HOUSE DEMOCRATS NEWS
More than 2,400 New Mexicans, representing almost every county, have tuned in and voiced opinions in first week of House committee meetings
After the first full week of the 2021 legislative session, the New Mexico House of Representatives is already seeing record public engagement, with more than 2,400 residents participating in committee meetings and 31 counties in the state represented. A map of the first week’s participants can be viewed here.
“While we miss welcoming constituents to the Roundhouse, we are encouraged and impressed by the unprecedented public participation we’ve already seen in the first week alone” said Speaker of the House Brian Egolf (D – Santa Fe). “Our committees have heard from thousands of New Mexicans from every corner of the state who have provided a wealth of insightful perspectives on the various bills being heard.”
“The Health & Human Services Committee has been able to hear from many times the number of residents who could physically fit into our committee room, even when commenters were rotated through the room,” said HHS Committee Chair Rep. Deborah Armstrong (D – Albuquerque). “We love being able to hear such a wealth of personal stories which underscore the need for the important pieces of legislation we’re working on.”
House Rules & Order of Business Committee Chair Rep. Daymon Ely (D – Corrales) added: “Not only are our virtual rule changes protecting everyone’s health and safety, but they have empowered New Mexicans to engage in the civic process like never before. We’re seeing record involvement, with many applauding the format because they wouldn’t have been able to take off work or find childcare to participate in person.”
Marcela Diaz, Executive Director of Somos un Pueblo Unido, a statewide immigrant-based civil and workers’ rights organization had this to say about the virtual participation: “So far, our members from throughout New Mexico have been able to Zoom in and participate in committee hearings with access to simultaneous interpretation, often giving their testimonies in Spanish. This legislative session is so important to workers and families impacted by the pandemic, and we greatly appreciate the willingness of committee chairs and IT staff to figure out how we can all be included in the process.”
Members of the public can track legislation on the New Mexico Legislature website, access committee meetings and House floor sessions via the Webcasts tab, or participate by Zoom to provide public comment on committee hearings. During the 2021 Legislative Session, the House of Representatives is focused on passing critical legislation while protecting the health and safety of the public, the staff, and the legislators.