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Capitol Notebook: Bill on guns, domestic abuse clears Senate

SANTA FE – The Senate on Saturday passed a bill allowing a judge to order someone to give up his or her firearms in cases of domestic abuse.

The proposal won approval on a 25-15 vote and now heads to the state House.

Sen. Joseph Cervantes

Sen. Joseph Cervantes

Senate Bill 259, sponsored by Democratic Sen. Joseph Cervantes of Las Cruces, would allow a judge – after a finding that domestic abuse has occurred – to order one of the parties to surrender his or her firearms and prohibit the buying of new ones. The judge would have to determine that the “restrained party presents a credible threat to the physical safety of the household member.”

The prohibition on having guns wouldn’t be permanent. It would remain as long as there’s an order of protection in place barring the person from abusing the “protected” household member.

The bill passed largely along party lines, with Democrats in favor.

Republican opposition focused on technical details of where the person would surrender the firearms and what kinds of equipment – silencers, for example – would be considered a firearm.

People would have to store their firearms with a law enforcement agency, a licensed dealer or with someone else who isn’t prohibited from keeping a gun.

GOV. HEADS TO UTAH: Gov. Susana Martinez is headed to Park City, Utah, this weekend for a meeting of the Republican Governors Association.

She will be back in New Mexico on Tuesday.

The association works to elect and support Republican governors. Thirty-three of the 50 states have GOP governors.

VOTER REGISTRATION: The House adopted a bill Saturday that’s intended to make it easier for people to register to vote when they get a driver’s license.

Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero

Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero

Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero, D-Albuquerque, had initially pushed to register voters automatically when they get a license but, after some opposition, she revised the bill.

Under House Bill 28, as it stands now, voters will be asked – when they complete the electronic paperwork to obtain a driver’s license – whether they also want to register to vote.

The proposal won approval on a 56-10 vote and now heads to the Senate.

FOLLOWING CHANGES: The House wants it to make it easier for the public to follow amendments to legislation.

A resolution adopted 62-0 on Saturday calls for staffers to post revised versions of legislation online, with the amendment incorporated into the entire bill.

The goal is to allow people to see the amendments in the context of the entire bill.

Rep. Nate Gentry

Rep. Nate Gentry

Under the current system, amendments are usually posted separately, forcing people to go back and forth between the amendment and the original bill to make sense of the changes.

The resolution was sponsored by House Minority Leader Nate Gentry, R-Albuquerque.

Dan McKay: dmckay@abqjournal.com

 

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