Affirmative consent bill fails in House committee, despite pressure from students

By: - January 25, 2022 6:55 am

(Getty Images)

A proposed mandate to teach affirmative consent in New Mexico public schools and colleges failed in committee on Monday.

House Bill 44 would have required schools to teach the concept in health classes, hang up signs that promote consent and apply the standards when sexual assault allegations are brought up between students.

Santa Fe High School students and their peers marched from the New Mexico School for the Arts to the east end of the state capital where they demanded Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and lawmakers to pass the bill.

Students march to the Roundhouse to demand affirmative consent bill is heard

But the House Rules and Order of Business Committee on Monday voted 16-2 to find it not to be “germane,” meaning it is not appropriate to be considered during the short 30-day session that is supposed to be focused on budgetary issues and priorities set by the governor’s office. Legislative analysts had also found it not to be germane.

The bill’s sponsors, Rep. Elizabeth “Liz” Thomson (D-Albuquerque) and Rep. G. Andrés Romero (D-Albuquerque), said the bill should have fallen under the same rules as one that was authorized by the governor because the “affirmative consent” bill is also meant to reduce crime.

The only way that the bill could be considered this session is if Lujan Grisham authorizes the Legislature to do so. Rep. Andrea Romero (D-Santa Fe) said she still hopes the governor does put the bill on the agenda.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site.

Austin Fisher
Austin Fisher

Austin Fisher is a journalist based in Santa Fe. He has worked for newspapers in New Mexico and his home state of Kansas, including the Topeka Capital-Journal, the Garden City Telegram, the Rio Grande SUN and the Santa Fe Reporter. Since starting a full-time career in reporting in 2015, he’s aimed to use journalism to lift up voices that typically go unheard in public debates around economic inequality, policing and environmental racism.