Representatives Nate Gentry and Antonio “Moe” Maestas Pre-file Bipartisan Legislation Authorizing County and Municipal Curfews

Bill will allow local governments to impose a curfew on minors less than 16 years of age

Santa Fe, NM - Today, Representatives Nate Gentry and Antonio “Moe” Maestas pre-filed legislation authorizing local governments to impose curfews on minors under the age of 16 after midnight. House Bill 29 would permit cities and counties to enact curfew ordinances to regulate the actions of children at night and during the day on school days.

"Cities and towns should be able to impose reasonable curfew ordinances if they so choose. This bill will allow them to do that," said Maestas.

“The need for House Bill 29 is evident in the number of high profile crimes involving minors this past summer in Albuquerque,” said Gentry. Steven Gerecke was gunned down in his driveway by six minors at 3:00 a.m. on June 26th and Isaiah Albright, a 14 year old student was shot and killed at Pat Hurley Park on Albuquerque’s Westside by another minor on July 27th of this year, while two others were injured in the shooting; both shootings occurred in the early morning hours. “As is usually the case, no good can come from young teenagers being out in the middle of the night without good reason.”

The curfew proposal has gained support from Albuquerque Westside City Councilor Ken Sanchez. “I want to commend and thank the Majority Leader for working with everyone to put this measure forward,” said Sanchez. “This measure does not criminalize children but rather protects them from being in dangerous situations late at night. HB 29 will give local governments the ability to protect our most vulnerable.”

Currently, law enforcement has little authority to detain children out during school hours or at night without reasonable suspicion that a crime is being committed. This bill would allow officers to detain minors, while providing guidelines for how an ordinance would permit law enforcement to handle children who are caught violating a curfew. This legislation would prohibit children from being placed in secure settings for violating a curfew. Additionally, the bill provides a variety of exemptions for children who have reason to be out during the regulated times, such as if they are participating in a school function, accompanied by their parent or guardian, or attending a civic or religious function. This legislation will also ensure that emancipated youth are excluded from its provisions.