By Lance Chilton
New Mexico may not be at the top of all lists, but it is very near the top in its excellent legislative website, nmlegis.gov. Here’s a little of what you’ll find there, and at the bottom of this list, you’ll find a link to more complete guidance as to how to use our great site.
- On the home page, you’ll have a choice of Legislators, Legislation, Committees, Publications, What’s Happening, Webcast, Quick Links, Highlights and Contact Us.
- Click on Legislators. If you don’t know who he/she is, search by your address for both senator and representative. Once you do know, you can search by his/her name to find out which committees they serve on, what legislation they have sponsored, and their home and Santa Fe phone numbers and addresses. Call them up! Invite them for coffee and to hear your views!
- Click on Legislation to find bills introduced in any session since 1996! You can search by keyword (for example, “vaccines”), by the legislator who introduced them (for example, Sen Lopez), by the bill number and year, or you can get a complete list of an entire session’s bills. Then you can find out what happened to each of them in which you’re interested (a little info on abbreviations needed – see below).
- Click on Committees (often very helpful to find out who is most likely to affect your favorite bill’s chance of passage.) Both session and interim committees are listed, and committee agendas are included if one has already been planned.
- Click on Publications. A great variety are listed to click on, including House and Senate rules, economic analyses, and a variety of important program reports from the Legislative Finance Committee, the Legislative Educational Study Committee, and the Legislative Council Service (example: Early Childhood Planning and Capacity)
- Click on What’s Happening. House and Senate floor and committee calendars are posted here during session evenings for the following day. Remember that things change, though.
- Click on Webcast. Virtually all floor and committee sessions are televised as they’re happening. You don’t have to be there to watch – except, oops, if you want to testify before a committee. You can’t do that remotely. But you can watch archived recordings of previous floor and committee meetings.
- Click on Quick Links. Lots of varied info available. My favorite: finding out what’s happening around Santa Fe and especially in the Capitol Rotunda in the link marked “Social Calendar.” For example, I now know that January 23 is “Children and Youth Day” in the rotunda.
- Click on Highlights. You can get the Legislative Council Service’s summary of the results of every session going back to 2002. Be careful what you ask for, though: the 2019 session’s very readable version stretched to 220 pages!
- Click on Contact Us. A short list of standing committees (such as LFC, LESC, LCS) can be found there, or you can just call the Capitol at 505-986-4300 or 505-986-4600 to be put through to the person or agency you want to speak with by the always helpful Capitol operators.