Rep. Christine Chandler/Courtesy photo
BY LINDA HULL
Rotary Club of Los Alamos
On August 18, State Representative Christine Chandler, District 43, spoke to the Rotary Club of Los Alamos via Zoom regarding the June 2020 Special Legislative Session held at the Roundhouse.
Chandler described it as a “productive session” despite the challenge of holding committee meetings on Zoom, maintaining social distance, configuring logistics, and conducting business on the chamber floor while wearing masks.
The state budget, a primary focus of the special session, was carefully scrutinized with some increases previously approved lowered to accommodate the crashing price of oil which created a drop in state revenue. The price of a barrel of oil is now increasing.
Among the bills passed during the special session were House Bill (HB) 6, which provides a temporary tax waiver “intended to provide flexibility to taxpayers unable to make tax payments” due to the COVID-19 crisis, and HB 3, an economic recovery bill of $400 million for loans to local governments to provide emergency economic relief to small businesses to address the struggles created by the pandemic.
Senate Bills (SB) passed included SB 4, which “permits people who are registered as independents to change their registration to one of the major political parties at a voting location for purposes of voting in a primary election”; SB 5, a local governments bill regarding capital outlay projects; and SB 8, which requires law enforcement officers to wear body cameras to enhance the “full protection of civil rights.”
The day Chandler spoke to Rotary, she had been advised earlier that morning that every school in the state now has broad band service even if the community itself does not. Chandler expanded on the subject by noting that the broad band needs in New Mexico are “hugely challenging and expensive,” an issue she hopes to see addressed in the 2021 regular session.
When asked about topics of primary concern in the 2021 session, Chandler replied that the state budget, criminal justice reform, and tax reform will be among the most noteworthy along with education. She added, “There is also a strong body of support for alternate energy.”
Representative Christine Chandler (D) is a long-time resident of Los Alamos County, now serving her first term in the New Mexico House of Representatives, District 43, which includes Los Alamos, Rio Arriba, Sandoval, and Santa Fe Counties. She is running for re-election in November. Chandler serves on multiple House committees, including House Taxation and Revenue, Radioactive and Hazardous Materials, and Science, Technology, and Telecommunication.
Before her election to the New Mexico House in 2018, Chandler had served two terms as a Los Alamos County Councilor and was a Los Alamos National Laboratory lawyer and group leader. Chandler has law degrees from Boston College and Georgetown University Law Schools.