2024 Legislative Update: 7 Day Firearm Sale Waiting Period Passes Both House and Senate And Heads To Governor For Signature To Become Law; Other Senate And House Legislative Action Noted; Time Is Running Out

On February 12, the New Mexico State Senate passed House Bill 129, Firearm Sale Waiting Period Crimes, on a 36-32 vote. The bill would require a seven-day waiting period for gun purchases, with a few exceptions. The House voted to accept amendments added by the NM Senate and the Senate Judiciary Committee. The measure has now been forwarded to the Governor Office where Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham is expected to sign it.

Supporters of the bill argued that it closes a loophole that allows firearms to be sold before the buyer’s background check comes back, and could provide a “cool-off” period for people in emotional distress. New Mexico would join several other states that have also adopted waiting periods, although the length varies greatly.

Adopting Senate amendments to the bill was the last major hurdle to the bill’s passage. The House passed the Senate amendments on a 36-32 vote.  The bill’s most significant change since the House voted in favor of the measure on February 2 is that the waiting period was cut in half from 14 days to 7 days.

Both the Senate and the Senate Judiciary Committee added several amendments carving out exceptions to the waiting period. Law enforcement agencies and people with federal firearm licenses or concealed carry licenses would be exempt from the waiting period. People selling a gun to an immediate family member or a law enforcement officer selling to another officer would also be excluded.

Changes were made to the bill’s secondary waiting period. That period is triggered if a background check isn’t returned within seven days. In the original legislation, if a background check hadn’t been returned within 30 days, the seller could release the firearm to the customer. That number was cut down to 20 days. If the background check is returned after the seven-day waiting period but within those 20 days, it can immediately pass to the buyer.

Several Republican representatives voiced objections to the bill itself. Rep. Stefani Lord, R-Sandia Park, said she was concerned about the effect of a delay on gun shows. Others expressed dismay that an amendment that would allow people with an order of protection against another person to bypass the waiting period failed in the Senate.

Some representatives argue there should have been more exemptions. State Rep. Stefani Lord said this:

“But the biggest thing for me on top of everything else Mr. Speaker … [is]  the fact that they didn’t allow the exemption for survivors of domestic violence. I think if you come in and have a restraining order, you are scared for your life, you are not living with this person, you are afraid they are going to kill you, you don’t have the opportunity to bypass that.” 

Thus far, the 7 day waiting period is the only gun control measure supported by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham that has passed. Other bills  making their way through the Legislature include a bill to keep guns out of polling places which has passed the Senate floor in late January and has passed the House Judiciary Committee. It needs to pass the House floor before being signed into law. A bill to increase the penalty for felons in possession of firearms passed the House floor on Saturday and is now referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Links to quoted news sources are here:




On February 12, the Senate passed the following House and Senate Bills:

House Bills 2 and 3, the General Appropriation Act of 2024, passed on 31-10 bipartisan vote. The  $10.22 billion budget sets aside dollars for state government to operate in fiscal year 2025, including for education, public safety, the environment and health care. It’s a $36.1 million increase from the House version of the budget.

House Bill 252, Adjust Income Tax Brackets, passed the Senate on 26-13 vote.   Tax credits and changes included in the tax package including are clean energy credits and reduced personal income tax.  There is no increase to the alcohol excise tax for alcohol treatment and addiction services with tax having  failed

House Bill 193, Law Enforcement Retention Disbursements, passed the Senate on a 38-0 vote. This bill will  change the Law Enforcement Retention Fund for better recruitment  and retention of  law enforcement officers. Lawmakers removed the $1 million appropriation originally included in the bill because it is part of the budget that passed. The House Bill passed  the Senate with no changes and it  it now goes to the governor for her signature to become law.

Senate Bill 146, Hospital Acceptance of Health Plans, passed the Senate on a 21-16 vote. This bill would require county hospitals and contracting hospitals to provide affordable payment plans under certain circumstances, such as if a provider is the only one in the county who can provide life-saving treatment or if the patient is uninsured. The bill now goes to the House for further consideration which is not likely given that only 2 and a half days remain in the session


On February 12, the House passed the following House and Senate Bills

House Bill 182, Election changes, passed the House on a  38-28 vote. This bill aims to target the effect of artificial intelligence on elections. The bill would require a disclaimer for campaign materials made using “materially deceptive media.” That includes images, video or audio made using artificial intelligence that show a candidate saying or doing things they didn’t actually do,  often referred to as  a “deepfake”,  that is distributed without that person’s consent.  Violating the disclosure requirements would be a misdemeanor; a second offense would be a fourth-degree felony.

House Bill 190, Public Private Partnership Agreements, passed the House on a  56-9 vote. The bill would allow for public and private partnership agreements on certain infrastructure projects, including broadband, electric vehicle charging stations and road construction. Several representatives said the partnerships could fast-track work on construction projects. Rep. Matthew McQueen, R-Galisteo, introduced two amendments. Although one failed, another, which would prohibit public officials who received campaign donations from a private company from participating in the process, was successful,  avoiding a “pay to play” schemes.

House Bill 165, Pharmacy Provider Reimbursement, passed the House on a 66-0 vote. The bill would allow independent and local pharmacies to reap the same reimbursement rates as corporate pharmacies from Medicaid managed care organizations. Proponents say it would put small pharmacies on the same playing field as Walmart, CVS and other big box pharmacies. Several representatives shared stories about small pharmacies closing in their communities.

House Bill 303, TANF Funds Workforce Pilot Program, passed the House on a 41-13 vote.  The bill would offer stipends for program costs and living expenses to people enrolled in accredited workforce training programs. Participants would be eligible for stipends up to $1,000 per month for up to a year. The adult education pilot program would last for three years with annual reporting to the legislative finance committee.

House Bill 181, Life & Health Insurance Guaranty Act Changes, passed the House on a 61-1 vote. This bill would expand the Life and Health Insurance Guaranty Association Act, which was intended to protect consumers if their insurance provider goes into debt. The changes would expand membership to include people using health maintenance organizations to cover their health care.

House Bill 186, Car Crash Reporting Damage Amount, passed the House on a 62-0 vote. Car accidents would only have to be reported to the New Mexico Department of Transportation if $1,000 worth of property damage occurred. Currently, the threshold for a written report, which was last changed in 1991, is $500.

House Bill 239, Cannabis as Prison Contraband, passed the House on a 57-4 vote. The bill would add cannabis to a list of prohibited contraband in correctional facilities. If cannabis is not prescription or isn’t brought into the facility through “regular channels,” it could be a felony crime to possess in New Mexico jails or prisons.

House Bill 130, Cloud Seeding Pilot Program, passed the House on a 61-6 vote.  The bill would create a 3-year “cloud seeding” program – a weather modification program with the goal of increasing precipitation. The Department of Agriculture, in partnership with the Roosevelt Soil and Water Conservation District, would oversee the project, which aims to address drought, increase water supply and mitigate the effects of climate change in the state, according to the fiscal impact report. The proposed budget  sets aside $1 million to the program.

Senate Bill 159, Higher Education Trust Fund, passed the House on a 43-18 vote. The bill would create a trust fund to cover tuition and financial aid programs for students at higher education institutions in the state.

Senate Bill 137, School Board Training, passed the House on a 42-17 vote. The bill would require new school board members to go through ten hours of training in ethics and school personnel, public school finance, open meetings and public records, governance and supervision and student achievement and support services. It would also prohibit new school boards from terminating superintendents, or extending their contracts, shortly after the election or appointment of a new school board.  All candidates for school boards would be required to report $1,000 or higher campaign contributions. Currently, only candidates in large school districts – 12,000 or more students – that have contributions and spending above $500 have to report those donations to the Secretary of State.



The 2024 New Mexico legislative session ends on February 15 at noon. There are 394 separate House Bills, 317 separate Senate Bills, 18 Senate Joint Resolutions, 15 House Joint Resolutions, 56 House Memorials and 12 Senate Memorials for a whopping 780 bills and memorials that were introduced for consideration. Before any bill can become law, it must go through the committee process of each chamber, and if amended referred back to the originating chamber to approve changes, and be enacted by both chambers and even then, it could be vetoed by the governor. Needless to say time is running out on the passage of most if not all of the remaining legislation that has passed only one chamber.

A listing and the status of all the legislation here:


The link to the blog article on the passage of the 2024-2025 budget is here:

2024 NM Legislative Update: Senate Passes Budget With 31-10 Bipartisan Vote; Goes Back To House For Concurrence; Always “Saving For Rainy Day” While Simply Ignoring Present Day Demands; Session Ends February 15 At Noon

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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.