Counter-terrorism bill backed by governor passes House
Measure strengthens investigatory powers of law enforcement
SANTA FE – A public safety bill to better combat and punish acts of terrorism, cyberterrorism and making a terroristic threat passed the New Mexico House of Representatives on Friday with a bipartisan vote of 62-1. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham issued the following statement:
“This legislation provides a much-needed update to New Mexico statute to better deal with 21st century realities. We all understand the threat of terrorism. We understand it is unacceptable. We can reduce the impact of terrorist actions, and I salute the House members for standing up on this well-intentioned criminal justice and public safety measure.”
House Bill 269 creates distinct crimes of terrorism, cyberterrorism, possessing a terroristic weapon and making a terrorist threat, and it gives prosecutors better tools for investigating these crimes and bringing terrorists to justice.
The bipartisan bill, sponsored by Reps. Dayan Hochman-Vigil, William Rehm, Natalie Figueroa and Doreen Gallegos, grew out a terrorism summit the governor called in August in response to the mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas.
The FBI reported a significant rise in white supremacist violence and a spike in domestic terrorism-related arrests in fiscal year 2019.
The counter-terrorism measure is part of a suite of public safety and criminal justice bills the governor is backing this session, including:
- SB 5: A bill allowing courts to issue an Extreme Risk Firearm Protective Order, authorizing the temporary removal of guns from people who pose a risk to themselves or others;
- HB 6: An omnibus crime bill that helps law enforcement officers suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome; adds penalties for brandishing a firearm during a crime; allows retention payments to law enforcement officers in agencies with staffing vacancies; and enhancing the penalty for a felon in possession of a firearm.
- HB 156: A bill to criminalize the dismantling of stolen vehicles and to make it illegal to sell parts from a chop shop;
- HB 237: A bill to increase penalties for human trafficking.