HOUSE DEMOCRATS NEWS
New rules would allow safe, virtual participation during the 2021 Legislative Session
Proposed House rule changes to help ensure that the 2021 Legislative Session is safe for the public, staff, and legislators during an ongoing and deadly pandemic, passed the House Rules and Order of Business Committee Friday.
House Resolution 1, sponsored by the House Parliamentarian, Representative Daymon Ely (D – Corrales), would enact rule changes which govern the way House members participate and vote. The proposed rule changes include:
- Permitting members to participate and vote remotely
- Allowing the public to call in or provide comments via Zoom while the New Mexico State Capitol is closed to prevent community spread of COVID-19.
- Requiring that all House members participate in floor and committee debates by Zoom, which will be broadcast publicly online.
- Affirming that all legislation to be considered by the full House be placed on a temporary calendar for 24 hours to ensure transparency and accessibility.
“We are in the middle of a pandemic, and like everything about this year, we’re having to do things differently to keep the public, staff, and legislators healthy and safe,” said Representative Daymon Ely. “These temporary rule changes are necessary to ensure fair and remote participation by the public and legislators so that our state can pass the critical legislation necessary to recover from COVID-19 and uplift our state.”
House Resolution 1 passed the House Rules of Order and Business on a party-line 11 – 5 vote and will be heard on the House floor Monday, January 25, 2021.
If approved by a majority of the New Mexico House of Representatives, House Resolution 1 would mean an historic 2021 Legislative Session that would see the Roundhouse virtually empty for the health and safety of all participants. In addition, HR 1 would enable unprecedented remote participation by the public from anywhere in the state, who could provide public comment without the burden of traveling to Santa Fe.
Members of the public can currently access committee meetings via the New Mexico Legislature website on the Webcasts tab. The Roundhouse will be closed to the public for the entirety of the 2021 session to curtail the potential spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus.