HOUSE DEMOCRATS NEWS
Virtual participation in the New Mexico House of Representatives for weeks 2 and 3 of the 2021 Legislative Session continues at a record-setting pace in the New Mexico House of Representatives.
Exactly 6,119 New Mexicans made their voices heard virtually in House committee meetings with 32 out of 33 counties in the state represented over the two-week period from February 1 to February 13. An additional 32,606 people watched the Legislature’s online webcast. For comparison, roughly 2,400 participated in the first full week of committees. A map of participants can be viewed here.
“We continue to see record levels of participation by New Mexicans who, due to the virtual nature of this session, are participating in their State government for possibly the very first time,” said Speaker of the House Brian Egolf (D – Santa Fe). “I am incredibly proud of all the hard work legislative staff have done to make this historic level of participation possible.”
“My committees continue to receive many times more public comment than a typical legislative session where physical seats are limited and travel and work prevent so many New Mexicans from being part of the legislative process,” said HHS Committee Chair Rep. Deborah Armstrong (D – Albuquerque). “Not only has the number of New Mexicans participating substantially increased, but the diversity in their experiences and perspectives are invaluable to me and my committee members.”
Oriana Sandoval, CEO at the nonpartisan Center for Civic Policy, an organization working to amplify the voices of everyday New Mexicans said, “Our mission to uplift the voices of New Mexicans in their state government has been greatly supported because of online virtual committees and public comment. This year, parents are not forced to find childcare for their kids, or workers to go without pay, or students to miss class in order to have their voices heard. Because of this, we’re finding it easier to get participation from everyday folks to share their experiences which are so important in crafting legislation that addresses the needs of all New Mexicans.”
Last week, the New Mexico Supreme Court unanimously dismissed a lawsuit filed by House Republicans to do away with the temporary House rules that permit remote participation by the public and members of the House. These rules will stay in place until the end of session.
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.