The issue of teen curfews set up a firestorm of back and forth between supporters and opponents of a bill addressing the issue Monday afternoon. House Majority Leader Nate Gentry, R-Albuquerque, presented a bill that would allow municipalities and counties to set their own curfew rules for minors. During his presentation to the House Regulatory and Public Affairs Committee, Gentry said that the bill would not have major impact, saying that the term “curfew” is “a bit misleading.”
“All this bill does is during school hours and from midnight until five, law enforcement can contact minors,” he said. Gentry said the bill defines minors as people who are 16 years old and under. Still, the bill drew opposition from many, including some fellow lawmakers in committee.
Rhetoric on abortion heated up in 2015 after anti-abortion advocates leaked videos of Planned Parenthood officials and Robert Dear violently attacked a clinic in Colorado Springs. But whether the emotional debate comes to bills at the legislative session later this month and next isn’t yet known. Measures impacting abortion rights face odds this year because the upcoming session is focused on the state budget. Gov. Susana Martinez has the sole authority to allow any legislation not related to the state budget to be heard this year. So far, only state Rep. Yvette Herrell, R-Alamogordo, has confirmed publicly that she asked Martinez to allow the Legislature to hear a bill that would ban abortion procedures after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
The New Mexico Legislature’s opening week coincides with the anniversary of the polarizing Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, and activists who oppose abortion say they hope this session will shift state laws in their favor. Formed after Albuquerque voters defeated a ballot measure to restrict abortion services in the city, Protest ABQ has plans to take advantage of the newly Republican-controlled House of Representatives by pressuring lawmakers into votes on statewide restrictions. As of press time, no abortion rollback measures have been proposed. That could change quickly if Father Stephen Imbarrato and the activists he helps coordinate have their way. Imbarrato is a Catholic priest whose accent and straight-up, conversational style harken back to his New York roots.