Governor MLG’s 2022 Legislative Agenda Dies In Committee; Pre-Trial Detention, Hydro Energy Bill Die In Committee; Election Code Changes On Life Support; Governor Lujan Grisham Has Forgotten How To Add And Subtract In An Election Year

On January 18, the 2022 New Mexico legislature convened for its 30 day legislative sessions known as the “short session” and it ends on February 17. Thirty-day sessions are dedicated to enactment of the annual budget and financial issues with the fiscal years beginning on July 1 and ending June 30. The agenda is also set by the Governor, referred to as the “Governor’s Call”, meaning the Governor dictates what additional legislation can be considered other than fiscal matters.

Governor Lujan Grisham placed 3 major legislative initiatives on the 2022 legislative agenda for consideration and enactment:

1. Pre Trial Detention
2. Hydrogen hub development act
3. Election law changes

With a mere 9 days left in the 2022 New Mexico Legislature 30 session, February 9 will go down as the date Governor Michell Lujan Grisham’s 2022 legislative agenda died and it was not at all a pretty happening while she is running for a second term.


On February 7, the bipartisan Senate Bill 189 on “Pre Trial Detention” was tabled on an 5-3 vote in the Senate Health and Public Affairs Committee, preventing the bill from moving forward in the Seante chamber. An identical proposal is still pending the state House but is also getting significant resistance. With only 9 days left in the session, the vote makes it highly likely the legislation will ultimately fail to pass both chambers. The proposal was backed by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, 2nd Judicial District Attorney Raúl Torrez and Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller leaving all 3 of them looking somewhat foolish being unable to secure passage of the bill. Both Torrez and Keller went out of their way to testify in committees supporting the bill and lobby for passage.

Supporters of the bill, including families of those killed, said the legislation would be a commonsense step toward reducing crime. They argued it would keep dangerous offenders behind bars until trial and ensure they don’t commit new offenses. Opponents of the bill, especially the New Mexico Defense bar, challenged the the constitutionality of the proposal and said it would do little to reduce New Mexico’s violent crime rates.

Links to news sources are here:

The pretrial detention bill would have created a “rebuttable presumption of dangerousness” for defendants charged with certain violent crimes. Under current state law, prosecutors are required to convince a judge in an evidentiary hearing that a charged defendant poses and immediate threat of violence to the public and to hold the defendant in jail until trial and not allow bond. The rebuttable presumption bill shifted the burden of proof from state prosecutors, who must prove a case “beyond a reasonable doubt” to convict, to the defendant who would have to show they are not a danger to the public in order to be allowed to be released pending trial. As written the bill was likely “unconstitutional” and violated the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

On January 20, the influential Legislative Finance Committee (LFC) released a 14-page memo analysis of the proposed “rebuttable presumption of violence” system and pretrial detention. LFC analysts found that low arrest, prosecution and conviction rates have more to do with rising violent crime rates than releasing defendants who are awaiting trial. The LFC report called into serious question if violent crime will be brought down by using a violent criminal charge to determine whether to keep someone accused of a crime in jail pending trial. According to the LFC report, rebuttable presumption is “a values-based approach, not an evidence-based one.” The LFC report said that while crime rates have increased, arrests and convictions have not. The LFC went on to say the promise of “swift and certain” justice has a more significant impact on crime rates that rebuttable presumption does not.

The link to a related blog article is here:


On February 7, Democrat New Mexico Speaker of the House Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe, announced that a revived substitute Hydrogen Hub Development Act which was filed after the previous proposal stalled was withdrawn from an assigned House committee. No reason was given for the withdrawal. The original Hydrogen Hub Development Act was tabled on a bipartisan 6-4 vote last month in the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee. Democrat Representative Matthew McQueen, D-Galisteo, the chairman of the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee, said he was “very concerned” that the new bill was bypassing not only his committee but also another House panel the original bill had been assigned to.

With only 9 days left in the 30-day session, the withdrawal of the substitute bill likely means the legislation is dead in that it would still have to get through house committee hearings, pass the House and then referred to the Senate, get through Senate committee hearings and pass the full senate.

The link to quoted news source material is here:

The Hydrogen Hub Development Act would have created a legal framework for hydrogen energy development in the state. Lujan Grisham Administration government officials and the oil and gas industry argued that the development of the state’s hydrogen can provide a tool for the transition to a clean energy economy. Supporters argued that hydrogen has many potential applications as a relatively clean-burning fuel that doesn’t emit carbon dioxide. Governor Lujan Grisham promoted the bill as a way to significantly boost efforts to lower carbon emissions in New Mexico while at the same time creating a whole new industry that offers sustainable, high-paying jobs. Environmentalists strenuously spoke out against it, citing widespread fear that promoting and accelerating hydrogen development with government incentives would hurt, rather than help, state efforts to combat climate change. Environmentalists argue that large-scale hydrogen production would do little to lower carbon emissions, perhaps make them worse, because hydrogen is made with natural gas that has a huge amount of carbon dioxide.

The link to a related blog article is here:


Senate Bill 8 is a broad update of New Mexico’s election laws supported by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver and co-sponsored by Democrat Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth of Santa Fe. Given the fact that only 9 days remain for enactment, its passage is now in real doubt.

On Monday February 7, Senate Bill 8 passed in its first Senate Committee hearing but it then was referred to yet another Senate committee for hearing. The Senate Rules Committee gave the bill a “do pass” recommendation on a 7 to 4 party line vote with Democrats in favor and Republicans opposed. It was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee to examine the question if it conflicts with the state Constitution as to registration to vote.

Senate Bill 8 must advance through two Senate committees and the full Senate before it is referred to the House. It would then have to pass House Committee hearings and pass the full House on or before February 17 before it is sent to the Governor for her signature.

Links to quoted news source material is here:


Senate Bill 8 is an updating New Mexico election code and procedure laws. The major provisions of SB 6 can be summarized as follows:

Designating Election Day as a state holiday.

Establish a permanent absentee voter list, allowing people to sign up once to receive absentee ballots for statewide elections, rather than having to file a new application each time.

Automated voter registration at Motor Vehicle Division offices of citizens who are qualified to vote, but are not registered. People would be registered automatically when they complete a transaction at the Motor Vehicle Division or another state office, if they submit information showing they are qualified to vote.

Some 17-year-olds would be eligible to vote. 16-year-olds are no longer included in the bill, but 17-year-olds could vote in any election as long as they would be 18 by the next general election.

Restore the voting rights of felons who are no longer incarcerated. Convicted felons who have completed their prison sentence would be allowed to register to vote immediately after released from prison and will not have to wait until they complete probation an parole.

The link to news source material is here:

The link to a related blog article is here:


Senate Bill 144, sponsored by Democratic Senator Katy Duhigg of Albuquerque, passed the Senate on a 38-0 vote sending it on to the House for consideration. It would add employees and agents of the secretary of state’s and county clerks’ offices to the New Mexico law making it a crime to intimidate election officials. The law would apply to threats intended to disrupt the impartial administration of an election. The impetus of the bill is that after the 2020 election, election officials reported racist mail, being followed and other threats. Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver was force to leave her home for weeks in 2020 for personal safety reasons after her personal information was published on a website called “Enemies of the People,” with targets over officials’ photos.

The link to quoted news source material is here:


After being a member of the Bernalillo County Commission, the United States Congress as well as Governor of New Mexico for 3 full years, you would think that Governor Lujan Grisham would know how to count votes. The failure of all 3 initiatives can only be chalked up to her and her administration’s failure to lay the ground work to secure passage of her agenda. Instead, she relied way too much on public relations and presumed public support without giving much effort to secure the necessary votes for passage within both the New Mexico Senate and House.

The failure of Democratic Governor Lujan Grisham’s 2022 legislative agenda in a state legislature where both chambers are controlled by significant majorities of her own party can only be describe as embarrassing. 2022 is an election year and the Governor should consider herself lucky that she does not have a Democratic opponent for the June 6 primary.

The link to a related blog article on the candidates running in 2022 is here:

There is no doubt that those running for the Der Führer Trump Republican Party nomination for Governor will make a big deal out of her failure to get her anti-crime legislation agenda through the 2022 session. Very negative TV ads are already being aired demanding that the Governor stop releasing violent felons on the street and to stop the “revolving door”. Those Democrats also running for office will now also be facing the tired, worn-out false refrain by Der Führer Trump Republicans that Democrats are “soft on crime”.

Der Führer Trump Republicans will again falsely argue that New Mexico’s criminal justice system is broken when it is the stakeholders, law enforcement and prosecutors, such as the opportunistic DA Raul Torrez who is running for Attorney General, who are failing to do their jobs of making arrests, prosecuting and securing convictions. In Albuquerque, APD felony arrests went down from 2019 to 2020 by 39.51%, and the Bernalillo County District Attorneys office under Raul Torrez has a 65% combined mistrial, acquittal and dismissal rate.

Der Führer Trump Republicans always hate it when the United States constitution and the courts get in their way, especially when the lose elections and try to overthrow election results.

A link to a related Albuquerque Journal Guest Column is here

ABQ Journal Guest Column: “Criminal Justice System In Metro Is Not Broken”

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Pete Dinelli was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is of Italian and Hispanic descent. He is a 1970 graduate of Del Norte High School, a 1974 graduate of Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a 1977 graduate of St. Mary's School of Law, San Antonio, Texas. Pete has a 40 year history of community involvement and service as an elected and appointed official and as a practicing attorney in Albuquerque. Pete and his wife Betty Case Dinelli have been married since 1984 and they have two adult sons, Mark, who is an attorney and George, who is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Pete has been a licensed New Mexico attorney since 1978. Pete has over 27 years of municipal and state government service. Pete’s service to Albuquerque has been extensive. He has been an elected Albuquerque City Councilor, serving as Vice President. He has served as a Worker’s Compensation Judge with Statewide jurisdiction. Pete has been a prosecutor for 15 years and has served as a Bernalillo County Chief Deputy District Attorney, as an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney and as a Deputy City Attorney. For eight years, Pete was employed with the City of Albuquerque both as a Deputy City Attorney and Chief Public Safety Officer overseeing the city departments of police, fire, 911 emergency call center and the emergency operations center. While with the City of Albuquerque Legal Department, Pete served as Director of the Safe City Strike Force and Interim Director of the 911 Emergency Operations Center. Pete’s community involvement includes being a past President of the Albuquerque Kiwanis Club, past President of the Our Lady of Fatima School Board, and Board of Directors of the Albuquerque Museum Foundation.