NMBC issued a Call to Action on February 3rd to try and bring attention to the public’s limited access to the Legislative Session this year. We were spurred into action after being passed over repeatedly for comment or committee testimony, and found that we weren’t the only ones. New Mexicans across the state were being excluded from the legislative process either by negligence or direct action and their voices went unheard in the calamity of the session. The problems with the legislature’s uneven access are multifaceted and each uniquely hard to resolve due to who is setting the rules – another nebulous subject.
The House has had decent transparency so far by publishing the zoom meeting links and information so the public can join in the process. The Senate however, does not do this. For no reason we could find, the Senate chooses to make their rules for participation needlessly complicated and requires all potential committee participants to request access 24 hours in advance. Often the NMBC team has been denied access to committee meeting with no reason or explanation. This could be because the committee is limiting it’s participants, because the session manager didn’t feel like returning the email request for access, or just because the committee chair feels like it. Whatever the reasons for the lack of access may be, people are noticing.
The New Mexico Political Report details in a recent report just how opaque the process has been. Under the guise of following Covid guidelines, legislators have been able to just let these issues slide. We understand that adapting to a new technologically dependent method for conducting the Session will have it’s kinks, but they aren’t being addressed or corrected and legislators are fine with that. Click here to read more.