Editor’s Note: Once a week during the legislative session, Journal Capitol Bureau reporters will answer questions posed by readers. You can submit questions at the Journal’s website: ABQJournal.com/legislature.
Q: Regarding House Bill 9, are bills like this retroactive or do they only take affect for crimes that occur after the effective date? — Jay Trujillo
A: Generally speaking, approved bills only apply going forward once they take affect.
In the case of House Bill 9, which would make it a crime to fail to safely store firearms out of children’s reach, the legislation could not be used to prosecute past crimes.
That means it could not be invoked in the August 2021 shooting death of Albuquerque middle school student Bennie Hargrove, a case involving a classmate who allegedly took a gun belonging to his father that prompted the legislation.
But there are certain limited exceptions — or at least apparent exceptions — to the rule that bills can’t be applied retroactively.
For instance, some tax bills, if approved, can take effect for the current tax year.
A tax package passed during last year’s session included a provision exempting Social Security benefits from taxation for individual retirees who make less than $100,000 annually — or for married couples filing jointly who make less than $150,000 per year.
That provision took effect for the tax year that started in January 2022, though most individuals will not file their 2022 tax returns until this year.