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Gov. Martinez asks for hearing on child abuse bill

SANTA FE — Gov. Susana Martinez is offering to testify as an expert witness in a last-minute attempt to get the state Senate to consider an expansion of “Baby Brianna’s Law” — a priority in her last regular session.

In a letter to the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee today, Martinez asked him to schedule a hearing in the final hours of the legislative session to consider a proposal that would toughen penalties for people convicted of child abuse resulting in death, when the child is older than 11.

Younger children are already covered.

The proposal cleared the House 62-6 on Friday but is set to die on the Senate side without a hearing, unless senators intervene.

Sen. Richard Martinez, D-EspaƱola, is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He is also a co-sponsor of the Baby Brianna legislation.

Gov. Martinez has offered to testify at his hearing, if he’s willing to hold one, or to serve as an expert witness on the floor if senators decide to bypass the committee process and hear the bill.

The session expires at noon today.

“I do not need to tell you about the tragedies we all have faced in the last few months as children 12 and older were brutally beaten to death,” Gov. Martinez, a former prosecutor, wrote in her letter to Sen. Martinez.