House approves Baby Brianna Law expansion
SANTA FE—Tonight, Rep. Sarah Maestas Barnes (R-Albuquerque) secured a victory for New Mexico’s children when the House of Representatives approved House Bill 100 by a vote of 62 to 6. HB 100 removes the arbitrary age distinction in the current statute.
Under the current law, violent child abusers whose actions result in the death of a child are only eligible for a mandatory life sentence if their child victim is aged 11 or under. HB 100 expands the law to apply in all cases of child abuse resulting in death, regardless of the child’s age.
During floor debate, the House amended the bill to clarify that the legislation would apply to parents, guardians, custodians, and persons who are in positions of authority over the child.
“Though we are making strides to improve child abuse prevention and detection in New Mexico, we need to do more to hold the most violent perpetrators accountable for taking the life of a child,” said Rep. Maestas Barnes. “I have presented this bill for three years now. Up until this year, we did not have a New Mexico case that would have fit the criteria described in this bill. Tragically, just a few days before it was presented in committee, we learned of the horrific case of the abuse and death of Jeremiah Valencia. I implore the Senate to act swiftly on this proposal, so we can have it in place before we lose another child to abuse.”
HB 100 now moves to the Senate for consideration.