Mexico's National Guard proposal goes to state legislatures

Mexico's lower chamber of Congress has approved constitutional reforms that would allow the creation of a National Guard the new government wants to lead the fight against rising crime.

The Chamber of Deputies voted 463 to 1 Thursday to approve the Senate's version of the legislation. The Senate had ensured the new force would be under civilian command, answering to the Public Safety secretary.

The National Guard proposed by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador will initially be made up by the military police of the army and navy, as well as members of the federal police. Critics had demanded a lesser military role and greater civilian character.

To go into effect, the constitutional changes must still be approved by at least 17 state legislatures and signed by the president.