Monday, March 14, 2011
Rep. Maestas Applauds Senate Passage of Drug Treatment Bill, House Next Up
The New Mexico Senate voted 21-3 on Friday to pass drug treatment legislation originally proposed by Rep. Antonio "Moe" Maestas (D-Albuquerque). Senate Bill 321, sponsored on the Senate side by Sen. Richard Martinez (D-Espanola), enacts the “Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act” to provide substance abuse treatment instead of jail time for persons charged with certain substance abuse offenses. SB 321 now moves to the full House, where Rep. Maestas says he will fight to secure its passage. Let's hope the House acts quickly, as this legislative session is scheduled to end at noon on March 19.
I've been a fan of this bill since Rep. Maestas first introduced it as HB 178 during last year's legislative session. That time out, the bill was passed in the House by a margin of 34-31, and in the Senate Judiciary Committee on a 8-2 vote, but time ran out before it made it to the Senate floor.
"We must be smart in the fight against crime by holding people accountable and attacking crime head on," Rep. Maestas said. "Treatment instead of incarceration for non-violent drug offenders is cost effective and confronts the root cause of the crime- addiction."