Early 2013 bills take aim at corruption, drunken driving [The Santa Fe New Mexican]
|By Steve Terrell, The Santa Fe New Mexican|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
As of Friday afternoon, according to
The 2013 Legislature convenes
Here's a look at some of the legislation already on the table.
Tackling corruption: Once again, Rep.
Gentry's bill would allow judges to add a year to the sentences of public officials convicted of specified corruption-related crimes. It also would prohibit officials convicted of these crimes from ever becoming lobbyists or being awarded government contracts.
Qualifications for public regulation commissioners: Speaking of scandals and corruption, voters in November passed a constitutional amendment requiring
Senate Bill 13, sponsored by Sen.
While the bill currently would require both a college degree and seven years of work experience, Keller said last week that he expects that before the bill clears
Expect more bills dealing with the regulatory commission. In addition to the qualifications amendment, voters also passed amendments to move the corporations division of the commission to the
Other controversial state agencies: Other bills that originated in scandals are those dealing with state agencies that oversee large amounts of money.
First, there is the
Keller said SB 12, co-sponsored by Rep.
SB 9, sponsored by Sen.
Drunken driving: Creating harsher laws dealing with intoxicated drivers is a near-perennial issue for lawmakers. HB 32, sponsored by Rep.
Under this bill, someone convicted of a fourth drunken-driving charge would get a mandatory sentence of 30 months in prison, 18 months of which could not be deferred or suspended. Currently, the sentence is 18 months in prison, six months of which cannot be deferred or suspended.
Sentences for fifth, sixth and seventh convictions also would require more mandatory prison time than the current law requires. And someone convicted of an eighth or subsequent offense would be guilty of a second-degree felony and serve at least 10 years in prison.
Texting and driving: Another driving safety bill that has been pre-filed is one aimed at texting while driving. SB 17, sponsored by Sen.
Though some experts say that drivers who are reading or sending text messages are as dangerous as drunken drivers, previous bills outlawing the practice have failed to pass
Taxing matters: Once again, Wirth also will attempt to pass a bill he and other proponents say would make out-of-state corporations pay their fair share of taxes. Wirth's SB 13 would change the way corporations are taxed while actually lowering the rate at which they are taxed. Last year, Wirth was successful in passing a similar bill, though it was amended so it would have applied only to "big box stores." However, Gov.
Meanwhile, Keller and Rep.
Keller said that SB 7 is different from previous bills in that the administration would look at the total number of tax expenditures over a five-year period -- analyzing 20 percent of the total each year.
Campaign finance disclosure: Wirth is sponsoring SB 15, which would require independent-expenditure groups such as political action committees to disclose their contributors. Wirth has carried similar bills during the two previous sessions. Both times, Wirth has been successful in the
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