ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Eleven days, the calendar for this year’s legislative session is nearing an end. The big bills passed by the Republican-controlled House are about to start learning their fate in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
Tuesday afternoon, during the Senate floor session, Sen. William Sharer tried to move abortion bill to the full floor and another to just one committee.
“We do have a committee system and over 700 bills in the process. Sometime it is appropriate to meet in one body with all 42 of us. With the Committee of the Whole, the public does have the opportunity to come here and share their opinions with all 42 of us, not in a smaller committee body. Let them come and tell us their stories, both side.” Sen. Sharer, a Republican from Farmington said in a statement.
His first try was to get a bill that would require parental notification 48 hours before an abortion to the committee of a whole, essentially bypassing individual committees straight to the full Senate. It failed on a party line vote of 25-17.
His second was on a bill dealing with late-term abortions to just one committee, Senate Finance, it failed. The vote was along party lines with just Democratic Sen. George Munoz voting in favor.
Sen. Sharer was disappointed with the result.
KRQE News 13 spoke to Senate Majority Whip Michael Padilla before it all happened.
“It’s hard to say whether these pieces are actually going to make it through the legislature this year, they’re very big decisions for the state of New Mexico and we just want to make sure, the Democratic caucus wants to make sure every New Mexican has the ability to come up to Santa Fe and tell us exactly how they feel about these pieces of legislation,” he said.
Sen. Sharer’s office released a list of names, all Democrats, who back in February, supported the move to allow those abortion bills to be moved to a committee of the whole. According the release, they are Sen. Phil Griego, Sen. John Pinto, Sen. Carlos Cisneros, Sen. George Munoz, Sen. John Arthur Smith, Sen. Richard C. Martinez and Sen. Clemente Sanchez.
As for other controversial bills the House has sent to the Senate, the bill to end social promotion, which would hold back third graders who don’t read well enough, hasn’t gone anywhere.
The same goes for undoing the law that gives drivers licenses to illegal immigrants.
A Senate committee is set vote on the right to work law Tuesday evening. That would allow workers to opt out of unions and a lot of Democrats have bashed the idea.
The late-term abortion ban would make abortions illegal after five months illegal except under certain circumstances.
New Mexico is one of only eight states without a late-term abortion ban.