The New Mexico state Senate passed a pair of bills recently that were introduced by Senate Republican Whip Sen. Craig Brandt (R-Rio Rancho).
Senate Bill 513, which would raise the penalty for threatening a shooting to the same as the penalty for threatening a bombing, advanced on a 39-1 vote Saturday.
Brandt has been pushing for the bill to pass since 2020. In February, false threats of a mass school shooting occurred at Rio Rancho High School and Bernalillo High School and prompted mass panic and school lockdowns. Brandt wants whoever was responsible to be facing felony charges, not misdemeanor charges as is currently the penalty. SB 513, which was introduced by Brandt on the same day as the fake threats were made, would make that happen.
After the hoax calls in February, Brandt told the Observer: ““It’s extremely frustrating; this bill makes sense to every normal person.”
The bill now heads to the House.
“Whether it be for attention, for the thrill or a serious threat, no one should go unpunished for the fear caused by a threat of a shooting,” Brandt said in a statement. “The individuals who cause fear and panic for our students and the public deserve real consequences for the trauma induced by these incidents. We must pass this bill to ensure our state prosecutors have the tools to track these individuals down and hold them accountable.”
The Senate also unanimously passed Senate Bill 108 Friday, which was introduced by Brandt and is aimed at bolstering career technical education.
“I want to thank my colleagues for recognizing the importance of trade programs in New Mexico,” Brandt said in a statement. “This bill adds a Career Technical Education (CTE) program unit to the funding formula, ensuring that our high school graduates who do not pursue a college degree have other opportunities to pursue a well-paying career.”
Senate Bill 108 will also now be sent to the House of Representatives.