State Senate committee fails to pass Omaree's Law

Posted at: 02/20/2014 8:44 AM
By: Nikki Ibarra and Elizabeth Reed, KOB Eyewitness News 4

SANTA FE -- A child abuse bill drafted in memory of a 9-year-old boy who was allegedly killed by his mother will not head to the governor's desk during the 2014 legislative session.

Omaree's Law stalled in the Senate judiciary committee on Wednesday. The bill would have required the state's Children Youth and Families Department to take custody of children who showed specific signs of abuse, including burns, bruises, lacerations, broken bones and bites.

Under the proposed legislation, CYFD would hold children for 48 hours until their parents underwent a hearing.

The bill was created after the death of Omaree Varela, who Albuquerque police said was kicked to death by his own mother in December.

Since the beginning of the legislative session, some lawmakers worried Omaree's Law would overwhelm CYFD's resources. Legislative analysts predicted the agency would need an additional 4,000 employees to keep up with the law.

It is uncertain at this time if the bill will come back in the 2015 legislative session.