On Friday, September 8, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham declared gun violence and illegal drugs a public health emergency with the issuance of a sweeping Emergency Public Health Care Order. The original Emergency Public Health Order banned the carrying of firearms, concealed or openly, in any public space in Bernalillo County and any state property in New Mexico. The link to the September 8 Emergency Health Order is here:
The September 8 Emergency Public Health Order was issued in response to recent shootings, including the death of an 11-year-old boy outside Isotopes Park in a road-rage incident and the shooting death of a 5-year-old girl who was asleep in a mobile home. The governor also cited the shooting death in August of a 13-year-old girl in Taos County.
During the one week after the Emergency Public Health Care Orders were issued, all hell broke loose consisting of protests by armed citizens, federal and state lawsuits filed, a federal court hearing on a temporary restraining order, calls for impeachment, and calls for a special session to deal with the state’s high violent crime rates.
On Friday, September 15, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, held a news conference and announced an Amended Public Health Emergency Order. The amended order scales back the original order by banning firearms only in “public parks and playgrounds” where children and their families gather. The amended order eliminates sweeping bans on the public carry of firearms in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County. The link to the September 15 Emergency Health Order is here:
REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP CALL FOR SPECIAL SESSION
On September 15, the NM House Republican Caucus, the NM Senate Republican Caucus and the Republican Party of New Mexico in response in part to the Governor’s Emergency Heath Orders issued a press release calling on Governor Lujan Grisham to immediately convene the Legislature in Special Session to deal with crime or force an Extraordinary Session by petition. In the press release, the Republicans listed 10 crime bills they sponsored that were introduced in the 2023 session that failed to be enacted blaming the Democrat majorities in both chambers,
In their press release, the Republicans said in part:
“The New Mexico House Republican Caucus … calls on Governor Lujan Grisham to immediately convene the Legislature in Special Session … to address the crime crisis in New Mexico. Absent action by the Governor to immediately address crime through the proper legislative channel, House Republicans are prepared to circulate a petition to convene the State Legislature in Extraordinary Session. …
“It is disingenuous for anyone to assert that Republicans ‘have no plan to tackle crime,’ said House Republican Leader Ryan Lane (Aztec). … Our Caucus has been fighting to address this growing crisis only to be ignored by Democrats in the Legislature. If Democrats are truly serious about crime, then let’s come back to Santa Fe and quickly pass these bills.”
The list of bills provided by the Republicans that failed during the 2023 legislative session are as follows.
- HB 509 Pretrial Detention Presumption. The bill provides a process of presenting cases where the defendant should be detained prior to trial and also provides due process protections for the defendants
- HJR 9 Denial of Bail. The bill would have allowed the legislature to set conditions under which defendants may be denied bail
- HB 58 Additional Violent Felonies. The bill would have added 12 additional crimes to the list of qualifying charges for New Mexico’s three strikes law.
- HB 59 Unlawful Firearms While Trafficking. The bill would have created a 3rd degree felony of unlawful carrying of a firearm while trafficking a controlled substance.
- HB 60 Enhanced Sentencing for Fentanyl. The bill would have created a sentencing enhancement for fentanyl possession: 3-year enhancement for 24-49 pills. 5-year enhancement for 50-74pills and 7-year enhancement for greater than 75 pills.
- HB 61 Felons in Possession of a Firearm. The bill would have increased sentence from 3 to 6 years in prison for felon in possession and up to 6 years if the felony offense constituted a violent offense
- HB 155 Aggravated Battery on a Peace Officer. The bill would have made the crime of aggravated battery against a peace officer a second degree felony (nine years and up to $10,000) instead of a third degree felony (three years and up to $5,000), if the battery inflicts great bodily harm or is done with a deadly weapon or in any way that inflicts great bodily harm or death
- HB 341 Court-Ordered Drug or Health Treatment. The bill would have require the courts to determine if a criminal may require drug, alcohol, or mental health treatment, and order the defendant to seek that treatment
- HB 458 Felons and Firearms Penalties. The bill would have increased the penalty for a felon in possession of a firearm or destructive device from three years imprisonment, an ordinary third-degree felony, to five years imprisonment, and seven years for a serious violent felon.
- HB 485 Child Sex Offense Penalties. The bill would have enhanced penalties for sexual exploitation of children, among other statutory changes.
DEMOCRAT GUN CONTROL MEASURES OPPOSED BY REPUBLICANS
As the NM House and Senate Republican Leadership remind Democrats of failed crime legislation they sponsored in the 2023 legislative session, the Republicans in turn need to be reminded of all the gun control measures Republicans refused to support in the same 2023 legislative session.
In the 2023 New Mexico 60-day legislative session, upwards of 40-gun control measures were introduced, but only 10 were seriously considered and of those 10, only 2 made it through the session to become law.
When the session began on January 17, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham in her “State of the State” address announced her support of the following 4 gun control measures:
- Banning the sale of AR-15-style rifles.
- Allowing crime victims to sue gun manufacturers.
- Making it a crime to fail to properly secure a firearm that’s accessible to an unsupervised minor.
- Closing a loophole in state law to allow prosecution when a person buys a gun for a someone who isn’t legally able to make the purchase themselves, a transaction known as a straw purchase.
Only two of the four measure’s the Governor endorsed were enacted by the legislature. The two measures enacted and signed into law were:
- House Bill 9, the Bennie Hargrove Gun Safety Act also know as “Bennies Bill” makes it a misdemeanor to negligently allow a child access to a firearm and would make it a felony if that negligence resulted in someone dying or suffering great bodily harm.
- House Bill 306 that is directed at “straw purchases” of firearms and making it illegal to buy a firearm on behalf of someone who’s not allowed to have it or intends to use in a crime. During the March 6 signing of House Bill 306 making it law, Lujan Grisham highlighted the role of House Republican Leader Ryan Lane of Aztec in getting the bill passed. Lane was the lead sponsor of the measure resulting in other Republican support which is an absolute a rarity for any firearms legislation.
GUN CONTROL MEASURES THAT FAILED
There were 10 major gun-control measure bills introduced and seriously considered in the New Mexico House or Senate, all opposed by the Republicans. Eight of the measure failed and those measures were:
- House Bill 50 would have prohibited magazines with more than 10 rounds.
- House Bill 72 would have prohibited the possession of semiautomatic firearm converter that allows the weapon to fire more rapidly.
- House Bill 100 would have established a 14-day waiting period for the purchase of any firearm and requires a prospective seller who doesn’t already hold a valid federal firearms license to arrange for someone who does to conduct a federal background check prior to selling a firearm.
- House Bill 101 as written would have made it a fourth-degree felony to purchase, possess, manufacture, import, sell or transfer assault weapons in the state. It would restrict the sale, manufacture and possession of AR-15-style rifles along with semiautomatic firearms.
- Senate Bill 44 would have made it a misdemeanor to carry a firearm within 100 feet of a polling location on election day or during early voting. On-duty law enforcement officers and security personnel would be exempt.
- Senate Bill 116 would have established a minimum age of 21 for anyone seeking to purchase or possess an automatic firearm, semiautomatic firearm or firearm capable of accepting a large-capacity magazine. The bill would have effectively raised the minimum age for buying an AR-15-style rifle from 18 to 21.
- Senate Bill 171 sought to ban the manufacture, sale, trade, gift, transfer or acquisition of semiautomatic pistols that have two or more defined characteristics.
- Senate Bill 428 would have revised the state’s Unfair Practices Act to target the sale of illegal firearms and parts, allowing the filing of lawsuits to enforce the act.
CRIME AND PUNISHMENT AND GUN CONTROL
The backdrop to all the proposed NM Republican “crime and punishment” legislation measures as well NM Democrat “gun control” legislation measures that were considered by the 2023 New Mexico legislature are New Mexico’s and Albuquerque’s high crime rates as well as the proliferation of gun violence.
PROLIFERATION OF GUNS
Discussion of gun violence and crimes must begin with the astonishing proliferation of guns in the United States and in New Mexico In 2023, it is estimated the United States now exceeds 400 million guns. To put this in perspective, there are 53,267-gun shops and only 15,876 Macdonald’s in the U.S.
About 81 million Americans, or 31% of all adults, own an average of 5 guns each.
Americans own nearly half (46%) of all civilian-owned guns worldwide, and we own more per capita than any other country on earth.
The Gun Violence Archive is an online archive of gun violence incidents collected from over 7,500 law enforcement, media, government and commercial sources daily in an effort to provide near-real time data about the results of gun violence. GVA is an independent data collection and research group with no affiliation with any advocacy organization. Gun Violence Archive (GVA) is a not-for-profit corporation formed in 2013 to provide free online public access to accurate information about gun-related violence in the United State.
The Gun Violence Archive defines a MASS SHOOTING as four or more people, excluding the shooter, being shot.
Over a 35-year period, during the five administrations between Presidents Ronald Regan and Barack Obama (1981-2016), there was an average of 44 mass shooting victims per year with 22 deaths and 22 injuries. During the first three years of Donald Trump’s administration (2017-2019) the United States witnessed a nearly 900% increase in total deaths and injuries in mass shootings, per year, to 377 annually (108 deaths and 269 injuries).
The Gun Violence Archive (GVA) reported that there were over 5,000 more fatal shootings during Joe Biden’s first year in office compared to Donald Trump’s first year as president. According to the Gun Violence Archive, the United States saw 44,868-gun deaths in Biden’s first year as president. The total number of murders, justifiable self-defense homicides, and accidental homicides involving firearms were 20,783 in 2021, compared to 15,727 in 2017 when Trump took office. This means that in the past few years alone, gun violence has increased by 32%.
As of May 21, 2023, the year has seen more mass killings to date than any other year since data collection started in 2006.
On May 15, 2023, New Mexico had a mass shooting when 9 people were injured or killed by an 18-year-old male armed with an AR-17 style rifle in a mass shooting in Farmington, New Mexico. Three women over the age of 70 were killed and 2 police officers injured. The 3 fatal shooting victims were identified as 79-year-old Shirley Voita, 73-year-old Melody Ivie, and 97-year-old Gwendolyn Schofield. Schofield and Ivie were mother and daughter. Police identified the suspect as 18-year-old Beau Wilson who was shot and killed by police. He was suffering from mental illness and went on a rampage.
According to data compiled by the Gun Violence Archive, 2023 is on pace to become the deadliest year for mass shootings in recent history. As of July 4, the U.S. has reported 346 mass shootings. This is the earliest in any year the gruesome milestone has been reached since the Gun Violence Archive began tracking them in 2014. The statistics works out to nearly 1 mass murder per week in the first half of 2023.
GUN VIOLENCE DEATHS
After reviewing the proliferation of guns in the United States, the number of HOMICIDES, the number of SUICIDES the number of GUN VIOLENCE DEATHS, and the number of MASS SHOOTINGS involving guns is in order to fully understand the crisis:
According to the “Gun Violence Archive” the number of HOMICIDES over the last 4 years were as follows:
- 2019: 15,516
- 2020: 19,580
- 2021: 21,020
- 2022: 20,272
The number of SUICIDES over the last 4 years were as follows:
- 2019: 24,090
- 2020: 24,156
- 2021: 24,090
- 2022: 24,090
The number of GUN VIOLENCE DEATHS over the last 9 years were as follows:
- 2014: 12,354 deaths
- 2015: 13,577 deaths
- 2016: 15,148 deaths
- 2017: 15,750 deaths
- 2018: 14,941 deaths
- 2019: 39,606 deaths
- 2020: 43,736 deaths
- 2021: 45,110 deaths
- 2022: 44,362 deaths
The number of MASS SHOOTINGS over the last 9 years were as follows:
- 2014: 272 mass shootings
- 2015: 336 mass shootings
- 2016: 383 mass shootings
- 2017: 348 mass shootings
- 2018: 336 mass shootings
- 2019: 415 mass shootings
- 2020: 610 mass shootings
- 2021: 690 mass shooting
- 2022: 646 mass shootings
- 2023: 346 Mass Shootings (January 9, to July 4, 2023)
As of June 23, 2023 the total number of gun violence deaths stood at 20,416, homicides stood at 8,932, suicides stood at 11,484. As of July 4, 2023, the total number of MASS SHOOTING stood at 346.
NEW MEXICO FIREAREM OWNERSHIP AND CRIME STATISTICS
New Mexico’s firearm ownership and fatality rates are among the nation’s highest. In 2016 over 37% of adults in the state lived in a household with a firearm which is 5% higher than the national average according to the think tank Rand Corp. In 2020, New Mexico had the nation’s second-highest violent crime rate.
2021 NEW MEXICO CRIME STATISTICS
New Mexico’s firearm fatality rate is among the nation’s highest. According to the New Mexico Department of Health, there were a total of 562 state residents who died in 2021 due to firearm-related injuries.
This figure is up significantly from the 481 firearm-related deaths in 2020. Of the 562 state residents who died in 2021 due to firearms, 319 cases, were classified as suicides and 243 were classified as homicides.
In 2021 New Mexico law enforcement reported over 28,000 crimes against persons. That includes crimes such as murder, rape, assault, and kidnapping. In 2021, FBI data showed for every 100,000 people in New Mexico, law enforcement reported 2,189 crimes against persons. The only state with a higher rate was Arkansas, which reported 2,276 crimes per 100,000 people.
In 2021 New Mexico law enforcement agencies reported nearly 25,500 instances of assault. That’s 1,872 more than the state reported in 2020. New Mexico law enforcement also reported more homicides in 2021 than the year before.
In 2021 across New Mexico, police reported 193 homicides to the FBI. That’s 67 more than in 2020. Not at all surprising is that the majority of the state’s reported homicides were in Albuquerque.
In 2021, New Mexico law enforcement reported to the FBI 822 kidnappings and abductions to the FBI. That put New Mexico at the top of the list regarding kidnappings and abductions per 100,000 people. Kansas, Colorado, and Utah also rank high on the list of kidnappings and abductions per population.
2022 NEW MEXICO CRIME STATISTICS
“Safe Wise” is a national private company that reviews, rates and promotes private home security systems and products. It conducts national surveys on crime statistics and trends and publishes a newsletter on it findings.
On March 13, 2023, Safe Wise published a “State of Safety Report” for New Mexico. Following are edited notable excerpts from the report:
“New Mexico continues to have higher-than-average crime rates across the board. … [T]he good news is that both property and violent crime rates are declining year over year. Violent crime fell from 8.2 incidents per 1,000 people to 7.8 but that still gives New Mexico the second-highest violent crime rate in the US, behind Alaska with 8.4 incidents per 1,000.
Property crime fell from 31.8 incidents per 1,000 people to 28.4. New Mexico is one of just a dozen states to see declines in both violent and property crime, but fewer cities reporting crime data to the FBI may also be a factor.”
VIOLENT CRIME IN NEW MEXICO: FEAR VS. REALITY
“New Mexicans have the 8th highest level of concern about violent crime in the nation with 58% of our State of Survey respondents indicating they worry about it on a daily basis. Concern about gun violence is just a tad lower with 57% of the population reporting daily concern.
- 31% of people in New Mexico reported feeling safe in their state compared to 50% of Americans. Only the residents of Illinois and New York feel less safe in their states.
- 15% of New Mexicans reported having a personal experience with violent crime in the 12 months prior to our survey, which matches the national average but represents an increase of 200% year over year for New Mexico.
- 42% of survey participants report using some form of personal protection— above the US average of 39%. Pepper spraywas the most popular personal safety device carried.
- 48% of New Mexicans say their personal safety has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic compared to 44% of Americans.”
ATTITUDES ABOUT GUN VIOLENCE IN NEW MEXICO
- “57% of New Mexico respondents named gun violence as a top safety concern—well above the US average of 47%.
- 16% of residents reported experiencing gun violence in the 12 months prior to the survey, up from 5% in our previous report.
- Mass shooting incidents increased 300% in New Mexico during the 2023 reporting year, rising from 1 to 4.
- Firearms are the third-most common method used for both personal safety and property protection in New Mexico.”
The link to review the full unedited Safe Wise report is here:
ALBUQUERQUE CRIME RATES
Albuquerque is at the forefront of New Mexico’s high violent crime rate. According to legislative data released, the city had about half of the state’s violent crime in 2022 but has just 25% or so of its total population.
The Albuquerque Police Department reported that in November, 2022 gun law violations spiked 85%. The last two years have also been two very violent years for Albuquerque. The number of homicides in the city have broken all-time records. In 2021, there were 117 homicides, with 3 declared self-defense reducing homicide number to 114. In 2022, there were 120 homicides, a historical high.
On Thursday, March 16, 2023 the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) released the 2022 crime statistics along with crime statistics for 2022 for a comparison. During his March 16 press conference announcing the City’s 2022 crime statistics, APD Chief Harold Medina embellished that a 3% drop in overall total of crime and a 4% decrease in Crimes Against Persons and the 2% decrease in Crimes Against Property was positive movement. The slight 3% decrease in overall crime was over shadowed by the 24% spike in CRIMES AGAINST SOCIETY which are largely made up of drug and gun offenses and a 71% increase in murders over the last 6 years.
Chief Medina revealed that over the last 6 years, Albuquerque has had a dramatic 71% spike in homicides. The number of homicides reported over the last 6 years is as follows:
- 2017: 70 homicides
- 2018: 69 homicides
- 2019: 80 homicides
- 2020: 78 homicides
- 2021: 110 homicides
- 2022: 120 homicides
On March 16, in addition to reporting that there has been a 71% spike in homicides, APD officials reported that over the past 6 years there has been a 28% increase in Aggravated Assaults which by definition includes the use of a firearms. Following are the Aggravated Assaults numbers:
- 2017: 4,213
- 2018: 5,156
- 2019: 5,337
- 2020: 5,592
- 2021: 5,669
- 2022: 5,399
Crime rates in Albuquerque are high across the board. According to the Albuquerque Police’s annual report on crime, there were 46,391 property crimes and 15,765 violent crimes recorded in 2021. These numbers place Albuquerque among America’s most dangerous cities.
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
NM House Republican Caucus, the NM Senate Republican Caucus and the Republican Party of New Mexico are always quick to proclaim that they are the “law and order” party as they concentrate on criminal offense laws, propose increases in penalties and say “lock them up and throw away the key.” Second Amendment advocates like to proclaim “guns do not kill, but people kill people” refusing to acknowledge that the proliferation of guns is a major crisis contributing to high violent crime rates. New Mexico Democrats on the other hand believe that responsible gun control legislation will reduce the availability of guns and in return reduce violent crimes ignoring the importance of prosecution and punishment to reduce violent crime.
There is absolutely no doubt that gun violence and violent crime are out of control in Albuquerque and in the state driven by the proliferation of guns and illicit drugs. Notwithstanding, Governor Michelle Lujan’s Grisham’s Executive Oder as well as the Public Health Care Order are misguided and they are unconstitutional. Simply put, there is no such thing as a state public health emergency exception to the United States Constitution. The orders are so broad as to be a clear violation of US Constitutional Rights and the Second Amendment Right to Bear Arms. The blunt reality is that the Governor’s Executive Order and Public Health Order will not result in reducing gun violence nor address the proliferation of guns.
The Governor says she thinks she has seen more attention on resolving the crisis of gun violence than she has ever seen in the past four years because of her Executive Order and Emergency Health Orders. Really, Governor, really? The Governor seems to have totally forgotten about the Farmington killings in May of this year that generated talk of a special session. On May 15, nine people were injured or killed by an 18-year-old male armed with an AR-17 style rifle in a mass shooting in Farmington, New Mexico. Three women over the age of 70 were killed and 2 police officers injured. The 3 fatal shooting victims were identified as 79-year-old Shirley Voita, 73-year-old Melody Ivie, and 97-year-old Gwendolyn Schofield. Schofield and Ivie were mother and daughter. Police identified the suspect as 18-year-old Beau Wilson who was shot and killed by police. He was suffering from mental illness and went on a rampage.
The truth is the Governor’s orders have accomplished nothing other than ginning up Republican and Second Amendment Rights advocates ire that in turn will contribute nothing to the discussion of real solutions to the state’s gun violence and high violent crime rates. Rather than issuing executive orders declaring a public health crisis that were ostensibly a knee jerk reaction to the killing of a child in a road rage incident, the Governor’s efforts would be better spent on proposing meaningful legislation she wants in the upcoming 2024 legislative session which begins on January 16, 2024. The session is the 30 short sessions where the Governor will dictate what measures can be considered.
If Governor Lujan Grisham and Republican and Democratic leadership are indeed sincere about the State’s crime crisis and want more immediate action, a Special Session of the New Mexico Legislature should be convened for the propose of enactment of an “Omnibus Gun Control And Violent Crime Sentencing Act.” A political compromise and trade off between crime and punishment measures and gun control measures should be negotiated that Democrats, Republicans and Independents can live with. The message that must be sent out loud and clear to violent criminals by our elected officials is that New Mexico has a zero tolerance of violent crimes committed with firearms and responsible gun control laws are needed to reduce the proliferation of guns.
CRIME AND PUNISHMENT MEASURES
The following crime and sentencing provisions should be included in the “Omnibus Gun Control And Violent Crime Sentencing Act”:
- Allow firearm offenses used in a drug crime to be charged separately with enhance sentences.
- Making possession of a handgun by someone who commits a crime of drug trafficking an aggravated third-degree felony mandating a 10-year minimum sentence.
- Increase the firearm enhancement penalties provided for the brandishing a firearm in the commission of a felony from 3 years to 10 years for a first offense and for a second or subsequent felony in which a firearm is brandished 12 years.
- Create a new category of enhanced sentencing for use of a lethal weapon or deadly weapon other than a firearm where there is blandishment of a deadly weapon in the commission of a felony with enhanced sentences of 5 years for a first offense and for second or subsequent felony in which a lethal weapon other than a firearm is brandished 8 years
- Increase the penalty of shooting randomly into a crowded area a second-degree felony mandating a 9-year sentence.
- Increase the penalty and mandatory sentencing for the conviction of the use of a fire arm during a road rage incident to a first-degree felony mandating a life sentence.
- Change bail bond to statutorily empower judges with far more discretionary authority to hold and jail those pending trial who have prior violent crime reported incidents without shifting the burden of proof from the prosecution to the defense.
GUN CONTROL MEASURES
Gun control measures that should be included the “Omnibus Gun Control And Violent Crime Sentencing Act” would include legislation that failed in the 2023 legislative session and other measures and would include the following:
- Call for the repeal the New Mexico Constitutional provision that allows the “open carry” of firearms. This would require a public vote and no doubt generate heated discussion given New Mexico’s high percentage of gun ownership for hunting, sport or hobby, but what is the real rational for allowing side arms and rifles to be carried down the street other than to intimidate others.
- Restrict the sale, manufacture and possession of AR-15-style rifles along with semiautomatic firearms and make it a fourth-degree felony to purchase, possess, manufacture, import, sell or transfer assault weapons in the state.
- Prohibited magazines with more than 10 rounds.
- Prohibited the possession of semiautomatic firearm converter that allows the weapon to fire more rapidly.
- Established a 14-day waiting period for the purchase of any firearm and requires a prospective seller who doesn’t already hold a valid federal firearms license to arrange for someone who does to conduct a federal background check prior to selling a firearm.
- Established a minimum age of 21 for anyone seeking to purchase or possess an automatic firearm, semiautomatic firearm or firearm capable of accepting a large-capacity magazine.
- Ban the manufacture, sale, trade, gift, transfer or acquisition of semiautomatic pistols that have two or more defined characteristics.
- Revised the state’s Unfair Practices Act to target the sale of illegal firearms and parts, allowing the filing of lawsuits to enforce the act.
- Prohibit in New Mexico the sale of “ghost guns” parts. Ghost guns are guns that are manufactured and sold in parts without any serial numbers to be assembled by the purchaser and that can be sold to anyone.
- Require in New Mexico the mandatory purchase of “liability insurance” with each gun sold as is required for all operable vehicles bought and driven in New Mexico.
- Mandate the school systems and higher education institutions “harden” their facilities with more security doors, security windows, and security measures and alarm systems and security cameras tied directly to law enforcement 911 emergency operations centers.
ESTABLISH MENTAL HEALTH AND DRUG TREATMENT COURT
One major component that is always discussed when it comes to mass shootings and crime involves the failure of our mental health and drug treatment system. New Mexico is also seriously lagging in having sufficient mental health treatment facilities. The New Mexico legislature should create and fully fund a mental health and drug treatment court to concentrate on civil mental health commitment hearings and build 3 mental health commitment hospitals in the 3 largest communities in the state. The civil mental health commitment court would be staffed with District Attorneys and Public Defenders with a Specialty Court under the supervision of the New Mexico Supreme Court and with enforcement of the states civil mental health commitment statutes.
On August 23, 2023 New Mexico Secretary of Finance and Administration Wayne Propst briefed lawmakers on New Mexico’s revenues and the status of the state’s financial reserves used to help state government pay its bills. Propst was joined by economists from the legislative and executive branches of government to share the revenue forecast. The briefing was one of many that will occur to assist law makers in drafting the state’s annual budget before the 2024 legislative session that will begin on January 16, 2024.
Secretary Propst told lawmakers that New Mexico’s financial reserves have reached upwards of 52% of ongoing state spending this summer resulting in a financial cushion of nearly $4.4 billion. The financial cushion is being fueled by the incredible oil and gas boom and along with strong consumer spending generating gross receipts tax revenues. The windfall is expected to continue. New Mexico law makers can no longer give the excuse that there is no funding to fully fund our criminal justice system and now is the time to act.
The Omnibus Gun Control And Violent Crime Sentencing Act Omnibus Gun Violence And Sentencing Act must include funding for the criminal justice system. This would include funding District Attorney’s Offices, the Public Defender’s Office, the Courts and the Corrections Department and law enforcement departments across New Mexico.
Links news materials are here:
Until the Governor and the New Mexico legislature get serious about New Mexico’s gun violence crisis and enacts reasonable gun control measures in conjunction with crime and punishment measures, we can expect our violent crime rates to continue to increase, and God forbid, yet another killing of a child which is what prompted the Governor to issue her executive orders in the first place.
Below are links to related Dinelli blog articles:
Gov. MLG Amends Public Health Emergency Order On Temporary Gun Ban; NRA And Republican Party Align To File Separate State Law Suite To Kill Gov’s Gun Ban Entirely; Republican Legislative Leaders and 4 City Councilors Call For Special Session; “When In A Hole, Stop Digging!”
Federal Judge Issues Temporarily Restraining Order Blocking Enforcement Of Two Provisions of Gov. MLG’s Ban On Carrying Guns In Public; TRO Includes Provision On Possession Of Firearms On State Property, Public Schools, And Public Parks; More State Police To City; Gov. Should Rescind Orders And Seek Omnibus Gun Control And Violent Crimes Sentencing Act