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Republican legislator files bills aimed at curbing crime in New Mexico

By Curtis SegarraJordan Honeycutt,


SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Representative Bill Rehm (R-Abq.) filed five bills on Thursday aimed at stopping crime in New Mexico. To get on the agenda for the upcoming session, the bills need the governor’s backing.

The bills are being backed by New Mexico House Republicans. Normally, in a 30-day legislative session, lawmakers focus primarily on budget-related matters. But in a letter to the governor, Rehm say it’s time to “finally get serious about reducing crime.”

House Bill 43 would give New Mexico State Police $400,000 to buy tools that would engrave VIN numbers onto catalytic converters. Those tools could then be loaned to other law enforcement agencies or vehicle repair shops for free engravings. The idea is to provide better accountability on re-sold converters.

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House Bill 44 would change the way courts address the issue of holding people accused of a crime before their trial. Right now, it’s up to prosecutors to prove that the accused are dangerous and should be put in jail while they await trial. House Bill 44 would essentially shift that burden onto the defendant, so once courts determine there is probable cause that they committed a crime and the prosecutors have made their case, it would be up to the defendant’s lawyer to prove that the accused should be released while they await trial.

House Bill 45 would add a few words to the state’s existing law defining embezzlement. It would clarify that the crime also includes embezzlement for another person’s use.

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House Bill 46 enhances the penalty for a felon in possession of a firearm. For someone considered a serious violent felon, it would change the penalty to a second-degree felony. It is currently a third-degree felony.

House Bill 47 would create a law making it a crime to carry a gun while trafficking a controlled substance and would make it a third-degree felony.

Rep. Rehm sent a letter to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham asking that she include the bills as part of the agenda for the upcoming 30-day agenda. The legislative session starts Tuesday, January 16.

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