Lawmakers want to ban promoting prostitution

SANTA FE (KRQE) – Lawmakers are pushing once again to close the loophole that let a former UNM president escape criminal charges.

Democratic Sen. Jacob Candelaria and Republican Rep. Tim Lewis are co-sponsoring a bill that would make it illegal to promote prostitution online.

Investigators say former UNM president Chris Garcia helped schedule prostitutes on an online forum, Southwest Companions, that connected prostitutes and johns.

Garcia’s charges were dropped because under state law, an online forum can’t be considered a house of prostitution.

“I think it needs to be fixed right away because the message is out there that somebody’s gotten away with it. It’s open and we need to close it,” said Lewis, R-Rio Rancho.

Candelaria, D-Albuquerque, said, “I think it’s a common sense issue and I think it’s an issue New Mexicans want to see fixed so I hope we can get it out of committee and up to the governor’s desk this session.”

The same bill passed the house without a single no vote last year, but died in committee on the Senate side. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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