I’ve talked about compromise before on this blog, but nowhere was it more evident than today at the Roundhouse.
A tough committee process saw Rep. Miguel Garcia, D-Albuquerque, amend his gun-show background-check bill again and again. That is until a proposed compromise from Rep. Nate Gentry, R-Albuquerque, on Friday that got 13 out of 16 members to back the bill was good enough for HB 77 to sail to a floor vote less than a week later.
The debate was intense at times, and certainly long, but the vote wasn’t close with 43 of 70 representatives saying “yes.” The governor is already on record saying she’ll sign it if it makes it to her desk.
There’s another key compromise Wednesday that will likely have a much tougher road and may not even be called a compromise by some.
Early attempts at repealing the New Mexico law that allows illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses have fallen flat in the House with two separate bills dying quick deaths in committee.
Now SB 521 has been introduced, a bill sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Stuart Ingle, R-Portales, with two conservative Democrats as co-sponsors, Sen. John Arthur Smith of Deming and President Pro Tem Mary Kay Papen of Las Cruces.
While Gov. Susana Martinez called SB 521 a “reasonable compromise” in a statement I received this afternoon, some Democrats are saying this is barely one.
That’s because the bill allows only some illegal immigrants to receive driver’s licenses.
Under SB 521, two different driver’s licenses would be issued, one valid for boarding planes and entering federal buildings, the other for driving only.
The first type would be issued to U.S. citizens and foreign nationals who could prove they’re in the U.S. legally (i.e. a valid visa). Foreign national licenses would expire when the authorization for them to stay does.
The second type would be issued only to so-called DREAMers, those brought to the US as children but who don’t have legal status in the country.
Any other illegal immigrants would not be allowed licenses under the bill.
With two Democratic senators already on board, some legislative math would show that only two others would have to join them to get the bill through the Senate.
But hold the phone because there’s another compromise on this issue.
Sen. Pete Campos, D-Las Vegas, says he’ll introduce a version similar to SB 521 Thursday that would allow all illegal immigrants to get that second-tier license, not just DREAMers.
This opens the door for a compromise. It seems only fitting.
Bill of the Day: House Bill 349
Freshman Rep. Liz Thomson, D-Albuquerque, wants to take it tougher for those with an ignition interlock to get that interlock removed from their cars.
Under her proposal, anyone looking to make their car interlock-free would have to go not only six months without tampering with the device but would also have to have no readings above a 0.04 (half the legal limit) and blow into the interlock at least once a week.
Thomson’s bill is waiting for a hearing in House Judiciary.