Omaree’s Law Passes First Hurdle, Heads to House Floor


SANTA FE—Omaree’s Law, House Bill 333, sponsored by House Speaker W. Ken Martinez, D-Bernalillo, Cibola McKinley, Socorro, San Juan, Valencia, received a Do Pass from the  House Judiciary on a 13-4 vote, and it now heads to the house floor.

About the Bill:

House Bill 333, sponsored by Martinez and co-sponsored by Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard, D-Los Alamos, Santa Fe, Sandoval and Rio Arriba, Rep. Emily Kane, D-Bernalillo and Rep. Liz Thomson, D-Bernalillo, requires CYFD to immediately take custody of children showing specific injuries of abuse, and requires the parents, guardians or custodians to complete counseling before taking custody of a child in certain circumstances.

The bill adds language to the Children’s Code that if specific injuries are found on a child’s body CYFD is to take custody of the child immediately. This bill requires mandatory hold and hearing.

The injuries that are listed are: burns, bruises, multiple bruises, lacerations, welts, bone fractures, bite marks, multiple similar injuries or bruises, simultaneously  present on a child’s body, that are in various stages of healing,  and any other injury that can be reasonably believed to be caused by abuse.

After the child is taken into custody a hearing will be held within in 48 hours. Under certain circumstances, parents, guardians or custodians with a history of substantiated abuse and neglect claims, will be required to attend counseling before the child is returned home.

Omaree Varela, tragically, was beaten to death in Albuquerque. There were substantiated reports of abuse reported and bite marks.