House Democrats Kill Commonsense Public Safety Bill Sponsored by Rep. Sarah Maestas Barnes Without Full Consideration of the Bill
Santa Fe, NM – Today, House Democrats voted to table HB 23, a bill sponsored by Rep. Sarah Maestas Barnes, which would have increased the penalty for reckless driving resulting in death to a second degree felony with a maximum 15 years in prison, without allowing any substantive debate on the legislation. A bill including the same measure passed the House last year with 52 votes in favor before being killed in the Democrat-led Senate.
Despite testimony from the Attorney General’s Office, Department of Public Safety, the New Mexico District Attorney’s Association and several New Mexicans all showing their strong support for the bill, Democrats on the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee voted along party lines to table the legislation after just five minutes of discussion.
“It is unbelievable and yet entirely predictable that House Democrats would ignore such important public safety legislation,” said Republican Party of New Mexico Spokesman Tucker Keene. “Session after session, Democrats have shown their complete lack of interest in legislation protecting the lives New Mexicans by voting against and killing important legislation like HB 23. Evidently this session will be no different.”
Under current law, deaths resulting from reckless driving are treated only as a third degree felony, a lighter sentence than deaths resulting from driving under the influence. This legislation would make those penalties equally harsh, adding further protection against a rising problem in New Mexico.
“While House Democrats are ignoring and tabling bills like HB 23, our roads are getting more dangerous and our families less safe,” said Keene. “New Mexicans cannot afford any further stalling on commonsense public safety legislation. We hope House Democrats are not so quick to dismiss the other important public safety bills that have been filed this year.”