Proposals take aim at chronic drunken driving

The Associated Press
Gov. Susana Martinez shakes hands with law enforcement officials on Dec. 10 before a press conference about drunken driving penalties off U.S. Highway 64 between Farmington and Bloomfield.

SANTA FE — Lawmakers in New Mexico are proposing a series of new criminal penalties for repeat drunken driving offenses.

Legislators on Monday introduced three bills that would increase jail time and trigger other felony sanctions against drunken drivers under existing New Mexico laws for habitual offenders.

One bill proposes increased penalties for those who lend their car to someone whose license has been revoked or suspended because of a prior DWI offense.

Republican Gov. Susana Martinez has voiced support for tougher laws to discourage repeat DWI offenses ahead of this month's legislative session.

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez says the state already has some of the toughest drunken driving laws in the nation and he has accused the governor of trying to distract voters from issues of poverty.