February 9, 2016

Legislature roundup: Feb. 9Las Cruces Sun News

Second-degree murder: People convicted of second-degree murder will face more time in prison if the Legislature approves a bill unanimously recommended Monday by the House Judiciary Committee. House Bill 228, sponsored by Rep. Antonio "Moe" Maestas, D-Albuquerque, would increase the sentence to 18 years in prison from 15 years. It also would increase the penalty for voluntary manslaughter to nine years from six years. – 2/9/2016

Uber vote: The House on Wednesday passed a bill to clarify regulations for smart-phone-based ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft. It was a lopsided, bipartisan vote of 58 to 8.

House Bill 168 sponsor Rep. Monica Youngblood, R-Albuquerque, said the state needs to modernize its laws and argued that such ride businesses can "keep our roads safe by giving people an alternative to getting behind the wheel after having too much to drink. – 2/9/2016

Solar bills: House Memorial 51, which called for research on the impact of adding solar energy to state buildings, died in the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources committee Monday on a tied party-line vote. House Bill 256, which proposes consumer protections regarding the lease or purchase of solar power, will likely considered during Wednesday's committee hearing. However, House Bill 289, which seeks to revise existing regulations for geothermal production, under a law dating from 1973, moved forward despite objections that the bill includes limited provision for public hearings. – 2/9/2016


Teenage voters: Seventeen-year-olds who turn 18 by the November general election would be able to vote in the June Democratic or Republican primary under a bill passed Monday by the House. House Bill 138, sponsored by Rep. Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces, passed by a bipartisan 41-26 vote. – 2/9/2016