The bad news first: the New Mexico state capitol is closed to the public and no one can go and buttonhole legislators to persuade them to back a favorite bill. The good news: everyone can chime in during committee meetings considering bills. The virtual access to legislators and legislation has never been more powerful. However, readers may want to observe Senate President Pro Tem Mimi Stewart’s advice, shared at DPBC’s recent Legislative Expo, to come prepared with a crisp two-minute statement, as fairness will dictate a strict cut-off for every comment. Again, bad news: you may be cut off mid-sentence. Good news: You won’t have to wait hours and hours for other constituent comments on bills you care about.
The first session of New Mexico’s 55th legislature is in full swing, with more than 260 bills, memorials and joint resolutions introduced by the end of the first week. With Democrats in charge of both houses and the executive branch, there’s power behind debates on repealing the old criminal abortion statute (SB 10); more generously funding early childhood education (HJR 1) and, perhaps, teacher salaries (SJR 1 amending that proposal); establishing rights, procedures and protections related to medical aid in dying (Rep. Armstrong’s HB 47); plans for community solar initiatives (HB 106 and SB 84) and providing an avenue to the courts for civil rights claims against government entities (HB 4), to name only a handful of important issues.
Visit the state legislature’s website at www.nmlegis.gov for full instructions on how to participate, or use #nmleg