They got the “L” out of there…

In the 1970s when I was Santa Fe Bureau Chief and State Political Editor for United Press International, I covered eight sessions of the New Mexico Legislature. I met and wrote about many colorful characters and incidents during that time.

One of those that stands out occurred when the Senate was debating a proposed law to ban certain pornographic materials and in the course of that debate, began sliding down the slippery slope of defining what exactly constituted pornography.

A long-time Democratic Senator from San Miguel County (Las Vegas) stepped up to introduce an amendment to correct what he considered to be a typographical flaw in the proposed legislation. The lawmaker, Junio (not Junior) Lopez, was probably keen on correcting spelling errors since his name had probably been misspelled many times by those who thought there should be an “r” at the end of his unusual moniker.

One section of the bill said pornography could clearly be detected if any photograph or artwork showed “pubic” hair. Lopez proposed an amendment to correct the spelling to “public.”

When a fellow lawmaker pointed out that the word “pubic” was indeed the word that was intended, a somewhat embarrassed Junio withdrew his amendment to the sounds of muffled snickering in the senate gallery and on the floor of the Senate.

I can’t recall what finally happened to the proposed legislation, but I know the lawmakers did “get the L” out of the bill. In retrospect, maybe Junio was just trying to make sure that “public pubic hair” was something most of us didn’t want to see.

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