Better Laws in New Mexico
From the 1/26/96 editorial page of the Manchester Union Leader,
with credits to the Western Journalism Center:
In the New Mexico Legislature’s 1995 session, Sen.
Duncan Scott, a Republican from Albuquerque, proposed an amendment
to a psychologist regulatory bill offered by another senator.
The Scott amendment would have dramatically changed the face
of New Mexico’s legal system:
The amendment said: “`When a psychologist or psychiatrist testifies
during a defendant’s competentcy hearing, the psychologist or
psychiatrist shall wear a cone-shaped hat that is not less than
two feet tall. The surface of the hat shall be imprinted
with stars and lightning bolts.
“Additionally, a psychologist or psychiatrist shall be required
to don a white beard that is not less than 18 inches in length,
and shall punctuate crucial elements of his testimony by
stabbing the air with a wand. Whenever a psychologist or
psychiatrist provides expert testimony regarding a defendant’s
competentcy, the baliff shall contemporaneously dim the
courtroom lights and administer two strikes to a Chinese gong.”
The bill, with the wizard amendment, passed the Senate by
voice vote and cleared the House 46-14. Unfortunately,
Gov. Gary Johnson vetoed the legislation.
This actually happened although the details aren’t quite right. The following
information is from the New Mexico legislative service:
1995, Senator Scott offered a joke amendment, Senate Floor Amendment number
1, to Senate Bill 459.
Senate Bill 459 was an act “Relating to Health Facilities; Providing Staff
Membership and Clinical Privileges for Licensed Psychologists in Certain
Health Facilities; Establishing Procedures Regarding Certain Admissions to a
Health Facility; Enacting Sections of the NMSA 1978.”
On motion of Senator Scott, which carried, Senate Floor Amendment Number 1
to Senate Bill 459 was adopted by voice vote. On motion of Senator Romero,
which carried, Senate Bill 459, as amended, passed the Senate by a vote of
30 for and 0 against. The amendment was struck from the bill in the House.
Therefore, it was neither vetoed by the governor, as has been misreported,
nor became law in New Mexico, as has also been misreported.
This page was created February 1, 2000.
It was last updated February 1, 2005.