Guv signs bill toughening child porn penalties

New Mexico will soon have tougher criminal penalties for people caught manufacturing, distributing and possessing child pornography. Gov. Susana Martinez signed the bill, which became one of the most heated during this year’s legislative session, earlier today. The new law increases prison term penalties for manufacturing child porn from nine years to 12 years, distribution from three years to 11 years and possession from 18 months to 10 years. One more year of prison will be added to each penalty if the victim in the child pornography is under 13 years old. It will go into effect later this year.

Martinez gives low-key sendoff to low-key session

Following the 2016 legislative session, Gov. Susana Martinez touted passage of some tougher-on-crime laws, a new state budget and a bill to bring the state into compliance with the federal Real ID Act. In a short post-session press conference, she touted her five-year legislative battle of changing the state law that gives driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants as complete. But she also acknowledged the caveat. Related Story: Sanchez happy with what Senate accomplished

“While this bill allows limited permits for those who are here illegally, they must prove residency and identity and subject themselves to fingerprinting and background checks,” she said. Until this year, Martinez said she wouldn’t accept a two-tier system if it still allowed undocumented immigrants to still drive legally.

AG gives explanation for child porn bill walkout

Following a dramatic exit from his staffers Tuesday night during committee debate on a bill to increase penalties on possession of child porn, Attorney General Hector Balderas said he’s asking the Senate to “clean up” the measure. “I think that child safety is the number one crisis in New Mexico,” Balderas said in an interview Wednesday. “I have my prosecutors fighting and lobbying for reforms.”

He said his staff will “absolutely protest” changes to proposed legislation that put children at risk. Protest from staffers in his office came when Senate Finance Committee successfully moved to exempt teen sexting from a measure cracking down on child porn possession. The measure, sponsored by Reps.

AG’s office walks out over change to child porn bill

A successful amendment to a bill to crack down on child porn caused staffers from a key state agency to storm out of the committee room in apparent protest. After lawmakers in the Senate Finance Committee voted to exempt teenage sexting from a measure increasing penalties on possession of child porn, Clara Moran, the division director for special prosecutions at the state Attorney General’s office and others from that office walked out of the committee room. Related Story: AG gives explanation for child porn bill walkout

Until that point, Moran acted as the expert witness for sponsors and Reps. Sarah Maestas Barnes, R-Albuquerque, and Javier Martinez, D-Albuquerque. Sen. George Munoz, D-Gallup, was not pleased.