I cannot believe the contempt those elected to serve the public have for those of us who pay the bills.

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