2017 New Mexico State Legislature: Final Report on Bills We Have Followed

Thank you for all your prayers, emails and phone calls but especially for your prayers.  The 2017 New Mexico Legislative session drew to a close on Saturday, March 18, 2017.  Below is a brief summation of the bills we were following.
All Pro-Life bills, including Infant Born Alive Protection and No Abortions Beyond 20 Weeks, were summarily dismissed by committees.
Many Marijuana bills had a strong start but died in committees.
A Physician Assisted Suicide bill was defeated in the Senate by a vote of 22 to 20.
Sex Designation Changes on Birth Certificates, sought by transgenders, passed and is currently on the Governor’s desk.
A Ban on Conversion Therapy, a therapy that would help sexually confused children, was passed and awaits the Governor’s signature.
This is our report:
Recreational Marijuana: TABLED in Committee
Marijuana was on the minds of many legislators this year.  A “cannabis” word search produced 23 pieces of legislation.  The Cannabis Revenue and Freedom Actlegalizing marijuana appeared to have traction with the economic argument that it would “solve New Mexico’s revenue problems”, increase employment and bring prosperity to the state.  The House Business and Industry Committee tabled the bill by a vote of 9 to 1.
 
Infant Born Alive Protection:  TABLED in Committee
The pro-life Infant Born Alive Protection Act sponsored by Rep. Rod Montoya would have required that any infant surviving an abortion and born alive must receive medical care. The child would be reported as a live birth.  In addition, Rep. Montoya sponsored the Late Term Abortion bill that would stop abortions after 20 weeks gestation.
In a surprise move, House Consumer and Public Affairs’ Chairman Eliseo Alcon called a committee meeting for 10:00 a.m. Sunday morning to consider the pro-life bills.  In response, a church service was held at 9:00 a.m. in the Rotunda that Sunday morning, and many of those attending stayed for the 10:00 o’clock hearing.  Both bills were tabled on a 3 to 2 vote along party lines.
When explaining her vote to table the bills, Representative Patricia Roybal Caballero remarked she was Catholic, raised by the Sisters of Loretto, and was a pro-choice Catholic was pro-choice voting against the life bills.  The remark was heard by Santa Fe’s Archbishop John Wester, who was watching the proceedings via an internet stream.  Archbishop Wester wrote that elected Catholics do not speak for the church but for themselves.  A stronger statement came from Bishop James Wall of Gallup and Bishop Oscar Cantu from Las Cruces, stating that “support for abortion or doctor-assisted suicide is not in accord with the teaching of the church.”
Physician Assisted-Suicide:  DEFEATED by the Senate
Rep. Deborah Armstrong sponsored the End of Life Options Act, a bill that would have removed criminal penalties from physicians who write prescriptions for patients to kill themselves.  The death certificate following the suicide would have noted the underlying medical problem as the cause of death, not the self-administered lethal drugs.  The Senate version of the bill, sponsored by Senator Liz Stefanics, was defeated in the Senate by a vote of 22-20.
Sex Designation Changes on Birth Certificates:  PASSED, awaits the Governor’s Signature
A Vital Records Sex Designation bill sponsored by Senator Jacob Candelaria is on the Governor’s desk.  A transsexual can change his or her sex designation on a birth certificate by obtaining permission from a judge.  The birth certificate can then be altered to reflect the gender with which the person identifies.  No indication that the document has been altered or amended can be noted.
Hospitals must perform abortions: No “Conscience Clause”  PASSED 2 Committees
Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino, who describes himself as a “proud pro-choice Catholic,” sponsored the Hospital Patient Protections bill that requires New Mexico hospitals to perform abortions with no provision for a physician or staff objection on the basis of conscience.  The draconian bill was passed by two committees, the Senate Public Affairs Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee.  The bill would have stripped any freedom of conscience or of religion clause for those objecting to abortion.  The bill was not heard by the Senate.
Editorial Comment:
The kinds of laws that come before the New Mexico State Legislature are dependent on the kinds of legislators we send to the Roundhouse.  Representative Deborah Armstrong from Albuquerque wanted physicians to be allowed to kill their suffering patients.  Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino wants all hospitals to do abortions regardless of the religious opposition to them.  Senator Jacob Candelaria had a field day with what we would call falsifying government records for transgenders and disallowing counseling for sexually confused kids.
Having a government that supports a Christian worldview of life and conscience would require that the Christian community find, elect and support a different kind of legislator.
Please continue to pray for our legislators and their legislation.
 
New Mexico Watchman
nmwatchman@comcast.net
                          

“Happy is the man who finds wisdom, And the man who gains understanding;”
Proverbs 3:13 

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