SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico’s legislature is unique. Rather than having lawmakers fully dedicated to public service, the state relies on legislators volunteering their time outside of work to make new laws. So recently those at the Roundhouse have been asking: Do lawmakers need more staff?
The New Mexico Legislative Council Service commissioned a study. The full draft report has now been published.
The study included a survey by Research & Polling of 78 lawmakers – 51 Democrats and 27 Republicans responded.
Overall, 70% of those who responded to the survey supported the idea of adding more staff to help lawmakers. Most Democratic lawmakers were supportive but only a little over a third of Republican lawmakers supported the idea.
The survey also showed that lawmakers planned to use extra time – that extra staff would help create – engaging with the community or researching policy. KRQE News 13 previously explored the challenges lawmakers face in understanding policy and why lawmakers turn to lobbyists for help understanding bills.
The Focus Group, a research company, also compiled a report on legislative needs. Their report suggests a few models the state could use to boost staffing for lawmakers.
One possible model is having 56 partisan staff members split across 12 regional offices to help serve lawmakers and the addition of three non-partisan staff members at the Roundhouse. It may take around $9 million to do so, the analysis estimates.