A high-profile bill that would allow municipalities to impose limited curfews on some minors passed the state House Monday evening. The bill passed 44-21. House Majority Leader Nate Gentry, R-Albuquerque, sponsored the bill, saying it would help reduce crime and also protect youth in the cities. Gentry said that it would not allow municipalities or counties to impose criminal penalties on those out past curfew. He said it would allow municipalities to pass ordinances not beyond the limits in the state law, which would include curfew hours during school and between midnight and 5:00 a.m.
The bill would not impact those age sixteen or older and also had other exemptions.
A poll finds that New Mexico voters say that crime prevention should be a priority over punishment. The group Center for Civic Policy, a progressive group based out of Albuquerque, commissioned the poll from Third Eye Strategies. The group opposes many of the bills to increase penalties that have been introduced this year. The poll comes as Republicans, especially leadership in the House, have focused the early days of the session largely on legislation that increases penalties for certain crimes. House Democrats have instead focused much of their attention on ethics, though the legislation they introduced has not yet been given the OK to be heard by Gov. Susana Martinez.
State Rep. Javier Martinez is a Democrat from Albuquerque who represents the 11th district in the New Mexico House of Representatives. I’ve followed with great disappointment how the Mayor and his City Council allies have pushed the idea of a curfew as a strategy to curb teen-involved crime. It’s frustrating to see our city leaders tout this disingenuous idea as a solution to what’s transpired in Albuquerque the last several years. First and foremost, as long as we continue to ignore the science behind the benefits of early childhood education, New Mexico will never reach its full potential. Ninety percent of a child’s brain develops by the age of three, yet only a small handful of New Mexico’s children have access to such important services.