FGGAM NEWS received this news release yesterday from the Republican Party of New Mexico: (picture is from a violent drunk driving wreck in Albuquerque)
Senate Boss Michael Sanchez, who Represents DWI Offenders, Kills Anti-DWI Legislation
Santa Fe, NM – While a package of House bills toughening laws against DWI in New Mexico languish in the Senate, Senate Democrat Boss Michael Sanchez has represented well over 100 DWI offenders, many of them repeat offenders with three or four offenses.
“Once again, Sanchez is looking out for his own pocketbook and the rights of the repeat DWI offenders his law firm represents rather than the innocent New Mexicans endangered by his inaction,” said Republican Party of New Mexico Spokesman Tucker Keene, “Sanchez has the power to put these bills to a vote in the Senate, and we hope that for once he sides with the families that would be protected by this legislation and not the criminals looking to escape accountability for their actions.”
With just eight days left in the 2016 legislative session, the Senate is running out of time to act on the proposed bills. The Republican Party of New Mexico urges Sanchez and the Senate to quit stalling and pass HB 81, HB 82 and HB 83 to help keep Sanchez’s dangerous clients off the roads and protect our families.
From the New Mexico House Republican Caucus, We got this last night……..
Lawmakers and Advocacy Group Fight to End DWI at NM State Capitol
Santa Fe, NM – Today, members of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) met with state legislators in honor of DWI Awareness Day at the Roundhouse. New Mexico has some of the weakest DWI laws in the nation. Recent studies show that the state ranks 33rd in overall strictness of DWI laws and ranks 49th in strength of criminal penalties for DUI compared to the rest of the country.
“It is imperative that we send bills to toughen the punishment for DWI offenses to the Governor for her signature,” said Rep. Sarah Maestas Barnes, who is sponsoring bills aimed to crack down on DWI offenders. “New Mexico’s rampant DWI problem needs to be addressed and I’m proud to be working with MADD to find solutions.”
A bipartisan bill sponsored by Maestas Barnes and Democrat Sen. George Munoz that will toughen penalties on drunk drivers passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on a 6 to 3 vote. The proposal would increase the punishment for homicide or great bodily harm while driving under the influence to a second degree felony rather than a third degree felony.
House Bill 83, which is sponsored by Reps. Maestas Barnes and Rod Montoya, also passed the Senate Judiciary Committee. It passed on a 6 to 2 vote. The proposal would increase penalties for eighth and subsequent DWI offenses. It would also elevate homicide or great bodily harm by a vehicle while under the influence from a third-degree felony to a second-degree felony, allowing for judges to sentence offenders to more jail time.
The House of Representatives also unanimously passed a memorial in remembrance of the 118 people who lost their lives to drunk driving during 2015. In addition, the memorial recognized MADD for their work to combat drunk driving in New Mexico and support victims of drunk driving.
“DWI and MADD Day is a day of recognition for those victims and survivors of impaired driving and underage drinking. It is a day for the entire state of New Mexico to come together as a community and be a part of the solution! New Mexico is in a state of crisis. All of us are accountable to each other and our community as a whole. Do not drive while impaired. Do not let anyone else drive while impaired. Make one plan, followed by a second, and then have a third plan…before you start drinking. Impaired driving impacts one out of every three New Mexicans. It may not be personal for you today; however, the statistics tell us that it will be personal for you someday. Help us ensure that New Mexico is a state with No More Victims,” Aisha Smith, MADD state executive director, said.
Earlier this session, the House sent three bills, including HB 83, aimed to combat DWI to the Senate for their approval. The other two are:
House Bill 81, which is sponsored by Rep. Paul Pacheco, would toughen the punishment for DWI offenders who continue to get in the driver’s seat after their licenses have been suspended or revoked. The legislation would make it a fourth-degree felony to be charged with a DWI while driving with a license that has already been revoked or suspended for a prior DWI offense.
House Bill 82, which is sponsored by Rep. Jim Dines, would allow judges to impose stricter penalties on DWI felons. The legislation would make repeat drunk drivers eligible for sentencing under the Habitual Offender law.