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Senate advances bill on threats to public officials

In this file 2020 photo, Sen. Joseph Cervantes, D-Las Cruces, talks about his legislation to enact a New Mexico extreme risk protection order law on the Senate floor (Eddie Moore/Journal)

SANTA FE — A Senate committee on Wednesday endorsed legislation that would make it a crime to threaten a public official with the intention of causing bodily harm or interrupting their ability to carry out their duties.

Sen. Joseph Cervantes, a Las Cruces Democrat and sponsor of the bill, said it’s intended to address circumstances similar to the violent mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol in January to overturn the results of the presidential election.

He said local officials have also received threats that might be covered by the proposal.

“I think we need to have a law in place,” Cervantes said.

The Senate Health and Public Affairs Committee passed the bill 7-0, sending it on to the Judiciary Committee, potentially its last stop before reaching the full Senate.

If adopted, Senate Bill 182 would make it a misdemeanor to threaten a public official, including judges, legislators and others elected or appointed to public office.

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