Equal Rights Under the Law

  • All people deserve respect and equal protection under the law. Women should receive equal pay for equal work. Domestic partnership rights should be recognized. I support the right of workers to collectively bargain. New Mexico should raise our minimum wage, such as Senator Clemente Sanchez’ 2017 bill SB386, which was vetoed by Governor Martinez.
  • Crime is a big problem in New Mexico, which we need to tackle in several ways. Courts, probation departments, and public attorneys (both prosecutors and public defenders) have seen their budgets squeezed so tightly in recent years that they can’t deal with every case in the best way. Implementation of the recent Constitutional amendment that allows dangerous accused criminals to be denied bail, and indigent but non-dangerous accused people to be released without bail, has been slow and inconsistent; it will take better funding to implement this system and see if it will have the desired effect of increased public safety. Better funding for behavioral health and anti-addiction programs will save lives and cost less in the long run than dealing with sick and addicted people in jails. Better education, health care, and a healthy economy will make people less likely to fall into drug addiction or other criminal behaviors.
  • The First Amendment to the Constitution protects our right to practice whatever religion we choose, and to not have religious choices imposed upon us by the state. I support the right of women to make their own choices about contraception and abortion. I believe we should encourage the choice of life, and I will work to improve any social condition that might lead to the choice of abortion, such as fear of abuse, poverty, barriers to adoption, or lack of health care.
  • The Second Amendment guarantees the right to bear arms. It does not take away the rights of all to be protected from criminals or insane people bearing arms. I support measures to require background checks on sales of guns, such as Senators Richard Martinez and Peter Wirth’s SB48 in the 2017 session. I also support laws to restrict possession of firearms by persons subject to court orders as a result of domestic abuse, such as Senator Cervantes’ 2017 SB259 (as amended in committee), which passed the Legislature but was vetoed by the governor.
  • At all levels of government, the opportunities for abuse of modern surveillance techniques involving the internet, cell phones, and other technology, are frightening. The Fourth and Fifth Amendments’ basic principle of due process of law must be strictly observed: any government surveillance must be specifically authorized by a court of law with records scrupulously kept.