Following the high-profile arrest of a prominent New Mexico legislator for DWI, Republicans introduced a bill early Tuesday to mandate interlock devices for all Democrat legislators.
“At this rate, we’re going to run out of lawmakers to even finish this legislative session,” one Republican said. “It’s for their own good, but it’s also for all of our good.”
The bill is in response to the Sunday arrest of Democratic State Rep. Georgene Louis of Albuquerque, co-chair of the Indian Affairs Committee, who was pulled over Sunday and charged with DWI, speeding, driving without insurance, and failing to show proof of registration.
Louis is the second prominent Democrat to be charged with DWI in the last few years.
Former Sen. Richard Martinez was arrested in 2019 for driving under the influence. Martinez took the unusual tactic of campaigning as a “recovering alcoholic” in his attempted 2020 re-election. Despite New Mexico’s high proportion of drunks — and disproportionate number of drunk drivers — not enough of them showed up to vote. Martinez was slaughtered in the Democratic primary, losing by 20% to Leo Jaramillo.
And while Michele Alana Curtis is a gubernatorial appointee (to the New Mexico Indian Affairs Department), not a legislator, her arrest in February 2022 for aggravated DWI (and resisting arrest, and reckless driving, and fleeing the scene of an accident) nonetheless poses a problem for Democrats — because she’s a Democrat. And an Indian. Which is terrible optics.
The problem, of course, may be power itself. Rep. Monica Youngblood was also arrested for DWI, in 2018. But in a political era where partisanship dictates the rules, Democrats have lost more points of late than Republicans. Hence the interlock bill.
“Democrats are spending money like drunken sailers, and because that money comes from oil and gas — an industry they are determined to destroy — ensuring sobriety is the only way forward.”
Republicans seem blind to the possibility that by killing the oil and gas industry, they are essentially gutting the single industry that makes drunk driving possible. Without the ability to drive, there can be no drunk driving.
The bill is considered dead on arrival. With a super-majority in the state legislature, Democrats are guaranteed to keep the bill from getting out of committee. That is, of course, if they’re sober enough to evade arrest and show up for a vote — which is far from guaranteed.