New Mexico lawmakers abolished the death penalty back in 2009, but during a special session this week House Republicans quietly passed a bill to bring it back.
— NM Political Report (@NMreport) October 6, 2016
With everyone in the legislature up for reelection in November, Republicans are scrambling for votes. House Democrats and the New Mexico chapter of the nonpartisan American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) say the sneaky move was done for political gain — not for the good of the population.
“They’re desperate, and so they risked everything by using the special session to shore up the budget as a means to bolster their campaign, with a tough-on-crime agenda,” Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas said.
Rep. Monica Youngblood, one of the bill’s sponsors, has a different opinion. With an increase in crime in New Mexico, many residents are living in fear.
“It isn’t capitalizing upon death,” Youngblood said. “This is a bill to bring justice to those who kill innocent children and police officers. It’s not a mandatory sentence either. It was an action for district attorneys to seek what they think is an appropriate punishment.”
Whether the bill is sincerely in the interest of New Mexicans or not, the fact is that Americans’ approval of the death penalty is at a historic low, with only 49% in support, and falling.