Santa Fe, NM – Today, Senate Democrat Leader Michael Sanchez effectively killed a number of bills that would have strengthened penalties for crimes against children, including one that would have closed the dangerous child porn loophole and allowed prosecutors to charge an individual found in possession of child porn with multiple counts, one for each image they possess.
The bill, HB 65, was sponsored by Republican Representatives Sarah Maestas Barnes and Randall Crowder. It passed earlier this week on a nearly unanimous vote, 60-2. The other two bills, HB 68 and 69 from Representative Conrad James would have increased penalties against child abusers. HB 68 passed 61-1 and HB 69 passed unanimously. But Senator Sanchez killed all three.
“I wish I could say I was shocked by Sanchez’s decision to kill these bills, but unfortunately this kind of behavior has become entirely predictable coming from him and his party in the Senate,” said Republican Party of New Mexico Spokesman Tucker Keene. “Sanchez has a long history of standing against common-sense legislation protecting our children, siding instead with the dangerous criminals and child abusers that line the pockets of his law firm.”
Sanchez killed similar legislation last session, which had also passed with wide bipartisan support in the House. Sanchez referred each bill this year to three separate committees, a traditional procedural move used to kill legislation.
“Frankly, actions like this serve only to further remind the citizens of New Mexico and the residents of Sanchez’s district how important it is to have Republican leadership in the Senate,” said Keene. “New Mexicans know how critical it is to protect our children from abuse, and they’ve just received another reminder that Sanchez and the Senate Democrats don’t share their concern for the safety and well-being of our children.”