Hammering the HammeredFebruary 11th, 2013 at 6:12 pm by Alex Goldsmith under N.M. Politics
Drunk driving is a big problem in New Mexico.
More than 40 percent of all highway fatalities were DWI-related in 2011.
This is not a new problem in our state and laws attempting to crack down on DWI are typically politically popular on both sides of the aisle.
That’s proven true this year.
As we reported at 5:30, Sen. George Munoz, D-Gallup, has a bill that would take away a repeat drunk driver’s license for life after a fifth conviction.
Rep. Jason Harper, R-Rio Rancho, recently introduced two proposals. One would allow police to confiscate and sell off the car of any driver with a prior DWI conviction caught driving on a revoked or suspended. Another tackles a tricky side of DWI prosecution… getting every expert and witness needed to show up. His bill would allow some experts to testify via videoconferencing.
Those bills still haven’t had their day in committee, but a pair of bills from Rep. Tim Lewis, R-Rio Rancho, have. HB 31 would allow a person’s drunk driving history to be factored in when determining whether a person is a “habitual offender”. HB 32 would strongly increase minimum and maximum DWI penalties for drunk drivers with four or more convictions.
Lewis’ bills are currently stalled out in committee.
Bill of the Day
The gun bills don’t stop coming.
Rep. Bill Rehm, R-Albuquerque, is the primary sponsor on this package of bills designed to crack down on felons who choose to pack heat.
HB 297 (which was actually introduced first), makes being a felon in possession of a firearm punishable by a minimum of five years in prison and would tack on five years to the sentence of anyone convicted of stealing a gun.
HB 10 extends New Mexico’s ban on felons possessing guns in the first place. Under current state law, once a felon’s prison time and probation are up, they can’t possess a gun for ten years. HB 10 makes that an automatic lifetime ban for any convicted felon.
HB 10′s co-sponsor is Speaker Ken Martinez, meaning it could have an easy road through the House. The bill only has to get past the House Judiciary Committee.
HB 297 has to go through two committees and is set to be heard this week in House Consumer and Public Affairs.