January 22, 2020

Latest Legislative Update

Posted on 07. Feb, 2013 by Stephan Helgesen in Politics

Bill to Speed up Background Checks Prior to Placing Children in Emergencies on to Senate Floor

SB 141 Background Checks for CYFD Emergency Placements

Senator Sander Rue

Do Pass 8-1 Senate Judiciary Tonight, on to Senate Floor

Santa Fe— On to the Senate floor is a bill sponsored by State Senator Sander Rue (R-Albuquerque)  to allow the Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) to conduct a federal criminal history records check with the FBI of all adults residing in a home where a child might be placed by the state when there is an emergency and a child is in need of state protection. It would producer faster criminal checks than what CYFD is currently able to attain.

The bill passed out of Senate Judiciary tonight with a vote of 8 to 1.

SB 141 is designed  to improve the safety of children placed in the home of relatives, neighbors or friends in an emergency situation.  If it becomes law, abused and neglected children needing emergency protection from the state would not be placed in a home with a known convicted felon because background checks would be conducted faster than the current process  and prior to a child being  placed in a home.

“We want to ensure that when an emergency arises,  the state places  no child in a home that could be potentially volatile if a felon is living in the home,” Senator Rue said. “The state needs to do everything it can to protect these children that are under its care and we need to be able to do it quickly.  This will allow the state to do instant nationwide name checks through the National Crime Information Center.”  The NCIC conducts a broader, nationwide check to cover what could be potential concerns in the home.

CYFD currently conducts fingerprint-based national criminal records background checks on all foster and adoptive parent applicants, however these checks do not provide immediate results. The bill provides CYFD with more timely access to federal criminal records histories than currently is available.  This information is critical to assessing child safety in the placement.

This bill adds a new section to the Children’s Code permitting the Children Youth and Families Department to request from a criminal justice agency a federal name-based criminal history record check of each adult residing in a home where a child will be placed in an emergency due to the absence of the child’s parents or custodians. The bill also contains provisions for fingerprint-based verification by the department of public safety of name-based checks completed.  The bill contains an emergency clause.

According to Senator Rue, law enforcement may place a child into the emergency protective custody of CYFD when law enforcement believes that a child is abused or neglected and that there is an immediate threat to the child’s safety.  In such circumstances, the parent is unavailable to provide care and protection to the child, and CYFD is responsible for identifying a safe and appropriate placement for the child. Placement options can include appropriate relatives so as to reduce the trauma to the child and preserve family connections.

The bill also establishes provisions for follow-up on any name-based check with a fingerprint-based check within fifteen calendar days from the date of the name-based check.  The bill provides provisions to remove a child from the home immediately if any adult resident in the home fails to provide fingerprints or written permission to perform a federal criminal history record check when requested to do so.  When placement of a child in a home is denied as result of a name-based check and the resident contests the denial, the bill allows the resident to still submit fingerprints with written permission allowing for the fingerprint based check.

For the purpose of this bill, the term “emergency placement”  is defined as instances when CYFD is placing a child in the home of private individuals, including neighbors, friends or relatives as a result of sudden unavailability of the child’s primary caretaker.

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Committees took action Wednesday afternoon and evening on the following Republican Senate Bills:

  • SB 20 Senator Neville- Raise Probation Costs for Defendants- tabled in  Sen. Judiciary 5 to 5

 

  • SB 93 Senator Neville- City Water Storage Tank Contractors- do pass Sen. Judiciary 8-0 goes to Senate Floor

 

  • SB 10 Senator Rue- Notice for Surveys on Law Grants- do pass Sen. Judiciary 8-0

 

  • SB 40/a Senator Rue- No Electronic Communications in Jails  Do Pass Sen. Judiciary 10-0 on to Senate Floor.

 

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Santa Fe- Senator Sue Wilson Beffort (R-Sandia Park) is sponsoring a bill to allow a school employee to carry a concealed handgun on school property.

Currently, state law prohibits anyone from carrying guns on school property except police and school security guards.

Under the Senator’s bill, each school in the state could designate one employee to carry a concealed gun.

“We need to stop a tragedy before it happens,” Wilson Beffort said.

Senator Wilson Beffort said changes have to be made in light of the school shootings across the nation.  Last December, 26 students and school workers were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.

The designated employee must be in possession of a valid concealed handgun license.

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State-Owned Man’s Best Friend-Auction off? Destroy? Live Happily Ever After?

SB-139a  Disposition of State-Owned Animals

Senator Mark Moores (R-Albuquerque)

(Santa Fe) Man’s best friend who has retired after serving the state could now find a loving home with its trainer rather than take the chance the former K-9 could be auctioned off to a drug dealer. The K-9 would be protected  under a bill sponsored by Senator Mark Moores (R-Albuquerque.)

Senator Moores’ bill provides that police dogs that have worked for both State Police and for the Corrections Department be offered first to their trainers or handlers free of charge when they retire from the force.  The police dogs known as K-9 dogs would then be offered to a non-profit organization if they are not a threat to public safety.

“It just makes sense that these well trained dogs be allowed to live with their trainers once their work for the state is completed,” Senator Moores said. “Currently, these dogs are treated like all other state owned property, they are auctioned off or destroyed like an old computer or rundown vehicle.”

Senator Moores said many of the dogs had been trained as drug sniffing dogs and he does not want them auctioned off to unknown criminals.  “We do not want to take the chance these drug sniffing dogs be auctioned to drug dealers, that would be bad for the dogs and terrible for the state,” Senator Moores said. “These hard working dogs deserve to stay with the trainers they have bonded with over the years.”

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Public Schools to be Paid for Teaching Part-time Home Schooled Students

SB 302a Home Student Program Units

Senator Craig Brandt (R-Rio Rancho)

Santa Fe–Home schooled students would be allowed to take one or more classes in all  public schools in the state  and the schools would be able to receive state funding for those part-time home schooled students under a bill sponsored by Senator Craig Brandt (R-Rio Rancho.)

“Currently, not all school districts allow home schoolers to take one or two courses in their schools because the state does not fund those home schoolers,” Senator Brandt said. “That will change under my bill, home schoolers will be allowed to take one or more courses and public school districts will receive funding for those students they teach in their public classrooms. It is only fair.”

Senator Brandt said currently, public schools do not receive any state funding for students who are taught at home.

While a Rio Rancho School Board member, Senator Brandt tried to ensure that all  home schoolers had access to Rio Rancho public schools, but they were denied it by the rest of the school board. “Right now home schoolers cannot take one class in the Rio Rancho school district.  I am committed to working  on this funding issue so all New Mexico public schools will teach all of our children, as required in the State Constitution.

“It will encourage home schoolers to take courses such as chemistry or biology that might be more challenging  to be taught at home while it compensates the schools for taking in these students,” Senator Brandt said. “I believe the students will feel more welcomed in the classroom if the school district receives the additional funding.”

According to the analysis of the bill, SB 302a- Home Student Program Units  amends the Public School Finance Act by adding a new section that allows home schooled students to enroll in classes at traditional public schools and generate additional program units.  The bill allows home school students that take one or more classes at traditional public schools and generate program units by the cost differential factor of 0.25.  The program units generated by this provision are to be paid to the school district in which the student attends. A home schooled student is eligible to enroll in a public school in the attendance zone in which the student resides or in another public school outside the attendance zone as provided in Section 22-1-4 NMSA 1978.   The school district must verify each home schooled  student’s academic and other eligibility to enroll in the class.

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Committees took action today, Wednesday on the following Republican Senate Bills:

SB 216 Ingle ENMU MASTERS OF NURSING PROGRAM DP 8-0 SEC Next to SFC

SB 183 Kernan  REPLACE GED TERMS WITH EQUIVALENCY DIPLOMA DP 8-0 SEC Next to SPAC

SB 150 Kernan ENMU ROBOT WORKSHOP & COMPETITION DP 8-0 SEC NEXT TO SFC

Last night:

SB 182 Procurment Code Changes (Rue; Lucky Varela) SPAC DP 8-0 SJC

SB 185a Woods – FRONTIER COMMUNITIES PROGRAM  – SPAC DP 8/0 Next SFC

SB 247a (Beffort) CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT SERVICES PROCUREMENT – SPAC DP 7/1 For: BRANDT, GRIGGS, IVEY-SOTO, KELLER, KERNAN, O’NEILL, ORTIZ y PINO  No: CANDELARIA

SB 180 (Neville) DP SPAC 6/2  For: Brandt, Griggs, Ivey-Soto, Kernan, O’Neill, Ortiz y Pino  No: Candelaria, Keller  Next: SCORPS

SB 94 PENALTIES FOR NO BOAT FLOATATION DEVICES (SHARER) held over for a later meeting in SCONC

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SB 258 Professional  Licenses for Military and Spouses

Senator Bill Burt-(R-Alamogordo)

Santa Fe- Senator Bill Burt (R-Alamogordo) is sponsoring a bill that encourages members of the military and their spouses to live and work in New Mexico by giving them a break on obtaining professional licenses in the state.

SB 258 Professional Licenses for Military and Spouses- allows expedited occupational and professional licensing of military service member, spouses of military service members and veterans who are licensed in other states.

“For all people wanting to live and work in New Mexico, the state should process their professional and occupational license applications in a timely manner,” Senator Burt said. “Members of the military who are active duty or recent veterans and their spouses who have obtained occupational licenses in other states or jurisdictions should receive reciprocity with those licenses so we encourage them to live and work in New Mexico without causing them much delay.”

Senator Burt’s bill calls for issuing a license to a qualified applicant who submits satisfactory evidence that the applicant holds a license that is current and in good standing and that the licensing requirements are substantially equivalent to the licensing requirements for that occupation or profession in New Mexico. In additional to cities and states, jurisdictions in the bill could include a branch of the United States Armed Forces.

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Killed in Sen. Judiciary-Bill to Make Stealing Utility Hardware A Felony

“At least put this crime on par with stealing a goat”

Tabled Senate Judiciary 5 to 5

SB 28a Neville Penalties for Larceny of Cable Hardware

Santa Fe- A bill that passed unanimously in Senate Public Affairs, was essentially killed in Senate Judiciary when it voted 5 to 5 for passage and the SB 28a was tabled.  The sponsor of the bill compared the theft of wire at a utility that could potentially cause a city-wide power outage to the theft of a goat. Stealing a goat in New Mexico is a felony, while causing a power outage due to stealing the utility’s wire is only a misdemeanor crime.

With his bill, Senator Steve Neville (R-Farmington) wanted to make the larceny of telecommunication or utility cable or hardware to be a third degree or second degree felony, not a misdemeanor. He said the type of crime and its penalty should be based on the damages to the utility and the cost of getting the utility back on-line after the theft, not based on the cost of the stolen wire or piece of hardware.

All Republicans and Democrat Senator Martinez voted to pass SB 28a, while all of the other Democrats on the committee voted against passing it.

The above information was submitted by the State of New Mexico Republican Senate Office

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