CAPITOL NOTEBOOK: ‘Sanctuary state’ proposal heading to full House vote

A bill to prohibit New Mexico law enforcement agencies from enforcing federal immigration law survived its last House committee on a party-line vote and is now headed to the floor for a vote.

A similar “sanctuary state” proposal is also pending on the Senate floor, with just 10 days left in the session.

House Bill 116 – sponsored by Democratic Reps. Patricia Roybal Caballero of Albuquerque and Angelica Rubio of Las Cruces – won a recommendation of passage Wednesday on a 6-5 vote of the House Judiciary Committee, with Democrats in support.

Republicans questioned whether it would interfere with joint task forces operated by local agencies and the federal government or damage the work of federal training centers in southeastern New Mexico.

Supporters say the bill would ensure immigrants can report crimes and cooperate with local police without fearing deportation.

– Dan McKay, dmckay@abqjournal.com

LOTTERY: A bill that would lift a requirement that the New Mexico Lottery Authority funnel a percentage of its revenue into a popular scholarship fund passed a House committee Wednesday – but only by the narrowest of margins.

The House Education Committee voted 7-5 to advance the bill without recommendation, after a previous motion to table it had failed on a tie vote. It now advances to another House panel.

Backers of the legislation, Senate Bill 192, say removing the mandate that at least 30 percent of the lottery’s revenue go toward the legislative lottery scholarship program could actually lead to more scholarship dollars. They argue that with bigger prizes, more New Mexicans would purchase tickets.

But skeptics said they weren’t convinced, with some noting that gambling vendors with state contracts have hired high-profile lobbyists to push the bill.

“If I’m going to gamble, I’m going to gamble on a sure thing,” said House Majority Leader Sheryl Williams Stapleton, D-Albuquerque.

– Dan Boyd, dboyd@abqjournal.com

“CONVERSION THERAPY”: A proposal to limit gay “conversion therapy” – a questionable practice condemned by major medical groups – is moving through the House after clearing the Senate.

The bill cleared a House committee Wednesday morning and must clear one more before reaching the House floor.

It’s sponsored by two Albuquerque Democrats – Sen. Jacob Candelaria and Rep. G. Andres Romero.

The Senate has approved the bill 32-6, so it will head to Gov. Susana Martinez for consideration if the House endorses it.

Senate Bill 121 would make it illegal to be paid for providing “conversion therapy” to someone under 18 years old.

The American Medical Association opposes the practice, and the American Psychological Association describes it as “based on a view of homosexuality that has been rejected by all the major mental health professions.”

– Dan McKay

BULLYING: Another Senate-approved bill is also advancing through the House.

A proposal by Sen. William Soules, D-Las Cruces, that would require New Mexico school districts to develop anti-bullying policies cleared one committee and must make it past another before hitting the House floor.

Senate Bill 115 passed the Senate on a 32-10 vote.

– Dan McKay

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