February 11, 2016

GOP lawmaker attempts revive abortion bill, fails

Last week, a Republican lawmaker made headlines for siding with Democrats in killing an abortion bill.

Rep. Andy Nuñez, R-Hatch.

Rep. Andy Nuñez, R-Hatch.

But in an apparent about-face Thursday morning, that same lawmaker attempted to revive and pass the same controversial bill.

“Having voted in the affirmative with the majority, I want to remove [House Bill 275] from the table and make it the next order of business,” Rep. Andy Nuñez said in the House Health Committee.

Nuñez was referring to the “Require Medical Care for All Infants” measure that would legally define when infants are “born alive” and mandate emergency medical intervention for them.

Nuñez’ motion failed 5-5 in the committee, which is evenly split between Republicans and Democrats. Tie votes aren’t enough to bring a bill back to debate or pass a bill out of committee.

Though aimed at abortion procedures, the new regulations imposed by the bill would have essentially mandated resuscitation for all premature infants showing any sign of life.

The bill gendered heated testimony on both sides of the abortion issue last week, including denunciations from the medical community.

Nuñez, who has a history of unpredictability, was the lone Republican who voted to table the bill. When asked about why he voted with Democrats on that issue, Nuñez was elusive.

Rep. Terry McMillan, R-Las Cruces and chair of the House Health Committee said he found Nuñez’s motion appropriate because he gave proper notice that he was going to do so. If a bill is tabled, House rules allow lawmakers who vote for the tabling motion to bring that bill back up for debate and passage.

When McMillan called for the vote, all five Democrats voted no and all five Republicans, including Nuñez, voted yes.

“So by a vote of 5 to 5 your motion fails, Rep. Nuñez,” McMillan said after the vote.

The committee quickly went onto its next order of business.