2020 Legislative Session Highlights


Irene Pierpont

The 2020 New Mexico Legislative Session was eventful. Here are some of the developments.

The Legislature passed the Extreme Risk Firearm Protection Order Act, which takes effect in mid-May, a red-flag gun bill that allows law enforcement to confiscate firearms for a short period of time to prevent people from harming themselves or others with their firearms. This bill has faced a lot of pushback.

According to the Las Cruces Sun News, many sheriffs, mostly in the rural areas of the state, and other law enforcement authorities have stated that they will not enforce the bill and see it as a violation of people’s Second Amendment rights. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham stated that while these sheriffs can oppose the bill, they cannot choose whether to enforce it, stating that anyone who refuses to enforce the law would be reassigned.

As rationale for the bill, the governor referred to multiple recent mass shootings and school shooting deaths. Approximately 310 students have died in school shootings since the 1999 Columbine shooting. Due to the recent increase, including Parkland, Fla., state bills regarding gun safety have become much more common, and this bill exemplifies this.

While this red flag law is one of the most controversial bills passed during this session, many other bills will impact New Mexico residents. These include:

  • A bill that will stop out-of-state residents from getting a medical marijuana license in New Mexico;
  • A bill that will benefit senior citizens through the Kiki Saavedra Senior Dignity Fund;
  • A bill that will cover meal costs for low-income public school students who qualify for reduced-price meals;
  • A bill that will provide diplomas for Vietnam veterans who left high school to fight before they were able to graduate;
  • A bill that will provide more than $500 million for infrastructure projects across the state.

There were also a few bills that were not passed that many people were hoping for. These include:

  • A bill that would have provided tax breaks for military retirees;
  • A bill that would have provided $49.5 million to fund 216 road projects, vetoed by the governor due to worries about coronavirus.