HOUSE DEMOCRATS NEWS
Today, the New Mexico House of Representatives took a major step towards outlawing the harmful practice of hazing.
Sponsored by Majority Leader Sheryl Williams Stapleton (D-Albuquerque), House Bill 27 makes a crime of hazing, defining the act as intentionally or recklessly putting at risk or causing serious mental or physical injury to a student at a post-secondary institution as an initiation into an official or unofficial student club. Currently, New Mexico is only one of six states that has no laws prohibiting or defining the practice of hazing.
“Hazing has become a more and more dangerous practice, causing disfigurement, alcohol poisoning, and serious mental trauma. It has even taken the lives of young people,” said Leader Stapleton. “Our places of higher learning should be safe and inclusive for all. Practices that pressure young New Mexicans into incredibly risky behavior don’t have a place on our college campuses. It’s time for New Mexico to step up and send that message, as 44 other states have done.”
Under HB 27, hazing would be considered a petty misdemeanor and ‘aggravated hazing,’ an act which results in significant physical or mental harm, would be a full misdemeanor and punishable by up to a year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. These penalties are in line with the statutes passed in most of the rest of the country.
House Bill 27 passed the House in a bipartisan 60-9 vote and will now go to the Senate for consideration.
Members of the public can track legislation on the New Mexico Legislature website, access committee meetings and House floor sessions via the Webcasts tab, or participate by Zoom to provide public comment on committee hearings. During the 2021 Legislative Session, the House of Representatives is focused on passing critical legislation while protecting the health and safety of the public, the staff, and the legislators.