By Lance Chilton
Website Tutorial V: The Grab-Bag.
It’s a great website. I said that in Website Tutorial I, and I believe it. That article summarized each of the parts of the website, Tutorial II covered the “Legislators” tab, Tutorial III discussed the use of the “Legislation” tab, and Tutorial IV talked about the “Committees” tab and alluded to how you can use the “Webcast” tab to watch real-time or archived telecasts of committee meetings and floor sessions at the Legislature. This last tutorial deals with the rest of the tabs, the grab-bag.
But first, a note after attending the terrific Legislative Preview meeting held on January 8 and chaired by county executive director Flora Lucero: Sen. Duhigg, likely to be the new chair of the Senate Rules Committee, stated there that she wanted the new Senate rules to continue to allow video (zoom) testimony from around New Mexico, as the House will. Details to follow soon.
So what’s left at the top of the nmlegis.gov page? “Publications,” “What’s Happening”, “Quick Links”, “Highlights” and “Contact Us.” We’ll talk, quickly, about each of those.
“Publications” is your source for a treasure trove of miscellaneous reports and documents from state government. You might enjoy browsing in this field, perhaps munching on past agendas and minutes of interim committees, scholarly reports from year-round staff of the Legislative Finance Committee (LFC) or Legislative Educational Study Committee (LESC), procedural manuals for both houses of the Legislature and guidelines for drafting legislation used by the non-partisan drafters at the Legislative Council Service (LCS). Arguments for and against constitutional amendments brought about by Joint Resolutions of the Legislature in recent years are store housed here too (did you know that the New Mexico Constitution has been amended 73 times in 110 years, while the US Constitution has had just 27 amendments, including the ten in the Bill of Rights, in 234 years?).
“Highlights” of any given session can be accessed from the “Publications” tab or from the “Highlights” tab. These extensive reports (the 2022 “short session” generated a 172-page, carefully indexed LCS summary) are useful to find what happened during a session on, for example “Health and Human Services” or “Appropriations and Finance.”
“What’s Happening” lists upcoming meetings; the agendas for those meetings can be found here as well. Rather empty at the moment, it will be populated daily with all the session-time committee hearings during the session.
“Quick Links” takes you to a number of web sites and pages frequently used, such as the “social calendar”, the “anti-harassment policy,” “employment (in the Legislature)” and “Legislative Library.”
And “Contact Us” gives you telephone numbers and email and physical addresses that are requested commonly: the Capitol itself (505-986-4300), the LFC, LESC and LSC, the House and Senate administrative officers, among others.
I’ll be signing on to NMLEGIS.GOV multiple times each day during the session. See you there!