State lawmakers did not know Jeremiah Valencia during his short, tormented life. But 13-year-old Jeremiah’s death dominated debate at a lengthy legislative hearing Thursday. At issue was a bill to make intentional child abuse resulting in death a first-degree felony that carries a life prison sentence, regardless of a child’s age. Under current state law on child abuse, life sentences can only be given to defendants who intentionally kill a child younger than 12. Someone who abuses and kills a child between 13 and 18 can receive a sentence of up to 18 years.
[box type=”info” style=”rounded”]BILL JORDAN is Senior Policy Advisor/Governmental Relations for NM Voices for Children. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.[/box]
Since the legislative session concluded without the passage of a capital outlay bill—money for public works projects like building community centers—there have been rumblings about the need for a special session. Amid this din, the Executive Office has indicated that it would also want tax cuts to be considered. A special session should be called, but the Legislature should limit their agenda to passing the public works projects and not even consider handing out more tax breaks. How much more evidence do we need that tax cuts are a failed economic development strategy?
[box type=”info” style=”rounded”]DON TRIPP is a member of the NM House of Representatives (R-Socorro). A jeweler by trade, Rep. Tripp is also the Speaker of the House, the first Republican to hold that title in 60 years.[/box]
It’s time for your lawmakers to get to work. There is much to do this year, and we’re ready for the challenge. There is a lot of excitement in Santa Fe — the result of last year’s election. For the first time in 60 years, the people of New Mexico have chosen Republicans to lead the House of Representatives.