NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – On January 17, state lawmakers started their important job to create laws and decide how to spend the state’s money. That’s why one state senator wants to ban state lawmakers from drinking alcohol before or during any floor session or meeting of a committee.
In most jobs, it’s a given to not drink on the job. Senator Harold Pope Jr. said the goal of his bill is to set a better example in the chamber.
“We want people to be professional and be on the job and be focused. We’re dealing with some serious issues every day, you know, what we vote on, and it’s stressful enough it can be contentious on the floor, and the last thing we need is to have folks having drinks or inebriated which is going to cause people to make bad choices,” said Democratic District 23 Senator Harold Pope Jr.
Pope is proposing a new bill. It would be an amendment to current Senate rules. Every time a legislative session starts, the chamber sets rules. An example would be when masks had to be worn during the COVID-19 pandemic or how male lawmakers are required to wear a jacket and a tie on the floor. Rules for this session have already been introduced and accepted. Pope’s bill was introduced Thursday on the Senate floor.
Pope mentioned, “There’s just some things that I’ve seen that I’ve felt are unprofessional. As members of the Senate and the issues that we have in our state when it comes to alcohol and professionalism, I just feel that this is something a rule that we needed to add.”
Pope is hoping his ban on drinking before or during meetings will be added to the rules this year, but if not, he will keep pushing for it. It will have to pass the full Senate chamber. The bill was referred to Senate rules committee.
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According to Pope, he believes most of his colleagues are on board for the change. The bill would not stop lawmakers from keeping booze in their offices at the Roundhouse.