Carlsbad representative plans to introduce bill in upcoming session
Sex offenders have to register with local or state governments. State Rep. Cathrynn Brown says drug dealers should be required to do the same.
Brown, R-Carlsbad, said Wednesday she plans to introduce a bill to create a drug-dealer registry in New Mexico. Her proposal will be ready for the 60-day legislative session that starts Jan. 15, she said.
Brown said the idea for the bill sprang from a constituent's question: If parents can investigate where sex offenders live as a means of keeping kids safe, why can't they do the same with convicted drug dealers?
The bill is still being drafted, but Brown said it probably would be aimed at those dealers with felony records.
Most of the key information about convicted drug dealers already is contained somewhere in public records, Brown said. The registry would put it in one convenient place for people to view, she said.
One question about Brown's proposal is sure to be how much it would cost to create and maintain public databases of convicted drug dealers.
Constitutional issues about a new registry may already have been settled because of case law involving sex offenders.
During the last decade, sex criminals in a number of states challenged the constitutionality of having to register with the government.
The U.S. Department of Justice, in a summary of the cases, said sex offenders were unsuccessful in claiming violations of double jeopardy, due process, equal protection under the law and that they were subjected to cruel and unusual punishment.
"Generally speaking, sex offenders in the United States are required to register with law enforcement of any state, locality, territory or tribe within which they reside, wor, and attend school. Each State has its own distinct sex offender registration and notification system," the Department of Justice analysis stated.