State Sen. Gay Kernan, R-Hobbs (Courtesy Photo)
In the new year, Sen. Gay Kernan, R-Hobbs, said she is looking forward to working with the new legislators taking office.
“It’s going to be an interesting session, in regards to the new faces,” said Kernan, who will begin her 10th year as a senator in 2013. “We’ll have to see how things work out in the Senate because of that.
“Every session, there’s always a surprise — that’s what makes it interesting.”
Kernan also hopes to breathe new life into old legislation, such as a bill to remove age status from the Hate Crimes Act.
The act includes people over the age of 60 as a group among others that may experience a crime “motivated by hate.” However, hate is hard to prove, Kernan said, preventing the criminal from getting the sentencing they deserve.
“I think you can prove hate in a lot of instances,” she said. “But with the elderly, most of the time, [the criminal is] a family member or it’s a random act of violence.
“I just think it’s really hard to prove that they hated them because they’re elderly.”
Another issue on Kernan’s agenda involves the state’s budget and making sure it can provide for retirement funds, as well as education programs. An example of which is a reading intervention bill Kernan has supported that would provide literacy help for young children.
As a former educator, Kernan said she is most interested in “making sure we do the right thing for our kids and our future.”
Sometimes there’s a reason why things don’t always pass, she said, so she is looking at possibly retooling the bill.
“It has some merit, but it’s going to be difficult to pass in its current form,” she said. “I’ll try again and see where it goes.”