New Mexico Voyeurism Bill Dies In House Committee

HOUSE REPUBLICAN News:

SANTA FE – This afternoon the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee tabled a bill to expand the definition of voyeurism. The legislation is sponsored by Reps. Sharon Clahchischilliage (R-San Juan) and Monica Youngblood (R-Bernalillo).

House Bill 159 would add attempted acts of voyeurism of victims age 18 or older to the New Mexico criminal code. The bill also would make attempted voyeurism of a minor a fourth-degree felony. Currently, attempted voyeurism of a minor is a misdemeanor and attempted voyeurism of an adult is not a crime.

Under existing law, an individual can only be convicted of committing voyeurism if it can be proven that they saw the intimate areas of the victim without the knowledge or permission of the victim. House Bill 159 would allow prosecutors to pursue suspected cases of voyeurism, especially where perpetrators set up cameras or other surveillance instruments.

“All attempted acts of voyeurism affect victims,” Clahchischilliage said. “Voyeurism is often a gateway crime. It’s a violation of trust and privacy, and fixing the current statute will make it easier to prosecute these cases. I’m disappointed that the committee neglected this valuable opportunity to protect the victims of voyeurism, especially children.”

The committee tabled the bill on a 3 to 2 party line vote. Two Democrats on the committee – Rep. Eliseo Alcon (D-Cibola) and Rep. Deborah Armstrong (D-Bernalillo) – had voted in favor of a similar bill introduced by Clahchischilliage in 2015. The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved that bill by a bipartisan 59 to 5 margin.

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